British Expats

British Expats (
-   Barbados (
-   -   primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown (

Hemmy Ennis Oct 6th 2012 10:27 am

primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
HI All,

my hubby has been offered a post in Bridgetown, starting just after christmas 2012. We're currently in the UK, so looking at schools in Barbados remotely for our 6yo about to be 7. He's gifted and talented in the UK system and currently does work at least a year ahead in maths and several years ahead in English. Sorry not boasting here, but just trying to put my request in context!:o He's just started year 2 UK, but is doing work above this year group.

My hubby and I are looking at international schools in/near Bridgetown. We'd prefer this as we've read on other forums that the 'corporal punishment' in Bajan schools is quite being slapped for minor offences!? Is this so????

Also since we're active christians but not catholic we'd prefer a non-convent school....sorry to my catholic friends out there, it's just not our thing.

Looking at the curriculum in Codrington's website isn't inspiring from an academic point of view. It looks fab in terms of personal development and social awareness etc...which I know is important, BUT, I can't see any mention anywhere of teaching in English or maths? I'm really worried the programme would be too 'woolly!' for our son, who believe it or not isn't hothoused, he actually loves learning maths and english and asks for more tuition all the time!!! Weird I know :D

Please can you tell me about:
1. which international schools near to Bridgetown are good.
2. not severe in punishment of children
3. non-convent based.
4. any idea of the curriculum in terms of academic ability? This is really important to us.

Thanks in advance....really could do with some help here...getting a good school for our kid is top priority for us.

H xx

Sunniebgi Oct 6th 2012 12:21 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Just to make sure.. have you read the threads regarding schools??? there are several and each give some insight into what to expect.

The curriculum in the Barbados school system for primary education is primarily centered around English and Maths as the children here still sit an 11plus Common Entrance Exam to go onto Secondary school. Each school is a bit different when it comes to other subjects.. The children will get science, social studies and history (mostly Barbados based, as you can imagine), games (PE), music, art etc.. how much depends on the school and there teaching staff.

The question to you, while your posting might be in Bridgetown (is this with the British High commission??) this shouldn't matter regarding the location of the school, except in getting the child there and home.

and.. while you mention being an active Christian but not a Catholic, I'm not Catholic either, but my girls go to Secondary School at the Ursuline Convent School and I don't have any issues with that. it's not like it gets rammed down their throats.. AND there are several primary schools that originated from the Anglican church and religious education will be part of the curriculum.

If you are looking for an international school that is not tied to the Barbados Ministry of Education curriculum, there is only one, The Codrington School. and it follows the International Baccalaureate program.

as you will find on this same forum, my preference for primary school will always lead to St. Gabriel's. All 3 of my children went to school there (my son is in his last year) and while they do push to the 11plus test (as most, if not all do) , they do get a mostly well rounded education. The grounds are nice and welcoming and the teaching staff is great. The school is located on Collymore Rock (just a stones thrown from the BHC if that's where you will be).

I would also recommend The Ursuline Convent School , the junior department is St. Angela's. again, good teach staff, wide open grounds and also on Collymore Rock. (my children didn't do primary school there, but I do know the school does well in the common entrance exam.)

Others to consider would be St. Winifred's, Wills Primary, The Providence School.

Hemmy Ennis Oct 6th 2012 1:10 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Thanks very much for that. Thats reasssuring to know they do adequately cover English and Maths as well as other subjects. I think perhaps the Codrington curriculum online doesn't do itself justice.

We've had a look at St Winifreds too and they'd seemed good. But didn't know about Wills Primary, The Providence School so will definetly look them up as well as St Gabriels.

I've read on one of the forums that travel to the schools in rush hour in Bridgetown is a nightmare!???? Is this true? Thats one reason we wanted a fairly local school if possible. One reason for moving to the caribbean is to get out of the rat race for a few years and excape excessive commuting, more time for quality family life.

Oh we're not associated with the BHC, my hubby will work with the Caribbean Development Bank, not sure whereabouts in Bridgetown exactly, we haven't got all the info through yet ;-)

Thanks for you help - much appreciated.
H x

Sunniebgi Oct 7th 2012 12:06 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
ok.. well The CDB is actually located off the ABC Highway in an area called The Pine. I think you are better off figuring out where you plan to live and then following up with the school situation.

Wills is on the south coast just off Maxwell main road. St. Gab's and UCS are off Collymore Rock (which can be an issue with traffic, but trust me.. we think it's a bigger one than it really is).. and St. Winifreds isn't that far from the CDB Office, but it's not the easiest to get to and I actually think the traffic through there is worse, only because it's a 2 lane street and small area.

Providence is out in the middle of the island in St. George and there will be no traffic, except maybe getting home, depending on where you plan to live.

Regarding the level of education, what many people find is that their children will leave the island after the primary level with a great grasp of maths and english.. and in some cases, not much of anything else.. as I said, they do get the basics of the others, but at present they don't sit an exam in these subjects unless the school does one (it's not required to get to secondary school).

As far as a child who excels?? that is something you would have to speak to the teachers and principals of the schools. they will place the child based on his age, not his ability (that's mostly done because of the 11plus).. however.. if your child is really far ahead, he could possibly be moved up a year, wouldn't be guaranteed (I do know some who have done this).. and really it depends on if you are going to be here long enough for him to take the 11plus.

Hemmy Ennis Oct 7th 2012 1:33 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Thats really useful thanks.

