The Ministry of Education released a statement on Saturday in response to a new report from the Office of Education Standards, showing that government high schools in the Cayman Islands are well short of where they need to be to meet accepted standards.
The newly published report says schools need to be assessed as good to meet the “expected level” of quality, but all government high schools fell below that mark. Two schools, John Gray and Layman E. Scott, were judged satisfactory, while Clifton Hunter was deemed weak.
The report also made recommendations to improve the schools’ performance, including having principals make unannounced visits to observe classroom teaching, and align their own assessments of teaching quality with the framework provided by the Office of Education Standards.
In response, the Ministry of Education said it has already either started or will soon start many of the report’s recommendations.
For managing student performance, school leaders now regularly work to review and identify particular students who are failing to meet their potential, and implement interventions to help the students close the attainment gaps, according to the ministry.
“As part of this process, schools are also working to use data on student performance to inform teachers but also to help inform student learning and self-evaluation,” the ministry stated. For managing teacher performance, the ministry stated that education officials are continuing to use targeted professional development sessions to help staff acquire and/or strengthen skills in the areas of teaching and learning. The teachers’ performance standards have been aligned to the Office of Education Standards’ framework since the beginning of the current school year, the ministry added.
Furthermore, the ministry stated that it soon will implement announced and unannounced observations of lessons, and that walk-throughs of classroom are already happening.
Finally, the ministry said it will review the Key Stage 3 curriculum to ensure the children have a smoother transition from primary to early secondary school. Teaching at the Key Stage 3 level was a particular area of weakness emphasized by the report.
“We are committed to engaging with partners like the [Office of Education Standards], as well as all other stakeholders, to help achieve a world-class future for our children, and it is our intention to keep the public informed of our progress,” said Education Ministry Acting Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho.
The summary Office of Education Standards report on government high schools is now available online at www.bit.ly/SSRDEC2018.