24 Jan. 2021
Weekly Current (archived version)
Comparing the most (and least) expensive schools in Cayman. Profile of UWC Cayman Islands. Extended tender period for Bodden Town School Hall. New Provost and VP at UCCI named. LIFE gives big to Red Bay Primary. And more!
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
In terms of per-student cost, what are the most and least expensive schools in the Cayman Islands?
That’s the question we tackle in this week’s addition to the Cayman Current’s Schools Explorer project.
While the first 5 stories in our series focussed on information from the Office of Education Standards, for this story we relied on an October 2019 report from the Auditor General on the education system, as well as information from private schools’ websites and from other sources, such as Cayman Resident and Cayman Parent guides.
According to the auditors’ report, the government doesn’t usually keep track of numbers such as ‘cost-per-student’, but auditors calculated those figures for public schools for their report. For private schools, we used their annual tuition fees (or monthly fees, prorating for the length of the school calendar).
We ended up with a list of Cayman’s 30 primary and secondary schools with the estimated cost for each student to attend for a year.
Here’s what we found:
- The most-expensive schools tend to be very small (< 50 students) and/or cater to students with special needs.
- Excluding the small and specialised schools, the most-expensive school is Layman E. Scott High School on Cayman Brac ($19,337 per student per year).
- The second-most-expensive school is Cayman International School ($17,120 ).
- Four of the top 5 most-expensive schools are public schools (Layman Scott, Creek & Scott Bay Primary Schools, West End Primary School, and Clifton Hunter High School), and 3 of those schools are located on Cayman Brac.
- The 10 most-expensive public schools were all rated ‘Satisfactory’ by school inspectors (except Lighthouse School, the only public school to earn a ‘Good’ rating, and Clifton Hunter, which was rated ‘Weak’.).
- The 6 most-expensive private schools were all rated ‘Good’.
To add some context to the issue of education spending, we also incorporated into the story some key findings from the AG’s comprehensive 2019 report.
Here are some highlights from the AG’s report, along with some updated information gathered by the Current:
- In 2018, the government spent $86 million on public schools. Spending increased by 17% as the number of students in public schools declined by 4%.
- An official from the AG’s Office told the Current on 12 Jan. that education spending increased to nearly $95 million in 2019. The AG doesn’t have solid estimates for 2020 or 2021 “due to the way information is presented in the various budget documents”.
- About 60% of students in Cayman attend public schools.
- The average cost per student in public school was 66% higher than the average cost per student in private school.
- The average cost per student in public school was the second-highest among 33 OECD countries. (Only Luxembourg spent more.)
- At 12.7% of core government’s budget, education is the single-largest item for government spending.
- Government spending on private schools remains, by comparison, minimal — in the realm of $1 million or less per year.
Editor’s Note: To date, we’ve published 6 stories on the first complete cycle of school inspections, as a foundation to our Schools Explorer project. (You can find our reporting on the topic here.) We intended to wrap up the series last week, but are awaiting some information in regard to private preschool costs, and a clarification on some student numbers in OES reports. After we publish those stories, we will begin aggregating the data (and other information) into a comprehensive guide. Soon come!
We profiled nonprofit organisation UWC Cayman Islands (United World Colleges), the national committee that selects and sponsors Caymanian students to attend highly regarded schools around the world, offering International Baccalaureate diplomas. Since 1984, UWC Cayman Islands has sent more than 75 Caymanian students off to UWC institutions. Currently they select 2 or 3 students a year for the programme.
(FYI: The deadline to apply for the 2021 UWC Cayman Islands programme is 15 Feb.)
Over in Bodden Town, government has extended the tender period for the new school hall at Theoline L. McCoy Primary School to 9 Feb. The general window for construction to begin has been set for the first quarter of 2021, with a timeline to completion of 14 months.
Here’s a case of ‘addition by subtraction’ at University College of the Cayman Islands: Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs J.D. Mosley-Matchett has had the ‘Interim’ removed from her title, promoting her to the permanent position of Provost and VP of Academic Affairs. Congratulations, Dr. Mosley-Matchett!
(And to read Dr. Mosley-Matchett’s views on UCCI’s campaign to gain major US accreditation, see our story from earlier this month here.)
More from the Current:
- LIFE donates 4,000 books to Red Bay Primary School
- Cayman Connection hosts ‘Cultural Wellbeing Webinar’ 27 Jan.
Around The Web
The Current is a central resource for education journalism by others, including regional and international news relevant to Cayman education. (Find our running collection of links here.)
- Cayman Compass ($):LIFE donates 4,000 books to Red Bay Primary
- Cayman Compass ($):DES to students: Continue exam prep as normal
- Cayman Compass ($): Former teacher Derek Tyler remembered
- The Guardian (UK): Stephen Collins on home schooling – cartoon
- Jamiaca Gleaner: Opportunity to innovate and do things differently in education
- The Guardian (UK): Daily Covid testing plans ‘paused’ in English schools
- Miami Herald ($): Almost a third of Broward students faring poorly in school amid pandemic, officials say
- Miami Herald ($): More than 70 Broward teachers leaving over district mandate they return to classroom
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): Minister reiterates that school closures are not set in stone
- Jamaica Observer: Concern about face-to-face classes in St Elizabeth schools
- Jamiaca Gleaner: COVID protection – Some schools asking parents to sign indemnity waiver against virus
- Jamiaca Gleaner: COVID INJECTION – Coronavirus fight boosted, fire trucks scratched as Budget slashed by $3.5 billion
- Jamaica Gleaner: UWI Mona cuts $1 billion in scholarships amid COVID crunch
- Jamiaca Observer: Transportation of students a concern for Manchester, St Elizabeth schools
- Stabroek News (Guyana) ($): State sues BK, NAFICO over Yarrowkabra school project
- The Virgin Islands Daily News (US): USVI teacher participates in national discussion of schools and climate change response
The Week Ahead
- Schools Explorer: Early Childhood Care & Education Centres, cost-per-student
- Schools Explorer: Population, Students with Special Education Needs or Disabilities
- Non-profit profile: Cayman Connection