School standards gap between rich and poor

| 06/09/2019 | 169 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Prep and High School

(CNS): The Office of Education Standards found that 35% of children attending one of the 25 education facilities inspected so far go to schools or early learning centres with an overall grade of ‘weak’ and only 25% attend a school that is at the expected standard. Furthermore, in the OES annual report the inspectors noted a correlation between school fees and standards, with public schools and those with lower fees achieving no more than ‘satisfactory’ grades, with the notable exception of the Lighthouse School.

All of the private schools and early years centres given a ‘good’ grade (the expected standard) or ‘excellent’, have fees in the middle to high fee bracket category, the report noted.

The only government school that reached a ‘good’ grade is the Lighthouse School, an all-age government school for special education needs students. While the inspectors found some improvements in government schools, which have now almost all reached the minimum standard of ‘satisfactory’, there are currently no mainstream public schools or any school within the low fee bracket that meets the expected level in terms of overall performance quality.

The five private schools that reached the expected standard are: Cayman Prep and High School, an all-though school for ages 4-18; Island Montessori, Montessori by the Sea School, and Starfish Village/Village Montessori, which all follow a Montessori curriculum; and Little Trotters Farm and Nursery School, the only educational institution inspected in 2018-19 judged to offer an ‘excellent’ quality of education overall.

The two government schools still found to be ‘weak’ in overall performance are the Clifton Hunter High School and Savannah Primary. John Gray and Layman Scott high schools, and Creek & Spot Bay, Prospect and West End primaries, as well as the Little Cayman Education Services were all judged ‘satisfactory’.

During the full inspections of schools, the inspectors found ‘excellent’ quality teaching at public schools in only 3% of lessons they observed, 31% was ‘good’ and 45% ‘satisfactory’. In more than one in five of the lessons observed (21%) the teaching quality was ‘weak’, compared to private schools, where 11% of lessons were ‘excellent’ and 12% were ‘weak’. Also concerning is that across all the early years centres, 25% of lessons were judged to be ‘weak’.

Commenting on the lack of progress in public primary schools in the ‘full’ inspections in 2018-19 since the follow-through inspections conducted in 2017-18, the OES said there had “not yet been any significant improvement in the quality of teaching in the period of one year between each set of inspections”.

Given this finding, it is not surprising that students’ achievement in public schools by the end of the primary years in English, mathematics and science “remains below international standards” and that there has been little improvement since the last round of inspections in 2014-15.

“By the end of the primary years, in 2019, less than three quarters of the Year 6 cohort achieved at the expected level in reading, writing and mathematics,” inspectors found.

Similarly, at the end of high school, external exam results in key subjects “is well below international standards because too few students leave secondary school achieving the expected level in the Caribbean Secondary examination or in the International General Certificate of Education”.

Nevertheless, there is a clear difference between results for Year 11 students on Cayman Brac, where 72.2% of the Class of 2019 achieved 5 or more Level 2 passes including English and maths, compared to 37% on Grand Cayman, and 94.4% achieved 5 or more Level 2 passes in any subject, compared to 57.65% of students on Grand Cayman.

See full report in the CNS Library


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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (169)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Seems like a performance gap, not a standards gap.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The rationale for that is simple: when parents pay for their children’s education, they become more interested and invested in their learning because they want to see where their money is getting them. Whereas in the free school, most parents don’t even care.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Driving around, it would appear as though our NRA road planners went to one of the failing schools (the ones without protractors), and perhaps didn’t finish high school geometry at all. Thousands of low performance people in the workforce is the ultimate consequence to society – deadly in some cases.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    CPHS has a strong, experienced and uncompromising ( Caymanian) leader who is not phased by petty dictates issued from the ministry.

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    • Anonymous says:

      fazed

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      • Anonymous says:

        Try 1-star.

        We need dedicated, educated and experienced employees, not the “fly-by-night transients” that make up the majority of the workforce.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, in the Brac, there are significantly smaller class sizes compared to the grand Cayman schools. Smaller teacher student ratios are obviously going to get better results.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Governments and religions don’t benefit from an educated population.
    Therefore don’t expect any effort to improve education from them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, unless you send your child to the church school which was the only all-age school to reach the ‘good’ ranking, you anti-christian bigot.

  6. Anonymous says:

    same old cayman story……educations has a 5 star price for 3 star quality.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    The assumption made by CNS is just ridiculous- ”standard gaps between the rich and the poor.” What does that mean? Are you trying to say that only poor people send their children to government schools and only rich people send their children to private schools?

