CIG schools won’t ‘retain’ struggling students

| 30/08/2016 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

Children at the Savannah Primary School

(CNS): Government officials have confirmed that there are no plans to hold back, or ‘retain’, students in government schools if they don’t reach a certain reading or numeracy standard at the end of each school year because research has shown that doing so has a negative impact. Although many people believe that kids who fail to reach an expected level at the end of any given academic period should be ‘retained’, or held back to repeat the grade, studies have proved that this is counterproductive. The social progress of children through school with their peers is an important part of the learning experience.

Although education officials are facing challenges with the number of children with special educational needs and behavioral problems in the public school system, the solution, they say, is targeted intervention.

Clive Baker, the senior policy adviser in the education ministry, said wide international research in countries with a similar cultures to Cayman and from top performing schools suggests that making children repeat a year is counterproductive, as he pointed to direct and specialist intervention as the best method in an inclusive system.

Speaking at a meeting with Education Minister Tara Rivers, education officials and the press on Monday, Baker explained that the goal at present is to narrow the gaps in reading ability as early as possible through targeted intervention.

In the last academic year the ministry set a target of 85% of children leaving Year 1 being able to read. That target was reached and over 86% of kids starting Year 2 this week are now at the expected reading level. But Baker stressed that holding back the others would not help.

“There is very little evidence that holding students back helps or supports them … We’re looking at intervention solutions for individual students,” he said.

Speaking to CNS after the event, Christen Suckoo, the chief officer in the ministry, added that often in education things may appear to make sense at first glance but the research does not support it. He said there may be individual cases that people can point to where a child was assisted by repeating a grade but “overall the impact is a negative one”.

“We run an inclusive system,” he said, adding that taking children out of the mainstream (as they did in the old Alternative Learning Centre) or holding them back has not worked.

The education ministry has been and is continuing to focus on the basics, Minister Rivers stated, and officials explained that the increase in the special educational needs coordinators and the intervention plans are already helping to improve standards.

There is now a dedicated special needs coordinator who is not a full-time teacher in every school, which means that children who need extra support are being targeted and helped.

Baker explained that in the first instance, intervention takes the form of classroom teachers paying particular attention to students identified as needing more help. If that doesn’t work, they move to creating small intensive group teaching for kids who are struggling to read, with one-on-one intervention for those who continue to struggle.

But Baker warned that children don’t learn in a linear fashion, and also that children may seem to be doing OK but can then begin to fall behind because of events in their lives. The interventions, therefore, will be frequent and ongoing, he said.

The literacy experts are finding that every district and every school is different. Some schools are able to close the reading skills gap between the students when they start school by 100% by the end of the school year, despite having many struggling readers at the start of the year.

While the targets will remain at 85% for Year 1, the data collected will now ensure that Year 2 targets will be more flexible.

Baker made it very clear, however, that focusing on targets can also be counterproductive because teachers focus on tests and marks and numbers rather than the actual learning needs of their diverse classrooms made up of individual children.

While the data that the ministry is now collecting will help the policies of the future, the collection of information across government schools is still in its infancy and it will take a few more years before the experts will be able to identify specific issues common to the local classroom but what they referred to as red flags were already emerging.

Brad Wilson, a literacy expert in the department, explained that language development appears to be emerging as a possible common problem with children who struggle with reading when they first come to school.

He said if a child’s language ability and their awareness of the sounds of words before school is not well developed it makes it harder for children to learn to read. However, the figures could not support any specific findings yet, he said.

The ministry is also focusing on the training professional development of special needs coordinators, as well as working on a code of practice to help define standard eligibility criteria to address some historic over-identification of students with special needs.

Without a set diagnostic standard, there are times when behavioral problems in children caused by social issues have led to the students being identified as having learning difficulties when that is not case. The aim, officials stated, was to “decrease generalisations” around troubled kids where they can identify the difference between social challenges versus genuine learning issues.

