More parents in the Cayman Islands are opting to send their children to private schools, new statistics show.
Both the Cayman International School and Triple C have added staff and classrooms after reporting record enrollment figures for the 2015/16 academic year.
The figures follow a three-year trend of rising numbers at private schools and slightly declining enrollment at the islands’ public schools.
According to data from government’s Economics and Statistics Office, overall enrollment in private schools rose by 280 from 2,787 at the start of the 2012/13 academic year to 3,067 at the start of the 2014/15 school year. During the same period, enrollment in government schools dropped from 4,956 to 4,739.
Mable Richardson, head of Triple C, said the school had added mobile classrooms and converted part of the library into new classroom space to cope with the increase in numbers over the past few years.
The Cayman International School has also expanded, adding six classrooms, two school support offices and upgrading the football pitch to accommodate its highest intake since 1994, when it was known as the Faulkner Academy.
Leaders at both schools say the influx of new students is a mix of Caymanians and expatriates.
Jeremy Moore, director of the international school, said new faculty and staff have been added to assist with the increase in students. Enrollment at the Cayman International School increased from 510 two years ago to 582 at the start of this school year.
Mr. Moore said the school was “elite but not elitist” and catered to 30 different nationalities.
Enrollment at Triple C is also on the increase at all age levels. Figures from the school show an increase from 350 in September 2012 to a record-breaking 425 this year.
Ms. Richardson said new teachers and teaching assistants had been recruited. She said if the growth in demand continues, the school would have to look at restricting numbers.
“We don’t want to become too big,” she added.
Ms. Richardson, principal and chief administrative officer at the school, attributed the rise in numbers to the success of its students in exams and the quality of teaching.
“It is like any other business,” she said. “Satisfied customers means repeat customers as well as new customers.”
She said the school’s last few graduate classes had received more than $1 million in scholarships for further studies from the private sector.
The school uses a U.S. curriculum and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Christian Schools International.
A spokeswoman for Cayman International School, which is governed by the International Schools Service, said its new sports field was certified by world soccer governing body FIFA and would also be available for community use.
Education Minister Tara Rivers declined to comment.
The Economics and Statistics Office report says the increase in school numbers in 2014 coincided with an overall increase in the islands’ population in 2014.
“The increase in enrollment is due to private schools which altogether registered a growth of 6.3 percent (or 181 students), while that of government schools fell by 2.0 percent (or 97 students),” it states.