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Bermuda's Education in Public and Private Schools

After secondary schooling at home or abroad, those qualified go overseas to universities

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

college degree

line drawing

Bermuda Parishes

There are schools in every one of the nine Bermuda Parishes.

Introduction

Those from overseas unfamiliar with Bermuda, including some educators, teachers and  parents of children attending schools or places of higher education, often believe wrongly that Bermuda is in the Caribbean or West Indies. It is not, Bermuda is 900 miles north of the Caribbean and is not part of any Caribbean educational system. Only very few Bermudian or Bermuda-based students later attend any schools or colleges or universities in the Caribbean. 

Bermuda is a tiny, isolated (600 miles due east from the nearest mainland, North Carolina, USA, 900 miles from the nearest Caribbean island to the south and 3500 miles from the UK) island group of only 21 square miles or 56 kilometers in total land area. The educational system here is completely independent of the systems of any foreign country such as the United Kingdom, USA or Canada or beyond. Unlike in far larger countries with significant multi-cultural populations and cultural and educational facilities and laws and faculties to match, no laws or facilities of any kind exist (because there is no or insufficient demand for them) in Bermuda for non-English-speaking children to be taught while at school in any language other than English. Newcomers working in Bermuda from countries where English is not the official language with a young child or children should note that all schools in Bermuda are taught in English only. 

All education, whether at a Bermuda Government funded or maintained and taxpayer-supported school (a public school) or private school (not taxpayer-supported but with fees paid by parents) is administered and controlled by the Bermuda Government's Ministry of Education, see http://www.moed.bm/default.aspx, 7 Point Finger Road, Paget DV 04, P. O. Box HM 1185, Hamilton HM EX phone (441) 236-6904. Fax 236-4006, Bermuda. Application forms for teaching posts at Bermuda Government-operated public schools (bit not for private schools)  can be obtained from that website. All enquiries about education in Bermuda not shown in this file should be directed to the Ministry of Education, not to this author. 

All teachers in Bermuda, whether Bermudian or married to one or an expatriate (foreign, non-Bermudian) teacher on a contract, are required to apply successfully for and hold a valid licence from the Bermuda Educators Council (BEC).  There are about 700 public school teachers. All expatriate teachers who may be given initial one year contracts with a Bermuda public or private school should know they may not always be renewed (see Work Permits for non-Bermudians) as preference is always given to similarly qualified Bermudian teachers. They should also make a point of reading Newcomers to Bermuda also Bermuda Cost of Living - and Bermuda motor vehicle private transportation costs, all substantially higher than in USA, Canada and UK, etc.

Teachers at Government schools are expected to become members of the Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT), at Seventy Two Teachers' Place, 72 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12. P. O. Box HM 726, Hamilton HM CX. Phone (441) 292 6515. Fax (441) 292 0697. Founded February 1, 1919. In 1964, it combined with the Teachers Association of Bermuda (see book The Teachers Association of Bermuda (1949 to 1964). Any accredited and qualified teacher at any private school in Bermuda can also become a member of BUT if they wish. It has a representative on the Labor Advisory Council and Public Service Superannuation Board, both Bermuda Government Boards

Non-nationals accepting teaching posts in Bermuda from the United Kingdom should note that unlike in the UK there are

The Bermuda Educators Council Act came into effect in July 2002. It improves standards in the profession and increases the esteem in which teachers are held. It sets the framework for registration, not for licensing, but as a result all Bermudian and imported teachers - not those in an administrative role - will now have to be licensed.  

The Education Amendment Act 2003, among other things, sets the stage for the regulation of home schools.

Education in Bermuda is compulsory for all children from 5 to 16. It is free for parents of students at Government schools, namely  primary schools, middle schools, senior schools and special schools - all day schools - comprising preschools, junior, special and secondary schools - administered by Bermuda's Ministry of Education. It is NOT free for parents of students at local private day schools (there are no local boarding schools in Bermuda). 

Newcomers with children of school age can choose whether to enroll them in a Government or private school, in Bermuda or overseas.

Government schools (public schools)

students diplomasFor basic details see http://www.moed.bm/Documents/BermudaPublicSchoolSystem.pdf

Taxpayer-funded, unlike private schools which are not. The mission of Government-owned or maintained schools, also known in Bermuda as public schools, is the provision of an environment in which each student may develop academic, practical and physical skills; practice critical and creative thinking; exemplify aesthetic, social, moral and spiritual values which characterize a secure, self-confident individual who is capable of constructive participation in the community and effective functioning in an age of change, with life-long, self-directed learning.

All teachers in the government schools are eligible for membership in the Amalgamated Bermuda Union of Teachers, which negotiates salaries and conditions of service. All principals in government schools are eligible for membership in the Association of School Principals, which similarly represents their interests. Programmes of professional development, salaries and conditions of service for teachers and principals have been continually improved. Negotiations on these terms of employment take place every two years and their outcome is confirmed in published agreements with the Government.

Questions about any government schools should be directed to the Ministry of Education at telephone (441) 236-6904 extension 3659 or 3660. 

Government grants for primary education began in 1816. The government educational system of today derives, however, from the Schools Act 1879 and is based on the traditional British pattern. The Education Act 1949 established the right of all children within what was then the compulsory school age (7 to 13) to receive free primary education. By 1969, the compulsory school age had been expanded to 5 to 16 and all children within that age are entitled to free primary and secondary education. In 1985 the Education Act was amended to entitle children to remain in secondary school up to the age of 19 years in order to complete the secondary programme.

The government system comprises a number of primary schools, access to which is determined mainly on the basis of proximity of residence to a school. The system at secondary level consists of a fewer number of schools, is selective and is divided between academic and general schools. Principals of the secondary schools select pupils on the basis of performance in an examination taken at the end of the primary school stage and of parental preference. Technical and prevocational education is provided in the general secondary schools. Provision is also made for the education of children with special needs in six special schools, which have been in operation for more than 20 years, and in special programme classes, which have operated for more than 10 years, in regular primary and secondary schools. Special education provides a continuum of services appropriate to the range of special needs of the students concerned. Free education is provided in a number of pre-schools for four-year-old children. Curriculum guides at all levels have been in place for several years. At the pre-schools, the curriculum objectives are related to social, cognitive and motor development, as well as to language, mathematics, social studies and science. The Government has restructured the educational system in order to remove selectivity from the secondary level and to provide equal access to the curriculum for all students. The system has three levels - primary, middle and senior secondary. Since May 2010 the Bermuda Public School System has adopted the UK's Cambridge International Curriculum as the basis for teaching English, Mathematics and Science in the government primary, middle and senior schools. The Cambridge Curriculum has four phases, each of which dove-tails into the next, beginning with Primary (age 5-11), Lower Secondary (11-14, equivalent to a Bermuda Middle School). Middle Secondary (14-16, equivalent to S1 and S2) and Upper Secondary (16-19).

Bermuda College, see by name below.  

Adult Education School, see by name below.

2017. October 3. Education commissioner Freddie Evans last night described himself as “dumbfounded” after being dismissed from the post. The shock move came less than seven months after Dr Evans was appointed to the top job. Dr Evans said he was stunned that “any talk of dismissal, termination or reassignment is happening when I have not heard anything from his Excellency the Governor, or Government House. I only want what is best for the students of Bermuda public schools,” Dr Evans said. “My legal representatives will be responding on my behalf from this point forward.” Principals and teachers were notified of the termination in an e-mail from the Department of Education. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, issued a statement pointing out that he held no responsibility for “operations, human resources or hiring at the Ministry or Department of Education. This Government is serious about progressing public education in Bermuda and, as such, supports the Board of Education and the Public Service Commission in their efforts to employ the most suitable people to lead our public schools. All public servants should be commended for their dedication to supporting our students and we thank Dr Evans for his work.” Mr Rabain congratulated staff and encouraged the community to support them. Dr Evans, who took over as Commissioner of Education in March, had previously served as Acting Commissioner for three years. He told The Royal Gazette when appointed that he was “absolutely dedicated”, and looked forward to a decade or more in the job. According to the e-mail to public education staff, the post of commissioner is now “under consideration”. A 33-year veteran of the public education system, Dr Evans was described by a source in the department as popular with many teachers and parents. But the source added that Dr Evans had only reluctantly been given the role, with leadership believed to be more in favor of a foreign candidate. The source said Dr Evans’s work had been hampered from the start by conditions imposed from above. The previous commissioner, Edmond Heatley, was recruited from the United States in 2013 but resigned eight months later. His time in the role was plagued by complaints about the post going to an overseas expert and Dr Evans took over the role on an interim basis after Mr Heatley’s departure. Teachers were told that “critical issues” should be forwarded to the administrative assistant at the commissioner’s office, who would pass them on to the Permanent Secretary. Last night a spokeswoman said the ministry “would like to assure the public that an interim plan is being put in place until the Board of Education commences a recruitment process”.

