Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sixth Form reaping success at Springer Memorial


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It’s been one year since the introduction of a sixth form at the Springer Memorial Secondary School, and already the institution at Government Hill, St Michael is reaping success.

Principal, Pauline Benjamin, pleased with the performance of her sixth formers in Unit One of CAPE, spoke eagerly about the achievements of her charges.

“We had a pass rate of 92 per cent which is commendable for us, having just started. I consider it a team effort; the teachers worked hard and I am pleased with the effort which the girls made. We had one student obtaining Grade 1s in Communication Studies and Environmental Science and Grade 2 in Art & Design,” she said, noting that some sixth forms in their initial year had achieved between 77 and 82 per cent pass rate.

The school started with about 33 sixth formers and dropped to 31 – two went on to the Barbados Community College. This figure comprised students from Deighton Griffith, Alexandra, Grantley Adams, Alleyne and Lester Vaughan, but the majority were from Springer, itself.

“We began the 2013- 2014 year with two classes – Lower Six 1 and Lower Six 2. The fact that the core came from Springer, those who came through from first form, is obviously saying something about our school. It means that our girls would have done well at CSEC level to get into a sixth form. And, they did,” Mrs Benjamin stressed, adding that this year “a sprinkling of applications” came from other schools, but regrettably some had to be “turned back”.

With the first cohort now in Upper Six, there are about 78 students undertaking the CAPE programme.  While much excitement has been created over the good results in Lower Six, there is equal happiness surrounding their “new look” this term. 

Sixth Form Year Head, Jason Griffith, lauding the team of designers who worked along with the Principal to arrive at the concept, said the girls were overjoyed to have the skirt and bodice ensemble.

“The students are very proud of the uniform…it is distinctive enough to separate them from the other students, but yet it really fits into the school system,” he pointed out.

Upon entering Lower Six, last year, students wore a school polo shirt and black slacks, but the new uniform, designed by Shirley Hoyte, Alicia Moore and Carmen Burke has students beaming with joy. “It is a replica of a design used many years ago by the school. The uniform comprises a white blouse; a silk tie and an ash-grey skirt, black shoes and white socks. The tie features the Crest which carries an emblem of 13 chain links, representing the 13 members of staff who taught at the school when it was first established in 1964,” said Mr Griffith.

The courses being offered at Springer are also attractive. Last year, students had the option of Information Technology; Food and Nutrition; Literatures of English; Management of Business; Accounts; Art & Design; Environmental Science; Sociology and there were two compulsory core subjects – Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies. This year, four new subjects – Entrepreneurship; Physical Education & Sports; Performing Arts and Agricultural Science – have been added giving students a greater choice.

Along with The Lodge School, Springer Memorial is the only other secondary institution where Food & Nutrition is taught at CAPE level. 

Additionally, it is the only school, along with Christ Church Foundation School, where Physical Education & Sports is offered.  In the latter case, teachers of the two schools will work collaboratively to fulfil that curriculum.

Mrs Benjamin, giving the rationale for the inclusion of Physical Education & Sports at Springer, pointed to their outstanding record in sports and the prowess of athletes and said: “From the time Physical Education was introduced at the CSEC level at our school, our students have always excelled. Each year we have recorded 100 per cent passes in this course and this year we had 13 Grade 1s and three Grade 2s. With this in mind, it was only natural that once CXC introduced it at CAPE, Springer would have included it at sixth form. We also have the qualified staff to do it.”

Considering the subjects diverse enough for any student to want to be part of Springer’s Sixth Form, the Principal lamented that Agricultural Science, which is seen as important today, was not as well received as Physical Education & Sports.

Though wishing that more students across the island would subscribe to this, the Principal, however, said there was a base at Springer School where several girls were keen on agriculture.

“Yes, we are trying to grow interest in this area. We are hoping to promote women in agriculture and it is good that our [Springer] girls are involved, but we hope that as it becomes more widely known, other females across the school system would look at this course as another option for CAPE,” said Mrs Benjamin.

Griffith sharing a similar sentiment said: “We want the girls to take on the challenges provided by CAPE and do very well, and to this end, we have organised some seminars for them.”

Stating that one of these was a recently-held time management seminar, he said, “We want our students to be able to manage their time effectively. In order to be successful at CAPE, time management is very important.”

As the school prepares to commemorate its 50th anniversary on October 1, the principal and her staff are quietly optimistic that by the end of year-long celebrations in 2015, there will be “even more to celebrate” in the world of academia. (BGIS)


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