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  1. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

    EXACTLY.. I remember when children who were not academically inclined had alternative options such as trade / skills training available to equip them to be productive citizens, AND, they were not retained in the mainstream where they hindered those with academic ability, so there were no losers. Today what do we have? “Inclusive” schools where there is no automotive training, no woodwork, no welding, no electrician training, etc. etc. And even if they say that they have it, the workshop is an empty, under equipped, underfunded useless shell. Bring back the good old trade training, and fill those thousands of work permit positions with Cayman’s youth who otherwise are thrown to the dump after their “inclusive school” experience. IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. Why the hell do we need consultants and advisors to tell us what to do? Is that so we can duck responsibility for the results?

  2. Annie says:

    There are plenty of resources, motivated administrators, caring counselors, and dedicated teachers in the public school system. There are also many bright hard working students. What we are lacking, by in large, are responsible, active parents, and they are our, and their children’s, number one problem.

    No government can undo years of selfish and neglectful parenting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    3:27pm. Cayman Prep, undisputedly one of the best private schools, holds children back. But before they do, they carefully assess if that is the best course of action and discuss with parents and child. My child benefited from that process and is now a successful university student in the UK obtaining excellent grades.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Apologies for asking a daft question, but what does the Chief Education Officer have to say?

  5. Anonymous says:

    “an important part of their learning experience” is to learn to read, write and function mathematically at basic levels. These “Government officials”, by implementing this policy, are only creating the next generation of illiterate youth who will not be capable of finding any meaningful employment and become either criminals or responsibility of the welfare system – or both! Why can’t these “professionals” see down the road and stop playing with our future???

    Holding back children can only help that child. What is this with pandering to the pride of not hurting a child’s feelings in the short term instead of focusing on their future and the long term??

  6. Anonymous says:

    We are talking about FUTURE PROOFING here.

    I have brought this up again and again, yet such useless conferences as “Lifelong health” are organized year after year, yet NOTHING is being done to address real and pressing issues-learning disabilities of the children. The children of the Cayman Islands. Your future.

    Arrowsmith school in Toronto (The Arrowsmith Program of cognitive exercises)is based on the philosophy that it is possible to address specific learning difficulties by identifying and strengthening weak cognitive capacities.

    Arrowsmith staff are available to speak on a variety of topics related to neuroscience, education and learning disabilities.
    The following is a list of some topics that they have recently spoken on:
    Connecting Neuroscience and Education
    Neuroplastic Effects of a Cognitive Program for Children with Learning Disabilities
    Understanding Dyslexia – A Cognitive Approach
    Understanding Auditory Processing – A Cognitive Approach

    Vision specialists of Michigan are available for speaking engagements to address vision disorders. It might turn out that half of the kids with reading difficulties simply can’t see properly because their eyes misaligned.

    Since there are many kids with learning disabilities and too many “unemployable” adults in this country, your government must address it in a practical way.

    Educating your Government officials, teachers, medical professionals, parents in the field of learning disabilities is a MUST in this tiny country of 60,000.

    Have your Government take real steps. Instead of attending Postal Summits in Qatar they should learn why is Qatar investing so much in education. And how they do it. They call it- Future proofing.

    Writing off even ONE child is unacceptable. This country doesn’t have many, to start with.

    Thank you CNS for allowing my comments on this issue, none of which was published by Compass.

  7. Anonymous says:

    These Politian’s have no answers at all. Why are they in their positions they are solving noting. Just because you have a degree and spit out big words don’t mean you’re useful. We need leaders!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another results of Government coddling its citizens and not holding people responsible.

    What does one expect when:
    1. Parents can go out to happy hour and leave their young children home unsupervised without being charged for child neglect,
    2. When they can dump off their children at school without them having the proper uniform, equipment or even a breakfast but no consequences to the parents
    3 when you see parents bringing their Toddlers to movies late at night rather than having them home in bed and this is accepted as “normal” by society
    4. and the list goes on and on……..

    Do you think those parents are making an effort to help their kids at home learning how to read and write etc?

