School inspections to focus on local students

| 08/10/2020 | 44 Comments
Photo from the Office of Education Standards report

(CNS) The Office of Education Standards has published a new document that will guide the inspection of schools from the beginning of next year. The document builds on the framework published in June 2018 but has some significant changes, including the decision to single out and compare the achievement of Caymanian students. OES Director Peter Carpenter said the changes would help raise standards across schools.

“Evidence from the last cycle of inspections has identified aspects of school performance which require attention to help secure further improvement,” Carpenter stated.

The main changes in the new framework, Successful Schools and Achieving Students 2, include outlining progress made by different groups of students, with a specific focus on how well Caymanian students are doing compared to non-Caymanian kids in all schools.

“The different groups of students shall include boys and girls, lower and higher attaining students and those with special educational needs or particular talents. As an agency within the Cayman Islands Government, the Office of Education Standards will be particularly focused on helping improve the achievement of Caymanian students,” Carpenter said. “Inspectors will examine any disparities in progress between groups of students and report on any significant differences.”

The framework also places greater focus on transitions, encouraging schools to make better arrangements to support students as they move from one phase of education to the next to ensure better progress.

“It was evident from the first round of inspections that the quality of transition arrangements for students was variable across schools and, at times, there was insufficient attention given to helping ensure a smooth transfer as students progressed from one educational setting to the next,” Carpenter said.

Another change is an additional criteria for schools to reach the top grade. ‘Excellent’ schools will now also be characterised by their active support of other educational institutions who are performing less effectively. So schools offering professional development opportunities and sharing resources will be recognised for that contribution to other schools.

The focus on school leaders will include the innovative ways they may have improved the progress of their students and the impact on their institutions.

“The actions of school leaders are now to be evaluated more closely in terms of the resultant impact upon the quality of teaching and the progress made by students,” Carpenter wrote in his introduction to the new framework. “In this next round of school reviews, OES inspectors will expect school leaders to be more accurate and comprehensive in their self-evaluation.”

The importance of governance arrangements and the contribution that parents and other stakeholders can make has been elevated in the criteria. The revised framework will also provide more detailed exemplar materials outlining the characteristics of effective practice in early years’ contexts.

Following the recent pandemic, schools are encouraged to develop comprehensive home-learning programmes which ensure continuity of learning for students, making effective use of IT to facilitate students’ independence and responsibility for learning.

Schools can expect an increased focus on health and safety compliance concerning environmental health, fire and other mandatory regulations.  ‘Satisfactory’ schools must be fully compliant with all issued regulatory requirements, including those defined for early years centres within Education Council guidance.

In 2021 reports will include an overview of progress made since the last OES inspection.

The framework emerged following consultations with educators and other stakeholders between April and July. Over 200 contributors offered advice to OES about school inspections that were progressing well and areas that were not. Feedback on the proposed framework was also given by the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education Services.

The new framework is already available online and paper copies will be delivered to all schools and early learning centres across the Cayman Islands early next month.

Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said the ministry was committed to supporting all schools as they improve the quality of education provision in the Cayman Islands.

“I am confident that the improved framework provided by ‘Successful Schools and Achieving Students 2’ will allow our educational establishments to continue to deliver the highest standard of education for all students,” she said.         

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Category: Education, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Could someone explain why the proposal is to have a “specific focus on how well Caymanian students are doing compared to non-Caymanian kids in all schools.“? In the government schools there should be very few non-Caymanian kids (they are not allowed), and in the private schools you assume the majority are expat kids. So why not compare how private schools are doing vs government schools rather than singling out Caymanian kids vs non-Caymanian kids? Seems odd. Education levels are usually down to socio-economic factors, not nationality.

    • Anonymous says:

      True true! I applaud you 7:11 pm. Another thing to keep us divided, just when things started to turn around for education in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with your first point only. I disagree with point number 2. It is divisive. There is nothing turning around in education; it’s the same shit show.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? LOL. Need you ask? Because they are incompetent fools that is why. By the way, great point. Those were my exact thoughts once I read the article. It’s a devisive policy and thing to do. Not at all well thought out.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are many non-Caymanians in government schools… how could you say they’re not allowed?