    There is only one problem with government schools and that is the lack of direction by the so called leaders. No one knows where we should go or where we should be so everything is a whirlwind. Thats it!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Also lack of interest and guidance from parents of govt school kids , as opposed to hands on involvement of private school kids parents.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hands on involvement from parents of private school kids? I guess if you mean they can afford tutors and the assistance of nannies to make sure work is done, then yes, the parents are very involved in private schools.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Wow what total ignorance

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I may be expat but my children are Caymanian. This is the only home they have known. We have to pay a lot of money to send them to private school so they get the best education. That in itself is sad for those who can’t scrape enough together each month to also send their children to private school. I really only hope the government decides to spend money on education and not a stupid port one day. I personally think all schools should be public and the fees can be mellowed out and shared. Maybe then some parents who look at school like free babysitting will start to care.

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    • Caymanians, DEMAND BETTER!! says:

      Thank you! A voice of reason finally speaks! Yes, why pour hundreds of millions of dollars into building a cruise port, when Caymanian children are receiving sub-standard education?? So our children can grow up to sell t-shirts to tourists on our shiny new port???

      Where are your priorities Cayman Islands government? Where are your priorities Caymanians?? Demand better!!! Demand that your children receive the best education possible, so that they can grow up to take advantage of the best career opportunities available in their country!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, all schools should be private, and funded by the public. That way everyone can go to school together and none of the typical government waste, politics and mismanagement will hold the schools or our children back.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Our politicians WANT dumb population to sell t-shirts at port, don’t you get it? They get rich and re-elected… who wants a smart educated voting population? Not our leaders!

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      • Chris Johnson says:

        Two good posts here although no names as usual.

        My beef is that by sending Caymanian children to government schools whilst ex pat kids go to private schools is absolutely unacceptable. In our small ‘ village’ it is vital we mix. Goverment needs fix this racial paradox as a matter of urgency.

        In the 60s and 70s all residents were treated equally on a social basis which included schooling, and we all mixed. We helped each other no matter the creed or religion. Sport was a common denominator as well as the service clubs.

        It all went wrong and the idea of splitting school attendees is not just proposterous but racial and contrary to human rights.

        This government could and should fix it.

        The end ( for the time being)

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    • Anonymous says:

      Does the Cayman Islands have birthright citizenship?

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, but it is possible to have British Overseas Territories Citizenship and be Caymanian by birthright.

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    • Rick says:

      So, you are advocating for turning all educational institutions into government run schools? Given the inspection results, you should be advocating for turning all schools private! What makes you think that throwing more money at government run schools will fix the problems? Did you notice that the $110m Clifton Hunter High was among the failing schools??? And that did not include staffing, administration, upkeep and other support. How much more money should we spend, exactly? Government should get out of education, provide the framework for great education and provide support to locals in the form of vouchers WHERE NECESSARY!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah I get it, but by making it private it also brings in the expensive schools then we all send our children there thus creating the same problem…. because you can’t control the private sector like a public one. Everyone should be more upset that their elected leaders would ruin it! Firstly, start electing people that don’t suck.

      • Anonymous says:

        Spend money on teachers.

        Buildings do not educate anyone.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The government teachers are already paid more than the private school teachers. Many deserve to be paid more, but others should be fired.

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  9. E. Platts says:

    LSHS (formerly Cayman Brac High School) gets better results than other government schools for one simple reason. It is not segregated. Every student benefits as cream rises to the top. It is common knowledge that many Ministry of Education employees send their children to Private Schools yet they make the decisions for public school education. If they had faith in their own public schools would they not send their children there?

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    • Rick says:

      I disagree. I worked in the Brac. Education results there result from a lower student/teacher ratio, an integrated (not desegregated) education system from pre-school through high school and a small-community-effect (village) on child development.

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  10. Caymanians, DEMAND BETTER!!! says:

