The education system in the Cayman Islands is generally of an excellent standard. Education is compulsory from the age of five to 17 for all children living on the islands. There is a high demand for places in both public and private schools, so it's important to apply for registration in as far in advance as possible.

All schools in the Cayman Islands are assessed every two years by the Office of Education Standards (OES) on a scale ranging from 'weak' to 'excellent'. Schools assigned a rating of 'weak' are reassessed six months after the rating is assigned rather than two years later. Ratings can be viewed on the OES website.

Public schools in the Cayman Islands

Public schools in the Cayman Islands are based on the British model and taught in English. This makes assimilation easier for many expat children.

Placement in government schools is complex. Caymanian children are guaranteed placement, with remaining places being allocated to children of government employees and then children of permanent residents before being opened up to any applicant.

Note that while public schools are free for Caymanian citizens and permanent residents, expats without permanent residency will be charged school fees – though these are far lower than what one would pay for a private or international school.

To learn more, visit the Department of Education Services website.

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, sometimes with the addition of the International Baccalaureate. 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 more extracurricular activities.

Homeschooling in the Cayman Islands

To homeschool a child in the Cayman Islands, permission needs to be obtained from the Department of Education Services. The application requires drawing up an Individualised Home School Plan (IHSP), including information about the syllabus, curriculum and teaching materials being used. Homeschool applications are made online and usually receive a response within 10 days.

Homeschool Cayman is an excellent resource for expat parents looking to homeschool in the Cayman Islands, with plenty of information and advice available on their website.

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 may be eligible for attendance at the Lighthouse School. A government school for ages 5 to 17, the Lighthouse School caters for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) or profound learning disabilities and/or multiple disabilities (PMLD).

Some private schools offer varying levels of support for children with special needs. Hope Academy is well suited for pupils who benefit from a smaller learning environment. Conditions such as learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety disorders and mild ASD are accommodated.

Tutors 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. Notable tutoring companies include High Achievement Academy and the Cayman Learning Centre and School.

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