19 June 2022
Weekly Current (archived version)
Public Nursery classes still on PACT’s agenda. Minister gives update on COVID ‘learning loss’ in Cayman schools. New collaboration between Current and Cayman Compass. UCCI commencement pushed to Fall.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
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The Cayman Islands government intends to establish Nursery classes in all public primary schools, starting in Grand Cayman with Red Bay Primary School.
The space for the Nursery class (ages 3-4, the year before Reception) will be created by the construction of a new classroom block at Red Bay, Minister of Education Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said in Cayman Islands Parliament.
Progressives Shadow Minister of Education Barbara Conolly posed the Opposition question: “Can the Honourable Minister provide an update on the implementation of her plans to improve and extend early years education provision?”
The planned introduction of public Nursery classes in Grand Cayman follows the 2019 creation of a Nursery class at Creek and Spot Bay Primary School in Cayman Brac.
“It is still my hope to establish nursery classes in all of government primary schools,” O’Connor-Connolly said.
Also in Parliament, O’Connor-Connolly said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to ‘learning loss’ among Cayman students, and local schools are still trying to close gaps in academic progress.
Initiatives taken by schools include additional focus on literacy and numeracy, more intervention outside normal class time, and investments in digital technology, O’Connor-Connolly said.
Shadow Minister of Education Conolly posed the Opposition question: “Can the Honourable Minister state what action she has taken or plans she has made, in light of the serious concerns raised by the Office of Education Standards that students across the public school system experienced ‘learning loss’ caused by interruptions to their education, as a result of the various pandemic restrictions?”
Saying that learning loss is a regional and global issue, O’Connor-Connolly said, “The public and private schools in the Cayman Islands identified learning loss due to COVID. This was measured in government schools by progress tests and comparisons to previous benchmarks and expected progress at the current stage of the students’ development.”
She said schools implemented measures such as “additional classes, increased intervention outside of class time, or pullout sessions where the need is more urgent”.
Due in part to the nearly-universal provision of devices to Cayman students, as well as Cayman’s schools being able to remain open since fall 2020, the territory has appeared to fare much better through COVID than its Caribbean neighbours, O’Connor-Connolly said.
Rounding out the Opposition’s questions on education, O’Connor-Connolly said her Ministry implemented a new policy on Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at the beginning of this school year, applying to both public and private schools in Cayman.
The new SEND ‘Code of Practice’ updates the old policy that had been in effect since 2011.
Shadow Minister of Education Conolly asked: “Can the Honourable Minister state whether she intends to update the Cayman Islands Special Educational Needs Code of Practice to ensure that it meets with current best practice?”
O’Connor-Connolly said the current Code of Practice “reflects the best practices and was recently revised and implemented in August last year in all of our schools that is public and private school, compulsory and pre-compulsory”.
This is the kind of spontaneous publicity — the Current’s name in print — that makes people. We’re in print! Things are going to start happening to us now.
If you haven’t already picked up a copy of this week’s Cayman Compass newspaper, we highly suggest you do so.
The Current and the Compass have launched a new collaboration, the Current Education Connection, where the Compass publishes a monthly feature on education from the Current.
This month, we examined the results of the 2021 end-of-year examinations and other information from the Education Data Report 2021.
The double-page spread also features a section of education news briefs from recent weeks.
As a non-profit public service journalism organisation, the Current is focussed on our mission of improving education in Cayman. Toward that end, the Current not only provides all of our content to readers free-of-charge, but we provide content for publication by other media outlets — also for free — as is the case for our partnership with the Compass.
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The University College of the Cayman Islands commencement ceremony has been pushed back from 25 June to 17 Aug.
According to a statement from UCCI: “The UCCI Commencement Ceremony (originally scheduled for Saturday June 25th 2022) will now take place on Wednesday, August 17th 2022. This will be a double celebration for both Commencement and Convocation. More detailed information about the event will follow closer to the date.”
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.)
- Miami Herald ($): Miami-Dade and Broward schools’ report card: Learning losses, mental health, test scores
- The Guardian (UK): Offer rate for A-level students applying to top universities falls to 55%
- The Guardian (UK): English universities over-reliant on overseas students’ fees, report warns
- Jamaica Gleaner: Diaspora urged to bolster technology drive in schools
The Week Ahead
- OES Thematic Visit Report 2022
- EdBeat: Episode 38