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Ministry Update on High Schools Improvement Work

Following the initial Office of Education Standards (OES) report on its 2018 inspections of Clifton Hunter, John Gray and Layman E. Scott High Schools the Education Ministry, Education Department and staff of the Government schools immediately began work to incorporate a response to the OES findings into the continuous work of strategic school improvement.

“A successful education system requires the contribution of many stakeholders, and I am pleased that we have a diligent stakeholder such as the Office of Education Standards working with us to support the overarching goal of the Government’s strategic objective, which is to create the best education opportunities for all of our children,” stated Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Minister for Education. Earlier this week (Monday 17 December 2018) the OES released a summary of findings contained in its original reports on the inspections, published in October 2018.

Those findings, says Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of Education Cetonya Cacho, provided an important benchmark for work done to enhance teaching and learning in Government high schools since the current 2018-2019 school year began. In particular Ms Cacho cites a number of areas mentioned by the OES in its reports, such as enhanced management of student and teacher performance and increased support for Key Stage 3 students making the transition from primary to high school. Staff in the ministry, department and schools, have already undertaken a considerable number of actions in these areas.

Other work is scheduled to begin very shortly. A brief overview of actions that have been or are about to be implemented includes: Managing student performance · School leaders now regularly work to review and identify particular students who are failing to meet their potential, and implement interventions to help the students close the attainment gaps. · As part of this process, schools are also working to use data on student performance to inform teachers but also to help inform student learning and self –evaluation. Managing teacher performance · Education officials are continuing to utilise targeted professional development sessions to help staff acquire and/or strengthen skills in the areas of teaching and learning. · Teachers’ performance management cycle for 2018-2019 has been aligned to the OES Framework and expectations since the start of the current school year. · Announced and unannounced observation of lessons will soon be implemented. Walk-throughs of classrooms are already in place and will be developed further throughout the year. Enhanced management of the Key Stage 3 transition period · A curriculum review by the Ministry will include a review of Key Stage 3 to ensure children’s smooth transition from primary into early secondary and enhance their progress. This work is expected to commence in 2019.

A comprehensive outline of actions taken in response to OES recommendations is released with this statement. School inspectors’ findings have historically informed the annual plans that provide a roadmap for improving teaching and learning Department of Education Services Director Lyneth Monteith explains.

“The work of the Office of Education Standards provides an external audit of the performance of schools and their students, but also of the systemic reform efforts led by the Ministry and Department. This creates a feedback loop that the Ministry of Education, Department of Education Services and schools use to plan strategically, and which the schools tailor to their unique needs.” Chief Officer Cacho encourages parents to read the OES reports but also to reach out to schools to find out more about work being done to increase their children’s chances of academic success.

“We are committed to engaging with partners like the OES, as well as all other stakeholders, to help achieve a world-class future for our children, and it is our intention to keep the public informed of our progress”, Ms Cacho comments. The summary OES report on Government high schools is now available online at http://bit.ly/SSRDEC2018.

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