2017. September 29. Lou Matthews, the director of Educational Standards and Accountability, announced his resignation yesterday and said Bermuda’s expectations for scholastic excellence are not being adequately supported. Dr Matthews, who had served in the role since 2010, posted his resignation on social media. After the announcement, Dr Matthews told The Royal Gazette: “We have such high expectations as a nation that are not matched by what we are willing to do to support children and families.” The biggest wake-up call after his return to the island, he said, was “the magnitude of families and children who were struggling and at risk”. Dr Matthews said teachers and leaders are today faced with more complex social issues than in previous years. He added: “Moving the country forward in education in this environment will take much more of a deliberate focus on being restorative and responsive to the community.” Dr Matthews said children, whom he called Bermuda’s infrastructure, required healthy school facilities, adequate resources for teachers and leaders, and an environment where leaders had more autonomy to be responsive. “We are small enough that we can be more responsive — yet we are not.” Dr Matthews said that he informed the ministry in early July that he would be leaving the position. He added: “Most of my close friends will have been privy to my decision for months.” In his Facebook post he described having “mixed feelings” over his departure. Asked to elaborate, Dr Matthews said: “There is so much to do. I have worked with some of the most caring people and you hate to leave them with work unfinished. And the work of change is complex and messy — on a good day.” Change, he said, meant “growing from the strength we have. The reality is that there are many pockets in schools, offices, and classrooms where Bermudian educators sacrifice and work on behalf of children. There is no Superman to save us — only us. Let’s honor and build on that.” Dr Matthews said that he had recently signed a contract to serve as senior mathematics consultant for the United States Agency for International Development, covering countries including Cambodia, Ethiopia and Nepal. He will also be a visiting scholar and administrator at Ohio State University, and will be bringing a Caribbean mathematics leadership summit to Bermuda in October 2018.

2017. August 21. Education minister Diallo Rabain has confirmed that the Ministry of Education authorised a public volunteer effort to ensure Bermuda’s public schools are ready for the new term in September. The first of the “work rallies” took place at Warwick Preschool on Saturday when volunteers helped to clean bookshelves, cots, chairs and other equipment. Some landscaping work was also needed. The effort follows an e-mail from group leader Angela Young, which was sent out to parents and volunteers who had voiced their willingness to offer a helping hand. The group met with Mr Rabain and the Minister of Public Works Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, who both welcomed their help. According to the e-mail, Warwick Preschool is the first of “30-plus that require assistance” and schedules are being prepared. Mr Rabain said: “Recently, the Minister of Works and I met with a group of parents and volunteers who expressed their commitment to assist with getting schools ready for new school year. The group leader, Angela Young, has enthusiastically begun to organise volunteers to assist with work rallies. Our ministry teams have welcomed their support and willingness to join us in preparing schools. The volunteers will work with our ministry facilities team and school principals to arrange the work rallies.” Ms Young’s e-mail claimed that help with landscaping work was needed as the Parks Department was “overwhelmed”. The Parks Department was contacted for comment on the work rally but no response was received by press time.

2017. July 12. The future of middle schools — introduced two decades ago under the United Bermuda Party — is a topic that continues to divide opinion. The Progressive Labour Party has pledged to phase them out, saying it would introduce signature schools at the secondary level focusing on “individual learning styles and interests”. Meanwhile, the One Bermuda Alliance’s election platform avoids the issue of middle schools altogether. The Hopkins Report, produced in 2007 under the PLP, found that there was “no doubt” that the move to middle schools was “a mistake” for numerous reasons including lack of continuity. However, the review team concluded that a structural response could also “cause more confusion and instability” and therefore stopped short of making a formal recommendation. It said such a move would not address what it called “the real issue — the low quality of teaching and learning”. Shadow education minister Diallo Rabain has argued the PLP met that goal in its last term in power. One Hopkins recommendation that has been met was the aligning of the curriculum, through the implementation of the Cambridge Curriculum in 2010. In 2016, St George’s Prep and St David’s Primary School recorded the island’s best average Cambridge grade over the previous four years. St George’s Preparatory School principal Mary Lodge said that a fundamental reason for her students’ success was an emphasis on reading while she also cited the benefits, as an aided school, of having the autonomy to hire its own teaching staff. This was a potential benefit identified in the Hopkins Report, which said: “Schools have neither substantially delegated budgets nor much real autonomy. The governors of aided schools have greater freedoms than in other schools, for example — to identify the teachers they wish to appoint.” While Bermuda has struggled to keep up with international standards with Cambridge, there is good reason, according to Ms Lodge who spoke to The Royal Gazette on the issue last year. The relatively low Cambridge Primary Checkpoint results in English, Maths and Science in the public schools did not take into consideration the socio-economic factors that can affect performance, she said. “Bermuda is the only country or school district where everybody sits the checkpoint exam,” she told us at the time. “The reason this is important is that the other schools that are sitting this exam are international schools, charter schools, schools of diplomats’ children — therefore all standardized tests show a bias towards socio-economic standards.” When approached this week for comment, Ms Lodge was keen that the positive elements in the public education system be highlighted. She said: “Our primary school averages for English and Science meet international standards. The middle school reform is taking hold and students are taking O Levels early, in some cases. The dual enrolment with senior schools is the most exciting advance in a generation. Build on what is working. Stop the public dialogue that makes it sound like everything in public education is a failure. We have much to applaud.”

2017. July 12. School infrastructures have crumbled, ministers have repeatedly been chopped and changed, and students’ ever-evolving technological needs, according to many, have been neglected. The past decade has not been particularly kind to Bermuda’s public education system, no matter whether the Progressive Labour Party or the One Bermuda Alliance has been in power. A growing feeling has emerged that education must become a top priority for whoever wins next week’s General Election — or even taken out of the hands of politicians altogether. The OBA has pledged to explore the concept of an education authority to “remove the politics and provide consistent professional and accountable leadership to our public education system”, while the PLP pledges to “minimise political interference, by empowering educational professionals”. Such an idea finds favour with Danielle Riviere, a former member of the School Re-organization Committee, and the PTA president at West Pembroke School, who believes that fat needs to be cut on a ministry level. “With every report that comes out, it has been said that we have a top-heavy ministry that is relatively ineffective,” Ms Riviere told The Royal Gazette. She suggested an education authority could produce results like many say the Bermuda Tourism Authority has done. Ms Riviere said: “I am all for an authority because if that comes into place what needs to happen at a ministry level will hopefully take place. If leadership can change, then hopefully the dissemination and the ability to listen to those who are delivering the services will change. But it is also important that the right people are doing the right job. Look at the BTA — when they transferred from the ministry they fired everyone and everyone had to reapply and be placed in a position that was adequate for what their capabilities are.” Last year, the spotlight was turned on the crumbling infrastructure across Bermuda’s 18 primary schools with the publication of the damning School Re-organization Report commissioned by Wayne Scott, the minister at the time. Both parties now say a priority is to deal with infrastructure. The lack of modern technology in public schools was also highlighted in the report, including the basics such as wi-fi. Both the OBA and PLP have pledged to ensure wi-fi is available across all public schools while Steam learning has been listed as priority areas. Ms Riviere said she agrees with the implementation of Steam-based learning but hopes that resources are properly considered. “There is a huge benefit of having Steam within our schools but that means having it properly resourced because you can’t introduce another programme and hand it to the teachers who are already stretched,” she said. The frequent changing of ministers has been a constant theme under both parties. The PLP saw three in its last term: Randy Horton (2006), Elvin James (2008), and Dame Jennifer Smith (2010), while the OBA racked up four during its term — Nalton Brangman (2012); Grant Gibbons (2013); Wayne Scott (2015) and Cole Simons (2017). The role of the education commissioner has also been fraught with difficulties. The PLP hired Wendy McDonnell in 2011 to “lead the transformation of the Bermuda public school system” and she retired in 2013. Education expert Paul Wagstaff turned down the position last February after a lengthy open vacancy. On the appointment of Mr Scott in January 2015, Michael Dunkley said an education commissioner would be hired “imminently”. However, the commissioner’s seat remained empty with Bermudian Freddie Evans sitting as acting commissioner up until last March when he was finally handed the reins. The previous commissioner, Edmond Heatley, had a short tenure lasting just seven months after his resignation in April 2014. Dissent from teachers has been clearly evident, with a row over contract negotiations culminating in a march on Cabinet from 600 Bermuda Union of Teachers members in May. Last month, the BUT released its “2017 Education Remit” in absence, it said, of a solid platform by either party. It reads: “We believe that the delivery and the management of education is of utmost importance and needs to be managed with meticulous attention to detail.” Going forward, those in the community — education stakeholders — have been enlisted to help find a way forward under the guidance of education czar Jeremiah Newell who has turned around failing schools in the United States. The PLP has said it was on board with reviewing and implementing the recommendations of the initiative.

2017. June 30. Minister of Education Cole Simons defended the OBA Government’s record on funding education, citing multiple investments included in the 2017-18 Budget. The Minister accused the Progressive Labour Party of “providing misinformation” by claiming that the OBA is not committed to the development and education of young Bermudians. Simons said: “The truth is that the Bermuda Government has made, and continues to make, great investments for the benefit of our teachers and students. Do we have it right 100 per cent of the time? No, but the investments we have made represent the optimal commitment given the fiscal pressures we face, particularly with the massive debt burden we carry, now costing more than $180 million a year in debt interest payments.” Mr Simons referred to the 2017-18 Budget estimates, which included increases in salaries and wages for substitute teachers and paraprofessionals, school maintenance and investments in several school properties, and listed the following achievements:

Mr Simons said: “As Minister of Education, I can confirm that the education of our children is fundamental to producing educated, productive and positive citizens. Education is fundamental to the future of the Island, setting the direction we want to go. The education system, therefore, must be one that ensures students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing society. Their progress in learning is strengthened when parents, teachers, principals, support staff and the broader community have a clear understanding of what must be done and what is being done to achieve Bermuda’s chosen future. Our investments this year support the Ministry of Education’s mission to provide strategic leadership, supervision and policy direction that supports effective teaching in an inclusive and progressive learning environment that improves learning and achievement for every child.”

