BVI News

Majority agree to graduate advanced students, give slower ones extra school year

Dr Wheatley

The majority of stakeholders who attended a meeting in Road Town to discuss the additional school year seem to agree with the Education Minister’s proposal to allow advanced learners to graduate from secondary school after the 11th grade and removing CAPE at the high school level.

Others shared mixed views on the ‘additional year’ at public secondary schools.

These discussions were had on Thursday when a number of teachers, parents and education officials met with Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley and Chief Education Officer Connie George.

The minister’s proposal

In explaining his proposal at the start of Thursday’s meeting, Dr Wheatley said: “The proposal is for students who are advanced to be able to leave after 11th grade. So, instead of doing 20 credits for three years which is the case now, they’ll do 30 credits in two years and they’ll have to pass the exit proficiency exams in Mathematics and English and complete their Community Service Hours and they will be able to graduate early.”

The minister added: “So, we’ll have a two-year track and a three track and we are suggesting for the two-year track that you’ll have a GPA of 3.0 which I think is equivalent to a B average to qualify for the advanced track.”

“We are eliminating CAPE under secondary school level and we’ll move CAPE or A Levels to the H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC),” he further said.


A female teacher who said she agreed with the minister’s proposal said doing away with CAPE and moving it to HLSCC is ‘the best way forward’.

“If it remains in placed the way you are proposing is a positive one, it allows those students who are capable of moving forward leaving after two years,” she reasoned.

An Elmore Stoutt High School teacher said she also believes the proposal would improve the existing system while not entirely abandoning the extra year programme that she believes is still necessary for some students.

“What I like about the additional year as a teacher is when I was in school, the teachers recommended you to do CSEC and it was because some students didn’t have enough time to possibly get all the content and master it enough to be able to do the CSEC and do well at it. With the additional year, you are seeing that even our three-year students are passing subjects which they would not have done in two years,” the educator said.

Meanwhile, a longstanding HLSCC female teacher chimed in stating that she has witnessed students who needed and have benefited from the extra year, while she has also recognised students who never need it

Remove extra school year in a phased way

Meanwhile, a male science teacher at the Bregado Flax Educational Centre said while he is in favour for the removal of the additional year, it should be done so in a phased out process.

“If we begin immediately it means that our 10th grades and our 11th grades will be short changed because they would have been working in a limited time scope for the last 1-2 years. Now the 9th grade going into 10, we can look at having them graduate in grade 11” he argued.

He, however, believes that the slower students should not be forgotten, stating: “We still need to make a provision for an extra year for the students who are slower. So what I would say push for two years. Those who can write it in two years let them write it. But, make provisions for those who are a little bit slower that they get a third year.”

More time needed for decision

Education Minister Wheatley said considering what was said during the two meetings had on Tortola and Virgin Gorda, the one-week time period he had initially set out to make his decision by will now be extended.

“I’ll take a little bit more time … We’ll supplement the information we’ve gathered in these meetings with some statistical data from H Lavity Stoutt Community College where many of the 12th Grade students would have studied and we’ll be able to assess their performance at the secondary level, versus students who didn’t go through on the 12th additional year like schools like St Georges and Seventh-day Adventist and compare,” the minister said.

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  1. Wow says:

    So loving this approach and these discussions. It also helps that this man is an educator himself. Good going.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    You should have a 10 year program for high school. First it will keep the darlings out of trouble and second perhaps they will be able to read, write and even do simple math without a calculator or use of their fingers and toes.

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  3. Watching says:

    I smell confusion. That’s all I’m saying. Most of the students will not get the extra time they need because they will call their nearest politician to put pressure on the school to graduate them. Watch it you see. We are going down hill fast. People stop playing politics with the future of the country.

    Like 11
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  4. What? says:

    What f**kry is this about ‘slower’ ones? None of the kids are slow, they all learn and advance differently! Look back at your graduating class, remember all who were Val, Sal and Honor Roll. Fast forward 10/20 years, are those people all better off in life than those who were ‘slow’ or just got average grades? We need to stop this f**king nonsense! The additional year is JUST FINE! For kids that are academically advanced they should be allowed to do pre-college or college courses as necessary, while carrying out their 6th year! Do not let stupid politics interfere with the future of our kids.

