School PTA petitions for more resources

| 26/05/2016 | 50 Comments
Cayman News Service

Children at the Savannah Primary School

(CNS): Concerned by an unsatisfactory level of academic achievement and an increase in behavioural problems at Savannah Primary School, the Parent-Teacher Association has launched a petition to make the education ministry address inadequate staffing resources. Ahead of the budget, due to be delivered on Monday, the PTA said they want to see increased resources for the 2016/17 academic year so the school could deliver education and enhance discipline for all students.

Pointing to the government’s own stated policy outcome of “becoming a Centre of Excellence in Education”, the PTA said the school needed more teachers, support assistants and specialists. They pointed in particular to the need for more educators to help students with special learning and behaviour needs at the school, noting that this area had been neglected and is so under-resourced that it is having a significant impact on other students.

“Without the appropriate resources being allocated, there can be no sustained improvement in the academic levels at the school,” the PTA said in the online petition.

Having grown significantly over the last decade, the school was one of many on Grand Cayman that received a failing grade following the baseline inspections conducted last year. Parents are concerned that even after that damning report, which identified various challenges and weaknesses in the school, the ministry has done nothing to address those problems and the school now has more than 500 children registered.

The online petition, which was posted yesterday on the petition site and the school’s Facebook page, has almost 70 names. The PTA has also already collected over 200 signatures on printed copies of the petition, which was launched after last week’s PTA meeting.

The school’s PTA chair is former cabinet minister Mark Scotland.

See the petition here

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (50)

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  1. concern parent says:

    I am a concern parent, my daughter did not have a steady teacher this semester the teacher was always sick according to the kids because the principle did have a clue. this is one problem “if the head is rocking” everything will collapse. they need to put someone who cares about these kids, a person that shines that has the desire on working with kids, this lady is not suitable for this task with all my respect. Sending the kids to a private school is not the solution, we have to target the problem not to run from it. This school was one of the best public schools. Where is the minister? These kids are the future of this country, why not to invest in education. Come on politicians is time to get up of your comfy chairs loosing up your ties and think a little bit how to invest for the future of this country, the money that you all are wasting on these cubans use it for the schools. At the end of the day Cubans care is to rich Miami, give them water, diesel and let them continue with their journeys, these are their choices not CIG Gov.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Third world raised kids do not make good students. This is the main problem. And no it can not be fixed with money.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Education could receive needed funding through a modest payroll tax.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Teachers are not allowed to speak at more than a barely audible level. Really. However, some can say some rather crass things to students…at that level. Or, better yet, in local stores about local kids. Our Caymanian teachers need some help.

  5. Savannah resident says:

    After reading this I will not be sending my daughter to Savannah, I will have to find a private school.

    Shame as a Caymanian family having already raised two kids through the public education system successfully it has come this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You do not “enhance discipline” by providing more resources. It appears many of our teachers lack basic classroom management skills and we then fail to make classroom management a top priority when hiring teachers in the first place or in professional development courses.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So all BT politicians being lobbied by their Jamaican teachers or what?

    Scotland, Al Suckko, Osbourne all wanting to spend more money on schools?

    How about getting rid of the non-performing-prejudiced-unmotivated-don’t care teachers (oops Mac gave them all status) and experiment with changing that factor in the equation and for Love of God and Country (i.e. Cayman) Caymanian parents and voters in BT step up and stop encouraging this foolishness because we all pay in the end.

    • Anonymous says:

      27/05/2016 at 6:50 pm:
      It is Caymanians like you WHO spill hatred in the country. Stop bashing Teachers who come here already qualified and experienced to teach. Do your research and you will find out that it is the system not the Teachers that is at fault. These Teachers were all performing well in their home country prior to coming on the islands – their resumes and qualifications speak volumes – stop blaming the Teachers and spewing ignorance!!!! It is the more or less the same pool of Teachers who teach at the other schools such as Cayman Prep, Triple C, Cayman Academy and others who are all performing great!

