Office of Education Standards inspectors have given a ‘satisfactory’ rating to the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre.

Following their inspection last month, the inspectors said the George Town school was satisfactory overall, and specifically in areas such as progress in students’ learning and behaviour, students’ civic and environmental responsibilities, and attainment and progress in English and science.

According to the OES, the only two weak areas were attainment and progress in mathematics. The inspectors reported that the school was fully aware of this issue and had already identified this as a top priority to address.

The OES defines a ‘satisfactory’ rating as “the minimum level of quality required for the Cayman Islands. All key aspects of performance and practice in every school should meet or exceed this level.”

CIFEC principal Delores Thompson said, this year, the school has taken a two-pronged approach to raise achievement in mathematics.

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“Math teachers began the year going through incoming grades with students, looking at profile grades, as well as CAT [Common Admission Test] predictors,” Thompson said.

“Together, they have set reasonable targets which at minimum show one grade improvement, and there are additional prep classes held during lunch times, after school, and during school breaks.”

Thompson said CIFEC this year held a ‘Math Week’, where students participated in daily mathematics questions, games and activities. She said two guest speakers had talked to students about how mathematics is used in their industries.

“Based on feedback from the inspection, we will look at making the prep sessions mandatory for students who really need them. We will also look at scaffolding and differentiation in math, especially for special educational needs students,” Thompson said.

The principal added that CIFEC has a new special educational needs coordinator who started in November and who is helping to train other teachers in this area.

The OES inspectors rated CIFEC as ‘good’ in curriculum, health and safety, and leader self-evaluation.

The report noted there are plans to relocate the school in 2021 to the premises now occupied by the John Gray High School.

“There needs to be a shift from ‘this is hard, I can’t do this’, to ‘everyone can improve in mathematics, and together we are going to do this’. Students need to see the relevance in what they are doing and how it applies to their everyday lives,” Thompson said about the school’s planned improvements.

CIFEC was established in 2010 in response to government’s decision to restructure the school system to separate the Year 7 to 11 programme from the Year 12 programme. The curriculum for the Year 12 programme is designed to address the needs of students leaving school after Year 11 without the requisite skills to be successful in the workplace or the necessary qualifications to matriculate to institutions of higher learning.

The school is planning to have an annual Technical-Vocational Education and Training showcase on 26 March, at 5-7pm.

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