2017. May 4. Better technology in public schools — equipping students for success in the 21st century — has emerged as a key demand at community conversations set up by the Department of Education. The need for more consistent leadership and greater equity across public schools were other issues raised in the meetings, designed to help formulate a strategic plan for public education. This is according to education commissioner Freddie Evans and teaching expert Jeremiah Newell, who was speaking with The Royal Gazette for the first time since he arrived on the island to facilitate the plan with the help of community engagement. High on the agenda for the parents, teachers and students who have participated throughout the past few weeks is the provision of classroom infrastructure and technological facilities. Dr Evans said: “Looking at our facilities is a consistent effort. We want to have the technology in the schools, the access to the science labs. That keeps on coming up — it is an echo of what the Score [School Reorganization] report did in looking at the primary schools. There is a lot of demand for some kind of technical product — whether it is a technical institute or more tech in schools. Once we decide what all this information tells us, we can begin to operationalise and address it.” Dr Newell added: “We have heard a lot about modernization and infrastructure with the use of technology and materials and structural tools that can be used to meet the 21st-century preparation. We have to modernize that.” Many have likened the education ministry to a revolving door, with Cole Simons becoming the twelfth minister in 19 years two months ago. Dr Newell, a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, told The Royal Gazette: “I have seen a desire that there is consistent leadership to move this forward and we need to know that we are going to see this through. The community is saying whatever is getting in the way, and we need to address it, regardless of who is in charge at that moment. What they are saying consistently across the island is that they are expecting the government of the day to enable those things to happen. It is important that communities are demanding improvement, and have ideas about how it happens.” Dr Evans, who has been actively involved with the conversations along with Dr Newell, said the option of removing politics by introducing an independent public school system, an idea suggested by Mr Scott, was not off the table. He added: “Maybe education should be independent like the Bermuda Tourism Authority and be able to run autonomously outside of the scope of the politicians and government of the day.” Equity across the public schools is also a cause for concern, with many stakeholders questioning why the standards are not consistent. Dr Newell said: “If there is one public education system, why are there variations between our schools? People are saying ‘we want the same opportunities offered in private schools, we want the opportunity that once we leave school we are ready to be employed’.” One more area of discussion has been the need to further ensure that Bermuda’s public schools are able to cater for the diverse needs of its students. Schools are not one size fits all — they are places where the unique strengths of young people can be explored: technical, in the arts, vocational. We are embracing new kinds of learning — coding and technology reflecting the workforce as it is changing globally and helping our students to become global citizens. We must provide music and art programmes allowing artists to develop and demonstrate their gifts. I was speaking to one student who told me he wanted to be able to compete locally and internationally.” Frank and open discussion is being encouraged by all stakeholders. Some 40 community conversations have taken place so far and more than 1,200 surveys regarding public education have been filled out. The next step will be the creation of multiple drafts and prototypes which will receive feedback before being revisited. Anyone wishing to host community conversations can call Lisa Smith at the ministry at 278-3300. She will provide a facilitator and scribe. The Board of Education invites the public to visit www.moed.bm to complete a strategic planning survey on public education in Bermuda.

2017. April 8. “You can’t have a one-size-fits-all school system” is one of the lessons Jeremiah Newell learnt when turning around failing schools in the US. The American-based educator hired by the Department of Education to develop a strategic plan for public education in Bermuda was speaking at an information session on Thursday evening at CedarBridge Academy, attended by education stakeholders. A graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the CEO of Jeremiah Newell and Associates, Dr Newell specializes in transforming public education systems into high-performing, learning-focused organisations. He has opened charter schools in the US — independent schools that are funded by governments but are given greater flexibility on the condition they are accountable for academic results promised in their charters. Education commissioner Dr Freddie Evans introduced the evening as a means to establish “the vision for the strategic plan”. He said that Dr Newell would be “laying the framework for us so we can follow the process with integrity”. Dr Newell first provided some background on the work he has been involved with in the States, which included improving a failing school system in Mobile, Alabama, and then described what work will be done to move Bermuda forward. He opened his speech telling the audience how he received a “high-quality education purely by chance that is not accessible to many.  It felt wrong to me that the opportunity I had was not open to everyone.” Dr Newell went on to become a teacher, a principal and then chief of staff for Rhode Island Department of Education. He shared his experiences working to improve the public education system in Mobile, Alabama where students were not getting access to “high-flying, well-paid jobs” that were available in the district because they were not qualified. People were brought in from elsewhere to do the work. Speaking on the process he said: “You can’t have a one-size-fits-all school system and we had to bring our entire community together to make it possible.” He said he wanted to ensure that public schools were not the second option and went on to outline a robust, four-month process to develop and implement a solid plan. The three stages leading up to the plan, as reported in this newspaper previously, will involve authentic community engagement through small-group, community-held conversations; a survey to gather island-wide community input on public education; and the establishment of an Ambassador Design Team: a diverse group of strategic planning writers. The timeline is as follows: April — Develop a vision, mission and values; May — Draft priorities and key outcomes; June — Refine priorities, outcomes and begin strategies; July — Refine priorities, outcomes and strategies; August — Final adoption of the plan. Dr Newell asked the question “what is public engagement?” which he described as “a committed and interrelated citizenry rather than a persuaded populace”. He said “kitchen-table” type conversations were needed, made up of small groups discussing what type of community we want to live in. He said all dialogue must be “transparent, engaging, empowering and respectful”. With the development of the ambassador design team, the teams will meet every two weeks for about two hours between now and August. In total there will be about 40 hours’ commitment. The next step will entail the creation of multiple drafts and prototypes which will receive feedback before being revisited. This will allow “real data and real results” which will lead to a “multiyear strategy that is developed by Bermudians, for Bermudians”. There will also be research into best practices globally. After that the prototypes would be released and feedback would be gathered on each draft until they get better over time. There will be a community conversation next Tuesday at TN Tatem Middle School at 5.45pm and an advertisement will be published in the media the following Monday, calling for applications for those wanting to join the ambassador design teams. Community conversations will be advertised in the media, via various partners including the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, and via social media. The Board of Education invites the public to visit www.moed.bm to complete a strategic planning survey on public education in Bermuda.

2017. March 17. Community volunteers are being sought to help plan the future of Bermuda’s education system. People will be given training so they can act as hosts for “community conversations” designed to gather input from all walks of life, education minister Cole Simons said today. American-based education expert Jeremiah Newell has been hired to help develop a strategic plan for education, Mr Simons told the House of Assembly as he updated MPs on progress in his ministry. “I call upon the entire community in Bermuda to join with the Board of Education and be a part of this strategic planning process, Mr Simons said. “The goal of the Board is to have a transformative public education strategy that is developed by Bermudians for Bermudians, as the success of public school education affects everyone.” The minister said the core elements of the strategic planning approach include:

“I solicit the support and input of the entire community — parents, students, teachers, principals, guardians, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, small and large business owners, business professionals, retirees, churches, sporting clubs, everyone who cares about the future of Bermuda — to participate in the upcoming community conversations that you will be hearing more about,” he said. “Additionally, for those who may not be able to attend a community conversation, an online survey is currently available on the Ministry of Education website at www.moed.bm to provide your input. We have over 200 responses to this survey already. This will be a strategic plan based on the input from the community.” Dr Newell, the CEO of Jeremiah Newell and Associates, has “significant experience in designing and leading strategic planning processes for public school systems”, Mr Simons said. “He specializes in transforming public education agencies into high performing, learning-focused organisations. For more than a decade, Dr Newell has worked in diverse, large and complex education systems to drive strategic change and improvement. Dr Newell and the Commissioner of Education, Freddie Evans, will work closely together to lead out on this strategic planning project during the upcoming months.” Two final stakeholder information sessions are scheduled for the first week in April that will include representatives from private schools and the business sector, and then the public community at large.

