«REVIEW REPORT JANUARY 2011 1 Montserrat Primary Education Review Report ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE REPORT CXC Caribbean Examinations Council DARE Drug ...»
MONTSERRAT PRIMARY EDUCATION
Montserrat Primary Education Review Report
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE REPORT
CXC Caribbean Examinations Council
DARE Drug Awareness Resistance Education
DFID Department for International Development
DoE Director of Education
EDP Education Development Plan
ESL English as a Second Language GoM Government of Montserrat ICT Information and Communications Technology IEP Individual Education Plan LEAP Lower Education Attainment Programme MCC Montserrat Community College MSS Montserrat Secondary School MoE Ministry of Education PRT Primary Review Team PTA Parent Teachers Association PTR Student Teacher Ratio SEN Special Education Needs PSME Personal, Social and Moral Education MYACTS Ministry of Youth Affairs Culture Tourism and Sports 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary 1. Introduction
1.1 Rationale and Terms of Reference
1.2 Description of the Primary Sector of the Montserrat Education System
1.4 Summary of Review Judgments 2. Outcomes of Primary Education in Montserrat
2.1 Students achievement 2.1.1 Students attainment 2.1.2 Quality of students‟ learning and their progress
2.2 Students‟ safety
2.3 Students‟ behavior
2.4 Students‟ adoption of healthy lifestyles
2.5 Students‟ economic, moral, social and cultural development 3. Provision at the Primary Level
3.2 The Curriculum
3.3 Quality of teaching at the Primary Level
3.4 Financing Primary Education 4. Leadership and Management at the Primary School level
4.1 Leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement
4.2 Leadership and management of teaching and learning
4.3 Schools‟ engagement with parents and guardians
4.4 Partnerships in promoting learning and well being
4.5 Schools‟ deployment of resources to achieve value for money 5. MoE‟s Support, Administration and Leadership for the Primary Sector 6. Recommendations 7. Appendices
1. Summary of Questionnaire Results
2. Brades Primary School – School Review Report 3
3. Look Out Primary School - School Review Report
4. Samuel Community Academy - School Review Report
5. St. Augustine Roman Catholic Primary School - School Review Report
6. List of Documents Perused
The Review of Primary Education in Montserrat was conducted to gather qualitative evidence for the primary sub-sector in preparation for the review of the Education Development Plan 2002-2007. Recommendations are based on findings gathered during reviews of the four primary schools on island. These reviews assessed the overall effectiveness of each school according to the evaluation schedule and guidelines presented in the Montserrat Schools Evaluation Schedule which highlighted the outcomes for students; the effectiveness of the provision; the effectiveness of the leadership and management and each school‟s capacity for improvement. The MoE‟s effectiveness in providing support, administration and leadership for the primary sector was also considered.
Primary education in Montserrat has produced some positive outcomes. Student achievement and progress are deemed to be satisfactory as most students are performing at an acceptable level. All schools have taken adequate steps to safeguard students and student behavior and discipline have improved. Students are encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles and are aware of the consequences of not adhering to such a lifestyle and most have acquired skills which could augment their economic, social, moral and cultural development.
However it was noted that the slower students are placed at a disadvantage within the system as teaching is geared to the average student and attempts to use differentiated teaching and learning techniques are limited. Students with special education needs are given special attention by SEN teachers in the public schools but this support is not supplemented at the class level. Some teachers also feel restricted in dealing effectively with disciplinary problems due to the fact that corporal punishment is disallowed.
Staffing, the curriculum, the quality of teaching at the primary level and the financing of primary education were the elements of primary education assessed under provision. The primary schools in Montserrat have a well educated and experienced staff. Most teachers have had initial teacher training, a few are university graduates and most have considerable teaching and/or management experience. However continuous professional development is required to strengthen their capabilities and improve their effectiveness in the classroom.
The core curriculum at the primary level consists of Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. Two programmes are currently in use, the OECS curriculum which is the official curriculum for the primary schools and The Literacy and Numeracy Strategies – Frameworks for Teaching, introduced through the Isle of Wight initiative, which should be supplementary. The presence of the two programmes however appear to be creating some confusion among some teachers and has been identified as one of the causes for the poor performance in the 2010 Grade 3 and 5 Language Arts national examinations, as some teachers have not been following the OECS curriculum. The core curriculum is complemented by an enrichment programme which includes art and craft, music, dance, steel pan and sports. However ICT, a subject most crucial for the development of skills for life long learning, is not offered at some primary schools.
5 An overall average of 2.5 (a score of 2 is good; 3 is satisfactory) was awarded for the quality of teaching at the primary level. Elements of good/satisfactory teaching were observed at all schools but this quality of teaching was not all-encompassing at the primary level as would be expected based on the qualifications and experience of the teaching staff. Some teachers are failing to shoulder their responsibilities at the class level. They have not completed the required schemes of work/extent, there is no evidence of lesson preparation to guide the teaching/learning process, their teaching is didactic and there is no evidence to indicate that the instruments used to assess children‟s learning are adequate, valid or reliable and that assessment is being used to support learning.
