Tarrant High Overcoming The Odds
Published: Nov 29, 2012
Situated off Molynes Road in St Andrew, the 51-year-old Tarrant High School has had a chequered past, permeated by academic underperformance, violence and indiscipline. Following the release of this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results, the school once again came to the fore with an outcry from some quarters against students being placed there.
But Principal Garfield Higgins is arguing that the high school today is a far cry from the once problem-plagued institution. The school's infrastructure, discipline and academic performance have been so greatly improved that in recent years, it has been turning out students with high Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) passes.
Last year, Tarrant was named one of the top schools in CAPE performance, with 100 per cent passes in four of the seven subjects it offered, and 90s and 80s in the other subject areas.
"I am not going to preoccupy my time with a lot of the issues that parents have about upgraded schools - or Tarrant, in particular," said Higgins. "Some of the concerns are legitimate, yes, but my approach is that it is our job to ensure that we change the perception of those parents over time by putting out the best and getting our students to perform on par with the other schools that they want their children to go to. The fact of the matter is that it is a market and you want to choose the best from the market."
He added: "You can't change the perception without increasing the outcome, so it really comes down to us improving our standards and improving our results to ensure that we change the perception."