    Hear that Caymanians? “The two government schools still found to be ‘WEAK’ in overall performance are the Clifton Hunter High School and Savannah Primary.” 5 other public schools are considered “Satisfactory” which is still below the expected standard of “Good”. These are YOUR public schools funded by YOUR public funds, and they FAIL to meet the minimum requirement. And your government wants to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into GT harbor to build a cruise ship port?? Where are your priorities Caymanians?? Why are you not INSISTING that YOUR government spend YOUR money educating YOUR children BETTER?? Your government is allowing this country to become a banana republic populated by uneducated, low income earning people! Why? The revenue generated by this government from import duties and work permits should be funneled into giving your children the best education that YOUR money can buy!! I graduated from John Gray High School in the 1980’s. My fellow classmates are now partners of law firms, partners of accounting firms, Directors and senior management of financials services firms. If John Gray was good enough to prepare us for the future back then, why is it not good enough to prepare YOUR children for the future NOW?? Caymanians, you should be DEMANDING answers from your government officials. You should be DEMANDING that they FIX public education in this country. YOU pay for it!! DEMAND BETTER!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because Caymanians are only keyboard warriors. Go and march for this!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians, DEMAND BETTER!!! – You could not have said it better. Caymanians this is where your control starts from, Your Education. The present Curriculum that is presently being use is foolishness. Get back to basic. DEMAND ANSWERS FROM JULIA OCONNOR. Have she comes out and address the nation with all this failure in her Ministry?NO, but i can assure you when she wanted votes she was in every corner of the Island having big meeting and she took the time to address the nation on this same sex marriage, which was none of her damm business, while her ministry has failed. The Ministry of Education owe all Caymanians an answer and you guys need to DEMAND it. Just like how she beg the nation to shows up and Shantell Wedding, Caymanians you all need to stop a day from work/bar/church and whatever else you all are doing and shows up at her office and DEMAND BETTER for the Children of this country. They cant do it for them selves so let do it for them!!!!!

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      • Chris Johnson says:

        Stop hiding behind anonymous and do something for once. Make an impact. It is your country.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Chris i am not from the Cayman Islands but i visit very often and keeps up with the cayman news therefore i cant do much, i can only encourage them to do what is right. Too much unfairness to the Caymanian coming from their own government in their own country. So Mr. Chris get up and do something if this is your country and you are not hiding..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Intelligent people earn more money. Intelligence is substantially influenced by genetics. It is therefore only natural that private school kids are more intelligent than those at government schools.

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  12. Caymanian education needed says:

    The headline should never read “rich and poor”

    I know several families in private schools who have two or three jobs, so they can send their kids to private school not government schools becuase of the education, so it’s not just the rich kids that go to these schools, personally most of the private schools are from middle class, the rich kids mostly go to the school in Camana Bay.

    Just a few observations I can see.

    Private schools cost between $10/18k pa and kids get a better education

    Government schools spend an average of 50k pa per child.. There’s a problem somewhere!

    In fact that is more expensive than send kids to boarding schools in the UK pa.

    There are way to may chiefs in the school system from the ministry down to the schools themselves.

    Government needs to get a proper consultant say from one of the top private schools in the UK.
    Listen to them, not just take piece piece, like we usually do.

    Hire one head for all the schools someone who is really qualified, not what we have in the ministry right now.

    Cut half the jobs in the ministry.

    Hire and pay better teachers. Now this is a very tough one, maybe becuase it’s so expensive government should build a development for teachers housing making it cheaper for their cost of living.

    Government should allow expats to attend government schools at a lower fee that private, cultures will mix and this is better for all of us. Oh, just like it was back in the 70’s/80’s when I was in school.

    Stricker rules are needed in school. Just look at the Japanese the first two years of their schooling is discipline and manners.

    Parents need to be told to back off and stop threatening our teachers when their kids are disciplined

    Homework, kids hate it, well do what they do in some schools in the UK, certain schools start at 8:30 and finish at 5pm, between 3:30 & 4:30 the kids do their home work, then for the last 30 mins they have relaxed time, games etc. This takes the stress out of the parents for making sure homework is done at night.

    Lastly; Education is probably the biggest problem we have on our islands, this issue really has been put on the back burner for the last 15+ years.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not 50k per pupil more like 12k last time i checked. Your point still stands though. The outcomes are disgraceful for the amount spent. (Over double UK government spend per pupil)

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      • Anonymous says:

        Count the cost of the buildings and maintenance and you will need to revise your figure significantly upwards.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The headline suggests that the entire private school body has been inspected. This is misleading as well as the content of the article. Only a sample of the private schools were done.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I haven’t read the full article yet or all the comments, but I taught in an inner city high school in the states for years. The building was a dump. The administration didn’t care. The teachers were highly motivated and very supportive of students. The students who came to school ( attended each day) & applied themselves did well. These students seemed to have the most family support and also involved in extracurricular activities. The students who hardly showed up, who did not have family support and were not involved in sports or activities seemed to do poorly. I believe students need to apply themselves, have good family support, teachers who care and outside activities to succeed. Rich or poor- new or old building is not the criteria for a good or low level education.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I went to private school. My parents were not rich precisely because I went to private school. We never went on holiday, had the same car for 20 years and never had our own house. Many parents value their childrens education more than shiny new trucks and boats; it doesn’t make them “rich”.