    So instead of dishing out the respective consequences to the parents, Government has made the parents believe that it is solely Government’s responsibility to educate their children. Heck, they bus them around for free and at the beginning of the school year, MLAs hand out school supplies!

    Besides the children who are neglected from home, the children who do get the proper attention and try to excel at school are often going into a downward spiral at school because they are now being bored with lesson plans which have to be adjusted so that those kids who entered school already behind can now catch up.

    I get it, there are a lot of kids out there who have serious learning abilities, but unfortunately, they are not getting the attention and resources at school they should because Government is busy raising kids of parents who don’t give a shit!

    • Yes Suh! says:

      Absolutely 100% correct. Many of the problems rest with parents. Parents who are out at night partying it up and leaving kids to fend for themselves… Parents who’d rather play PS4 instead of helping their kids with their homework… Parents smoking and doping and drinking… Parents who are far too young to know how to properly parent… Parents who indulge every one of their children’s whims because they feel guilty for having to go to work… Parents who don’t have routines of their own, or have no idea what routines are, and therefore cannot instill life-long routines in their children… Parents who are simply bad parents… Of course there are the good parents as well… So what happens, when you throw in the good kids, with the bad, the smart ones with those who struggle, the ones with special needs and those who are advanced, nobody benefits (as another commentator before me remarked). It’s a hodge podge of nothing and all and everyone, including the teachers struggle. Teachers can teach classrooms of up to 50 children if the kids come to school ready to learn, with the right attitude, without crazy behavioural issues, etc… However, add 3 or 4 kids with behavioural issues into a normal-sized classroom of 25 (classroom where a third are above level, a third on level, and a third below level) and you get chaos. Sprinkle in a few exceptional students to the mix and its double the chaos. Nobody benefits from the hdoge podge…

      • Hey It's me it's really me! says:

        Hell 1:44 and others who have so eloquently described the problems, now ho about some solutions huh! Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not aware of any private school that holds children back.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Maybe I am misreading something but I am not sure all the voices of disagreement are disagreeing.

    As I read the article I think it says that the proposal is to identify pupils who are falling behind during the year and target them for specific intervention to keep them within touching distance of the rest of the class so that they can continue with their peers (albeit perhaps at the bottom of the class – somebody has to be bottom).

    That is proposed instead of just saying ‘pupil x is falling behind… if they don’t pull their socks up its OK we’ll just retain them’.

    If that is what is proposed, while keeping the ability / intention to retain those who, despite targeted intervention, are just too far behind their peers to continue to move up through to the next Grade with them at the end of the year, then are we really all in disagreement?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Inclusive schooling… Sounds so great and flowery doesn’t it? Politicians love these catch phrases because it allows them to sound so wonderful, so all-inclusive and so caring. Is your child a certifiable idiot? No problem, we’ll throw him in with the smart ones. Is your child blind. No problem, we’ll throw him in with the those who can see. Is your child a criminal? No problem, we’ll throw him in with the innocent lambs. Is your child deaf? No problem, we’ll throw him in with those who can hear. Is your child dumb, deaf, and blind? No problem, we’ll throw him in with everyone else. Who benefits from all of this? Absolutely nobody.

  11. Lorna says:

    Yes, Anonymous at 5.01 PM has the answers on Dyslexia !! Thanks be to God. Now, if we can get Anon 5.01pm to share the knowledge that would be super and greatly appreciated.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a niece who,when she was little, would repeat words backwards, it was cute and funny.
      She went to school and dyslexia symptoms were obvious, but the school had given her one year to wait and see. Then she was evaluated and dyslexia was confirmed. Just 3 months in a summer school for dyslexic kids has completely reversed (or treated?) her learning disabilities. She just started 10th grade and is a straight A and B student. As soon as her dyslexia diagnosis was confirmed, she was enrolled in a music school which she attended for several years, and it is known that music training positively affects cognitive development. Einstein himself admitted that all his discoveries “came” to him when he was listening to music.

