Assessors: Progress at two schools deemed ‘satisfactory’

Bodden Town and Savannah primary schools have both made largely satisfactory progress in meeting recommendations made by school inspectors following a series of surveys during the 2014-2015 school year.

The assessment reports on the schools’ progress were released on Thursday, the first of a series of follow-through evaluations of all of Cayman’s government schools, which are being made during the 2017-2018 academic year.

The Bodden Town and Savannah schools’ reports are based upon site visits in November and December. Evaluators with the Office of Educational Standards spent time in classrooms, observing instruction, evaluating administrative and classroom documents, and gathering survey material from teachers, parents and students. The evaluators rated the schools’ progress as either excellent, good, satisfactory or weak.

Only Bodden Town Primary had a “good” assessment on meeting one of its recommendations – establishing clear management roles and responsibilities – while all the other assessments, three each for the schools, were judged “satisfactory.”

An ongoing problem at Bodden Town was found to be classroom disruption by special needs children.

“There were a few lessons where the poor behaviour of a few students limited the pace of learning for others in the class,” the report said.

Both schools were faulted for inadequate use of digital resources.

“There were insufficient opportunities for students to use information and communication technology to support their learning,” the report said of Bodden Town. At Savannah, “an identified weakness was the infrequent use of information and communication technology by students in their homeroom classes.”

Evaluators also said Savannah was failing to meet the needs of some of its special needs students.

“In certain Year 1 and Year 3 classes, students with additional needs were not provided with sufficient support to successfully access the curriculum,” they said.

Additionally, evaluators said the school needed to do more to pull up academic performance.

“Standards of achievement at [Year] 6 in reading, writing and mathematics remained weak and significantly below expected levels,” the report says. “In 2017, only around one third of students left Savannah Primary School achieving the expected level of skills in writing. The school requires a more urgent focus and clearer strategy to improve the standard of writing for all students.

The surveys filled out by parents, teachers and students contained many of the same questions and indicated a significant perceptual divide in some areas. Some answers seemed contradictory within the survey groups.

At Bodden Town Primary, while 26 percent of parents were unhappy with their child’s performance in math, when it came to overall education beyond math, science and English, 73 percent of parents said their child was making good progress. However, when evaluating whether the school provides a good overall education, only 48 percent agreed, with 43 percent disagreeing. When the overall education question was posed to teachers, 85 percent said they agreed it was good. None disagreed, although 15 percent said they could not answer or did not know.

That split was narrower at Savannah Primary. There, 77 percent of parents agreed that the overall education provided was good, while 94 percent of teachers agreed.

A large number of parents at both schools were dissatisfied with the quality and amount of homework their students were receiving. At Bodden Town 37 percent had negative responses to the question compared with 24 percent at Savannah.

By wide majorities, teachers at both Savannah and Bodden Town said their schools were well led.

At both schools, a significant number of teachers (28 percent at Savannah and 23 percent at Bodden Town) said they felt they did not have adequate resources to teach their students.

Faculty at both schools also gave negative responses to the amount of parental involvement. At Bodden Town, 62 percent said parents were not effectively involved in the work of the school. A nearly identical number, 61 percent of teachers, said the same of Savannah.

Savannah teachers (61 percent) said parent-teacher meetings were not well attended or helpful. Conversely, 77 percent of parents at Savannah said they were.

The full reports are available online at www.pocs.gov.ky. Click on the Publications link under the heading Freedom of Information. Then click on the Office of Education Standards link.