***Editor’s Note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Office of Education Standards is conducting one-day ‘thematic visits’ to Cayman Islands schools in the Spring 2022 term in lieu of more in-depth inspections. (Click to expand.)
(Read our story on the decision here.) OES recently published the first batch of reports from these visits, which will eventually involve 31 government and private schools and culminate in a national report. The Current will publish a story on each individual school, as well as stories from a more comprehensive perspective.***
With an enrolment of only 2 students (who are siblings), Little Cayman Education Services faced many of the same challenges as the country’s larger schools have during the COVID-19 pandemic, including additional public health measures and learning loss due to absence from school, an Office of Education Standards Inspector said.
However, as might be expected, staff at the Cayman Islands’ smallest school had a strong relationship with the students’ family and the Little Cayman community, according to a letter to Head Teacher Veronica Juman-Khan from Chief Inspector Nicholas Sherriff.
“The school staff had created a safe and caring environment that allowed the students to continue with their education throughout COVID-19. The local community reported how caring and dedicated the school staff had been during the pandemic,” Sherriff said.
The visit occurred on 16 March and the inspector’s summary is dated 17 March.
“We did not find any significant concerns” during the school visit, the inspector said.
Unlike full inspection reports, the inspectors do not assign graded judgments to schools as a result of the one-day visits. Inspectors conduct interviews with school leadership, teachers and administration, as well as reviewing documentation.
“Staff did note that there was some learning loss in the lower year due to COVID-19 absence which was reflected in the national assessment trend data. Whilst staff were aware of particular loss there was only a verbal catch-up plan with limited additional targets presented on the day,” Sherriff said.
The school had implemented measures to protect against COVID, including mask-wearing, hand-washing and regular cleaning.
The relative unreliability of power and internet on Little Cayman sometimes hampered video communication with the counsellor on Cayman Brac.
“The school staff reported that they felt included in a wider context with Cayman Brac schools but the pandemic had negatively impacted upon this, particularly the cancelled annual inter-school sports day. However, they had been included in a joint trip to Central Caribbean Marine Institute with students from Grand Cayman,” the inspector said.