    Like 28
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  5. Madness says:

    I’m beginning to miss Hon. Walwyn and the NDP now, I’m sorry! This is foolishness but I guess the saying is true, the voters get the Government they deserve. What a travesty, of all the things the Government should be focused on, why the rush to undo so many things at once? These guys were elected 3 months ago, 3 months! How about monitor the systems and make adjustments along the way as necessary.

    Like 15
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    • What's the problem says:

      The majority have cried out against the 12th year so they are doing the right thing by REVIEWING what is good and bad so the BEST decision can be made.

  6. granny says:

    “leave well enough alone”

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  7. No surprises here says:

    This shows me that Natalio is not ready for this position. I knew it all along but this proves it. I remember when he never used to mark our end of term papers at HLSCC so we couldn’t get our GPAs. The problem Natalio is not only academics. It’s work skills, maturity and all the other things. Who think might be an advanced student is not really advanced and vice versa. You are opening a pandora’s Box that will blow up in your face. It is obvious you have no real plans for education.

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  8. TBS says:

    What is the difference between the children who spent five years in secondary (and are doing extremely well)and those of today that cause them to need six years? Do all children of recent years suffer from some form of cognitive deficit?

  9. My take says:

    Myron and the NDP destroyed our education sysrem and our country.

    Like 12
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  10. Lilly says:

    When I was in high school over 30 years ago, there was the option, with recommendations from teachers, for students to do an extra year in high school and advanced students were allowed to sit exams and leave early. It seems like we are going forward then backwards without accomplishing much. In essence, we are now back to where we were many many years ago. I do not understand what we are trying to achieve. Those in authority need to do proper research and see what works best. Anything that is new will meet resistance, but that does not mean it is necessarily bad, but professionals in the field must assist in making the best decision for those concerned.

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  11. TBS says:

    Minister for Education – The education system is past due an overhaul. What about a review?

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  12. :) says:

    For over 70 years the BVI did not need an extra High School year and became one of the wealthiest territory in the Caribbean despite not having any natural resources that could be mined, sold or exported.

    We didn’t need a mandatory 6th form. Anybody that says otherwise is overlooking the facts and history of the BVI. There are thousands of successful people that did not go through a 6th form.

    In 2012, years before it was implemented Myron said that the biggest reason why a 6th form is needed is “the issue of unemployment, where students are coming out of school too quickly and can’t find jobs,” and alluded that the young age of graduates led to them being unready for the working world.

    The main culprit for recent graduates that are unable to find jobs is the lack of job creations or should have been resolved with an apprenticeship program. Every year over 200 students graduate from High School and College but 200 jobs dont just become available because the students are no longer in school.

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  13. stop tinkering says:

    messing about with adding taking away renaming years, different syllabuses. All for nothing. We need a vision and a plan to implement it.

    We have an IB school already and that also needs governmental and community support.

    We now need at least one more senior school to compete with it. That school should identify what it is that the World’s top universities and employers need now and in the future. Then we work back from there and insert national and regional culturally relevant classes including about the socio-political and geographical history of the place. Then we need acceptable facilities but more importantly highly trained educators. It’s unacceptable that teaching staff are not qualified teachers.

    If we do not have schools that can hold their own against the best schools elsewhere, we are holding our children and the country back

    • Hmm says:

      But the students performing well when they leave the island…

      We are our own down fall we sit and blame and criticize everything… sometimes we get good / over qualified teachers from down island and because of the nasty attitudes and treatment that the students parents snd Government gives them they pack up and leave!!!!

      Btw are you in the educational system to know that the teachers hired are not qualified?

  14. Just an idea says:

    I’m happy that the minister is trying to address the 11th and 12th grade situation but on the other hand, I think the minister needs to implement the SAT or ACT examinations into the school system since they are deciding to take out cape…..

    Majority of the students that graduate goes straight to America to attend universities or community colleges and they will need an SAT or ACT score. If they don’t have those scores they’ll still have to sit the examination.

    Why not let the students sit the act or sat examination while their In high school?

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