    The real question is why the government schools are so bad given they spend more per pupil!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Private school for some parents means no vacations, no tons of trips to the hairdresser for nails and tips, driving one car and packing lunches, pushing your kids to do their homework stay off the cell phones and crying in your heart when you got to pay for insurance, doctor fees, electricity and pay 1000 a month plus for your child’s education, with not one ounce of help from anyone other than maybe a family member all the while been told to your face your a fool for sending your child private, and having expats treat you with a who do you think you are been here, but when you remember sending and been involved with the public system and having the teachers marginalize your Caymanian child for the new importee kids and having your child come home hurt because those kids act so mean and vindictive you run and don’t look back but pay those private school fees.
    No one helps Caymanians in private.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If the government gave you a voucher equivalent to the money they save in your child not being in the public school systems which you could sue robot for your child’s Pru my education, things would be financially a lot easier. Mind you then every dedicated parent would send their kids private and the public system would get even worse!

  16. Lo-Cal says:

    When you pay $1100 PM for your child to attend private school you best believe that both parents will be involved and demand a certain standard. Especially if they a sacrificing to do so. That alone is the biggest difference between the two. when its your money you tend to care more.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. Public parents are reactive. ‘What, you gave my child a bad grade?!’ ‘What did you do young man?! The teacher says you were rude!’ Following by spankings and church.

      Private parents are proactive. They want their children to learn and make sure that they are learning. They talk to their children about how school went every day and actually look at what’s in their backpacks and keep an eye on who they make friends with. Then you add all the other benefits of private school e.g. smaller numbers, stronger sense of culture, fewer social problems amongst the other students, explicit focus on pastoral care, and you just get better kids in the end period.

      I could easily tell in private school which kids’ parents were sacrificing to put them there and which kids had parents with enough money that it was just an obvious choice, with no sacrifices involved. There were still differences in how we all came out but the ones whose parents (or more often, parent singular) were sacrificing could have turned out much much worse if not for the private school. Even 2 years of A-Levels, with government funding, changed outcomes. And it does not take much to earn the minimum grades to do Sixth Form at Prep or Catholic.

      Bottom line is that private is like an 80% guarantee your kids will turn out well and public is about an 80% guarantee the other way. Yes the parents are the key but if they’re smart enough to make the sacrifices to go private then they’re probably doing a good job of the rest of parenting.

      The parents of kids in private school usually went to private schools themselves so they know what a proper education looks like and why it’s worth paying for. The parents of kids in public school usually went to public schools, or they went private but can’t afford to send their kids private themselves which usually means they failed to take advantage of the private education they got and they’re not very good at raising children anyway.

      There is a lot in this process that the government can’t control. Unfortunately the education system has inequality baked into it because it’s how we raise all of our young as a species which means some are going to do better than others, and the parents of some did better than others, allowing them to put their children in better schools. This dynamic will never change; it never has from the days the dinosaurs with the longest necks could eat from the tallest trees. All you have to know is where you are coming from and therefore where your children are coming from and where you are going and where you want them to go and make your choices accordingly.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I should add that if your kids go to public school and you have a good civil service job and a role at your church and all the rest then your kids are likely to have a wholesome upbringing that feels to them like they are part of society. They will reject drugs and gangs and decide to study and do extra-curriculars and meet kids at private schools and meet employers and get scholarships and get ahead this way. But there really aren’t that many students like this whose parents essentially invest the savings from public school into their children and whole family unit with good clothes, good food, a proper stable roof over their heads, vacations etc. Most of them just blow the money on themselves and yell at their kids when their grades aren’t good.

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      • Anonymous says:

        2:26, you had me agreeing with you in the beginning, but then you stepped over a line!

        Not all kids in private school have parents who went to private, some of us were lucky enough to attend public schools that weren’t a crap shoot and managed to get a good education (and go onto graduate college even). For you to say those parents who went to private but can’t afford to send their kids to private means they’ve failed as a parent is waaay out of line! You don’t know their situation, what they have to pay for, if they’re a single parent struggling with the ridiculous cost of rent and groceries. Please don’t judge and be so broad based with your opinions, it’s not helping.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t mean to say not sending kids private is failing as a parent. I am saying if you actually believe public schools here are good enough then you are probably not a professional or personal success and are not passing on good habits and health to your children anyway so it won’t matter much which school you put them in. On the other hand if you are sacrificing to put them in private school even if you didn’t go to private school yourself, you are probably making other sacrifices and putting other valuable efforts into your children.

