George Town Primary struggling to make progress

| 25/09/2018 | 35 Comments

George Town Primary School, Cayman News Service(CNS): George Town Primary School has failed to make enough progress when it comes to teaching mathematics, inspectors found in a follow-up report at the school to the baseline inspections that took place in 2015. Some three years and two follow-up inspections later, the Office of Education Standards found that the school had made only satisfactory progress in five of six recommendations made after the baseline inspection, and despite introducing a catalog of measures to boost maths, the teaching was judged as weak, with kids not expected to reach the expected levels of learning during this academic year.

This latest report published last week follows a visit to the school from 10 to 12 September, when lessons were observed, exam and assessment data assessed and inspectors engaged with staff and students. The report shows that following an inspection in January 2018, the school principal and her leadership team had implemented several strategies to address the weak performance in maths.

The list included appointing a numeracy coordinator to the staff team and introducing a new planning format for lessons to begin with a mental mathematics focus. Teachers had also attended coaching and training, more robust and regular systems to monitor the quality of students’ learning in mathematics was implemented, and staff had even offered ‘booster’ classes at the beginning and end of the school day.

Inspectors noted some improvements in Years 1-3, but from Year 4 onward progress was found to be more erratic and subject to the greater range of variability.

The number of students anticipated to be at the expected level in 2019 in Year 4 to Year 6 was low and not significantly better than previous years. Inspectors said that the school needed to extend current programmes and develop further strategies for intervention “to promote faster rates of progress” and “provide more purposeful and meaningful contexts for mathematical learning”.

While the weakness in maths progress was of the most concern, the school showed mixed progress in other areas. Inspectors said that satisfactory progress had been made in providing the right kind of teaching and expectations for the abilities of all students but there was scope for further development across all stages of the school to help ensure greater consistency in teaching and improved progress in all subjects.

“Teachers did not consistently ensure that tasks were well matched to the range of learners’ academic needs,” inspectors wrote in the report. “There were too few lessons in which teachers provided purposeful, relevant and meaningful contexts for learning.”

While inspectors found the pace of learning in the school had picked up overall, in some lessons the pace was still too slow, resulting in students losing interest in learning.

A survey of students, teachers and parents at the George Town Primary School found that most participants were satisfied with the school leadership and teaching in general but staff indicated they did not feel parents were sufficiently engaged.

Concluding the follow-up inspection, officials said that because the school has not yet satisfactorily addressed all of the baseline inspection recommendations there will be another inspection at the school in six months.

“The school will continue to receive follow-through inspections until it either satisfactorily meets all of the recommendations from the baseline inspection of 2014/15 or is inspected as part of the full cycle of inspections,” the report stated.

See the report in the CNS library

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Parents would have to be involved in their children’s education to actually understand what that means and the implications for their children’s future.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you want schools to improve then stop, just stop preventing poor teachers from being fired and stop hiring ones who maths levels are so low. Maybe try hiring from places other than Jamaica. No disrespect to my Jamaican friends but Jamaica is hardly a hot bed of critical thinking.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wha is everybody complaining about, the sun is out, the weather is great. All this educations stuff is overblown. The only thing I wish is that they would bring in more teachers from the carribean. Students likem more adn everybody is happy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re joking right? You’re a clear example of what’s wrong with the education system as it stands. The lack of critical thinking. I’ve never taken a special interest to whether my teachers were Caribbean or not but more so if they had the actual passion for teaching and making it enjoyable for their students. THAT is what made me and a number of my classmates happy.

    • Anonymous says:

      So your answer to a failing school is to hire more teachers from a Third World country? You really are a…..

  4. Anonymous says:

    As CIG illegal bars free expats’ kids from the free education to which they are entitled if the schools suck then that is karma.

  5. Anonymous says:

    this is what Alden should be dealing with instead of jollying around at boat shows and time wasting.

  6. Elvis says:

    You can’t only blame poor teacher selection but have to take a long hard look at the children , their attitudes and the parenting skills displayed my some too,

    • Anonymous says:

      That right blame the children. Poor leadership, leadership that is crippled by having to take on teachers that have been offloaded from others schools for various reasons, teachers whose own skill set is questionable and of course lack of parental involvement in their children’s education. But please do not blame the children.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Building another high school will not help with educating children. Better they give private schools 10 million each and let then build schools. The fact is that private schools are not having any of these problems and didn’t get a raise in pay. Most students coming out of high school can’t do simple math unless they use a calculator. Disgusting.
    How about building a vocational school. Most of the problems related to kids being bored is they’re not interested in getting a college or university degree. A plumber changing my toilet charged me CI$ 125 per hour.
    We need a referendum on building another useless school that will not achieve their objective. The ability to get a job and be a productive citizen of the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      The fact actually is that private schools select their children. They cream off the top 30% of children from the state sector and leave state schools with the rest. What on earth do you think this does to their results. The fact remains that a very high percentage of children who go to private schools also have private tuition in many cases leaving their private school classes to have “expert” tuition in private set up.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ask the politicians where their children go to school!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is there any action being done to assist the teachers or the parents with correcting what is apparently not working in the system? To continue having inspections is okay, but to keep testing something only to yield the same results every time without trying to improve the system is just proving a broken system. Are there any programs in place for parents and teachers to learn how to better help their students stay engaged, feel challenged, and absorb all of the material taught?