      • Anonymous says:

        So why aren’t they working in their own countries since they’re so great? I just listened to one of them berate U-13 children and heckle them a few days ago.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anonymous says:
          30/05/2016 at 12:31 pm
          Ignorant, Teachers make decisions to migrate to another country to work for may reasons! Stop making useless and baseless points.

        • Anonymous says:

          Where would Cayman be without foreign teachers? You need them regardless of whether they are good or bad.

      • Anonymous says:

        If the private school teachers are performing so well, then why are so many of the children attending private tuition classes outside of their schools.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anonymous says:
          31/05/2016 at 12:37 pm
          You just don’t get it. There are different reasons why children in private schools seek outside assistance. My daughter went to Cayman Prep and i got her private math lessons. I wanted her to be A student in math. There are myriad of reasons for additional private lessons.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is ironic that Mr. Scotland is championing this, however I will say that pre- schools and Primary schools really need to be properly equipped and managed if we are to eventually see any positive results in the high schools. Does not make any sense to build monstrosities to appease Ministers egos if early childhood education is lacking.

    • Anonymous says:

      Goggle Professor Richie Poulton of New Zealand. He is the one person who can assist with this problem. It is a situation that has to be dealt with from birth through pre-school. It all starts in the home. Poor parenting, hostile behavior, allowing children to have their way, which has to be dealt with in the home setting. Stop blaming the government or Primary Schools, start intervention in the homes and pre-schools. You bend the tree when it is young, not after it has grown old.
      Lecture young people to lead and display good morals. They should be leaders, not followers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    27/05/2016 at 7:50 am – Be realistic and get your d*mn facts straight before spewing rubbish! The CIG has some of the best qualified teachers from around the globe. Also, there is continuous professional development afforded to teachers on an annual basis. Please read Anonymous says:26/05/2016 at 1:57 pm comments and be enlightened!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you reread that post you will see that the person who posted did not imply there was no CPD, they were merely pointing out that it is important, or that is the way I read it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, on paper there is professional development. Then it’s cancelled and never rescheduled or it’s always Math as its been for the past 3 years or so. Don’t believe their hype.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep take math out of the CPD equation and there is little else on offer. However the Math CPD is world class.

  10. Anon says:

    I helped as an unpaid classroom assistant at Savannah Primary School in the academic year 2009/10 .
    I was really impressed by the quality of the teaching I witnessed. It was as effective as any I have ever seen in England.
    I was also impressed by the behaviour of the children throughout the school who were unfailingly polite, cheerful and co-operative.
    It seemed to me, to be a very happy and successful school led by a management team that knew exactly what they were doing and with realistic aims and objectives.
    I would have been very happy for my own children to have been pupils there. What has happened in the 5 years since then?

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously! Stop asking for more resources. You have more resources that most schools in both USA and UK. Try sorting out the issues with teaching and be smarter.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It seems the disruptive children are not a school problem. It is a problem that is affecting the school which is a parental problem. There is obviously problems in the homes of the children causing disruptions in the classrooms.

    Next is to be able to discipline those children which does not cause problems for the children eg the teacher is fired because little Johnny was shouted at and my cousin the politician/minister was told about this over dinner.

    Extend the school day until 6pm. That way you can rotate the children into learning and playing at different times and mix and match the children according to ability. This could solve the disruption problem as many disruptive children will be too tired to cause a disruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shouting at the children is not a good strategy. Schools seems singularly unable to manage behaviour.

      • Anonymous says:

        Get used to it because in the real working world it is commonplace. While you may not like it, that is the way it goes. Here in Cayman, internationally around the world. Most times the shouting those children received is the first time those children ever received any discipline in their lives.

        There are other strategies, almost all are frowned upon. Having protection for the teacher is important. The teacher should not fear the parents or a government minister telling them how to run the classroom. A teacher should not have to focus on behavioural problems either and should focus on teaching.