      What is interesting, a child of a friend, born few days ahead of my niece, in the same city, had dyslexia as well. Environmental factors? But then again, her dad was diagnosed dyslexic when he was a child and with proper and timely intervention has no learning or any functioning disabilities whatsoever.

      The other thing is that my niece is on a strict gluten free diet, and her mom believes that it is Gluten free diet that helped to reverse dyslexia. It sure stopped eczema and snoring due to swelling of airways that her younger sister had.

      So if you suspect that your child has dyslexia, have him or her properly evaluated. It is not a mental retardation, their brain just wired differently and can be re-wired. But start with the eyes.

      You might have to go off island to do that but your insurance might pay for it. If not, Department of Education should step in and bring qualified specialists in this country.

  12. Lorna says:

    Did someone in this thread say that Dyslexia is easy to fix? I need more information from that person, please, please.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I remember when I moved to Florida and started 3rd grade. I did well but the following year I was held back so I could be in class with kids my age. As you know I started school earlier than kids in the US. This was a bad feeling but I adjusted and made new friends. Then again in my senior year my guidance consular told me that I was failing science and would not graduate with my class. No way Jose, not that again. I gave up a lot of free time and enrolled in night school just to graduate with my peers. Don’t tell me that holding kids back won’t work. I wonder if I could ask my boss to pay me for going fishing every day instead of showing up ?

  14. 345 says:

    This will not be popular but, it is the right decision based on over twenty years of research.

    Doing the same thing over, with a younger set of classmates, does not result in improved results. The focus needs to be on addressing the learning/behavioral issues.

    • Anonymous says:

      For twenty years they were saying that saturated fats, eggs and cholesterol are bad. Today they have realized that without healthy fats, including saturated, your brain will degenerate and you get diabetes, and your kids brain won”t develop properly. Cholesterol is a protector, not a destroyer and eggs are one of the healthiest food on this planet.

  15. Anonymous says:

    ANY amount of eye misalignment can lead to READING and attention difficulties.

    If these kids struggle to read it is a red flag that they kids need to be assessed for learning disabilities!!!! Professionally! They way it is done in Canada!!!! Dyslexia is one of the learning disabilities that is so common and easily correctable .

    Evaluate nutritional status of these kids!! By the leading edge nutritionists!! Not some stone age “experts”.

    The Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) Pandemic!! Since BVD may affect up to 50% of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, reading and other learning problems, it is critical to test for even small misalignment amounts.
    For children under 18 years of age that means there will be more than 2 million amblyopes and millions of children with strabismus (from the College of optometrists in vision development).

    what does that mean??? That means to learn kids need to see properly with both eyes at the same time! The standard vision screening only tests how well EACH eye can see.

    They do not test for small amounts of misalignment. ANY amount of eye misalignment can lead to READING and attention difficulties.

    Primary eye care professionals do NOT ask the right case history questions; do not
    evaluate patients using the right tests; do not make the diagnosis; and do not treat or refer out for treatment these frequently encountered but often ignored disorders.
    The most commonly encountered disorders of the binocular vision system include convergence insufficiency, convergence excess, divergence insufficiency and divergence excess. Patients’ oculomotor systems may also show inaccurate and inefficiency pursuits and saccades; while the focusing problems frequently include accommodative insufficiency, excess/spasm, instability, infacility, and ill sustained accommodation.

    Sounds cumbersome? It is, even for Primary eye care professionals BECAUSE they have no idea about it. And they must.

    Parents, you can start with this online test ( and test yourself as well-there are 2 separate tests).

    Children of the Cayman Islands need REAL help.

  16. Anonymous says:

    CIG won’t hold them back, they’ll just push them through, graduating but unable to read. These children have to have intervention from primary school. If a child cannot read properly by the time they are 8 years they need serious intervention. They will not be ready to be promoted to the next level of schooling. If a child cannot read, they cannot learn anything else. God help us. Our Public Schools keep failing our children.