2017. March 9. Incoming education commissioner Freddie Evans has vowed to remain dedicated to the position, saying he looks forward to serving for at least the next ten years. Speaking to The Royal Gazette following his appointment on Monday, Dr Evans said that while he could not talk on specific plans at this stage, he pledged to support any students in the system who had experienced trauma and to champion sports and the arts. The position of education commissioner has remained vacant since the resignation of Edmond Heatley in 2014 just eight months into the job. Dr Evans, who is Bermudian, has been acting commissioner. With 33 years experience in the Bermuda education system under his belt, he says he is ready to take on the challenge. He said: “I am absolutely dedicated. I would answer this way — I have got 33 years here and I look forward to the next ten or 13 years. I am honored and humbled by the opportunity. My heart, soul and desire has always been to work for the betterment of the children of Bermuda’s public schools. We have wonderful students and teachers, and we need to make sure that we maximize opportunities for success. We also have students who have experienced trauma in their lives and for them I pledge to work every day to support them, to encourage them and to get the kind of counseling support that they need. My other head is in the sports world and I think that our students benefit so much from sporting opportunities, musical opportunities and those kind of things — you will see we need to promote and grow this.” The position of education commissioner had been offered to Dubai-based Paul Wagstaff but he turned the position down for personal reasons. Many, including former Minister of Education Wayne Scott, had wanted a Bermudian in the position and Dr Evans said his experience on the island will give him an advantage. “I have worked in every rank of the Bermuda public schools from teacher, team leader, deputy principal, principal, assistant director and now I have the awesome responsibility of sitting in the chair and having the opportunity to help direct and guide this. I do believe it is an opportunity to understand the dynamics of Bermuda public schools to have been in the school system, to know the hardship and successes and strengths of Bermuda public schools. I am humbled by that audacious responsibility but I do believe that I am ready for the challenge.” Asked to comment on the Score [School Reorganization] Report that highlighted the crumbling infrastructure across the public school system, Dr Evans reiterated that he would not speak on specific plans at such an early stage into his appointment but did emphasise the need for improvement. He said: “We do have some environmental issues in schools that we are going to work through. I promise we will do this extensively. The former minister [Wayne] Scott gave me the opportunity to try to work through the issues with schools so I am dedicated to fixing that. I want our schools to have first-class environments for learning and I want our students to have what they deserve and for teachers to have environments where they will be more successful.” A graduate of Jackson State University, Dr Evans received his doctorate in Education Administration and Development from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Roles he has filled include assistant principal at Clark High School for the Plano Independent School District in Plano, Texas; principal of the Whitney Institute Middle School; assistant director of educational standards and accountability in the Department of Education; acting director of educational standards and accountability, as well as acting commissioner.

2016. October 31. External exam results for the Bermuda Public School System have highlighted “continuing challenges” in student achievement in mathematics. The Ministry of Education today released the results for the 2015/16 school year in the Cambridge International Examinations at the primary 6, middle 3, and senior school years in mathematics, science, and language arts. The Cambridge Examining Board considers that achieving a level of 2.0 reflects a “basic acceptable understanding” of the Cambridge curriculum. At the P6 level, the Bermuda national average score was 2.2 in maths compared with the Cambridge International Examinations average score of 3.9. At the M3 level, the Bermuda national average score was 2.2 in maths while the CIE average score was 4.4. The Department of Education set a national threshold standard of 3.0 for its students. Education minister Wayne Scott said: “This year all students were challenged to write the Cambridge extended math level exams. The mathematics results clearly revealed deficits in key conceptual areas. Nonetheless the results of the extended math level has helped to identify P6 and M3 students who should continue to sit the extended math exam, or sit the core math exam or follow a different success path altogether in mathematics. The Department of Education will always work towards doing better to prepare our students for these external international examinations. The knowledge gaps in mathematics are recognized and technical officers are now seeking alternative pathways of success in this core subject which continues be a struggle for our students as reflected historically in the Checkpoint exam results.” Some 89 per cent of students were reported to have achieved a grade of A* to G. At the Primary 6 (P6) level, 83 per cent of students scored 2.0 and above in language arts; 54 per cent scored at level 2.0 and above in mathematics, and 86 per cent scored 2.0 and above in science. At the Middle School (M3) level — 66 per cent of students scored at level 2.0 and above in language arts; 49 per cent scored at level 2.0 and above in mathematics, and 83 per cent scored at the 2.0 and above in science. Overall, the exams covered, English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign languages, business & technology, arts and physical education. One third of students — 33 per cent — scored grades of A* to C. Senior students performed well in selected academic (non-core) subjects. All 37 students who sat examinations in art and design, dance, drama and music successfully achieved their IGCSE; 97 per cent of the 65 students who took the IGCSE exams in accounts, business studies and information and communication technology passed; and all students passed their exams in geography, history and citizenship studies. Mr Scott said that the Checkpoint results were “both encouraging and enlightening. I commend our P6 and M3 teachers and students who worked hard during the year to achieve these results. However, it is important to keep in mind that Bermuda is the only public school system that participates in the undertaking of the global Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Thus, when compared with the average CIE scores, our public school students at both the P6 and M3 levels continued to score competitively on average, in both language arts and science. However, there are still some challenges in student performance as it relates to mathematics”. The ministry mentioned the possibility of introducing a new success pathway in that students can acquire an international mathematics certification through a multi-level City & Guilds offering which serves as an intervention tool for students while pursuing an IGCSE in mathematics.

2016. August 24. Wayne Scott, the Minister of Education, has hinted that Gilbert Institute would be spared closure as his ministry invests in a new playground at the school. Gilbert, the island’s only primary level school for the deaf and hard of hearing, was one of four schools earmarked for possible closure under the Bermuda Government’s school reorganization (Score) plan. However, the old playground has been torn down and work has begun on the installation of a new one, raising hopes of a long-term future for the school. Answering questions from this newspaper about whether the move indicated Gilbert was in the clear, Mr Scott said: “I am very aware that Gilbert has the only deaf and hard-of-hearing primary programme and that is something that needs to continue. “The fact that we are investing in a playground at Gilbert should give some indication — people can draw their own conclusions into that. However, I am a technical person and you can never say never. There are a lot more things that need to be considered if we were ever to go down the road of school consolidation.” PTA secretary at the Gilbert Institute Suzanne DeCouto said she was heartened by the fact that the Government appeared to be reconsidering the viability of closing the school. “When I first saw that they were tearing down the playground I thought, oh no. I remember vaguely when they gave us a sheet to tell us what maintenance they were doing in the schools over the summer, one of the lines was a new playground but it was saying ‘pending’. Now they have announced a new playground. It has been something that we have needed for so long because it has been falling apart. so it is very exciting that we are getting it. It is a lot of money for that playground so I wouldn’t think they would want to put in a brand new one and then close the school down. It seems like a big investment. It is a positive outlook for us that is for sure. Gilbert is an important school in the community and as the only primary school for the deaf and hard of hearing. It is important to the neighborhood, and goes back for so many years — there are so many people who have been there and know what good it has done for them.” Asked whether he could provide any update with regards to the closure of the other schools — Heron Bay Primary School, Prospect Primary School and St David’s Primary School — or consolidation of numerous others, Mr Scott said: “Right now our focus is on getting the maintenance sorted out. We are looking at strategic planning and alignment so that we are in a position to provide a better service to our children. I believe we can do a better job for our children.” Maintenance work is also being carried out at Harrington Sound Primary and Victor Scott Primary, two of the lowest-rated schools in terms of health and safety, according to the Score report, which was published last February. The document, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, highlighted a health and safety crisis across primary schools, with problems including rat and termite infestations, faulty bathroom facilities and unstable play structures.

2016. August 4. Major maintenance works are under way to deal with neglected preschool and primary school infrastructure in preparation for the start of the academic year next month. Wayne Scott, the Minister of Education, and Craig Cannonier, the Minister of Public Works, yesterday invited The Royal Gazette to observe work being carried out at Harrington Sound Primary and Victor Scott Primary, two of the lowest-rated schools in terms of health and safety according to the damning School Re-organization (Score) Report published last February. The document, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, highlighted a health and safety crisis across Bermuda’s primary schools, with problems including rat and termite infestations, faulty bathroom facilities and unstable play structures. Work is being carried out at most primary schools, including large-scale internal and external paint jobs. Shovels were in the ground yesterday at Harrington Sound Primary, where a new playground was being created. At Victor Scott Primary, the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms were being gutted and given new fittings. Comments about Harrington Sound in the Score report included: “Play structures in terrible condition. Swings are broken. Triangle is an accident waiting to happen. Some windows are very low; lots of rodents get into the building.” Mr Scott told The Royal Gazette: “It is important that the public know that we have identified the issues and are addressing them. These are not things that happen in a six-month period. This playground is falling to pieces, it is a very old structure and these things need to be done. Myself and Minister Cannonier have been working to ensure we have a collaborative effort between our teams so that we can actually see things done that support our children and our communities. The Score report was a very positive thing — there is always a lot of talk and innuendo about what is going on in the schools so it was important to have a good starting point and to put something out there that the public can see. We enhanced that with a full maintenance list which is online on the ministry website — it sets out what we are working on, what we are going to do, and if something new arises it can be added to the list.” At Victor Scott Primary, The Royal Gazette was shown a clean, bright yellow, external paint job. Inside, work on the boy’s toilets included the replacement of all urinals. Mr Cannonier said: “Our schools are old, there’s no question about it, and they require quite a bit of maintenance, so this is all part of us ensuring the schools are ready, that our students can come into schools that are functional and the facilities are working. When it comes to painting we are following a rotation but as far as the bathrooms are concerned, that is being done on a most needed basis. We recognized those schools that were very much in need of their bathrooms being revamped, including Elliott, Victor Scott and Northlands. Work has been going on for some time now. You will see a whole lot of work going on.” Schools listed by Score as being in need of “immediate attention” were Victor Scott Primary, Harrington Sound Primary, Northlands Primary, Paget Primary, Prospect Primary, West Pembroke Primary, Elliot Primary, and St David’s Primary. Most of the completed jobs include work on CCTV cameras, repairs to windows and doors and the servicing of water fountains. Work that has been prioritized going forward includes an electrical upgrade and leaky roofs at East End Primary, the new playground and fire alarm system problems at Harrington Sound, rodents and mould issues and the need for a new playground at West Pembroke Primary, and termite and rodent issues at Paget Primary School. Elliot Primary was one of the schools with the most priority listings, including fumigation of the school, paint work, leaky windows, restroom upgrades, replacement of upper school rafters and repairs to the “questionable” gym floor. Victor Scott needed termite eradication, restroom renovations, paint work, assembly hall leaks and ceiling tile replacement. The full schedule of work that has been completed, work under way and priority jobs have been listed on the Ministry of Education’s website, www.moed.bm.

