Inspectors give mixed review for Lighthouse school

| 17/09/2015 | 3 Comments
Cayman News Service

Lighthouse School, Grand Cayman

(CNS): One of only four government run schools that managed to escape a failing grade during the recently published baseline inspections, the Lighthouse School, which caters to children with special education needs, has been classed as ‘adequate’. The report praises the school, although inspectors said they were concerned about the provision for the students with the most profound disabilities, who they said were not making progress.

Although critical of this provision in the teaching, the inspectors noted several good things about the school, with shortcomings balanced against achievement. The findings contrasted significantly with an investigation at the school by the education ministry last year, which was initiated following a parent’s complaint and completed just a few months before the baseline inspection. That report from November 2014 found that staff were not only poorly supervising the children but were also being abusive. Children were said to be neglected and bullied and the ministry had said it intended to install CCTV “to enhance the safety of students and staff”.

CCTV planned for Lighthouse School

The baseline inspection undertaken in January found that achievement in personal development and social skills was consistently good across the school for students with moderate learning difficulties and in the mid and upper range of severe learning difficulties. The students were said to be “polite to adults and treat each other with respect and empathy almost without exception” and were “motivated and positive”.

Although inspectors stated that the school needed to improve the provision for students with more complex disabilities and those with speech or social communication problems, it was far less critical of staff at the Lighthouse School than many of the other government schools inspected.

The inspectors did report a “lack of equality of access to a wide range of options in the curriculum for some students with the most profound or complex disabilities” and also criticized the communication between teachers and their special support assistants, which they said was inconsistent, leading to variations in the quality of support. Nevertheless, the inspectors pointed to many strengths and said the ‘adequate’ rating was mostly as a result of the school’s failure to address the few areas of weakness.

In a list of recommendations to improve the school, inspectors said the quality of the induction for teachers and the professional training needed to improve. They also said the most disabled children needed greater access to effective alternative means of communication, such as communication boards and specialist technology.  The curriculum should be adapted to better meet the needs of the students and the  relationship between support assistants and teachers must be addressed, the inspectors said, adding that “a more stringent disciplinary procedure” was required to deal with both teachers and assistants whose performance is ineffective.

Of the 15 government run schools which were inspected by the team from the UK were extremely critical of most of the local school. The Lighthouse School and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre were both graded as adequate. Prospect Primary and Layman Scott High were the only schools to reach the ‘good’ grade. No schools achieved a very good grade and 11 schools were graded as unsatisfactory or as failing schools.

See all three baseline inspection reports for all government schools in the Cayman Islands

Tags: ,

Category: Education, Local News

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am pleased that Lighthouse School’s report was adequate…which we know is quite good in this inspectorate’s analysis. They absolutely did not deserve the bum rap given by a few influential parents and this report supports the opinion of the vast majority of Stakeholders. I had a family member attending Lighthouse…she made terrific progress and has been mainstreamed back into the regular system. Lighthouse not only improved her academics and social skills but helped to make her empathetic and extremely caring. I, for one, can’t sing enough praises to Carla and her staff.

  2. Anonymous says:

    After all the negative publicity aimed at this school recently, I thought it would have gotten a failing grade. Very good to know the naysayers were proven wrong. Keep supporting and being that Lighthouse for our special children teachers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands is way too small a country to be able to facilitate all the varieties of disabilities for a child/adult. Even in larger countries facilities are specialized and not available easily.

    However, a decision could be made to people to advise where to find facilities overseas for their children or make the Cayman Islands a center of excellence for individuals with special needs and flood the school with money and resources. Obviously the status quo is not sufficient.

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

See draft amendment to the Constitution in the CNS Library