John A. Cumber Primary School continues to struggle.
For the second time within a year, inspectors from the Office of Education Standards have assessed the school as weak in meeting the needs of students. Weak is the lowest rating a school can receive. Satisfactory, good and excellent are the three remaining designations.
Principal Paul Samuels put much of the blame of last year’s assessment on a large number of faculty absences during the inspection period. Mr. Samuels did not return phone calls seeking comment on the most recent report.
The report showed the school had weak progress on meeting eight of 16 recommendations made by inspectors in last year’s assessment. Progress on the remaining eight was deemed satisfactory.
The report said 10 new teachers and a deputy principal had been hired since the last inspection. Overall, school classrooms were better organized for learning, it said.
“There had been a number of improvements in teachers’ planning and in the rigor with which senior leaders monitored the curriculum across the school,” inspectors said. “Despite these improvements, there remained inconsistencies in teaching quality, particularly across Key Stage 2 classes (years 4-6). At most stages of the school, students’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics remained well below local and international standards.”
The school performed particularly poorly in math and reading areas. The report said some teachers showed a lack of understanding of the material they were required to teach.
In evaluating the use of time in lessons, the report said, “around one third of all observed lessons were found to be weak. Most of the weak lessons were in year 5 and 6 classes, including those lessons at that stage taught by specialists. Weaknesses in these sessions included teachers’ poor subject knowledge in mathematics.”
In Year 6 classes, it went on, “teachers’ explanation of concepts was, at times, imprecise, leading to inaccuracies in students’ mathematical knowledge and understanding. In other classes in Key Stage 2 there were also incidents observed during the inspection where teachers did not follow their lesson plans and, in deviating from the content, provided incorrect or inaccurate information to students.”
Inspectors said they will revisit the school within six months to see how it is progressing in meeting the team’s recommendations.
Two other schools, West End Primary and Little Cayman Education Services were also assessed in the same period. Both schools received satisfactory ratings.
West End Primary staff and faculty were rated good in supporting and guiding students. And student behavior was good also. However, the survey found weak areas in mathematics attainment and progress in science.
Little Cayman, which currently has two students on the small island it serves, was found to be either satisfactory or good in all areas of the assessment.
The complete reports can be found at www.oes.gov.ky.