New schools inspector named

‘I strongly believe in the power of inspection to support school improvement,’ says Mrs. Helena McVeigh, the newly appointed Chief Inspector of Schools.

No stranger to Cayman or the civil service, Mrs. McVeigh joined the Schools’ Inspectorate at the end of January 2004, as a senior inspector. She became Acting Chief Inspector in April 2004, when Mrs. Mary Rodrigues was promoted to Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Human Resources and Culture.

With a decade of schools inspection experience to her credit-she was one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools in England from 1991 to 2001-Mrs. McVeigh also worked with a large private company in Cambridge, prior to leaving England. There, she was responsible for inspection quality assurance, as well as for devising training programmes for inspectors and teachers. She also led primary and secondary school inspections in England and in the USA, where she set up an inspection framework for the Knowledge is Power Program organisation.

‘I believe strongly in the power of inspection to support school improvement,’ says Mrs. McVeigh. ‘I aim to build on the inspectorate’s strong reputation, established by my predecessor, and to review and where necessary revise, its way of working to be as effective as possible in supporting high quality education in our schools.’

Just before Ivan struck the island in September, the Schools’ Inspectorate also gained two Caymanian inspectors: Mary Bowerman was promoted to senior inspector and Pachent Gordon-Smythe joined the team as an inspector. Mrs. McVeigh, who was acting Chief Inspector then, said she was delighted with both appointments, as both have much to offer: ‘Mary has proved to be a valuable member of the Inspectorate and her management of the National Educational Leadership Programme has been excellent. We also really look forward to drawing on Pachent’s recent experience in the areas of primary education and special educational needs,’ she explains.

Mary Bowerman has worked in Cayman for over 30 years. She joined the Inspectorate in 2003 and has been involved in several projects, with particular responsibility for NELP. ‘I really enjoy working with Cayman school leaders on the NELP project and I also look forward to greater opportunities this year to work more closely with the Education Department in supporting school improvement,’ she says.

Pachent (together with Mary Bowerman), was one of the first local occasional inspectors to be trained and she has taken part in a number of school inspections. She worked in Cayman Brac for four years and at George Town Primary School for eight more, where her final position was Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator. ‘I look forward to working full time with the Inspectorate. The experience gained as an occasional inspector has been invaluable, both personally and professionally, and although I shall miss George Town Primary School, I welcome this new challenge to share and extend my skills and expertise,’ she comments.