  17. MM says:

    The public at large is usually in favor of retaining a student based on the thought that by allowing the student to stay back one year that will give them the opportunity to get on level – I agree that this is a common misconception, it is unfortunate that the ‘officials’ did not better explain and inform the public as to why the “holding back” process is not as effective as people believe it may be, should be or could be.

    In an attempt to explain (my thoughts) on this, here it goes.

    The public school system considers student educational attainment this way: Above Level, On Level, Below Level.

    Throughout the school year teachers discuss the progress of each student with their parent or guardian (or provides the opportunity for discussion, whether the parent takes the opportunity or not).

    During these meetings (reporting session and other scheduled meetings) – teachers express their concerns with the parent/guardian about the student in question and gives the parent the opportunity to assist their child to reach the specific points identified as their weaknesses.

    Some parents listen and help their child, others don’t.

    With this in mind – if the parent of the student in question did not take proactive steps to assist their child during grade/year X in order to at least get them “on level” – what makes anyone think that retaining the student for one more year will make any difference? And that will also be forcing a teacher to pay closer attention to a student that is not only older than the other students, but also apparently slower – drawing attention away from students who have freshly entered that year group and who require the encouragement and attention of their teacher during school hours to wholly address the growing up jitters and educational milestones.

    Whether it is preschool, primary of high- the foundation of a child’s education BEGINS AT HOME!

    There are MANY students entering preschool at 3 or 4 years old still unable to do the minimal age-level tasks that should be seen in that age child – and many parents get offended if this is pointed out in their preschooler so most private preschools do not raise the issue – and those that do raise the issue face the onslaught of parents claiming that the schools are too “formal” or “expect too much from their toddler”.

    Unfortunately, difficulty with learning or lack of the opportunity for proper learning can be identified in a child as young as one year old! (In fact, many parents monitor the mile stone achievements of their babies from 3 months onward, and pediatricians are taught to do this as well)

    If there is no capable parent or other adult within the child’s home to assist and encourage the child, what then?

    As bad as the education system in Cayman has been reported to be (and I am well aware that much of the reports are very true) – the system can only be as good as the students and the students can only be as good as the parents.

    After a while, whichever link in this chain cracks or weakens it will throw the entire system out of order and the one last remaining link will hold the primary burden and because it is the only link left – that is where the blame will lie because that is the only obvious link at that time.

    The Cayman community, the Cayman family unit and Caymanian parenting has long been suffering, for decades upon decades!

    From the hush-hush, shame-face mentality of parents and family members of disabled children in the early days to the no accountability and lack of guidance that we see today – with that link weakened – the children then began to suffer and showed signs of the at-home struggles and lack of proper guidance.

    With the children then acting up and acting out (unable to focus and learn due to home problems and bad parenting and guidance, etc) – educators and the education system then had to hold up the entire system in an attempt to hide the failings of the Caymanian community and family unit and itself – after years and decades of trying to uphold the entire system without making either link (family, child or education) appear dysfunctional or weak, the education system could no longer finance or carry the entire burden and after years of hiding it they are finally coming out and admitting there is a problem and that we must all help to clean it up. Hence all the recent reports, new policies, policy advising and everything else we see happening – better later than never I guess.

    These issues were identified over 50 years ago – and we are JUST admitting there is a problem!

    Holding back a student does not solve the root of the problem – that child will still go home to parents (or the responsible adult) who do not assist with homework, do not encourage them, are in no position to support the financial requirements of proper education and are probably not very successful themselves and don’t care to be, they do not teach their child about hard work or explain why education is so important – they expect nothing of themselves and nothing of their child.

    The education officials are right that INTERVENTION is the key – when a student’s failings are identified to be caused by their at-home living conditions, that child must be uprooted from that environment ASAP!

    Problem for Goverrnment now is (and has always been, hence the blind eye to this problem from day one) ‘where to put the multitudes of Caymanian children who are born to ill-prepared parents?’