        Potentially remove all children classfied as problems and ensure they have mandatory weekend solitary classes. The parents are child would probably love it. Free babysitting for the parent and the one on one time with the child which the child more than likely does not get at home. Where is the funding for this? Hire more teaching assistants and have shift work. Teaching assistants would schedule their time like any other company that operates 7 days a week. eg weekdays off instead of weekends.

        Instead of a summer break, have school all year round in rotation. Again teachers will have 2 months off, it just may not be during the stereotypical summer months. That keeps kids in school and away from being at home unsupervised idle and bored which leads to nothing but poor behaviour learned from trash tv and trouble.

      • Anonymous says:

        Parenting them at home and in public would be of great assistance. School should not be the first place a child is asked to be respectful, follow routine, or be half accountable for ones actions. You try whispering or talking quietly in a classroom or lunch room.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fine get microphones in the classroom and the teacher can turn up the volume. It is not fair for a teacher to teach basic manners when that is the job of the parents.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you for real! What about the poor teachers?

  12. Anonymous says:

    The admin and teaching civil servants are all in need of overdue recognition. For the most part anyways.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The answer is Cayman is always more resources. Our children arrive at school well below what one woukd expect since most attend nurseries. First fix the nurseries which are way below standard then you might have a chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree fix the nurseries, but realistically they are baby sitting services. The schools should be able to pick up the slack from there and be able to bridge the gap by providing extra help to the children to work on at home. This requires the parents to work with their own children and show interest in their children.

      I understand that people (parents) are busy (at the bar) but children are the priority and the future.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The basic problem is that students are allowed to be disruptive and there are minimal consequences. Or, none that are effective. Teachers find it difficult to teach in these circumstances. Let us find a form of disciple that really works and let it be supported by the Ministry. When teachers are no longer allowed to raise their voices for fear of dismissal, we have a real problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good behaviour management does not include raising your voice. What supports good behaviour is parental support, clear boundaries, consequences carried through and management buy in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Raising voices/shouting – that’s way out of line. Aggressive behaviour cannot be accepted, neither by student nor teacher. Where are you?

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous says:
        27/05/2016 at 5:50 pm
        Let us hear from the Teachers as it relates to raising voices. A Teacher should be allowed to speak with authority at a certain voice level but then this is difficult to mange/assess. Shouting i agree is unacceptable but a Teacher needs to have class control and speaking with an authoritative voice is definitely part of the strategy to keep students focus and under control.

  15. BT voter says:

    What a disgrace. PPM can allocate millions for unnecessary projects like GT port to help the business interests of friends and family but there is no priority given to public education system and resources required in schools like Savannah, BT, EE primary schools.

    What is the point bragging about a surplus while Caymanian kids struggle and education standards are poor?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Can the ministry say what is being done to answer the damning report from last year? The impression being given is that nothing is being done – if this is true then why not? Do the ministry and government and Cayman people not think education is the most important thing for our kids and their and our future?

    • Anonymous says:

      That report! The one carried out by inspectors who had never EVER set foot in a state school, who were prevented from talking to the teachers or the .ministry personnel, the one that is now totally discredited. It was commissioned to further Tara’s ideological belief that academies is the route Cayman should go down. Emm well they have ditched the idea of academies and the report is gathering dust along with the EY report. I hear there is a room designated in the Ministry in which to house all those highly expensive reports that we do nothing with.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yes, there are problems in the primary schools; but there are also Solutions to be found.
    The problem is, few people are interested in helping find them.
    Why don’t more parents lend a hand and become involved in making a positive difference?

    • Anonymous says:

      Really now.
      Do you think we do not want to, or that we have not tried to be involved?
      What do you think got us where we are now?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am in agreement for additional resources at the school. This is glaringly obvious and needed.

