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Cayman Islands Government

Supporting Change

Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler

George Hicks and John Gray high schools' teachers, students and parents are now more informed about the secondary education transition scheduled for the September 2010 school year.

During a series of meetings, with Education Ministry and Department officials, the Year 10 and 11 stakeholders had their pressing questions answered and concerns addressed.

Discussions surrounded the content of the Year 12 programme, class size, graduation, uniforms and completion of the new schools.

"We've had lots of positive feedback from these meetings," Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler said.

"Parents, teachers and students are excited about the changes, especially once they understand the benefits of this new approach."

Attendees were treated to a graphic outline of what the change would look like: The organisation of schools into academies to give students a small and stable home base was revisited. Shifting to exams at the end of Year 11 and introducing a mandatory Year 12 programme were also examined.

Presenters from the Department of Education Services further explained that externally accredited vocational, career and technical education; internationally accredited academic options; second chances, career guidance and work experience, would all be part of the programme during the extra school year.

Parents and students also had the opportunity to offer suggestions for course offerings.

Explaining the need for this consultative approach, Ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said, "The overarching goal is to provide students with a bridge from school to the future, whether they are moving straight into work or are headed for highly demanding academic environments.

"What better way to ensure that we are on target than by involving those who will be directly affected."

Recognising that transition also entails a significant adjustment for Year 6 parents and students, a series of primary school meetings have been arranged. Prospect, Red Bay and John A. Cumber primary schools have already held theirs.

However, interested persons who missed the initial sessions need not worry. Additional high and primary school gatherings are planned and town-hall-style meetings are being scheduled for the rest of the community.

Meanwhile, information on the transition is available on the Ministry of Education's blog at http://buildingexcellencetogether.blogspot.com/. Comments and questions can be sent to set@des.edu.ky or Desmond.McConvey@gov.ky.

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For further information contact: Kenisha Morgan