2016. School Reorganization (Score) report in effect. The Ministry of Education  announced on January 13 2016 that the School Reorganization Advisory Committee had delivered its final report to Wayne Scott, the Minister of Education, who will decide which schools to close or consolidate following further consultation.

2016. February 19. The size of classrooms and a lack of funding for public primary schools are among the Bermuda Government’s most serious concerns, according to the school reorganization (Score) report. The report, commissioned by Wayne Scott, the Minister for Education, has set in motion a strategic financial review that will attempt to remedy some of the failings in the island’s primary schools. Also on the top of the priority list was the condition of school buildings and range of programmes. The financial viability of a school for reorganization, considered a priority, was not evaluated due to “lack of data”. All of the island’s 18 primary schools were scored in 14 study-factor criteria — school utilization (optimum school populations); classroom capacity (adequate space per child per classroom); financial resources (that are provided by the Ministry of Education); financial viability (the option for reorganization is viable); building condition; safety and accessibility; recreational space; range of programmes; student/teacher ratio; IT infrastructure (access to high-quality technology); special services (for children with special needs); transportation (reasonable access to transport to and from school); school as a community partner; and flexibility (flexible in how space can be used to accommodate changing needs). Each criteria was scored on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score. Any school scoring under 4 was described as “in need of review”. Some of the criteria were more heavily weighted as a priority. The role of a school as a community partner, the one category where all schools scored highly, was placed in the lowest priority group along with transportation. All 18 primary schools scored less than 4 for classroom capacity, safety and accessibility, range of programmes and IT infrastructure while 17 of the schools scored less than 4 for adequate financial resources. These are some of the findings: School Use. Highlights: St David’s Primary School, one of the schools earmarked for potential closure or consolidation, boasted optimum school utilization (5) along with Dalton E Tucker. Eight schools scored the minimum 1 point. Victor Scott Primary School was the most over-utilised at 130 per cent with Harrington Sound Primary School second at 124 per cent. On the other end of the scale Prospect Primary School — one of the schools slated for closure or consolidation — is at 46 per cent capacity and East End Primary School at 57 per cent. Considerations: “School with low utilization percentages were factored into the scenarios for school closure and school reorganization,” the report said. Classroom Capacity. Highlights: All 18 scored 1 for classroom capacity meaning every school has less than 60 per cent of classrooms that can accommodate the MOED capacity of 40 square foot per child. Some classroom sizes are too small to accommodate the children (18 students at P1-3 and 25 students at P4-6). Considerations: Adopt the 40 foot square guidelines to determine the number of students that can be accommodated in classrooms. Review 2015 enrolment numbers to ensure numbers do not exceed capacity. Financial Resources. Highlights: All but one school scored less than 4 meaning a full review is necessary. Some 12 of the schools scored 1 and a further 3 scored 2. St George’s Preparatory School scored the best at 4 while Heron Bay Primary School and Somerset Primary School scored 3. Qualitative data for all 18 schools indicate the need for resources to support instruction, programmes or building condition improvements. Gilbert Institute was singled out as a school most in need of financial resources. Considerations: Spread out resources evenly, establish protocols for addressing resource needs and ensure adequate resources are provided to eliminate the need for supplementation with personal finances. Financial Viability. Information unavailable due to “lack of data.” Building Condition.  Highlights: Some 15 of the 18 schools scored less than 4. “The qualitative data indicate that serious building conditions have to be addressed at many schools. Harmful building conditions include: leaking; mould; rodent infestations; termites; sewage infiltration; faulty plumbing systems; storm damage. Plumbing and electrical systems were not fully documented but were often referred to as “areas of challenge”. Considerations: Develop a plan for assessing conditions and improving them along with a monitoring system and a review of the relationship between the Ministry of Education, Works and Engineering and other ministries. Range of Programmes. Highlights: All 18 schools scored less than 4 because schools do not have an IT coordinator. Two schools did not have a reading teacher — East End and Paget Primary School. The lowest scorers in this category were Paget, Northlands and East End with scores of 2.6 and under while the top scorers were Prospect and Victor Scott (3.5). Considerations: As a matter of priority reading teachers would be provided for all schools. Establish an IT co-ordinator position for all schools and a job description based on 21st century standards. Develop a plan for implementing, monitoring and sustaining IT programmes. Establish 21st centaury standards for all programmes (art, learning support, sports, guidance/counseling, music, educational therapy and reading).

February 16. Exposed live electrical wires, rodents climbing into classrooms, discarded condoms, and play structures that are “an accident waiting to happen”. These are some of the damning health and safety failings across Bermuda’s public primary schools exposed through the recently released school re-organization (Score) report. The Bermuda Government-commissioned report released to the public earlier this month, was designed to set out plans for “improving the quality and consistency of programming across primary schools” with the additional goal of “achieving cost savings and efficiency”. Guided by 14 “study factor criteria” the report identified four primary schools for possible closure — Heron Bay Primary School, Prospect Primary School, Gilbert Institute and St David’s Primary School. These criteria included safety and accessibility, building condition, school utilization, classroom capacity and financial resources. The criteria for each school was scored on a scale of 1 to 5 with five being the best score. Any school scoring under 4 was identified as being “in need of review”. Each of the island’s 18 primary schools scored less than 4 when with regards to safety and accessibility with 8 scoring below 2. The lowest scoring schools (a score of 1) in terms of safety, listed as being in need of “immediate attention”, are: Northlands Primary School, Paget Primary School, Prospect, Victor Scott Primary School, West Pembroke, Elliot, Harrington Sound and St David’s Primary Schools. Testimonials from staff paint a bleak picture at the schools which the Ministry of Education says it aims to address. Harrington Sound reported: “Play structures in terrible condition. Swings are broken. Triangle is an accident waiting to happen. Some windows are very low; lots of rodents get into the building.” There were security concerns raised at Paget as “people without permission enter easily”. This is coupled with the fact that school keys have been copied and are “out in the public”. Victor Scott students must endure “termites and mould all over the school” while Elliot has problems with mould, termites and no water in the upper school bathrooms. Open electrical pipes and exposed live wires were found at Northlands whose building was described as “not conducive to primary age children”. Somerset Primary School achieved a slightly higher score of 2 despite reports of condoms and pornographic material found on the school grounds as well as concerns about children suffering asthma due to poor air quality. Among the considerations drawn up in the report were the need to improve school safety, improve and upgrade facilities and review and address, where identified, school accessibility and delineate how buildings will be maintained to meet 21st-century standards. With regards to the state of the school buildings, 15 of the 18 schools scored below 4. The report said in its considerations of building conditions: “A plan is to be developed for assessing building conditions and bringing school buildings up to 21st-century standards. Monitoring processes are to be implemented.” The report also promised to “review the relationship between the Department of Education, the Department of Works and Engineering and other Ministries to ensure accountability and effective protocols for timely building repairs and responsive management.” Seven schools scored the minimum one point in the safety and accessibility study factor criteria. Here are some of the highlights taken from staff testimonials within the Score report. Dalton E Tucker: A “major concern and challenge” cited was that cars and children come in through the same entry making it unsafe. Water drainage is an issue at the school. Elliot Primary School: “I’ve been working by myself for three months because the other custodian is out sick. Mould — when opening the school in the morning there is a strong smell of mould in the room across from the custodian office, end room, deputy office and current tech room. Art room has termites in the door and cabinets. No water in the upper school bathrooms — repairs needed to water pump. Walkway in the lower block needs to be closed off due to drainage problems when it rains. There are some issues with mould … my eyes were stinging. “ Harrington Sound: “Play structures in terrible condition. Swings are broken. Triangle is an accident waiting to happen. We don’t have a hard surface area. Some windows are very low; lots of rodents get into the building.” Northlands Primary: “There are some safety and health concerns with open electrical pipes and exposed live wires. The building is not ‘developmentally appropriate’ for primary aged students who moved to the school from Dellwood. This facility is not safe for little children. The hard surfaces are dangerous. The crossing lights need to be repaired, been out of service for over a year.” Paget Primary: “A major area of concern is the security of the school. People without permission enter easily. Classrooms have some structural issues and are leaking and mouldy. There is an issue of having keys copied in the past and are out in the public.” St David’s Primary: “Bathrooms definitely need upgrading. Leaking rooms. Victor Scott: “Termites and mould all over the school. Custodian has a rodent/vermin problem.”

2009. Bermuda began the full implementation of the Cambridge International Curriculum in all Bermuda's public schools. The Cambridge International Curriculum was chosen for a host of reasons, including the ease with which Bermudians can pursue higher education in the UK, where the curriculum's IGCSE qualifications are recognized. The Bermuda School Certificate from the old curriculum was not recognized at British universities. The new curriculum gives Bermudians better opportunities to be accepted for study in the UK, with the rights they have to live and work in Britain and to take advantage of the reduced fees for all Britons, including Bermudians, at UK universities.

Government and other preschools

See full list of names and locations at http://schools.moed.bm/Pages/Preschool.aspx.  