      • Anonymous says:

        Govt schools only accept Caymanians, kids with PR or kids of CIG workers. So the vast majority will be Caymanians.

  2. Anonymous says:

    School inspections ought to go the way of the Dodo. The Office of Education Standards is just another bureaucratic monster and nightmare that will continuously invent reasons to justify its own existence.

    The only role for inspectors is that of instructors. Give each inspector a home room, starting Year 1 onward, and provide teachers from the various schools with time (several one week segments throughout the year) to visit those classrooms and to learn from the inspectors.

    This will never happen however, as these former failed and mostly incompetent inspector teachers will resign en masse and/or would never agree to it. One must remember, they left teaching mostly because they couldn’t handle teaching. Inspectors can never do what they preach and/or expect of others. They’re similar to most clueless upper management who occasionally drop in from their high-fallutin’ celestial offices to say jolly (not) well, provide you with completely useless and unrealistic opinions on how you can increase productivity by 1000%, look down their long noses at you, etc.


    1. ban inspectors outright
    2. make inspectors them teach – they’ll quit.
    3. stop burdening teachers with untold amounts of paperwork and other unnecessary responsibilities, and let them teach
    4. stop switching the curriculum, resources, etc. with every governmental change and/or every two years, whichever comes first
    5. allow teachers to discipline and provide consequences for misbehaviour – support those teachers
    6. find a way to hold parents responsible/accountable for their children
    7. promote learning at every turn
    8. stream students as early as middle school

    You do this, you may stand a chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      9. Incentivize learning and invest in Education. Families of Straight A students receive $125 per month from government to be invested into a College Education Fund. Students receive $25 of the money to spend at will. Families of B students receive $75 from government.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Government already pays more per student than what a private school cost. And yet the education is many times lower. Maybe they should start be inspecting where all the money goes. And if Juju is the head of education that should explain why education is sub par. Poor Caymanians. When the problem is you then the problem will never go away.

  4. Anon. says:

    “Following the recent pandemic, schools are encouraged…..” Thank God that’s all behind us then.

  5. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day the fundamental problem is with uncaring parents.

    The solution includes the introduction of meaningful school fees to offset the high cost of providing an education for the children of uncaring parents.

    The fees can be reduced or removed when parents, through their children’s performance, demonstrate that they are doing their part to ensure that their children are achieving at an agreed standard.

    • Concerned Teacher says:

      Dumb kids pay more for education?

      That’s a stellar idea for sure,

      Dumb kids take up far too much teacher time and are generally the worst offenders for class room disturbance.

      Perhaps implement a sliding scale for discounts

      Katie Shaw gets A’s all round – 95% Off
      Tom Smith gets some B’s and C’c – 45% off
      Shaneqia Bodden gets D’s – 10% off
      Princess Ebanks get F’s – 50% premium on top

      Genius idea, teachers are happier and the schools make bank.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hopefully the teachers get implicit bias training as well. Look at the name choices this poster utilized with their example of grading results. Shameful. “Tom” and “Katie” at the top, “Shaneqia” and “Princess” at the bottom. No surprise they’ve also chosen to include “Bodden” and “Ebanks” for the latter two as well…

        • Concerned teacher. says:


          This is explicit bias based wholly on experience teaching on this island.

          The less intellectually gifted kids in caymanian school are predominately “generational Caymanians” and the statement was based on this fact.

          Parents who are products of caymanian schools are poorly educated entitled and completely void of any intellectual clarity. Tie that to the worrying cases of incest that are common knowledge but never punished. It’s no wonder the kids struggle to succeed

          • Anonymous says:

            You are rude, WAY off base and, hopefully not really one of our teachers!

            I am one of those “generational Caymanians” you described so poorly. I excelled in school locally, in my externally written/graded exams, in university, in graduate school, professional certifications and beyond. My children have gone on to do the same. Many of my “generational Caymanian” friends/family have done the same.

            • Concerned Teacher says:

              Surely you are aware of the issues with schooling here on island?

              Where do you suggest the problem lies? Is it the “driftwood” class that supports Caymanian life? Or those dreaded expats doing all the dirty work? Or is it Big Bad Dart who’s slowly dragging a backward nation to the forefront via investment and insightful philanthropy?