    However, in addition to the much needed resource, i hereby suggest the following which if implemented will address the poor level of overall performance at the school :

    Firstly, we need in my opinion a list of the all the Years 1 through 6 students levels at the inception of the September 2015 school year. It is important that we know what the various levels students entered each year group at the start of the school year. I strongly believe that this will reveal some of the problems if not the main issue that Teachers experience in the classroom as it relates to the students abilities and the levels they are working with. Yes, a Teacher should be able to work with various levels of students in the classroom setting BUT if the levels are way below the required class level, then it is expecting short of a miracle for the Teacher to bring his/her students to the required level and prepare them for the next level without adequate assistance (Assistant Teacher).

    Secondly, we need confirmation from the relevant individual (Principal) that all levels; year 1 through 6 are being graded consistently. Are the same grading for students consistent from year 1 through 6 and applied accordingly? This is so critically important as inconsistent grading will produce different and varying results which is self defeating.

    Thirdly, we should seek to determine if the appropriate/standard requirements/curriculum for Reception students are being administered. How are students assessed and prepared before they are placed/transferred in Grade 1? – Are the basic skills and courses such as numeracy, phonetic, social and matriculation lessons being adequately and sufficiently mastered, graded and assessed?. Extremely important for students at this level as this level must be mastered to ensure consistent progress in future grades.

    There seemed to be a common notion in the public domain that students are being rushed through the system and not being allowed to competently master each grade before they are transferred to the next level.

    Good luck!

    CNS: Some, but certainly not all, of your questions/points may be answered here: Over a third of kids enter school below standard

    • Anonymous says:

      Over one third do not enter the school below…they leave Reception below…Reception is part of the school. The Reception teachers are line managed by the same principal, attend the same staff meetings.

      I would like a comparison of students entering Y1 from a private preschool, say Just for Kids, versus the government Reception programme.

    • Anonymous says:

      More resources is not the issue. More skilled behaviour management, better qualified teachers and continuous professional development. Stop hiring below par teachers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Totally agree! The schools are not training colleges for teachers who don’t know what they are doing. If a teacher needs a lot of support to understand how to teach without the use if a text book then they shouldn’t be hired in the first place. Too man resources ar going on teaching the teachers. I am not saying that professional development isn’t needed because it is, but some teachers need to be supported way too much, to the point where they don’t know how to teach an English lesson. They have to be taught how to teach an English lesson. These teachers are used to teaching the same thing to every child using a text book to do it. Well that is not how we teach here. Teachers need to plan creative lessons and cater to everyones need. It’s not easy, it takes time, but it’s what teachers are expected to do and if they can’t do they should find another job or go back to the country where they can teach using a textbook, but there’s no skill in that!

        • Anonymous says:

          28/05/2016 at 10:44 am:
          Stop spewing ignorance!! A research will reveal that most if not all Teachers who come to the island were taught to teach from text books and hold students accountable. Why has there been this change from text book, to prepare “creative lessons”? Where is the consistency across the classroom, grading and holding Teachers to the same goals and standards with “creative lessons”? Have a discussion forum with the Teachers and you will soon realize that this is far from the best options to educate our children.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous says:
        27/05/2016 at 7:50 am:
        Stop making statements that are not supported by facts:”More resources is not the issue.” How did you have arrive at this conclusion when the Ministry, PTA Association, parents (including me) and many others based on research and discussions agreed that this is one of the major issues at the school. Also, Teachers who come to the island are carefully vetted and are aptly qualified – your statement regarding below par Teacher is baseless and irresponsible!!!! A review of the qualifications and experience of Teachers who come to the islands will clearly reveal their competency to teach – Do a FOI for any Teacher’s qualification and you will know the facts. Please stop spewing utter rubbish and unfounded allegations. Your below par mentality is frightening!

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is a problem with most of the schools short of support and the powers that be expect the staff to perform miracles with the bare essentials.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So this has just happened? Sure thay could do with more resources. So could every other primary & high school. One point this PTA really should also consider is to have a discussion with the ex-minister responsible for the construction to ask why there appears have been no consideration given to future needs for expansion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let us assist with resources, one by one. A discussion with the ex-minister regarding construction for future needs would reveal that yes, it was considered. The main point is that the current government would now need to be convinced that the resource is needed and give the necessary budgetary approval.

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