I've emailed a few of the schools to ask about possible availability in December/January. So I'll see where that takes me. Not sure where we'll live but it'll be close to Bridgetown if not in.

Good to be re-assured about the maths and english. The curricula we looked at seemed to mention a lot about everything else, but not much about that, so maybe they just assumed people knew it was a basic thing.

As for him being ahead. We'd be happy for him to be in his current age related year group as long as he's given work thats appropriate for his level, otherwise he'll get very bored very quickly and his behaviour will deteriorate. Give him enough of the right work and he's a happy chap! ;-)

Really appreciate your help Sunniebgi x

Sunniebgi Oct 8th 2012 2:24 am

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
regarding your living.. Bridgetown isn't really a place to live.. it is the capitol city and just that. there are several residential areas close to the CDB offices with easy access to all of Barbados. Fort George Heights is a good place. (15min drive in slow traffic, 5 in fast, to the CDB) . The Warrens Area has some good areas in it to live as well. there is a little more congestion but they are working on that. and again.. maybe 15min to 20min from the CDB..

Sherry1234 Nov 8th 2012 2:23 pm

Wills Primary School - Feedback gratefully received

This is my first time leavingh a post and i have been trawling this site for a while and have found some useful info!

However, I am due to be moving to BIM next year September with my 11 year old daughter from the UK.

So I am starting the task of investigating primary schools for her we will be living in St James but distance is the least of my worries just want her to be settled in a nice school as moving and a new school is probably going to be stressful enough!

I've already called Winifreds and they are full for her year group!

Wills have said they may have space next year.

can anyone give me any feedback good or bad on Wills - i am also looking at St. Gabriels - feed back would be useful on that school as well.

And also on the experiences your children have had adjusting to a new school in a new country

your help is very much appreciated :)

Sunniebgi Nov 8th 2012 3:50 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
welcome Sherry. If you daughter will already be 11yrs in September, she will not be going to a primary school but into the secondary system. Of the 3 school you named, only St. Winifred's has a secondary school and they shouldn't be able to tell you, at this point whether they are full or not (except that many of their own students move from from their primary to secondary.

When does you daughter turn 11yrs???

Sherry1234 Nov 8th 2012 3:56 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown

Thanks for your response Sunniebgi

my daughter has just turned 10 and is in year 5 in primary school in the UK(which is 3rd year equivalent in barbabos I believe). She is one of the oldest in her class as her birthday is in October. Am I right in thinking she will have one more year left at primary school in barbados?

Winifreds did say i could go on the waiting list so will do that as you have a point there may be some movement by end of summer term next year

Sunniebgi Nov 9th 2012 3:48 am

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
if she is turning 11 in October 2013, then indeed she will be in Class 4/J4/Upper 4 (whatever the school calls it).

All 3 of my children have passed through St. Gabriel's (my son is in J4 this year and will move on to secondary in September 2013). I highly recommend it, good strong teachers at the J4 level and the children here need that as they prepare for the 11plus (Barbados Secondary Schools Common Entrance Exam).

You may also want to check out the Ursuline Convent School - St. Angela's Department as well.

I of course know of the other schools, I can't speak to their educational quality as my children didn't go to school there.

Sherry1234 Nov 9th 2012 9:15 am

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Thanks for all the info - that has been really useful - I'm over in January so i will defintely be calling St. Gabriels to see if i can take a look and the other schools you mention :)

natalienoo Nov 9th 2012 6:13 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Hi there,

My husband works at the Codrington School (he is the Grade 4 teacher). It is the only international school in Barbados to teach the full International Baccalaureate Programme. Trust me when I say this is a fabulous programme for children. It's inquiry-based, intuitive, and very personal.

I'm sorry to hear that the website was less than inspiring, although this is helpful because I will pass that on to the school.

The Codrington School is considered by many to be Barbados's best-kept secret. Tucked away in St. John, it's situated in a beautiful part of the island and, although 'far away', you don't have to touch Bridgetown congestion to get there so getting children to school is actually rather enjoyable.

Please message me if you would like any more information of the school. I highly recommend checking out the feel of the place for yourself. It has a wonderful atmosphere!

Sherry1234 Nov 12th 2012 1:48 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Hi Natalienoo

Thanks so much for your advice - I have indeed heard about codrington but i fear it may be out of my price-range....

one question though if my daughter joins part-way through her last year at primary (4th year) - will she still have to sit the 11+ ?

Just slightly anxious that she wont have had enough time to settle in let alone prepare for such an exam?

Can anyone also recommend good private secondary schools on the Island?

many thanks :)

natalienoo Nov 12th 2012 2:27 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown
Hi Sherry,

With the PYP curriculum, there are no '11+ exams' as such. Instead, each child does their own Exhibition, which runs within the Unit of Inquiry throughout the year. Being an international school, we do get lots of students joining part-way through the year - so it would be best to contact the school to see what they do with year-4 students in this situation.

My husband's email address is [email protected]
He is the PYP Coordinator and will be able to help you out with your questions far better than me! (I'm a marine biologist working with turtles, so what do I know!)

The Codrington School has Secondary educational programmes as well. I would check out these links to see if you think the MYP & DP programmes fit in with your ethos.

As for school fees and funding, I would reiterate that the best thing to do is get in contact with the school and let them know of your situation, queries and concerns. :)

Hope this helps.

Sherry1234 Nov 12th 2012 4:38 pm

Re: primary school curriculum and which school in bridgetown

many thanks for your help Natalienoo I will follow this up....

All times are GMT. The time now is 1:24 pm.

Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.