14 June 2021 (Queen’s Birthday)
Weekly Current (archived version)
Layman Scott gets a ‘Good’ and Clifton Hunter improves to ‘Satisfactory’. Cayman Prep posts strong inspection results, while the situation at Triple C spurs a leadership change. During EdBeat we talk all about the Brac.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
We’re nearing the end of the school year, and report cards are rolling out — for students and for adults.
The Office of Education Standards continues to crank out inspection results, and this week we look at Layman E. Scott Sr. High School, Clifton Hunter High School, Cayman Prep & High School, Triple C School, Prospect Primary School and West End Primary School.
Let’s get to it.
If you still have the toasting glasses on hand from last week’s celebration for John Gray High School, it’s time to refill them in honour of Layman Scott, which became the third public school to achieve a ‘Good’ rating (along with John Gray and Lighthouse School).
Just like Lighthouse, Layman Scott gained ‘Good’ ratings in all 18 individual areas of assessment.
Inspectors had nothing but positive comments about ‘acting’ Principal Devon Bowen and his team, saying, “Leadership was effective and senior leaders were respected by the school community which accounted for the many improvements in the performance standards at this inspection.”
Indeed, they recommended that the Ministry of Education consider making Bowen’s ‘acting’ position a ‘permanent’ one.
Cayman Life TV’s April Cummings and Cayman Current editor Patrick Brendel devoted most of this week’s episode of EdBeat to discussing Layman Scott, and various factors that could be contributing to the Cayman Brac high school’s consistent record of superior achievement compared to Grand Cayman’s secondary schools.
Some of these factors relate to the school itself, for example:
- Layman Scott is smaller, with 153 students on roll compared to 1,100 for John Gray and 785 for Clifton Hunter
- Layman Scott is less crowded, with the building at an estimated 46% capacity, compared to 93% for John Gray and 89% for Clifton Hunter
- Layman Scott has smaller class sizes, with a student staff ratio of 6:1, compared to 10:1 at John Gray and 9:1 at Clifton Hunter
- Layman Scott has greater funding, with an average cost-per-student of $19,000, compared to $11,000 at John Gray and $13,000 at Clifton Hunter.
Other factors relate to the community, for example:
- The Brac is smaller, with a population of about 2,000, compared to about 60,000 on Grand Cayman
- The Brac is more homogeneous, with a significant percentage of people working for the same employer (public service)
- The Brac has no private schools, meaning that all children (unless they are homeschooled) attend public schools
- The Brac has a history of academic achievement, as the high school is named after ‘Teacher Scott’, whose son Dan Scott is the chairman of the Education Council. Also, Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is from the Brac, showing that, at a minimum, prominent people in power from the Brac place great value in education.
Along with the ‘quantitative’ factors such as class size and money spent, the ‘qualitative’ factors could indicate greater community engagement in public schools. And, as there are no private schools on the Brac, that could nullify possible impacts of parents ‘self-selecting’ their children out of the public school system.
Back on Grand Cayman, Clifton Hunter posted improved results in most areas of its inspection, raising its score from ‘Weak’ to ‘Satisfactory’.
Inspectors praised the leadership of Principal Richard Wildman, who has been in the post since August 2019.
However, as has become the rule since Clifton Hunter opened in 2012 with a construction cost of $110 million, inspectors described the open-layout facility as an obstruction, rather than an asset, to learning.
They said, “Teachers and students did their best to make often less than ideal teaching areas operate effectively.”
Cayman Prep just missed out on becoming the first ‘Excellent’ comprehensive school in the country, achieving an overall ‘Good’ rating while earning the highest ‘Excellent’ marks in the majority of individual areas.
Cayman Prep is unique in that it has two separate campuses, one for Early Years and Primary, and one for Secondary and Post-Secondary. We think it’s fair to assume that if you divided the inspection report into two parts, one for the ‘prep’ and one for the ‘high school’, then the high school may have been rated ‘Excellent’.
Out of 36 individual areas of assessment for Secondary/Post-Secondary, Cayman Prep received 29 ‘Excellent’ ratings and 7 ‘Good’ ratings.
According to the report, “Leadership across the school was now excellent. The Principals for primary and secondary provided visionary leadership. They had transformed many aspects of the work of the school by working effectively with strong senior and middle leaders.”
The Director of the school is Debra McLaughlin. The Primary Principal is Robin Davies and Secondary Principal is Karl Murphy.
With 1,007 students, Cayman Prep is largest private school on-island and the second-largest school overall (next to John Gray).
Triple C received a second ‘Weak’ rating from inspectors, who flagged serious concerns with the school’s curriculum, safety and senior leadership.
The publication of inspectors’ findings follows the departure of Principal Mable Richardson in late May, which was announced in a letter sent to parents. The school had been rated ‘Weak’ in May 2019, but then as making ‘Satisfactory’ progress in a follow-through inspection in February 2020.
According to the report, “The overall performance of Triple C School was judged to be weak … The school does not have the capacity to improve.”
Inspectors highlighted non-compliance with Cayman’s Child Protection Policy and other safety issues, such as inadequate security of access to the building.
The report wasn’t all negative, though. The school did improve in a majority of areas concerned with student attainment and progress in English, Maths and Science.
Prospect Primary received its second ‘Satisfactory’ rating, but its grades fell in 3 of 18 individual areas of assessment.
Inspectors said, “Whilst senior leaders had addressed some of the issues identified in the last inspection, progress in addressing these has been slow and the quality of teaching and levels of attainment remained satisfactory.”
West End Primary on Cayman Brac retained its overall rating of ‘Satisfactory’, with grades increasing in some individual categories and declining in others.
Inspectors said, “The school had made satisfactory progress in addressing all the recommendations from the previous inspection report.”
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.)
- Cayman Compass: 9 schools vie for Battle of the Books title
- The BVI Beacon: Medical school promised this year
- The Guardian (UK): Tory MP accuses Ofsted of ‘massive failure’ over sexual abuse in schools
- The Guardian (UK): Graduates face highest unemployment rate since austerity era – report
- Jamaica Gleaner: Education Minister promises to unveil summer school plans next week
- Jamaica Observer: Address the ills in the education system
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): Class of 2021 make history with IB diplomas
The Week Ahead
- What’s the value of a Cayman high school diploma?
- Inspection results, Creek and Spot Bay Primary School
- EdBeat, Episode 4