Students enroling in government primary and high schools must register with the Department of Education Services, 130 Thomas Russell Way, George Town, Grand Cayman or the Cayman Brac Teacher’s Centre, in the months between the end of the Easter holidays and before the end of the school year (in early July).
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You will need to present a completed application form, a copy of the child’s birth certificate, immunisation card and documentation showing the child’s residency category (i.e. a passport or status letter). Parents must also supply two forms of proof of their street address, by presenting an utility bill and lease or notarised letter from a landlord if renting. Catchment areas determine which school your child will attend.
Priority for entry into a government school goes first to Caymanians/Status holders, then to dependants of Caymanians, thirdly to dependants of Cayman Islands Government employees, then to permanent residents and lastly to all others where space is available. Class sizes are capped at 24 students per class for Kindergarten and Year 1, and at 28 students in other years.
As of September 2019, all eight of Grand Cayman’s government primary schools now have a Kindergarten/Reception year. In Cayman Brac, West End Primary and Creek & Spot Bay Primary both have Kindergarten years. Therefore, children who are four by August 31st can start in Kindergarten (the same as the private schools) and stay in the primary school system until the end of Year 6 (aged 10, turning 11).
There are three government high schools in the Cayman Islands: two in Grand Cayman (Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound and John Gray High School on Academy Way in George Town), and one in Cayman Brac (the Layman E. Scott Snr. High School). Clifton Hunter and John Gray serve Years 7-11 for students aged 11 to 16, while Layman Scott Snr. serves Years 7-12, for students aged 11-17. In addition, Clifton Hunter and John Gray students complete a mandatory Year 12.
Across all three Islands, government primary and secondary schools accept students based on catchment areas. See what catchment area your home falls under.
Literacy in Government Schools
Government schools have their own literacy, behavioural, English as a Second Language (ESL) and special needs departments, however an independent charitable organisation called LIFE Ltd. (Literacy is for Everyone) has been set up to try to significantly improve the literacy levels in the government schools in Cayman.
They are looking for volunteers for their weekly one-to-one paired reading sessions. If you have 30 minutes per week and want to make a significant difference to a child’s life, then email: firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form. LIFE also has a book donation programme and fun literacy events in the community.