2017. August 25. A new preschool is due to open in Warwick and parents are encouraged to go along to see what the venture has to offer. Former teacher Charnita Smith invited parents to visit Abraham’s Little Seeds Preschool as she prepares to open her doors in September or October. The preschool can take 30 children aged between 3 and 5 and Ms Smith said she aimed to give the youngsters an early introduction to technology while “fostering the love of Jesus Christ”. Ms Smith said she had struggled to attract people to the newly renovated preschool and wanted to make clear that the premises are under new management. Ms Smith said: “This is an innovative facility equipped for the future of today’s children. The place has been renovated and designed especially as a preschool. “I have Samsung tablets and an access board similar to a smart board. That is one of the basic things that is missing from a lot of the other preschools and this is our children’s future – technology. I truly believe that Abraham’s Little Seeds Preschool is a good choice because we foster the love of Jesus Christ and focus on technology. The inside of the building has been designed especially for a preschool setting and for the children to come and explore and to learn in a hands-on environment.” But Ms Smith added: “It has been a real struggle to get people to come and see it — I’ve had open houses, I have been on the radio to let people know it is under new management.” Ms Smith completed an associate degree in early childhood education at Hasser College, Boston. She worked in the private sector for three years at Happy Talk Preschool after she returned from the US and taught three-year-olds. After six months at the school, she was made supervisor. Ms Smith moved to government four years later and worked as a Para educator at West Pembroke School where she worked with children with special needs for seven years. Ms Smith also set up the Back to Basics school camp and worked at the Genesis after school programme as a supervisor. Her sister Debra Smith, formerly of Homestead Nurseries, will also work at the preschool. Abraham’s Little Seeds Preschool is now accepting new registrations at its premises at 93 Spice Hill Road. Ms Smith said: “After seeing our young children today, many of them are out there fighting and killing each other. What’s missing is God’s love — they have a lot of hatred and anger. We have to go back to the basics of just instilling in our young children God’s love and goodness. I was instilled with great values about respecting everybody – I believe we need to get back to the basics with our young ones and reinforce positive behaviour without focusing on the negative. A lot of children are told they are a bad child, but we reinforce good behaviour and show them how they can do things in a different way and that can all be done through learning and play.”

The following are some of the government and private preschools: Adventureland Nursery and Preschool, Teeter Tots Nursery, Blossoming Tots Daycare, Aneesah’s Nursery and Preschool, Onionpatch Academy, Heavenly Blessings Nursery, First Church of God Daycare and Preschool, Aeries Adventure Nursery and Preschool, Little Learners Preschool, First Friends Nursery and Preschool, and Heritage Nursery and Preschool.

Children must be 4 years old between January 1 and December 31. They must be resident in the same zone as the Government preschool to which application is made. Prospect Pre-School will accept applications from persons living in either Devonshire Parish or Pembroke Parish. Southampton Preschool will accept applications from persons living in Sandys Parish providing the home address falls within the MA 06 postal zone. These are the only Sandys residents who will be considered at Southampton Preschool. Priority in enrolment is given to younger four year olds, namely, those children born on the latter part of the year. Parents of children not initially accepted should contact the teacher-in-charge of the preschool and request that their child's name be placed on the waiting list. As vacancies occur, teachers-in-charge will admit pupils according to the criteria cited above.

Government Primary Schools

See full list of names and locations at http://schools.moed.bm/Pages/Primary.aspx

Children must be 5 years old between January 1 and December 31. They must be resident in the same zone as the primary school to which application is made. Priority in enrolment is given to in-zone siblings of pupils in Primary 1 to 5 already attending the school to which application is made. 

St David's Primary School

St David's Primary School

Government Middle Schools

See full list of names and locations at http://schools.moed.bm/Pages/Middle.aspx

Government Senior (High) Schools

See full list of names and locations at http://schools.moed.bm/Pages/High.aspx

Cedarbridge Academy

Adult Education School

 A private institution which receives a government grant through the Bermuda College. It provides a means by which those who have not gained secondary school certification may do so through the General Education Development (GED) program developed in the United States. The Government operates an extensive financial aid scheme to assist students seeking higher education in institutions outside Bermuda. A satisfactory academic performance and demonstration of financial need are two of the principal criteria for the receipt of such aid. In addition, there are Bermuda Government Scholarships based on academic merit and commitment to the teaching profession.

Berkeley Institute

2017. September 7. Bermuda’s first non-segregated school is celebrating 120 years of education . The Berkeley Institute, the idea of 11 “founding fathers”, opened its doors on September 6, 1897 — and it has stuck to its original plan to provide a first-class education to any pupil prepared to try their best. New principal Keisha Douglas, the school’s eighth head teacher and herself a former pupil, said: “The founding fathers would be excited to know that we truly remain a senior school for all and it is our vision to be first choice for everybody. We continue along that path with our programming and with our staffing — enticing persons over and realizing that we continue, after 120 years, to produce role-model citizens who go to the highest heights in Bermuda and worldwide.” Top businessmen and a string of Bermuda premiers, including Paula Cox, Ewart Brown, Alex Scott, Dame Jennifer Smith and Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks, have all worn Berkeley’s distinctive green and gold. Ms Douglas said: “Not everyone will be a premier, a doctor or a lawyer, but we are still ensuring success for all by finding their strengths. It is amazing how we evolved to give everyone access. From a principal’s perspective, our goal is to keep that legacy and pride at the fore. Our history and legacy will never change. That is the only thing that can ever stay constant and current. We will be around for a long time — we are going nowhere. Our goal is that everyone will have a pathway to success and live out the dream of our founding fathers. We are providing a first-class education for all.” The school first opened at Samaritan’s Lodge on Court Street, Hamilton, then land on St John’s Road, Pembroke, in 1899 was bought for a new and larger school, which opened in 1902. The latest incarnation, in nearby Berkeley Road, opened in 2006. The school was named after Bishop George Berkeley — an Anglican priest from Dysart, Ireland, who wanted to establish a school in the colonies. But his original project collapsed after funding failed to materialize. Around 100 years later, the Reverend William Dowding revived Berkeley’s dream of establishing an interracial school but financial support for Rev Dowding’s short-lived interracial St Paul’s College also evaporated. The Berkeley Educational Society was formed and met on October 6, 1879 at the home of businessman and landowner Samuel David Robinson. Members campaigned to raise funds for the school and they became known as Berkeley Institute’s founding fathers. And they achieved their dream of a new school for all, despite 18 years of struggle — not least with a reluctant white establishment in still-segregated Bermuda. The school’s motto Respice Finem — Keep the end in view — still stands as a tribute to their determination. Chairman of the board of governors Craig Bridgewater, who is a managing director at professional services firm KPMG, said new pupils were made aware of the struggle to found the school. He said: “For the students coming in, we have the Berkeley Project where they have to write about what it is like to be Berkeleyite. The students have to research the history of Berkeley — the founding fathers, who they were and so on and whoever writes the best essay gets to present that at a prize giving. From day one — the whole Berkeley spirit, the green and the gold school colours and the history of Berkeley — is instilled. Even wearing your uniform properly is important. We incorporate that from day one — from orientation — and keep that going.” And Ms Douglas added that former pupils also acted as an unofficial school police to ensure present pupils lived up to the school’s high standards. She said: “It’s true — Berkeleyites will call up the principal and tell us about someone’s tie not being on properly — they take it very seriously. It is part of that pride. That is what we are about — building up a nation. We don’t apologise for our greatness — we never have. When I attended Berkeley from 1985 to 1990, we were told every day that we were the best. We believed it and we carried ourselves accordingly. No one could tell us anything different.” Ms Douglas, ex-principal of Clearwater Middle School, said former Berkeley Institute principal, maths teacher and anti-segregation campaigner Dr Clifford Maxwell set her on her career path. She added: “My dream was to be a nursery teacher. But Dr Maxwell said I had to teach mathematics because I was able to galvanize all my friends and help them to understand the subject. I attribute everything I have become to him.” And quality of teaching remains a major part of the school’s ethos. Ms Douglas said: “It makes a big difference — we have to have top teachers in order to continue with top programmes. We have to ensure pathway for success for all students of all abilities now that we are comprehensive. We have teachers who know all about the guidelines to get students top scholarships.” Another key ingredient is a programming schedule that helps to connect Bermuda to the rest of the world. Mr Bridgewater said: “We have to meet guidelines around the curriculum but we reserve the right to go over and above that. There was always a focus on internationally recognizable qualifications — we did our RSAs and GCEs and now there are the IGCSEs — because we are trying to create global citizenship. Over the last few years under former principal Dr Phyllis Curtis-Tweed we focused on bedding down our international qualifications so there was a big focus on advanced placement for college and dual enrolment with the Bermuda College.” Ms Douglas added: “I can go to any continent and mention Berkeley Institute and they know what it means. I believe that we are, and will continue to be, first choice. It takes strong leadership and programming married with our staff and our ability to have a board that governors and that can make changes.”

Berkeleyite premiers

Head Teacher Douglas mentioned earlier describes herself as a “lifelong Berkeleyite” having studied at the school, taught there for 20 years and who now takes the helm as its principal. She began her career at the school as a mathematics teacher and rose through the ranks taking positions as head of a year group, head of math, deputy principal and acting principal. She “left the building” for two years to become principal at Clearwater Middle School before applying for the top job at Berkeley. Ms Douglas holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Mathematical Sciences, and a Master of Arts degree in Instruction and Curriculum. Asked what her reaction was when she learned she had been chosen to become principal at Berkeley, Ms Douglas told us: “It was a journey of all journeys to bring me back to this ultimate goal and dream.”

