Office of Education Standards inspectors have given a ‘weak’ rating to Truth for Youth School.
Inspectors deemed the primary school in George Town weak in several areas, including leadership, self-evaluation and improvement planning, and stated that the school’s principal, Sister Edna Guiwa, who has been in her position since 2009, had failed to implement an effective system to assess the school’s strengths and weaknesses.
“There were no systematic ways to assess the quality of teaching and learning and to support the learning needs of teachers and students. Lesson observations were not routine and follow-up support was not adequately developed,” the school inspectors wrote in the report.
The OES defines ‘weak’ as “quality not yet at the level acceptable for schools in the Cayman Islands. Schools will be expected to take urgent measures to improve the quality of any aspect of their performance or practice that is judged at this level.”
The Church of God (Universal)-owned school has 178 students from kindergarten to Grade 6. Of that total, the inspectors found that the 23 identified as having special education needs did not have individual education plans and were not supported in targeted ways during lessons.
Inspectors also rated the school’s curriculum as ‘weak’, saying it was based on textbooks and not on academic standards. They found weaknesses in teachers’ assessment of students, in particular monitoring their progress.
In addition, the report rated teachers as weak in supporting and guiding students, with the school lacking “well-developed systems for tracking students’ behaviour and academic progress”.
Principal Guiwa said the school leaders are collaborating with the school board on the way forward.
“It is maybe necessary to hire specialist staff to address some areas, such as special education needs and guidance. We will also need to help staff members with leadership and managerial responsibilities accountable for assessing the strength and weaknesses of the school, and implementing plans to address the issues for improvement,” Guiwa said in an email to the Cayman Compass.
While noting that the school’s premises “were clean and well maintained”, the inspectors said that “policies and procedures for health and safety were not systematically implemented and documented”.
Addressing some of the weaknesses highlighted by the inspectors and how the school plans to improve, Guiwa said a performance-appraisal system would be used to identify staff with training needs and reward teachers for good performance.
“The school board has already started to address safety issues by securing the premises and the administration office area. They are also seeking to acquire a curriculum that follows standards rather than textbooks,” she said.
The Office of Education Standards said the school’s management had made limited progress in addressing recommended areas for improvement noted in the last inspection in May 2012.
Despite the overall weak rating, inspectors did grade certain aspects of the school higher. For example, students’ behaviour and attitude towards learning, as well as their civic and environmental understanding, were deemed ‘good’.
The school has 17 teachers, two assistant teachers and five non-teaching support staff.
Inspectors recommended that the school develop systems for collecting, documenting and analysing data to prompt decisions related to improving all aspects of the school, including improving students’ progress by frequently monitoring teaching and learning in the classroom.
How did your school rate? See map of Cayman School Inspection Report Summary