          There are always exceptions but certain patterns are always there.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Took much Jesus business, not enough real learning in the Public schools.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Since the one school (in the article) covering all ages and judged good is a church school I don’t think the problem can be ‘too much Jesus business’.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The ‘Jesus business’ at that school is kept to the bare minimum and as a result does not stop children from all faiths, denominations and backgrounds from being welcome and excelling, while keeping their identities, if they have the ability. Other church schools teach that God/Jesus will take care of all if you are faithful and the predictable results happen.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The OP was public schools. Now you’re claiming to compare church school vs church school to try and justify why too much Jesus is bad? – Just stop.

      • Anonymous says:

        The church schools which overemphasize the Jesus business fail just as badly or worse than the public schools.

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    • Anonymous says:

      suck a coconut bobo

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    • Rick says:

      An idiotic comment on so many levels. In fact, private schools focus more on religeon.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I think its hilarious that parents with kids at private schools don’t consider themselves “rich”. I pay more in tuition for my children than the average domestic helper makes in a year (and they don’t go to CIS). I don’t drive a fancy car and don’t live in a canal-front neighborhood, but by comparison, and by any economic standard, I am most certainly rich! And so are you!

    If you disagree I suggest you take a drive down some Cayman neighborhoods you’ve probably never been in!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The survey doesn’t weigh parent wealth, it reviews performance and education standards. By that measure, private school teachers aren’t paid more than public school teachers, often 000s/yr less. That’s the only ponderable cost equation that should matter to public school parents enrolled at schools with failing standards.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The gap is in fact larger. The results from the Brac skew the statistics in favour of the Public Schools. The issue is bigger than it first appears.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Within Education there are some weak individuals who have for one reason or another failed within the system. This is not always their fault because they were allowed to take up positions for which they were not qualified.
    Many years ago the then Minister responsible for Education, Benson Ebanks told teachers that Cayman was affluent enough to be able to afford the best teachers for our children. While it was his dream that those teachers should be Caymanian, status should not be a right of passage and that all teachers (and leaders) should be willing and able to compete with the world’s best.
    Today much money has been spent on school inspections and the results are in. Unfortunately instead of addressing the real issues ( poor teaching, weak middle management etc) two weak schools have been given new Principals who have no experience in school leadership and appear unqualified to address the issues of a failing school.In addition a number of the weak teachers are still taking up space in classrooms.
    I suspect that in UK weak schools would be subject to special measures with leadership placed in the hands of experienced leaders who have successfully worked with many of the problems that have been identified in Cayman’s schools.
    Please, for our children’s sake stop being blinded by paper qualifications from online diploma mills etc and seek real solutions from individuals who have the actual experience of redirecting failing schools. If necessary seek help from The Office of Education Standards in addressing the major issues that they have identified in their reports.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:12 In theory failing schools can be put into outside administration or closed down but it doesn’t seem to happen very often.

      All schools in the UK, private and public, come under scrutiny from Ofsted. If they don’t meet standards Ofsted ramps up the inspections but doesn’t appear to do much else. They huff and puff in the media but never really move things on.

      One of the most obvious areas where Ofsted has proved totally ineffective is their monitoring of Muslim schools. You see numerous reports criticising them for radicalisation and discrimination against women students but to date they haven’t stopped it.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    The assumption that if a child goes to private school means they are rich, or that if a child goes to a government school they are poor is incorrect. Do not make sweeping generalizations about the students, or their families income. Focus the story on the schools, the resources, the support, the family involvement … those are the things which make a difference.

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    • Jotnar says:

      The assumption that the fee size has a causative effect on the results is also incorrect. Just look at the assessment of teaching standards, yet .remember that CIG spends more on public schools per student than the private schools do. The students, their parents, the quality of the tuition and government management of education all have a role.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Where is the report for CIS – perhaps the highest cost private school?

