A Stronger Nation Begins With A Pledge
Bethel Town All Age School was founded in 1840 and acquired the name from its location. The school is situated on its original site, and the physical plant consists of four buildings, of which the main was erected in the 1970’s. The school is located in the rural Bethel Town District in Westmoreland, which is predominantly a low income community. All the students attending Bethel Town All Age are from the nearby communities of Bethel Town, Argyle Mountain, Galloway, New Mills, Castle Mountain, Chester Castle, Lambs River, Belvedere, Struie and Barneyside, all within a six miles radius of the school. Almost all teachers are from these aforementioned communities. Most employable community members seek jobs outside Bethel Town, in Montego Bay and Savanna-La-Mar primarily as data-entry operators, security guards, store or domestic workers. There are three hundred and forty-five (345) students enrolled in the school of which 53% are on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The support for school activities by the community is average. There is reliable transportation to get students and teachers to school on time.
The first school building was erected in 1938 and made to accommodate two hundred students. Over the years the school population has grown, thus, additional space was needed. A partly opened classroom was built to accommodate juniors from Grades 1-3. Both buildings and furniture soon became inadequate for the school population which made conditions unfavourable for purposeful learning.
In 1977 a new block was erected by the Ministry of Education. It was officially opened on the fourteenth of May 1978.
Socio-cultural and economic
Recent survey done by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) stated that the Bethel Town and neighbouring communities on average are among other districts are classified as low-income areas.
The Bethel Town All Age School original plant, more or less is a converted church hall. This old building is protected by Jamaica National Heritage Trust. The new block built in the 1970’s has the capacity to hold two hundred and eighty students (280).
Modification is needed to the ‘old school’ building so that noise level emanating from neighbouring classes can be minimized. The physical condition of the ‘old building’ and also the new structure need to be refurbished.
The physical plant consist of fourteen classrooms, a staffroom, principal’s office, guidance counsellor’s office, secretary’s office, a book room substituting as library, tuck shop and canteen.
At present, there is a qualified cadre of teachers. All members of staff are holders of Bachelors’ Degrees while two have Masters Degrees.