School inspectors say George Town Primary is making progress in addressing shortcomings and has moved from being a weak school to one that is judged as satisfactory.
That determination was made in the latest inspection report released last week by the Office of Education Standards. The report detailed a follow-up visit after George Town Primary was given a ‘weak’ rating six months ago. Inspectors use a four-tiered grading system: weak, satisfactory, good and excellent. No Cayman government school has received better than a good rating.
In their report, inspectors said teacher training and new strategies had led to improvements at George Town.
“There had been a programme of professional development for staff and, where necessary, support plans for staff requiring additional guidance and direction in aspects of their work,” the report said.
But more needs to be done.
“Although the incidents of weak teaching had reduced since the time of the first follow-through inspection in January 2018, the principal, Department of Education Services and Ministry of Education had not yet ensured consistently effective teaching, particularly in Key Stage 2 (years 4-6),” the report stated.
Government schools are not in session this week, and Principal Sharon Campbell-Danvers did not respond to a message left on her office voicemail. In a press release, the school stated the improvement has been a team effort involving every staff member.
“With a little guidance and many hours of professional development, planning, student conferences, parent conferences and support, we successfully made the necessary improvements,” Campbell-Danvers said.
The report said George Town had been given a particular challenge when under-performing teachers were sent there.
“The decision to place teachers from other schools who had been identified as requiring support into this school adversely affected the capacity of George Town Primary School to improve at the required pace,” the report said.
Part of the school’s success involved close mentoring.
“The senior leaders had set aside time for staff to work alongside coaches and advisers from the Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services and this had helped refine instructional strategies,” inspectors said.
More improvement is necessary, the report noted, particularly in regards to English instruction in Years 4 and 5, and in student conduct.
“Behaviour challenges were still evident in a few classes and this adversely affected the pace of students’ learning, particularly in certain Key Stage 2 classes,” inspectors said.
In a survey of 46 parents, 38% disagreed that student behaviour was good at the school. Just 47% said it was good, while 15% were unsure. One-third of the 18 staff members surveyed said behaviour was not good among students, but a survey of 93 students found 70% thought behaviour was good.
Nearly one-third of parents said the school was not handling bullying effectively.
On the other hand, 93% of parents said they thought their child was progressing well and 74% thought the school was providing a quality education.
A complete copy of the report is available at www.oes.gov.ky.