    There is an average of about 46 babies born each year to females between the ages of 15 and 19 years old between 2010 and 2015 – is anyone monitoring the progress and living conditions of the babies born to these very young mothers? And once again, who are the fathers? This is one of the contributing factors, just one. But we are still too Christian to talk to our teen girls openly about sex.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like and agree with many of your posts, but here you are wrong on too many levels.
      Blaming parents and young mothers serves no purpose. It is what it is and you can’t change it. Work with what you have. Help them! Help their children.
      1-3-4 year children should remain children and not be evaluated on the “age appropriate” tasks.
      Here are some relevant facts from the Finland educational system:
      -All children, clever or not, are taught in the same classrooms.THERE IS A RESON FOR THAT
      -Finnish children don’t start school until they are 7. THERE IS A RESON FOR THAT.
      -Compared with other systems, they rarely take exams or do homework until they are well into their teens. THERE IS A RESON FOR THAT.
      -The children are not measured at all for the first six years of their education. THERE IS A RESON FOR THAT.
      -There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, taken when children are 16.
      -30 percent of children receive extra help during their first nine years of school.
      -Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess a day in Finnish versus an average of 27 minutes in the US.

      • MM says:

        I agree with many aspects of the education system in Finland, however, ours is already amidst a crisis point; apparently Finland began their educational reform 40 years ago.

        The thing with Cayman is that much of the in-school issues CAN be traced to the home, simple. Not all cases of behavior issues and behind level students can be directed to lack of parental guidance for sure; however, many of the more notable cases can be.

        I agree that the educational structure, methods of teaching and expected ways of the students learning here in Cayman has become ridiculously complex and in itself is a factor that is failing the children; instead of just allowing the children to learn, the schools are putting more emphasis on exactly HOW they should learn.

        As I was sure to add – the young parents are just ONE factor contributing to the issue.

        I became a parent at 17 (now you know something about me) – so I can easily state that point without hypocrisy in the fact that I know the hurdles it took to ensure that my child has maintained an above (gifted) level of educational attainment – and my child attends public school (so I am coming with experience, not hear-say and not whimsy).

        As a young parent you can be sidelined by the public turning noses at you and this alone can discourage you from everything (including your responsibilities to your child) – if you do not focus squarely on your child, AND importantly have a strong support network; the lack of maturity due to the young age coupled with the responsibilities of attending to a little human and then the need and want to enjoy your own young life play major roles in how your child will be brought up.

        Unfortunately many young parents do not find it easy to dedicate their lives to their child (because essentially, we are at that time children too). So I am not trying to ‘blame’ young parents; I am pointing out that it is a major factor.

        When I drop my child to school and because there were many others in my graduating class who also became young parents; (and not in an attempt to stereotype) but from the first day of school I can assess which students will give issues in the classroom based on who the parent is – the attitudes and ethics of a parent reflect in the attitudes and ethics of their child. It is not blaming; it is reality.

      • MM says:

        I believe you have missed the two most important observances with the Fin school system which is probably the prime contributor to the success rate – teachers must have a minimum of Master’s Degree and are selected from the top 10% of graduates… – there you have it.

    • Anonymous says:

      One parent conference/ reporting session held for year 4 when my son attended Savannah Primary. Teacher never answered the emails to an address that she gave the parents, did not share her phone number. When we tried to get find out what could be done to improve his situation, we were deemed pushy.
      Not all parents who have children with educational issues party all night long.
      Result: Dug really deep and sacrificed to pay for private school.
      One year later cousin in the same classroom, same experience, same final decision by parents

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes they push children forward ensuring they fall further and further behind. We see the results of this with the added year for all the children to redo their exams that they all failed due to the current education department policy of pushing children forward to another year when they are struggling and flat out failed to grasp even a bit of the curriculum.

    But yet they have statistics that show not repeating hinders progress?

    Lets do a FOI on the number of children and exams that were failed in year 11 since this policy has been in place to date. Im sure the numbers will be staggering.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Great news for permit holders. There will not be much competition in the future either.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So we are just going to stick with third world rules then. Got it. I don’t think anyone on this island expected anything else from you.

