23 May 2021
Weekly Current (archived version)
Former chief school inspector reflects on education in the Cayman Islands. Roundup of our takeaways from the Education Data Report. Introducing the new weekly ‘EdBeat’ video series. And more!
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
We published the third and final part of a Viewpoint by former Director of the Office of Education Standards Peter Carpenter, who spent 3 years in the Cayman Islands, leading a team of inspectors that visited all of the country’s more than 50 public and private schools.
We consider Carpenter’s commentary to be a ‘must read’ for anyone who has an interest in Cayman’s education system, and so we are pleased to report that the series is well on its way to being one of the ‘most-read’ pieces of content the Current has ever published.
We encourage everyone to take the time to peruse all 3 entries in the series.
Here are some highlights from “‘Do you know your numbers to 10?’: Reflections on life as a school inspector in Cayman (3 of 3)'”:
- “Green iguanas are known as ‘chicken of the tree’ because they were (up until recently, at least in Cayman) as prevalent as chickens. … They are large beasts; often over five feet in length and easily weighing 20 pounds. They are not to be messed with and their mess is not to be messed with either.”
- “With unprecedented financial investment in public school education, one is often asked, why is the overall performance of government schools still largely ‘acceptable’, how come the graduates are underachieving and how come there is so much general dissatisfaction with the product of government school education?”
- “What is a more important question is whether things are improving, and to that, I would offer a confident ‘yes’ and ‘thank goodness it is!’.”
- “The most recent inspections conducted between 2018 and 2020 found improvements in the government schools both in leadership and in teaching. … With the quality of school leadership evident in the public schools during the last round of inspections I am hopeful of continued improvement.”
- “The pace of change would be better with greater autonomy and accountability at the school level. The recommendations made by the Inspectorate at a national level have been slow in implementation and this has led to a reduced pace of improvement to some degree.”
- “Teachers in Cayman government schools are amongst the highest paid educational professionals in government sector around the world.“
- “Here we were, in mid-December, only ten days before Christmas and this was, it seems, a letter from Santa Claus and his wife Mrs. Claus, asking for immediate assistance from Class 1B.
- “Clearly, [Thomas] explained, it was essential that there was a need for divine intervention and that we should turn to God and request a miraculous healing of Santa’s right leg.”
- “I am confident that many of the government and private schools are in very capable hands. I believe that the government school Principals need greater autonomy to lead and innovate.”
If you’re interested in submitting your own commentary, click here to Join the Conversation.
As regular readers of the Current know, we’ve spent the past month going over the Education Data Report 2020 in some detail, drawing out what we think to be significant trends and data points in local public education.
Here are our key observations:
- Year 11 exam scores improved at all 3 public high schools.
- Year 11 girls again outperformed boys in English, Maths.
- Public high schoolers battle learning gaps from primary years.
- Student performance varies widely at different public primary schools.
- Students with diagnosed Special Education Needs perform about as well as students being initially monitored for potential learning needs.
- We built a sortable and searchable table of Year 11 and 12 exam results.
We understand that some of our readers may not be as enthralled with spreadsheets and infographics as we are, but we are compelled to highlight the importance of the annual Data Report as the foundational statistical document on public school performance and demographics.
[Editor’s Note: We emphasise the word ‘public‘, of course, because absent from the Data Report is relevant information on the country’s private schools where, remember, approximately 46% of the country’s students attend — including about 33% of Caymanian students.]
Hear ye! Hear ye! We are very pleased to announce the creation of ‘EdBeat‘, a partnership between the Cayman Current and Cayman Life TV. EdBeat is a short weekly conversation about education between Current Editor Patrick Brendel and Cayman Life founder April Cummings.
Starting this Wednesday, we’ll discuss the week’s top story in education in a 5-minute show that will be made available online via all of our platforms. This is intended to be a fun (we hope) experiment, and we’ll be adjusting on the fly as the project evolves.
The official announcement of EdBeat will appear on the Current website in the next day or two, so consider this an ‘advance notice’ for Weekly Current readers.
Also keep on the lookout this week for another novel feature. This past Tuesday we had the privilege of making a presentation on Cayman’s education landscape during a forum hosted by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.
We’re working on converting our slide show into a digital presentation, with audio, so that we can publish it on the Current website for our readers’ enjoyment.
More from the Current
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.)
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): First ‘signature’ subjects to be taught next year
- Stabroek News (Guyana): QC students top the Caribbean at CSEC, CAPE
- The Guardian (UK): Job prospects vary widely for graduates in England, data shows
- The Guardian (UK): Focus on preschools during Covid recovery, UK ministers urged
- The Guardian (UK): Give struggling pupils four years to retake GCSEs, says catch-up tsar
- The Guardian (UK): Top pupils rejected by universities in A-levels fiasco fallout
- The Guardian (UK): No 10 ‘tried to block’ data on spread of new Covid variant in English schools
The Week Ahead
- EdBeat, Webisode 1
- Cayman’s education landscape, digital presentation