Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts exploring the results of the first cycle of school inspections by the Cayman Islands Office of Education Standards.
The average number of students per teacher varies widely among Cayman Islands schools, including among government schools, according to a Cayman Current analysis of statistics released by the Office of Education Standards
Setting aside the smallest schools (with 10 or fewer students), student-teacher ratios at primary and secondary schools range from 6 students per teacher (Grace Christian Academy) to 22 students per teacher (Prospect Primary School).
On average, there are 10 students per teacher in Cayman’s primary and secondary schools.
Of the 7 schools with the highest student-teacher ratios, 6 are government primary schools in Grand Cayman (with student-teacher ratios ranging from 13:1 to 22:1).
On the other end of the spectrum, Cayman Brac’s primary and high schools have significantly lower student-teacher ratios than Grand Cayman’s schools, with about 7 students per teacher at both Layman E. Scott High School and Creek & Spot Bay Primary School.
By comparison, the student-teacher ratios at John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School are 11:1 and 10:1, respectively.
At the country’s largest schools (500 or more students), student-teacher ratios range from 8:1 (Cayman International School) to 11.5:1 (Cayman Prep and High School).
Schools also employ a significant number of support staff (i.e. assistant teachers). In both private and public schools, there is about 1 support staff member for every 2 teachers.
Overall, public schools have an average student-teacher ratio of 11:1, and at private schools it is 9:1.
Not surprisingly, schools that cater to students with special education needs, such as Lighthouse School and Hope Academy, tend to have greater numbers of teachers and support staff per student.
The Auditor General’s October 2019 report on education states that student-teacher ratio “is not an indicator of better educational outcomes”, while noting that it “is one of the few measures set for education” by the government.
According to the Auditor General’s report, “The Budget Statements specify that the average student-teacher ratio (STR) for Cayman Islands public schools should be 15:1 for primary schools and between 10:1 and 13:1 for secondary schools.”
In regard to Early Childhood Care and Education Centres (ECCEs), the student-teacher ratios are lower than for primary and secondary schools, averaging about 7 teachers per student.