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Couple this with the article in other media, regarding Government school teachers having their pay increase delayed, and one begins to wonder if the current Government even gives a damn.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Investigate the parent involvement across the schools. I think you will find that is an even greater reason for the gap. In recent years I have seen A-level students from the public schools put the private school students to shame when they have come together for those studies. So there is more to the problem than simply the schools.
    We simply have too many unwanted offspring that are not properly cared for. They are left to fend for themselves and not assisted in their learning.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    There is a large group of Caymanians who do not really value education. Many are in government and some have been premier.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    This is a bit of irresponsible reporting. The spend per child is much higher in public school than private. Therefore the “fees” paid by government (not parents) is higher than parents pay in private schools. The correlation between school performance is more correlated with (1) quality of teachers. (2) behaviour of students (3) respect between teachers and students (4) parent participation.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    The private school teachers, on average paid less than the public school teachers, tend to be eager young recruits, having recently attended teacher’s colleges in the States and elsewhere, and are familiar with evolutionary science and modern curriculums. The difference is in quality of recruitment, rather than a socio-economic gap. Public schools could just as easily import better teachers, if failing successive rounds of reviews, actually mattered to them.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    The issue is mismanagement, it really is that simple.

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  29. Read more says:

    Riddle me this: Government will fully fund a Caymanian child through A-levels if they have progressed through the public school system; however, if a Caymanian child has gone through the private school system then government will only make a nominal contribution to their A-level school fees. How does this make any sense? They’re all Caymanian, and should be treated equally.

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    • Laila says:

      I don’t think the compensation is because the child holds Caymanian nationality/status I’m pretty sure the funding is more so in relation to needs-based criteria

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Law demands that they be treated equally. Class action anyone? Government would almost certainly settle before you even get to talk to a judge. Such a shame they have to be forced to not only do the right thing, but follow their own law!

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      • Anonymous says:

        The laws of the Cayman Islands are primarily based on positive discrimination. Equal rights don’t exist here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check your facts.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Clearly the private schools are delivering good value for money spent. With all the public funds spent on the public school system, where’s the value?

    Can’t blame the private schools for excelling or parents who can afford them or those who sacrifice.

    Government needs to stop changing the curricula and strategic direction every year and stick to a model which will work!

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  31. Anonymous says:

    This is the source of most of Cayman’s issues. This is where our resources should be going. We would get a far better return on investment from the education system than we’ll ever get from a cruise port.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Public schools don’t pay for themselves. Revenue sources like the port and airport pay for many other government services including education.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Resources? Nonsense. The problem is not the resources. It is the waste of them. They have more money per child than private schools, and that does not count free facilities! Just privatize all schools and give Caymanian parents vouchers for school fees. Mandate that no healthy child can advance a grade until they are ready. Provide after school remedial English and Math etc. to help this kids in need catch up, and leave government for the immediate dealing only with special needs children (in relation to whom they seem to be doing a reasonable job).

      48
      • Anonymous says:

        You will also need to force all of the schools to take all ability level students as well.

        8
        3
        • Anonymous says:

          The private schools do.

          5
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          • Anonymous says:

            No. They do not. The private schools are all selective, based on their own criteria.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, the private schools take a lot, and have improved their ‘special needs assistance’ over the years, but there is a cadre of students between ‘set 1’ and ‘lighthouse’ (to use old parlance) that the private schools will not take. And that is, generally, the cadre of students historically let down by the public school system.

            (Smart / family supported kids do fine regardless, lighthouse does a fine job. Its the lower ability students that don’t do fine in public schools and and are not accepted into private schools. To oversimplify.)

            • Anonymous says:

              I agree, although Hope Academy seems to take on many of those students you mentioned. My child attends the new school in town, Footsteps. They are amazing. They’ve given full scholarships to some smart Caymanian students who were at government schools. Private school expats and government school Caymanians are integrating and getting equal opportunities. ALL schools need to step up and do this. Integration and equality like this will change our society for the better!

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve always said the reverse: make all of the schools public. Turn the parents from my old private school loose on the public schools and Education Department/Ministry and watch the fur fly. (They were unfairly negative to the teachers & staff, but be assured Little Timmy learned sumpin.)

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Not about the money. More money is spent per head on government schools students than most private school students. It is about quality of teachers, curriculum, quality of lessons, class sizes, behaviors, lack of support by parents, and an insistence by government to advance children through grades whether or not they are ready to.

    82
    • Anonymous says:

      As a comment below states, it is more likely the value that the parents feel is in the education. Government spends more on public students and public school teachers are higher paid, so money is not the issue. Education starts at the home, value for education starts at the home, caring for others, the community and the environment starts ate home. We have a much more broken family unit in Cayman now that we did before. This is a societal issue, not a school funding one. Parents need to step up.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Wait, you mean that solo mums raising three kids with three different baby daddies by the age of 21 doesn’t lead to good kids? Shocked!

