The Office of Education Standards has announced changes to the school-inspection framework, to take effect during the next inspection cycle beginning in January 2021.
The updated framework, ‘Successful Schools and Achieving Students 2’, seeks to integrate lessons learned through 70 previous school inspections, conducted since 2017, and during the COVID-19 transition to remote learning.
“It was evident from the first round of inspections that the quality of transition arrangements for students was variable across schools and, at times, there was insufficient attention given to helping ensure a smooth transfer as students progressed from one educational setting to the next,” wrote OES director Peter Carpenter in opening remarks for the new framework.
“The COVID-19 pandemic identified the need for each school to have in place a well-planned strategy for home learning. This element has now been added to the curriculum section of the framework.”
The updated framework, released 5 Oct., is intended as a guidance document for schools and families, to understand the criteria and expectations placed on educators.
A greater focus has been placed on the impact of school leadership on overall performance, the quality of teaching and the progress made by students.
Students will also be evaluated by groupings, broken down into boys and girls, lower- and higher-attaining students, and those with special educational needs or particular talents. Inspectors will seek to identify any disparities in progress between these groups. An agency within OES will also focus on improving the academic achievements of Caymanian students.
The framework outlines seven performance standards, establishing criteria to evaluate student academic achievement, personal and social development, and student support and safety, among other areas. Each standard will be evaluated as excellent, good, satisfactory or weak.
The criteria and resulting inspections are aimed at guiding schools in areas of need and establishing a successful path forward.
“Schools need to be clear about what they expect to see if their actions have been successful. Long-term development plans can guide schools through this process,” the framework reads.
“At the end of each inspection, there will be a number of recommendations made by the inspection team which will help direct the school and prioritise future strategies for improvement.”
Currently, the OES inspects schools once every two years. By law, inspections must be conducted at least once every four years.