Significant finances have been invested by GoM and several donor agencies into primary education and these have resulted in improvement in the physical plant and in initiatives to strength students‟ achievement. Indications are that a sizeable amount of the recurrent budget is being used for personnel emoluments to the detriment of the provision of resources such as books, furniture, materials and supplies for the implementation of the various programmes and for the continuous professional development of staff. The current level of financing per student in the primary sector does not augur well for improving student achievement and this can have disastrous effects on the country in the future.
Effective leadership and management are essential for school improvement and are crucial to students‟ success. Leadership in some primary schools is satisfactory. These schools have a clear vision which emphasizes individual excellence and a concern for quality. The school‟s development/work plans reflect a genuine interest in school self improvement and the staff are actively involved in the decision making process and feel valued. In other schools there was no evidence of a clear and shared vision, equipment was underutilized and there was no evidence of collegiality among staff.
At some schools the leadership and management of the teaching/learning process is excellent as maximizing students‟ learning is regarded as a key role of these schools. Teachers have the required curriculum materials, all schemes of work/extent and lesson plans are completed and perused by the head, class observation is a regular activity and assistance is provided for untrained teachers. In other schools monitoring of the teaching/learning process is minimal.
Curriculum material is unavailable and heads fail to monitor what is happening in the classrooms.
The schools‟ engagement with parents and guardians is satisfactory. All schools have active PTAs and provide opportunities for parents to discuss with teachers, students achievement and ways of assisting those experiencing difficulties. All schools have linkages with various departments, organizations and corporate citizens in promoting learning and well being.
These include the school psychologist, the police through the DARE programme and Junior Citizens‟ day, the Ministry of Health, MYACTS and the Department of Culture. LIME and Montserrat Associations overseas and various church organizations also assist primary schools
Based on the school reviews conducted at each of the four primary schools, two schools were adjudged to be good and two as barely satisfactory. It was felt however that all schools have the capacity for sustained improvement.
Ministry officials have various administrative and leadership responsibilities for primary education, roles which they endeavour to shoulder effectively and efficiently. It was revealed however that due chiefly to the various demands on the time of particularly the Education Officer Primary and the Education Officer Curriculum and Examinations, these officers have been unable to effectively implement their plans geared at assisting the primary schools in self improvement. If the quality of education at the primary level is to improve Education Officers need to have the necessary time to give the schools the support required.
Recommendations for the enhancement of the primary education sector have been divided into two major categories, firstly actions to be taken at the level of the Ministry of Education and secondly those to be taken at the school level. It is recommended that the Ministry of Education make decisions and establish systems pertaining to the curriculum to be followed at the primary level; the requirements for entry to the education system; the disciplining of students; the collection of data; performance management systems and the use of ICT as a management and instructional tool at the primary level.
For improvement of the quality of the provision at the primary level it is recommended that the Ministry of Education monitor more closely activities at the schools; build capacity at the primary level through the delivery of an in-service teacher training programme for new and untrained teachers and regular structured and continuous professional development programmes for all staff; establish performance standards for students and align the curriculum and assessment processes with the standards; provide the teachers with the necessary support material to facilitate the teaching process; implement effective maintenance services; raise standards of safety by repairing the perimeter fences of all public schools; and improve the quality and delivery of the schools‟ lunch programme.
Recommended actions to be taken at the school to assist with self improvement include the establishment of school improvement plans based on school self evaluations and the empowerment of staff to contribute to their implementation; regular monitoring of the teaching process by head teachers/principals; the delivery of regular staff development workshops to enhance teachers skills in the teaching/learning process; collaborating with agencies to support the learning of students with special education needs; the setting of targets for each student at each grade level and the establishment of a system to effectively track student attainment.
The vision of the MoE is „To be an organization committed to quality appropriate educational services that are holistic and respectful of diversity and emphasizing equality, self-directed and lifelong learning.‟ Recent research has shown that high quality primary education is important not only in delivering high quality educational outcomes in secondary education but also in ensuring greater equity in educational outcomes.
With the above in mind the review of Primary Education in Montserrat was conducted as part of the MoE‟s plan to gather qualitative evidence for the primary sub-sector in preparation for the review of the 2002-2007 strategic Education Development Plan (EDP). The primary sector, which consists of four schools with an enrolment of approximately five hundred students, is the largest educational subsector of the Montserrat education system and the only area which has not experienced a detailed independent review in recent times. Such a review is crucial to the development of the education system in Montserrat as it would provide the qualitative evidence base for the EDP review.
Moreover the review of the primary subsector will provide opportunities for the development of model systems and procedures for evaluating schools in Montserrat. It would also assist in the building of expertise within the education system and enable the MoE‟s Technical team to implement cyclical school evaluations. Schools‟ Leadership teams would also be in a position to initiate self evaluation and self reviews which would inform school improvement plans thereby enhancing quality at the school level.
During the period 2004-2009 a number of initiatives have been implemented at the primary level as part of a partnership with the Isle of Wight Local Authority. The review of the primary subsector will enable an evaluation of the effectiveness of these interventions.
A Primary Review Team (PRT) was therefore selected by the MoE to evaluate the Montserrat Primary Education Sector. The members of the PRT were Mrs Elaine Samuel (former Chief Education Officer, Montserrat), Mr Alric Taylor (former Education Officer, Permanent Secretary, Montserrat and Principal of the Montserrat Secondary School) and Mrs Oeslyn Jemmotte (former Principal of the Montserrat Secondary School and Director of Education, Montserrat).