  21. rick o'shea says:

    Is it April 1st already? Surely this can’t be real.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Right so lets have the teachers spend more time with the slow kids than helping the average kids move on. Lets also keep the trouble kids so the average kids are afraid to answer questions or they get beat up at recess. Brilliant system.
    I don’t care about the troubled kids education. It is very secondary to my children’s education.
    Closing alternative education was a massive mistake that lowers the entire standard and puts ordinary teachers out of their league. Dealing with these kids is a specialist job.
    Bring back John Alban, these trouble makers were terrified of him and didn’t bring whole classes down.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “We run an inclusive system,” he said
    Unless your an expat on a permit , then it the non-inclusive system.

  24. Captain Obvious says:

    So now kids know they don’t have to apply themselves because it doesn’t matter if they’re illiterate. They can graduate without being able to read… Then what?

  25. Anonymous says:

    We already advance failing students. How does the emotional assurance of advancement not hardwire these minds for new successive failures when they can’t grasp the content of the next level? What do we think the developmental impact and social manifestation of their frustration is going to be, and who do we think will bear the brunt of this? This is the status quo.

  26. Diogenes says:

    So everything tried so far has been unsuccessful in helping the struggling students achieve the educational standards? That raises 2 questions,

    1) what’s going to be different this time and
    2) have any of these studies considered the impact of some of these “solutions” on the other students?

    Deciding to make targets “more flexible” in Year 2 and beyond, or keeping students with learning or behavioural problems in the same class as others doesn’t seem like a great idea if it undermines the learning of the majority. All for helping kids who have special needs, but having everyone move at the pace of the slowest or the behaviorally disruptive because some educational theorist thinks that moving up a grade with their peers – in age terms if not academics – is part of the learning experience seems to be political correctness madness.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’d be happy to teach the little beggars. You’d be surprised at what a little interest can do.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d be happy to be a pig and fly as well. If you think you know so much, let’s see what you’ve got. Talk is cheap.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Well maybe the government should get an additional class for each Year 1-6 for children with challenges like the ones they have for the Middle schools system and try catching it from the start. I’m pretty sure the parents of the kids with challenges would make a better effort to help them do better when there kids are placed in classes as such from earlier.

  29. Sharkey says:

    Where did these education Minister and leaders come from . To say that some kids that are slower don’t deserve a second chance , and would not help them . May we should not give them minister / leaders a second chance.

  30. Anonymous says:

    That’s fine if you tutor them to get them up to speed. Otherwise the problem just gets worse by advancing them. If they couldn’t do third year they are not going to have a chance in fourth year and will likely be a discipline problem. This all sounds like an excuse to keep on graduating 10-15% illiterates every year.

  31. lo-cal says:

    Here we go again.

    Before i get to my main point i want to point out that this inclusive education back in the 80s lead to many of my classmates graduating from high school unable to read or write because they were dropped to lower sets which went as far as set 6.

    The children are coming to school unprepared for two simple reasons. 1 if they went to a preschool they were not taught properly or 2 the parents did not prepare them. So why not institue a policy that all preschool operator must have at least 1 qualified teacher on staff. I also feel that our children start school too early and therefore are at a disadvantage from the begining.

    The report did not say anything about how early the brain develops in a child but any parent will tell you that 1 year in a childs life makes a huge difference in their ability to learn and retain information. Instead of pushing the children to start at 5 years old why not move it to 6 when the brain is more developed.

    I know it is too late to undo the current buildings we use for school but would it not have been a better idea to build 5 highschools accross the island in the fashion of CIS. I belive that one only cost 20M to build.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is amazing how persons can listen to and read certain reports and fail to understand one written/ spoken word. The officials plainly said the students who a are lagging behind would have specialists/ counsellors working with them. No wonder so many are lagging behind, the adults in their lives are mostly ignorant and lack understanding. It is also time for parents to do their part and stop leaving everything for the teachers to do. The 10 percent of parents and students are seeing real results – what is the 90 percent doing besides complaining. We are really in a sad mess here.

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