Bermuda College, a Government Community College

See basic details at http://schools.moed.bm/Pages/College.aspx

Off South Road, Paget. There is also a Bermuda College Faculty Association. Despite the name, it is NOT a university as it does not award any academic degrees. A non-residential junior college by USA standards and non-residential community college by UK standards. Incorporated by the Bermuda College Act 1974, offers opportunities for higher education in liberal arts, business studies, hotel administration and technology. For over 18's, a technical institute, community college, hospitality training center and further education center mostly for adults who have not attended university. The College, the equivalent of a junior college in the USA, is a publicly funded day-time (non-residential) community college institution for the over -18s, providing a two-year university transfer programme which enables qualified students to enter the appropriate first year of a four-year institution in North America. It's two-year diploma has been accepted as the equivalent of "A" levels in the United Kingdom and enables students to enter the first year of selected universities there. The College operates a Faculty of Adult and Continuing Education which enables persons already in the workforce to upgrade their skills. It owns - but no longer operates (it leases) the Coco Reef Hotel (formerly Stonington Beach Hotel). It has a library, open to the public, on a membership fee basis. Bermuda Government owned and operated as a quango. Its Center for Adult and Continuing Education facility offers many courses for adult students, Bermudians and non Bermudians. They include Professional; Hospitality; Computer related, for Macintosh and PC users; Technology; Personal Development; Do It Yourself; Cooking; Recreational Art; and Horticulture. Accredited by the USA's New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  In 2013 the Bermuda College (BC) arranged via Georgia State University (GSU) to provide on-island baccalaureate degrees to Bermuda residents in the areas of Finance and/or Risk Management and Insurance. The program allows BC students who have earned at least 60 credit hours and who have been accepted into the Robinson College of Business at GSU to take online evening classes at GSU via simulcast to earn the Bachelor of Business Administration degree with specialization in either Finance or Risk Management and Insurance.

Bermuda College 2Bermuda College

 Bermuda College map

Board of Education

See Bermuda Government Boards

Cambridge International Examinations

2016. April 20. Two primary schools in the East End have recorded the island’s best average grades throughout the past four years, according to results from the Cambridge International Examinations.

Cambridge Primary Checkpoint results

 Checkpoint is an innovative diagnostic test used as a valuable tool by schools as it provides feedback on student’s strengths and weaknesses in key subject areas.. More importantly, parents have a transferable academic record of their child’s progress as they transition through the system from primary to senior school level.”Checkpoints do not include passes or fails. Instead, each subject is assigned a score range of zero to six and the higher the score, the greater the level of readiness as the student transitions to the senior level to sit their IGCSE exam.

2016. April 12. Bermuda’s public primary schools fell below international averages in the results of the most recent Cambridge Primary Checkpoint results. The figures, which date back to May of 2015, show Bermuda lagging behind in English, math and science compared to other schools with the Cambridge curriculum. Bermudian schools scored an average of 3.3 out of 6 for both English and science, along with 2.4 in mathematics. Cambridge averages for the respective subjects were 3.7, 4.2 and 3.8 Scores between 2 and 3 are deemed “OK”, while scores between 3 and 4 are classified as “good”. The scores mark a year-on-year decrease in all three subjects, however the international average Cambridge score fell slightly this year in both English and science. Results for 18 individual primary schools were placed on the Ministry’s website yesterday. Just one school — St David’s Primary — managed to exceed the international Cambridge averages in all three subjects. While the school topped the others listed in both English and science, Dalton E Tucker claimed the highest score for mathematics. On the other side of the spectrum Victor Scott Primary scored the lowest in both science and math, while West End Primary received the lowest scores in English. Math scores were the most problematic, with a third of the listed schools scoring below 2 out of 6 in the subject — performance labeled as “poor”. A statement from the Department of Education said: “The Cambridge Primary Checkpoint results are diagnostic in that they give schools an international benchmark of student performance which identifies specific learning needs in the core subjects.” The Cambridge Primary Checkpoint results are designed for education systems to use in the final year of primary school education. Freddie Evans, the acting commissioner of education, said the checkpoint results were shared with primary school leaders to help facilitate discussions and evaluate performance. “Students and their parents receive a comprehensive feedback form per subject on how well students performed individually and in comparison to the rest of their class peers, and all students in the system at the primary school level,” Dr Evans said. "It is important to understand that the results of Cambridge Primary Checkpoint tests are purely diagnostic in nature and not appropriate to use in silo as a ranking tool for assessing school success or school achievement. In this regard, all primary public schools should be looked at in their entirety by taking other associated factors into consideration as many P6 classes vary in both size and composition as it relates to student complexities at the different primary schools.” He added that the results were intended to help highlight areas of success and where improvements need to be made so that schools can review their strategies for the next class of students.

Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy

Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy

The Government's Special-Needs School. See details at http://schools.moed.bm/Pages/Special.aspx. 10 Old Military Road, Devonshire DV 03, Bermuda. Phone: 292-7978, Fax: 296-1106, email: bmcglynn@moed.bm.  It caters to those with physical and cognitive challenges. There is a Friends of Hope Academy group and the school’s parent-teacher association.

Educational organizations include

Purvis Primary

Purvis Primary

Dress Code in schools

All the primary and secondary schools, Government run and private, require students in proper school uniforms and students can be sent home if it is not obeyed.

Further Adult Education in Bermuda

A Community Education and Development Program, with three terms a year, is sponsored by the Bermuda Government's Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Education. The sites are the Government run Computer Center, Northlands School, Warwick Secondary School, Sandys Secondary School and St. George's Secondary School. Classes meet for two hours and run for 10 weeks. Courses are grouped under the following main headings: Academic Support; Arts and Crafts; Basic Education; Boating; Certificate Courses; Commercial Courses; Computer Education; Consumer Education; Do It Yourself; Family and Personal Development; Food and Home; Health and Beauty; Languages; Music, Dance and Theater; Recreation and Fitness; and Technical Trades.

Private (independent) schools listed below

Bermuda Independent Schools Association (BISA): Since September 2014. Private school heads have banded together to form BISA to enable better collaboration and representation. Heads of the six different private schools agreed to form it BISA as a forum for the heads to share issues of professional interest and to consider developments in education in Bermuda. The association seeks to become a recognizable entity through which the views of the independent schools in Bermuda can be represented to the community, the Government and to other agencies.

Not state or government - for children of all ages and two private schools which offer early primary education. These institutions receive no government funding. The Government has the authority to determine the examinations to be taken in such schools, as a means of ensuring appropriate academic standards there.

Some are both preparatory (primary) and secondary. Business newcomers being located to Bermuda on work permits from the UK or Europe, or the USA and Canada, and who bring a child or children with them, should note that Bermuda is not an European Union country and does not follow any of the EU's laws or requirements, or those from the United Kingdom or USA or Canada. For example, there are no Dutch or French or English or American or Canadian schools. Local private or independent schools have a fundamentally different educational philosophy and a much higher standard overall than local public schools. They train their students to sit for and pass American, British, Canadian and European university qualifying programs which are internationally recognized. Several also offer an additional year, a Grade 13 equivalent, for academically gifted students to enter university with the equivalent of a sophomore year achieved. These schools charge tuition costing thousands of dollars a year per student. Nevertheless, all are running at full capacity and several have substantial waiting lists.

Applications for teaching positions in Bermuda Private Schools should be directed by airmail solely to the specific school concerned in Bermuda.

Academy at Woodlands

Primary, since 1990, ages 5-12. Phone (441) 292-8326 or fax 296-1522.

Bermuda High School for Girls (BHS)

Bermuda High School for Girls

A private school, founded in the 1890s. 19 Richmond Road, Pembroke Parish HM 08, Bermuda. Telephone: (441) 295-6153. Fax: (441) 295-2754. Voice Mail: (441) 291-0049. Educates girls to high international standards. Modeled on the United Kingdom's Cheltenham Ladies College. Included in its syllabus is the International Baccalaureate (IB) as preparation for university. It is the IB Centre for Bermuda. Also, it is British oriented in curriculum and examinations taken by graduates, but with flexibility added to ensure their smooth transition to North American universities. Annual fees - on application. Number of students. 690+. Class size average. 20. Examinations taken by graduates. GCSE's and SATs. Alumni Association of the Bermuda High School for Girls. Bermuda High School for Girls Charitable Trust, registered charity 358. Bermuda High School for Girls Parent Teachers Association, registered charity 056.

2014. November 8. The Bermuda High School for Girls (BHS) is now the Island's only school to be accredited by the Council of International Schools. It comes after an evaluation of the school's ethos, faculty and governance by the Council, a global non-profit with more than 400 schools included around the world. 

Bermuda Institute

A private school, founded 1943. Middle Road, Southampton Parish. Telephone: (441) 238-1566/7. Principal: Sheila Holder. Seventh Day Adventist Church religiously slanted. North American in curriculum and examinations taken by graduates. 

Mount Saint Agnes Academy

A private school, established in 1890. 19 Dundonald Street, Hamilton HM 09. Or P. O. Box HM 1004, Hamilton HM DX. Telephone: (441) 292-4134 or 292-1291. Fax: (441) 295-7265. The religious affiliation is Roman Catholic but non Catholics are also accepted. The first continuous private school in Bermuda, solely  North American oriented in curriculum and examinations taken by graduates. It had its first sports field in 2005, thanks to funding  from the Bank of Bermuda.