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    • Read more says:

      I was going to make a similar comment. How can government pay more per student for a public school education, and yet the students generally receive a better education at the private schools? Clifton Hunter has incredible facilities, but there is a key ingredient missing from the mix: parental involvement/student commitment/teacher commitment? It’s baffling. I do realise that this is a sweeping generalisation, and there are fully committed stakeholders in some of the public school system.

      33
      • Anonymous says:

        Clifton hunter lacks the quality students that it takes to receive good or excellent passes. Weed out the kids who should be in trade school and you will see the marks go up…

        Yes it sounds mean, but the truth is the truth.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Weed them out? Like kick them out of school? I’m not so sure ‘ how education is supposed to work….

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          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, kick them out of school. If they don’t show any aptitude for primary and secondary school they won’t be able to do college or university anyway. Just get them into a job they might be able to master and charge a decent fee for doing. If they want to further their educations later in life let them. Keep the “I’m With Stupid” kids with each other.

            3
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          • Anonymous says:

            No, put them in the right courses

        • Anonymous says:

          Seems like a comment from a failing teacher who once said “give me good kids and I will be a good teacher”.

          11
        • Anonymous says:

          Umm – this is an article about the quality of the teaching, not the results. I know everyone conflates the two, but they are separate issues. you can have the best teachers and resources but if the students are at the wrong end of the bell curve or the parents don’t give a damn results will suffer, but this is about the government not even keeping up their part of the deal. This issue is about the quality of tuition being crap despite throwing money at the schools.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Parents need to take more responsibility for the education of their children. While I accept that there are issues with the delivery of quality educational services, the truth that many don’t want to admit is the fact that the fundamental issues we face are with parents that are uncaring and unconcerned about their children.

    Nonviolent child abuse and neglect are things that largely go unpunished in the Cayman Islands. Additionally, because public education is mostly free, parents don’t take the education of their children seriously.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely correct. About five years ago, I was part of a group that was presenting primary school kids special awards at the schools on their “Awards Day” near the end of the school year. At the private schools, the auditoriums were full of parents. At the government schools, there were hardly any parents. I made a remark about that to one of the teachers at a government primary school and she said it was par for the course; that most parents didn’t care at all to be involved in their child’s/children’s education, except maybe to complain about a bad grade or disciplinary action. A former public school high school teacher told me that more than half of the parents didn’t even bother to come an collect the final grades of their child/children at the end of the school year. Money will not solve this problem. The only way to address it is by being tough on parents, but of course, they’re voters so the politicians will offer nothing but platitudes… and a shiny new curriculum or school they promise will solve all the problems.

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      • Anonymous says:

        A substantial number of the parents concerned are expats. Get your head around that. We have imported some of these people, educate (and medicate) their children for free, and then they play little to no role properly raising them.

        The suggestion that only Caymanians can go to government schools is simply untrue. There are many many expats in them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Ah yes, again expats are the only issue…

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          • Anonymous says:

            Most of the failing teachers are expats, and many of the students in the failing system are expats, so expats are part of the issue (but not all of it).

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        • Anonymous says:

          Get your head out of… wherever it is. Most expats do not go to government schools and of the student body of government schools mostly (by far) Caymanian. Some of these imported people, as you call them, are now Caymanian as well, whether you like it or not. And these people vote, too. One of the current MLAs was elected mainly on the votes of new Caymanians that were born in Caribbean Basin countries. Stop trying to blame expats for everything.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Caribbean Basin…eugh. Sounds like a drain being circled by sargassum. These are the Cayman Islands where we don’t want anyone from any basins, thanks.

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          • Anonymous says:

            A civil servant from a neighboring island is an expat. His or her child (or 10 children) in a government school are expats. Their teacher from a neighboring island is an expat. You cannot assume that everyone is local. Hundreds of children in government schools are not Caymanian.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It’s the expats fault! Beautiful! Of course it is.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not all public school parents are disinterested and don’t ‘bother’ to show up. Some of us work shifts and our employer doesn’t have the flexibility to give us an hour off at 8:30am. Others simply cannot risk asking for time off lest it be used against us at our workplace.

        Higher paid professionals and those in management have more flexibility that the lower income workers.

        11
    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Parents need to stop blaming government and look in the mirror.

      If you decide to have the child you need to take ownership of their upbringing, don’t just rely on someone else to do it for you.

      The Earth is crowded enough and if you aren’t willing to put in the work that comes with being a parent then don’t have children. There are too many single parent families on this island, fathers need to step up or keep it zipped.

