Schools scrape ‘satisfactory’ grades

| 23/04/2019 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

GTPS students with the Duchess of Cornwall on her recent visit to the Cayman Islands

(CNS): Judged ‘weak’ in two previous inspections, George Town Primary School was found to have made satisfactory progress in the latest follow-through report. The government school was judged to have made progress in maths after children were previously said to be underachieving. But as the government primary schools struggle to achieve more than satisfactory ratings from inspectors, some private schools are also falling short. In its first inspection in more than a decade, First Baptist Christian School also scraped to a ‘satisfactory’ rating.

At GTPS, inspectors from the Office of Education Standards (OES) said more students attending that school were now reaching the expected level. But there were still classes across the school where the quality of teaching in mathematics was too variable, the inspectors stated. However, they also found that reading and writing had improved and the schools book stock had been boosted by local charity donations.

While the government school was doing its best to improve, the inspectors still found some weaker lessons and classes where teachers struggled to manage student behaviour, and that school leaders needed to address the inconsistency in the quality of teaching. In addition, they said children in Years 4 and 5 require consistent support to raise their achievement in reading.

Following the inspection, George Town Primary School Principal Sharon Campbell-Danvers, who took over the school in August 2017, said that with the support of the senior school improvement officer and the Department of Education Services, they had worked diligently to turn the school around.

“We implemented a number of new policies and procedures that support our school improvement plan and ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them,” she said. “With a little guidance and many hours of professional development, planning, student conferences, parent conferences and support, we successfully made the necessary improvements.”

OES Director Peter Carpenter said the school had turned a significant corner but “it must and can aim a lot higher”.

In the private sector, First Baptist, which is owned by the church and caters to students from Kindergarten to Grade 6, also faced some criticisms. The school is small, with around 153 students, and uses American grade levels. Although the children’s behaviour was ‘good’, the school had a list of areas that were only ‘satisfactory’ and many that were judged ‘weak’.

Attainment and progress in English as well as some key criteria were rated ‘weak’.

“Students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in reading and writing did not meet internationally expected standards,” the inspectors found. The mathematics curriculum was ‘weak’, with significant gaps in students’ understanding of key skills and it was also judged to be below international standards.

According to the survey of parents at the school, the majority seemed unaware that their children were not achieving at expected levels, with almost 90% thinking they were making good progress at the school. Only 14% of parents said they were not satisfied with the quality of education at the school.

See the reports in the CNS Library

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Category: Education, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To Juliana and your moron predecessors! “Satisfactory” is not good enough! Students in Caymanian public schools need to be as well educated as those in private schools and it CAN be done if any Government decides to appoint an educated MLA as Education Minister and thereafter stop political interference in the education system, including appointment of Chief Education Officer !!!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Well this is very suspect. Same teachers, same pupils, inspections a few months apart. What can possibly have changed. I work here and trust me nothing has changed.

  3. David S,, says:

    It so sad that GT primary a school that had risen from the ashes in the mid 90’s soaring ahead of all public and private schools under Ms Marie Martin and her staff at that time, why has that primary school that had struggled as a failing school, advanced to A + school in academic achievement. It breaks my heart to see that this school that once had a principle and staff who all made George Town proud of that primary school, seems to now be in the hands of educators who have not gotten a grip on what is needed to minister education to the specific demographics of central George town. I do hope that the principle and stsff are a complimentary if natives who understand the socioeconomic status of the demographics thst attend this particular school.My Lord this is so heartbreaking.

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  4. THIS IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM CAYMAN!! says:

    “According to the survey of parents at the school, the majority seemed unaware that their children were not achieving at expected levels, with almost 90% thinking they were making good progress at the school.”

    This is exactly the problem Caymanian parents! Why are so many of you unaware that your public school system has FAILED to educate your children to even the minimum standards? WHY IS THIS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU?? Are you as parents involving yourselves enough in your child’s education? Are you taking an interest in your child’s grades and holding them accountable if they perform poorly? Are you taking away your child’s phones and tablets and limiting their free time when they perform poorly? If you aren’t doing these things Caymanian parents, then YOU are FAILING your children too! As parents, we have a responsibility to encourage our children to make their education their number 1 priority! You as parents also have a responsibility to make your child’s education your number 1 priority! Education is the ONLY way to ensure that your child will have a successful future in this country! Being Caymanian is NOT enough to ensure their futures, nor should it be!

    If you as parents take an interest in your child’s education, and if your child takes an interest in their own education, and at the same time if you INSIST that your leaders and your government make your child’s education their number 1 priority also (instead of making cruise ship piers their number 1 priority!), then there will be no limits to the success of your child in this country. But YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT YOUR PRIORITY!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Faceless bureaucrats in the Department and Ministry of Education have a lot to answer for in hiring and rehiring teachers who are known either not to have the proper qualifications or have demonstrated they cannot teach. Parents should be asking questions when they see teachers shifted from one school to another. Again and again I bang on about the Performance Management system that is not fit for purpose.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have a point! If the schools are failing then surely the leadership should be held accountable as should the Senior School Improvement Officers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Student achievement will only improve when DES, the Ministry, SSIOs and Principals begin to focus on teaching and learning. Most schools focus on events not teaching and learning. They only stop the events and excess activities when the inspectors are coming; after that, it’s back to business as usual.

        • Anonymous says:

          And will improve when the practice of putting Caymanians at the front of the job queue just because they are Caymanian stops. Why put in the effort at school when you know you’ll get the job ahead of someone with better qualifications than you anyway? THEN the reality of needing to get your head in your books and swot will become apparent.

          Caymanians can’t moan about ex-pats getting jobs when the education system is failing them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Churches are just like politicians, it serves them well to keep their sheep dumbed down.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    You know how we can fix this? Pay them all $6000 a month!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Seems to me that throwing money at education (be it government or private schools) doesn’t seem to get the results.

    Perhaps an attitude change towards education, and its importance, is what is needed more? From teachers, students, and parents.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    90% of parents would be happy, they probably went through a similar system and think that that’s how education should be!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Let’s be clear that the church, their educators, and parents settled on an appalling academic standard a long time ago, not the children. They can once again clasp their hands and thank their lucky stars nobody checked scores in history, geography, and social studies. Another wave of G-grade diploma students hitting the job market soon – a standard that our House Speaker failed to achieve!

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