GSD Asks Government To 'Rethink' St Martin’s Earlier School Closing Time

The GSD has issued a statement asking that the Government “rethink” St Martin’s earlier school closing time. 

A statement from the GSD follows below:

The GSD has learnt that parents of St Martin’s school pupils were notified on Sunday that their children may need to be collected at 1pm, i.e., two hours earlier than their normal pick time of 3.00pm.  They will be advised on any given day between 11am and 12pm if the temperatures are high.  The reason given is the high temperatures in classes which is exasperated by an inability to use air conditioning units due to an inability, in turn, to use face masks given the conditions which pupils of that school suffer from.

The news has understandably caused consternation and stress to parents who now have to make alternative arrangements at very short notice on a daily basis presumably until the temperatures drop.  It has to be understood that we are dealing with children who have very specific and special needs and any disruption to their routine presents not only a huge challenge to their parents but also to the children themselves.  Expecting parents to be on tenterhooks every day between 11am and 12pm to see whether they receive the call to collect their child is as unacceptable as it is unworkable.    Bringing this to the attention of parents with hours notice is also inexplicable.  The Party is already aware that it has caused a sleepless night to some of these parents and that is quite frankly inexcusable when it affects individuals who are already going through enough stress as it is.

GSD Shadow spokesman for Education, Edwin Reyes said: “It begs the question: why issue the notification now that we have been through two weeks of full days when temperatures have been high and at a time when we are poised to enter cooler weeks? The party requests that the Government seek alternative and imaginative solutions.  We are not convinced that all possible solutions have been considered in which pupils can be kept under the care of the school thereby keeping to their much valued and important routine and not causing family disruption to parents and other carers.  I have written to the Minister for Education expressing the party’s concerns.”