Third local primary school achieves IB status

| 25/07/2013

(CNS): Prospect Primary School has become the latest Cayman Islands government school to achieve International Baccalaureate (IB) Authorization in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Joining Sir John A. Cumber Primary School in West Bay and Savannah Primary School, Prospect is now the third school to achieve what was described by officials as a prestigious accomplishment. These three schools are the only government schools in the Caribbean Region that are IB authorised.  “The fact that we have not one but three schools that have earned this distinction is really worth celebrating,” Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler said.

Following the designation last month, Wahler said it was the outcome of efforts to encourage excellence and to give all students access to high-quality education.

Principal Gloria Bell explained what it meant to the school to achieve the IB approval.

“Using the IB framework to deliver the National Curriculum has certainly contributed to the success of Prospect Primary producing well rounded, globally minded students. The programme allowed us to focus on developing the whole child, touching hearts as well as minds and encompassing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic development,” she said. “During the 5 year journey we have seen parents, staff and students work collaboratively to develop attitudes and values that will enhance and enrich life in the Cayman Islands.”

Despite some drawbacks, Bell said the school never lost focus, and under the direction of Charmaine Bravo, the PYP Coordinator, the school rigorously implemented the programme. The Primary Years Framework is the tool whereby students are able to effectively access learning and make meaningful contributions to their society, she said.

“We are all ecstatic about this achievement but we know that this is just the beginning.  We look forward to the continued delivery of the national curriculum through this framework as we work towards verification in the next four years,” Bell said.

Each IB World school has a PYP Coordinator who ensures that the school achieves the necessary goals and requirements to be authorised and that after authorisation the school continues to meet the standards of the IB programme. 

Bravo, who has directed Prospect Primary’s programme, said the dedication and enthusiasm of students, principal and staff, the parent body and the wider community were all contributing factors in the achievement.

“The International Baccalaureate framework embodies the facets of what it means to be Global Citizens. This initiative will not only propel our students but will enhance the social and intellectual fabric of the Cayman society,” Bravo added.

Education minister, Tara Rivers offered her support and congratulations.

“Many congratulations to Prospect Primary on being authorised as an IB World School.  I am an advocate for and I believe in the International Baccalaureate programme and philosophy,” she said. “I am delighted to see that a growingnumber of our government schools are recognised on an international level and meet international standards. This is just another step in improving our education system and I look forward to our other primary schools reaching IB authorisation in the PYP.”

The IB website states that the PYP addresses students’ academic, social and emotional well-being, it encourages students to develop independence and to take responsibility for their own learning, supports students’ efforts to gain understanding of the world and to function within it, and helps students establish personal values as a foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish. The age range for the PYP is 3-12 years.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I support everything that is listed on paper but I do not support the application. My child attend a gov't primary school and I am forever told I cannot see the child's percentage grade on his examainations. That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. The grading appears to be based on that teachers interpretation. My child left year 4 reading at a year 6 level with numbers and letters that supported his performance being where a child should be leaving Year5. This school year I was given a report that his reading number has dropped to that of a child at year 5 (last yr when he was in year 4 he was reading at a year 6 level). There appears to be no consistency among the teachers. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Please reread your comment and decide if your child left Year 4 or Year 5 last year.

      What exactly are you referring to with "reading number?"


      • Anonymous says:

        The original poster is saying last year,  upon leaving Year 4, her child was tested as being at Year 6 level for reading and, overall, he had the performance expected of a child leaving Year 5. This year, upon leaving Year 5, he was tested as being at Year 5 level for reading (overall performance is not mentioned).

        I assume the "reading number" is a sort of "grade" for reading and reflects the child's progress in relation to where he should be, i.e. at the end of Year 5, instead of attaining an "A" or a "B" in Year 5 reading, he attained a "Year 5" performance in reading. He is essentially exactly where he should be right now, but last year he was two years ahead of where he was expected to be, so this parent is concerned.

        If a teacher is more holistically assessing a student and determining whether his progress is on track (rather than reporting the grade that corresponds to the percentage of questions the student got right on a final exam or set of exams and assignments) it makes sense that the percentage grades on examinations are not the most important factor to consider.

        Not releasing these to parents should also help focus the parents' attention on the qualified, experienced, professional whose job it is to assess that child's performance and the overall assessment that has been made. It shouldn't matter if a child got 97% on an exam if the teacher has made the qualified opinion over almost a year of near-daily interaction that a child is reading at the level to be expected.

        The IB is a very different system, but it is also a more meaningful education and looks at children throughout the year and as a whole rather than just as numbers on end of year exams. Rather than asking for exam grades, I would encourage the original poster to sit down with his/her child's teacher and discuss these concerns. It is more important to understand if, how and why the child may have fallen behind in reading relative to the year before rather than seek numbers that are not as meaningful as you might think and try to use them to convince the teacher to change the assessment.

  2. S. Stirrer says:

    Surely this inequality in our children's education is a violation of their human rights. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Please go crawl back into your hole, S. Stirrer. We have NOT missed your trolling. And it is NOT funny or clever.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to all those involved. The IB programme is recognised globally as requiring a high standard and students who complete the IB programme will be well placed to compete in the global economy. 

    • Anonymass says:

      Though hopefully primary school students won't be competing directly int he global economy.

  4. Porky Pig says:

    Not sure what it is about this lovely, fuzzy news that somehow just doesn't make me want to jump for joy – maybe it's because I know that despite the change, end results will remain the same…

  5. student says:

    If I'm not mistaken CIS [cayman international school] was  the first school in the Island to get the IB rating. It's really wonderful to see our government schools improving to this level as well!  

    • Anonymous says:

      Student,  if you read the article properly, you will notice that it said government schools. CIS is a private school.


    • Anonymous says:

      StillI love my children so there is no chance of them going to a government school.

      • Truth B. Told says:

        I love my children more and it will be a cold day in hell before they ever attend CIS. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to all involved

  7. Anonymous says:

    brilliant achievement…now could CIG earn some extra cash by expanding these schools and selling the addtional places to the brighter children from other caribbean nations? It happens in a lot of other countries

    • Anonymous says:

      The additional spaces are filled with other nationalities and taxpayers are paying their way.  They are guaranteed scholarships in the public and private sectors and the locals are the underdogs.  Figure for yourself.