Roehampton Primary on the Rise

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, receives a gift from Shevanique Holness of the Roehampton Primary School, in Anchovy, St. James, during his recent visit to the school.

Story Highlights

  • Roehampton Primary School, in St. James, is being hailed by educators and senior Government officials as a shining example in St. James.
  • The institution, for the past two years, has also won the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) sponsored agriculture competition for primary schools in St. James.
  • The institution, for the past two years, has also won the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) sponsored agriculture competition for primary schools in St. James.

Roehampton Primary School, in St. James, is being hailed by educators and senior Government officials as a shining example in St. James.

Located in the hilly district of Anchovy, the school, with a student population of 179, has been doing well academically, showing marked improvement in both the Grade Three Diagnostic Test and also the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) over the past five years.

             Roehampton Primary has also been feeding its students from its school garden, giving rise to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries ethos of ‘eat what you grow, and grow what you eat’.

            The institution, for the past two years, has  also won the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) sponsored agriculture competition for primary schools in St. James.

           Senior Education Officer in the Education Ministry’s Region Four Office, Cecelia Jackson, says children who are involved in programmes like what is happening at Roehampton Primary, usually “have a rich future ahead of them.”

            “Tending to plants will teach children responsibility and teamwork. It will provide an opportunity to bring science, mathematics, social studies, language and visual arts to life through hands-on learning,” she notes.

For Minister of  Energy, Science  and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, who visited the school on April 21 for the opening of a Community Access Point (CAP) centre, Roehampton Primary should now be seen as a model school, whose example should be emulated in institutions across the island.

           “Not only did I come here to open a CAP centre but I brought the CEO of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Ms. Kelly Tomblin, along with me,” Dr. Wheatley said.

           “I brought her here because JPS wants to assist in ensuring you have affordable energy, so as to enable you to keep up the great work you have been doing. We want to do everything to make things easier for you. I want to salute the teachers and student body for making this community proud,” the Minister said.

             Principal, Winston Jennings, in an interview with JIS News, said the school has overcome “a lot of what would cause many to crumble,” including the vandalising of its facility by criminals several years ago.

           He notes that the school’s farm was started in 2012 as a means of providing ground provision for the canteen.

          “We started out four years ago by simply doing some clearing on the empty school land next door. With assistance from students and members of the Parent-Teacher Association, we stepped up the project to a mini-farm where we did a variety of short term crops that can be reaped within six weeks of planting. We did cucumber, pak choi, scallion, thyme, carrot, sweet pepper, calaloo, scotch bonnet pepper and  peas, to name a few,” the Principal said.

          Mr. Jennings said his school is not only “a gem and a trend setter” in St. James, but has made academic excellence its mandate and is now starting to see the results.

          “The primary mandate of any school is to perform exceptionally in academics. With the acceptance and affirmation of that mandate, we here at Roehampton Primary have made academic excellence our mission and it is certainly bearing fruit,” he said.

          “The institution has seen a significant rise in academic output in all major national exams. This is evident in the many students who have gone on to traditional high schools and have been leaders in various spheres at their respective institutions,”  the Principal added.

             Mr. Jennings explained that this was not achieved by simply following a rigid curriculum. “We had to come up with various strategies to enhance the curriculum and offerings, in order to achieve academic excellence,” he said.

             The Principal cited the Junior Math Olympiad, which Roehampton Primary entered for the first time last year, finishing 15th  out of the many  schools that entered.

            “This is a competition that is put on by the University of the West Indies and where there are thousands of individual contestants. Our Davaun Brown did exceptionally well by finishing in the top 15,” he noted.

            The Principal said the best is yet to come and that Roehampton Primary will not sit on its laurels and be complacent.

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