KINGSTON, Jamaica – In September, another five schools will be added to the Jamaica National Building Society iLead education leadership programme.

The comprehensive school-improvement initiative, which started last September in partnership with the Ministry of Education, initially targeted five schools in the first year.

Those schools: Brimmer Vale High, Islington High and Port Maria Primary, in St Mary, Buff Bay Primary in Portland, and Robert Lightbourne High in St Thomas, were identified as the Region Two schools considered most in need of support by the National Education Inspectorate.

After almost one year into the programme, St Thomas Technical High School, Happy Grove High School, Martin Primary School, Windsor Castle Primary School, and Retreat Primary and Junior High School, all in the Education Ministry’s Region Two, will also get much needed guidance through the iLead programme.

Dr Renee Rattray, director, Education Programmes at the JN Foundation, told reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange that the three-year iLead programme is being guided by the findings of the five-year Centres of Excellence programme that saw much success.

She explained that the iLead team works with the leaders of the selected schools to build capacity in order to facilitate a change in the culture of these schools.

“We go alongside the principals that need us and we are their coaches, they can email us, we give them tools,” said Dr Rattray.

Meanwhile, Dr Rattray said the iLead team is hoping to create a ripple effect, so they also work closely with education officers.

“So we are sharing best practices, using skills and transferring them into the education sector… sharing ideas,” she said. “When we share what we are doing in a school then [the education officer] is able to replicate this in other schools.”

Dr Rattray was hopeful that in a few years, the schools now considered to be most in need will be the schools to be reckoned with.

Anika Richards


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