      16
      • Anonymous says:

        But the fathers are in other countries and our government refuses to enforce the Maintenance Law (or anything else).

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    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely right. Teachers face an uphill struggle when parents cannot be bothered to get involved. This is a long post because it’s something I have strong feelings about.

      Any successful education programme must be a joint effort between the school, the students and the parents. Before I first went to school in the UK in 1956 (showing my age there!) my mother (who was a teacher and was still teaching remedial English to adults when in her 80s) ensured I could read, write and do basic arithmetic. It was the same for my younger brother and sister when their schooldays began. Mum even made it all the more enjoyable by showing us how useful these skills were going to be. We lived in a mainly working-class part of London and were definitely in the minority on this. In those days of mass unskilled and semi-skilled employment, way too many people didn’t see the value in a proper education. It was something you got out of the way so you could go out to work, often in the same place your father and your uncles worked, and earn money.

      How much difference this parental involvement made to our futures became apparent when we all sat the dreaded 11-plus. Not only did we all pass and go on to grammar schools, but I was one of only two successful candidates in a class of 30+ (I think it was 35). A few years later (in the ‘Swinging 60s’) when it was time to make the decision whether to start work (I went into the civil service) or go to university the job market was still strong but that soon started to change. Within a few years unemployment began to rise and the demand for unskilled labour fell off. If you didn’t have a decent education you were, as many of the people we’d all grown up with found out, in trouble.

      I can see some similarities in this to the situation in the Cayman Islands. By now it should be clear to parents that the days when the old entitlement mentality prevailed and all you needed to get a job was to be a Caymanian are over. If their sons and daughters don’t get a proper education, they’re potentially facing a lifetime of unemployment. A few years ago, I sat in on a session when a group of teenage male students, mostly with very poor grades, discussed their plans for the future. It was a farce! They were all talking about professional careers (architect was a common option) but didn’t seem to grasp the reality that in order to work in these areas you needed a bit more than year one maths. The assumption was that, as they were Caymanian, they could just walk into somewhere and be trained or, as at least two of the fathers had apparently done, get a high-paid job to make up the numbers and sit around doing nothing. The message now should be simple, ‘The days of the free rides are over.’ If you don’t get that across quickly this is a ticking timebomb waiting to go off.

      21
      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. I want to add that my mother did not finish school because of poverty. And because of religion had a lot of children. But similarly although none of us went to preschool , by the time we were of school age, we all knew our letters, could count and could write. All because my mother took time with all of us to read to us, teach us to count and even held our hands and taught us to write. So while religion was there, the importance of education was also passed down. We went to school with a healthy respect for the teachers and learnt. We all have university degrees although we were poor because of our parents commitment to education.

        13
  34. Anonymous says:

    Waiting for certain MLA’s to propose that all children should be forced into government schools.

    11
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    • Anonymous says:

      So that the intelligent ones suffer?

      The reason for the passes in the “rich” schools is simply because of the caliber student that attends…

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      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t think that’s true. Just as many smart poor kids as rich; intelligence is not hereditary. No difference in funding either. The difference is the parents and teachers. Despite failing grades and pathetic results all round the only thing I hear government teachers talking about is their pay raise…

        • Anonymous says:

          the break down in the nuclear family (for all the reasons we know of), the priortising by parents of “material” choices over the making of the best choices for he family and the intergenerational vortex of self perputating sub-standard education in the public schools….. I see the CVs and cover “letters” when they come in…..its beyond disheartening….

  35. Anonymous says:

    My kids go to one of those private schools. I can assure you we are not “rich”. We make sacrifices in order to facilitate. Life is full of choices. Choose wisely.

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    • Anonymous says:

      7:25, your child/children should not only have to go to a private school to get a good education. Every school should be delivering right across the board whether private or public.

      18
      • Anonymous says:

        9:54, correct- we shouldn’t have to send our kids to private school for a better education but the truth is, that’s what we have to do! We tried going the public school route, it was nice for one year and absolutely horrible the year after that! Now they all go to private and are excelling, in education and self-worth.

        I agree the parents are a big part of the problem with the failing marks, but what’s worse is the Dept of Education- they are never held accountable for the failures! We need a clean sweep of that department, get some fresh blood in there and turn this bus around! Our kids deserve better; they shouldn’t have to be taught by someone who receiving failing marks in their lesson planning! If they can’t even get a good mark there, how the heck are the kids supposed to pass?!!

        28
    • Anonymous says:

      7:25 You are a great parent, your kids must be proud of you.

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