Saltus Grammar School

Saltus Grammar School

Saltus Grammar School

St. John's Road, Pembroke Parish. Telephone: (441) 292-6177. Fax: (441) 295-4977. P. O. Box HM 2224, Hamilton HM JX. A Private, independent day school (with it's own primary school, Cavendish Hall Preparatory in a separate building in Devonshire) secular and co-educational, both British and North American oriented in curriculum and examinations taken by graduates. A member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) in North America and CESI (Canadian Educational Standards Institute). Founded in 1888 as a boys' grammar school, it became fully co-educational in 1991. 75% of the students are Bermudian; 25% are from the international community (with international finance, insurance, trust management and tourism forming the principal part of the Bermudian economy.

2017. September 11. Saltus Grammar School is planning for its years ahead under the guidance of Deryn Lavell, the new head of school. Ms Lavell, who comes with 38 years’ education experience in Canada and the United Arab Emirates, has immersed herself in the community after her recent arrival on the island. Calling herself “a learner at heart”, Ms Lavell said she was eager to explore and discover, adding: “So far, I can’t get over how warm and welcoming everyone has been.” Ms Lavell is said to have an ambitious agenda for her first term, including the implementation of a strategic planning process to guide the school’s priorities for the coming years — as requested by the Saltus board of governors. In assessing the school’s needs, she said she planned to do “more listening than talking. I want to know what’s important to the Saltus community and get a sense of what they believe should be our priorities,” she added. “That includes students as well as faculty, staff and parents. I want to hear from all perspectives.” Ms Lavell cited the school’s examination results and university acceptances as evidence of Saltus’ “position of strength”. Priorities will include increased demand in the area of science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as problem-solving capabilities.

Somersfield Academy 

Formerly Montessori International Academy. 107 Middle Road, Devonshire DV 06. Telephone: (441) 236-9797 or 236-9789. Fax: (441) 236-9789. A private school, founded 1991, by the Montessori Education Trust. Currently with more than 330 students from 3 years old. Early childhood; lower elementary; upper elementary; middle school (the International Baccalaureate Organization). Secular. The philosophy is based on the teaching methods of Dr. Maria Montessori. With a 5-year Middle School Program, based on the International Baccalaureate Organization Middle Years Program. In June 2006 it become the first outside Canada to receive official accreditation by the Canadian Educational Standards Institute (CESI). The accreditation is the result of a three-year evaluation process that involved extensive site visits and assessments by CESI council members. The waiting list is strong.

Montessori Preparatory School:

38 Lightbourne Lane, Smith's Parish, FL 02. (441) 236-9797 or 236-0332. Fax: (441) 232-3119.

Warwick Academy

Warwick Academy

A Private School. 117 Middle Road, Warwick Parish, PG 01. Telephone: (441) 236-1251 or 236-1251 or 239-1917 (Office). Fax (441) 236-9995. Annual fees on application. There is a large waiting list at every level. It is a secular and co-educational day school. It was the first offshore school in the British Commonwealth, established in 1662 and operated continuously ever since. It was a private primary and secondary school until 1960 when it became a Bermuda Government aided secondary school. It reverted to private school status in 1990. 

Warwick Academy. Our first 350 years. Book. 2013. Co-written by long time educator Andrew Dobson and school parent Catherine Kennedy. Commemorative history book. Intended to paint a picture of where the school has been and where it’s headed in the future. Researching Warwick Academy’s past was difficult. Pre-1930s school records had been lost at sea in 1929, after the data had been sent on a boat to be bound in New York, but sank upon its return to Bermuda. Appeals were made to former students and teachers to get their contributions and many responded.

Warwick Academy Association registered charity 157

Overseas schools (not universities) attended by locals

Special Needs Education in Public Schools

2016. March 8. Special needs education has been prioritized for the coming fiscal year, according to Wayne Scott. The Minister of Education said the department had experienced an increase in requests and demands for Para educators to meet the diverse needs of children in Bermuda’s education system, particularly those on the autism spectrum, students who are deaf or hard of hearing and those in need of specialized vision programmes. Mr Scott said the department aimed to create supportive classroom environments to meet student needs. The department has also highlighted the importance of evaluation and early intervention for children with autism, allocating more than $4 million for learning support. The department funds three education officers for special education and learning support in addition to 40 learning support teachers for preschool, primary and middle school. “The increase in funding is a direct result of assessment materials needed to ensure appropriate diagnosis of students with special needs and the purchase of unique learning system, a special education curriculum, used for autism functional skills and special school programme,” said Mr Scott. An additional $3 million has been allocated for para educators. “Last year the department of education committed to increase the monitoring and supervision of para professionals with more scrutiny applied to the development and review of criteria and paraprofessional placements.” In October, professionals participated in training that “focuses creating environments that support student success by acknowledging that students have unmet needs and latent skills, which can be addressed by staff response and action”. Currently 29 students are supported in the ASD programme at five public primary and middle schools. Opposition member Lovita Foggo said she hoped that somewhere embedded in that figure was an allocation for a permanent commissioner within the department. In light of the hiring freeze it has been filled in the interim and she emphasized that the acting party should remain. She said it sent a message to the public when we fill posts with Bermudians — “We do have the intellect and the skilled Bermudians on-island who are capable of sitting in that position,” she said. Ms Foggo partially commended the new initiative before, while noting the number of Bermudian students who suffer from some degree of autism. “Again we have a five per cent deduction in the budget allocation where there’s actually a need to ensure more is put in place to help these students have success in education. Aspects of the budget were unrealistic to achieve the government’s goals in education, saying areas such as school improvement and scholarships should have been boosted. We need to do everything we need to do to ensure that public education is seen and accepted in the public domain as being the first choice, always.” PLP MP Diallo Rabain, meanwhile, referred to the recent Score report’s findings on the condition of the island’s public schools, saying that the issue was not a new one. He noted that in the 2013 Throne Speech, the OBA identified the issue and stated that a facilities plan would come. In 2013, we knew we had to put money in our schools and upgrade our facilities,” he said. “In 2014, the minister spoke about an RFP. Now, in 2016, we have the Score report talking about the same thing.” Mr Rabain said there was a public perception that private schools were better than public schools, and that more needed to be done to address the issue. He suggested that a certain percentage of the Bermuda scholarships be earmarked for public school students.

Universities overseas

college degree hat

Bermuda has NO colleges equivalent to universities. (The Bermuda College, day-school only, no boarders, is the equivalent of a day-school US junior college). A significant number of local preparatory (primary) pupils, or graduates of secondary, high and private schools, and non Bermudian dependents of Bermuda based international industry personnel, attend schools or universities abroad. Most go to the USA and Canada. American universities require Bermudians to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Those who go to the United Kingdom do so primarily - but not exclusively - for law studies.

Attending university in the US, which can cost students $40,000 a year, remains the most expensive option for Bermudians. But they get the highest-rated universities (see below). 

Since 2011, many Bermudian and Bermuda-based students or their parents have found Canadian universities to be overall best-value-for-money. Until 2011, the UK offered it this but no more. Since then, university fees have risen significantly in the UK, now exceed £9,000 sterling annually for tuition alone . Bermudian and Bermuda-based youngsters pay the same rate at UK universities as UK nationals but most UK universities have hiked their annual fees to at least the same cost as if not higher than Nova Scotia’s Acadia University, or Dalhousie University.  

Universities abroad attended by students from Bermuda are numerous.

Highest-rated universities in the world are: 

The most popular Canadian university destinations include Ryerson University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, Western University and Dalhousie University.

Under the Bermuda Government's National Education Guarantee Scheme, since 1994, no Bermudian student with university potential is denied the opportunity for further education due to lack of funds. Only students who are Bermudian by birth (namely, born in Bermuda with at least one parent being Bermudian, or born overseas with at least one parent Bermudian at the time) or by grant of Bermuda Status can apply for funding under this scheme.

Bermudians and/or Bermuda-based students studying at colleges and universities in England (not Scotland)  may be advantaged in university fees. Students from British Overseas Territories including Bermuda who study in England are now charged home rate fees for further education and undergraduate or graduate degree courses. Some Bermudians, who further qualify because of grandparents or other close relatives living in the UK and who claim them as a member of their family, and/or who went to state or other funded boarding grammar or other British schools may pay low fees. Compared to the cost of being university-educated in Canada and the USA, it may be much less expensive in the UK, even when university fees were hiked there in 2011 to about £9,000 a year tops for the average UK student in England. However, parents of Bermudian or Bermuda-based children contemplation going to an English university (they generally do not any longer qualify to go for free to a Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish one) should also bear in mind - for those who have to pay them - the cost of airline fares to and from Bermuda, which are significantly higher than airline fares from the USA or Canada. Also bear in mind that if overall quality of higher education, not cost, is most important, the top five American universities are the world's best and most prestigious. Bermudian university aspirants who can claim UK citizenship have a further realistic option, the opportunity of going to a good European university, say in France of Germany or Holland, for virtually no cost for student tuition (except they still have to pay for room and board and airfares home). 

Scholarships to universities

Leading Bermudian banks and law firms and many Bermuda based international companies offer very good scholarships.  

Teacher Training Awards

Each year, Bermuda's Ministry of Education makes available Teacher Training Awards for Bermudians preparing for careers in education. Successful candidates must demonstrate both commendable scholarship and suitability for a teaching career.

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Last Updated: October 18, 2017.
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