  10. Anonymous says:

    these assessments are as close to useless as humanly possible. all it takes is one child who is living in a unhealthy social environment to disrupt and hinder the progress of a whole class. When you look at at the catchment area of this school, you’ll quickly realize the situation these teachers face, but government choose to turn a blind eye to these social problems because it’s easier to kick the can down the road.

  11. B says:

    The sub par culture needs to change so that kids look at school as an opportunity to have a better life. They have not been brought up to respect higher education as a group. The best school in the world would be lost on them. Parents, elders, leaders should be emphasizing how important a good education is but this culture has failed totally in this respect. They will not be able to keep up and join the rest of the worlds kids as working professionals in the future. Instead they will want to be just like their parents, elders and leadership.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For hundreds of years educators did seem to sense that children’s brains had to be built up through exercises of increasing difficulty that strengthened brain functions. Up through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a classical education often included rote memorization of long poems in foreign languages, which strengthened the auditory memory ( hence thinking in language) and an almost fanatical attention to handwriting, which helped strengthen motor capacities and thus not only helped handwriting but added speed and fluency to reading and speaking. Often a great deal of attention was paid to exact eloqution and to perfecting pronunciation of words. Then in the 1960s educators dropped such traditional exercises from the curriculum, because they were too rigid, boring, and “not relevant”. But the loss of these drills has been costly; they may have been the only opportunity that many students had to systematically exercise the brain functions that gives us fluency and grace with symbols. For the rest of us, their disappearance may have contributed to the general decline of eloquence, which requires memory and a level of auditory brain power unfamiliar to us now. In the Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858 the debaters would comfortably speak for an hour or more without notes, in extended memorized paragraphs; today many of the most learned amongst us, raised in our most elite schools since the 1960s, prefer the omnipresent Power Point presentation– the ultimate compensation for a weak premotor cortex.
    Children with weak auditory memory often forget instructions and are thought to be irresponsible or lazy, when in fact they have brain difficulty.
    Imagine how much good might be accomplished if every child had a brain based assessment and if problems were found, a tailor-made program created to strengthen essential areas in the early years, when neuroplasticity is greatest.
    (From the book The Brain That Changes Itself)

  13. Anonymous says:

    It is such a disgrace that the news services always begin articles such as this with the negative commentary only highlighting what had still been failing. There should have been a highlight that in just 6 months the school had managed to move from a weak status to a satisfactory status in 5 of the 6 areas. Something that hadn’t been done since apparently 2014. How about commenting on what must have been extremely hard work by the administrators and the staff for making such progress. I salute everyone there for their continued efforts as I cannot imagine the pressure it must have been to take on a failing school and get it turned around in 6 months time. It seems to me that it would have been impossible. Imagine what they will accomplish in another 6 months!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Thank you for your comments. This is the reason why everyone thinks that education is failing all around. No one wants to focus on the positives and progress. The public schools do well and beat the private schools in any competition and it barely makes a blip on the radar but when something goes wrong it’s front page news. Kudos to you for pointing out the negative, nasty and destructive journalistic practices in Cayman when it comes to public education. The rest of us need to remember too to actually look at the positives, because of all we are willing to see is negative then that’s all we will see.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would not say that going from “weak” to “satisfactory” is turning it around.

      • Anonymous says:

        Turning a school around is an ongoing progress and cannot be done in a six month period. Yes George Town and JACPS is appalling but look at the teachers they have to retain and hire first before you judge.

  14. 2+2 = says:

    GT Primary was the first school I attended, nearly 40 years ago. IMO, maths was barely thought then. If your math understanding was subpar, the teacher made you read a book instead of working to bring your understanding to higher levels. Thanks a lot for nothing, Mr. Urine.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you considered returning to complete your studies?

      • 2+2 = says:

        Well, no. Once I got working from 17, I eventually learned more about how to properly add/subtract, divide and multiply without a calculator (most times) and that increased year by year. I’m not perfect and still struggle with certain complex numbers/math equations, which I try to do without a calculator. At this stage in my life I’m comfortable with my self-thought maths.

        On the plus side, my reading and spelling and writing skills were always tops! Lol.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Teachers needs too be much more creative. Also take students much more often out of the classrooms settings and take them more often on field trips. Especially students that have learning difficulties and that are more hyperactive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Teachers get fired for being creative.

      • Anonymous says:

        that is absolutely not true. Teachers get fired when they raise their head above the parapet or come up against well connected teachers who take a dislike to them, byt they do not get fired for being creative.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I seem to recall that GTPS excelled just a few years ago under the leadership of Ms. Martin. Is that really the case or not? If so, how could the present situation occur so quickly?

  17. The Truman Years says:

    Been in steady decline since politicians interfered. Another victim of Truman Bodden

  18. Anonymous says:

    The kids are not challenged or push to work hard; the current education system will only churn out assistants and middle range managers; the system is geared to expatriate managers; the education system is following a failed system in the North.
    Suggest parents who are conscious to Home School their kids.

  19. Anonymous says:

    “with kids not expected to reach the expected levels of learning during this academic year.”

    This line should be a wake up call for anyone who has their child enrolled in George Town Primary.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it will not be a wake up call. Parents seems to be oblivious, despite publicity, that many of our schools are failing their children for a myriad of reasons not least poor leadership, refusal to not renew contracts of teachers who belong to certain churches or have particuclar connections, moving of negligent teachers from school to school and certain teachers have a particular view of Caymanian children. Add to that poorly qualified teachers, and lack of parental involvement, Its a cocktail of failure and no amount of inspections will make a jot of difference. Inspectors know how to criicise but actually know nothing about helping teachers to improve.

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