              No its poor parenting from dumb parents and labour laws that overcoddle local employees to such level that they become almost untouchable in the workplace.

              “Why should I work? they cant do shit anyway” This is a direct quote from a colleague in my first week on island 7 years ago. She’s still teaching today

          • Anonymous says:

            With purported teachers like you it’s a wonder any local students do succeed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply make ALL those contracted civil servants with children paying minimum fee, pay same rate charged in private sector.

      People still don’t understand that rules for school fees are different for civil servant expats vs expats in private sector who are always accused of ONLY wanting the private school but they don’t have a choice, but the contracted civil servants do and where do most of the civil servants come from?

      Put the pieces together Generational Caymanians and see who is reaping all the benefits of this country.

      They appear to automatically know their jobs are permanent; that they will get PR and status and their contracts will always be renewed

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Inspectorate is yet another waste of government money. Right now schools have cleaners sitting around all day to wipe down door handles 3 times a day. The “cleaner” at one observed school works in a business suit. Really?

    • Anonymous says:

      And the head if the inspectorate left the island last month. Assume he’s working remotely?!

      • Anonymous says:

        His wife didn’t hide the fact they were leaving. Wonder why he’s being paid until Dec (see CNS story today).

  7. anon says:

    So we now require the top performing private schools to subsidise the poor performing Govt schools or be downgraded?.Why should they be penalised for relieving Govt of their responsility for providing good educational standards in state schools. They already offer scholarships or subsidised fees to poor students.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree! Private schools do their part and then some!!! Adding a requirement for them to now provide services to government schools is stupid and unfair.

      Parents need to do the same!

      I went to both private and government schools here but throughout both…..I knew I better give school my damn best effort as my parents expected that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Here are my two cents on school inspections:

    1. Pop up unannounced. (Give schools a general idea when inspections will happen but not a specified day/date). This way transparency becomes the model of the day;

    2. Have some modeling of what Inspectors deem Great practice. Too much finger-pointing and not enough demonstration of expertise;

    3. Local and Overseas Inspectors should be recent transitional teachers – from classroom to OES. Often we find that inspectors have left the classroom too long and the fact of the matter may have taught at the ‘better schools’ and they themselves would struggle in the challenging schools, to say the least;

    4. Staff Development for teachers must be more than a day or two of workshops. (Much of which is just to fill the PD days in the school calendar); and finally

    5. School Leaders, including the DES and Ministry of Education MUST be made accountable for much of the mess we find happening in our schools. All the blame should not be just on the teachers, students, and parents.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 12:25 When you have the Minister of Education (what a misnomer that is!) getting her drawers in a twist about civil partnerships more than the literacy of children, then you’re in a bad way. Totally unsuitable to be in charge of Education.

    • Anonymous says:

      So I’m going to say this knowing full well the backlash that will ensue. At some point this nation needs to make a choice between having a quality education system, and providing educational jobs for Caymanians. I know everyone wants both; but right now that’s not really realistic. People all over the world have taught with great success in much worse conditions with much greater challenges and much less money. If you could fix everything right now in the system it will still take years to actually realize the results. Kids too far in a bad system are too far gone. Too many pieces of this puzzle (Caymanian and expat) are not good enough at what they do. There are world class experts everywhere with experience that could come in and fix this all right now for the right price and with the right leadership. But making sure mediocre individuals (Caymanian or not) keep their jobs cannot come before the creation of the system. Then you could work Caymanian employment back into the works. But right now if you wanted to fix this, hire a few hundred EXPERTS in this and get it done and fixed. It’s a small system with a ton of cash and no reason besides ineptitude that these kids don’t flourish.
      My two cents.

      • Anonymous says:

        5:21 All sounds great but the that has to go alongside the scrapping of this ridiculous ‘Caymanians must get an interview/the job/first refusal’ nonsense. If a person, ANY person, isn’t the right fit for the job then they shouldn’t get it.

        How often have we seen people placed in very highly paid jobs with huge responsibilities just because of their Caymanian background? And who ultimately make a pig’s ear of the job and are then suspended or simply disappear to another similar job?

        There definitely are very well qualified, capable and dynamic locals. I’ve met them. They stand out a mile against their fellow islanders. But there is also a percentage of local people who are in way over their heads in their particular role.

