The education system in the Cayman Islands is generally of an excellent standard, and expats will be pleased to know that the islands have a number of schools to choose from. Education is compulsory from the age of four to 16 for all children living on the islands, and is free to all Caymanian children and those who qualify as residents.
Expats who are employed by the government will have the option of sending their children to a public school, provided there is space. But if they are employed in the private sector and earn a certain amount per month with two dependants on their permit, then the child is to attend a private school.
All children are required to take a medical test before entering a public or private/international school. The school year begins in September.
Public schools in the Cayman Islands
Public schools in the Cayman Islands are based on the English model and follow the Examinations Council curriculum, which is similar to the English GCSE system, making assimilation easier for many expat children.
For English-speaking expats, public schools are a viable option for their children, as the language of instruction is familiar.
Private and international schools in the Cayman Islands
There are various private and international primary and secondary schools on the islands that follow either the American or British system. Some of the schools are faith-based. Many of the schools are located in George Town on Grand Cayman.
While there are a number of private and international schools across all three islands, expats will find that space is often limited and there are long waiting lists. Early applications should therefore be a priority.
Admission and enrolment procedures vary between schools. Tuition for private and international schools is usually expensive, but they tend to offer high standards of learning, good facilities, smaller classes and sundry extra-curricular activities.
Homeschooling in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands Department of Education Services states that any person who is recognised as a legal resident in the Cayman Islands can homeschool their child with the approval of the Department of Education Services.
Special-needs education in the Cayman Islands
Special-needs students are accommodated as far as possible in mainstream schools in the Cayman Islands. For children whose disabilities are too severe to be accommodated in mainstream classrooms, there is a special education school called the SEN Special Day School, which caters for students with intellectual disabilities, autism disorder and multiple disabilities.
The Alternative Education Center (AEC), on the other hand, takes in older students who are considered to have behavioural difficulties that make it impossible for them to attend regular school. The centre acts as a 'second chance programme' of sorts, tailored to the individual needs of young troubled learners.
Tutoring in the Cayman Islands
Many Cayman parents opt to have their children tutored. Tutoring is helpful in cases where children need assistance in specific subject areas such as maths or science, studying for important entrance exams, or for students with learning difficulties. An excellent tutoring company in the Cayman Islands is the Cayman Learning Centre and School.