        I’m in a position where I get to see first hand the literacy levels of some Caymanians and it is quite frankly frightening at times. Spelling, grammar, diction, and sentence construction are way below what I would expect.

        Please Cayman, fix this as a priority. Then you can do what a large portion of this island wants. The work permit holders to go home and leave Cayman for Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          Many, many local teachers have incredibly poor grammar. This is who their students emulate.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. That’s why I said it’ll be an unpopular idea. But putting Caymanian employment (in education) ahead of Caymanian education is setting up generations of kids for continued failure forever. I want my kids taught by the best teachers led by the best leaders in an organization comprised of the best organizers; and I couldn’t care less where they come from. This country has to make that choice. I have a sinking feeling they already have.

      • Anonymous says:

        Constantly hiring “Experts” to “fix” the problem is the reason why the education system is so broken. The approach to the delivery of education is extremely weird in the Cayman Islands. This is the first place I’ve taught where the department of education behaves as if it’s the first time they are running a school….like education is new and this is the only island offering education. Every time an expert comes and offers a system/approach it is taken as gospel and implemented immediately, every year. The shinier the system the better. Every year a different approach, nothing constant. No looking at the data to see what works or how it works and if it is appropriate for the Cayman Islands.
        I am glad travel and gathering is restricted as it spared me from having a sit through another speech from some “expert” who only taught for one year and left many moons ago because teaching was not for him.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t mean an expert consultant. I mean expert teachers with proven track records. Hire everyone who has done this before and done it well. As you said it’s like it’s the first time they’ve done this and it shows. No consultants or speeches needed. Just recruit a few hundred people with the RIGHT backgrounds and experiences and let them do their thing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you! I strongly believe there is a plan somewhere to keep Caymanian children behind, but never mind that.

          Next August, we’ll be back to square 1- students performing well below their age mates. Oh and the ‘experts’ are confused when they see Caymanian children mastering the curriculum because the plan wasn’t/ isn’t for them to “pass.”

          -Frustrated Caymanian Teacher

          • Anonymous says:

            If you’re really a Caymanian teacher then I think you may have just made the point for posters above. Your statement makes very little sense and is a wildly poor argument for anything. Kids aren’t mastering anything here for the most part. Literacy and math rates are appalling and you’re talking about kids mastering them and perplexing us because there’s a conspiracy to keep them down? I don’t follow. Please don’t teach my kids this. Thanks

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop recruiting teachers who have never travelled outside of their communities. Years ago, teachers were selected from other jurisdictions and proved their worth, unlike those who are hired now. The dialect is not what’s needed here, it’s spoken English. Change the way teachers are being interviewed and selected, only then will there be improvement in the children/classrooms.

      • Anonymous says:


        I’m not sure if you are alluding to teachers being recruited from a particular Caribbean country, but FYI it’s just as difficult to relate to teachers from the mother country or wherever else you prefer.

        Maybe you could work on recruiting and retaining CAYMANIAN teachers. Let me find out how many teachers are currently in the UCCI Teacher Education program, maybe 5 or less…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Too much focus on assessment…let’s get on with learning. I lost it for inspectors years ago when we were told it was unsafe for our kids to walk to school…in a very safe rural community.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It sure would be good to see the policy and transparency with generational Caymanian children entrance to local private schools. What priority is placed on Caymanians vis a vis children of Work Permit holders regarding places, would be a good start.

    • Anonymous says:

      If your think this is the problem then you need to go to a good expat run school you can afford.

    • I can only drive in the right hand lane says:

      I imagine the requirement for any potential entrant is that you have to pay your private school fees. Why try and make it an “us” vs “them” issue?

    • Anonymous says:

      They cannot make Caymanians a priority in private schools when expat children are not allowed in government schools. With that said, if a caymanian parent attended the private school then the child does get priority over others.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is wishful thinking. Government needs to keep their subsidy in place so they can see the books and have a say for Caymanians.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stop inspecting, start teaching.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      This can only happen in the selection process. Language, pronunciation and travel abroad should equate to experience for hire. Too many are selected and have no travel/teaching experience. We need seasoned teachers, who are equipped and can master the trade, not fill a position.

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