Friday, 28 September 2007

Students - "done to or done with?"

Dave Smith, Director of Facilities being interviewed by students about the sigificance of the groundbreaking for three new high schools. Many students have been consulted and regular updates are a feaure of school assemblies -but we could do more - the construction process on their school site is an amazing resource that we should really utilize and students should really be central to the process with the ability to learn what is happening, express their views and ask questions and ....and...

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Beware of Ministers driving bulldozers!!.....

The groundbreaking for three new high schools saw the Minister in control of three very different bulldozers. Few of the assembled dignitaries have ever seen two of the bulldozers move so slowly, but the third at the Beulah Smith Campus sight went faster than anyone had ever seen - can bulldozers do "track spins". The look of alarm on the Ministers face was very funny! The message of the day was so serious though - the new high schools have started and there was genuine excitement about the fact that all the planning was actually starting to become reality! The "groundbreaking" by the previous government just prior to the election involved golden shovels - if you are going to do something - lets do it style!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Cultural Images by students

A really interesting idea I spotted recently, - primary school students painting their version of Caymanian traditional scenes on the bottoms of trees around the school campus. This really demonstrates their involvement and ownership of their school environment, whilst reinforcing cultural images in this fast changing island.

More interestingly though is the real importance and focus to ensure that the new schools we are building here have Caymanian culture infused throughout the design process. A key aspect in the new school designs was the appointment of a Cultural Advisory Group which was involved in every aspect of the school design process and architects who listsened. The completed designs reflect so many elements of Cayman as core design features. It is so important to ensure that which is unique to a culture is preserved and promoted where ever possible in schools Too many schools are anonymous buildings with just a few framed photographs as the only reminder of the area or culture they serve.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


It is always great to see politicians so interested in education that they give up a lunch break. Today, I co-presented to all, except two, of the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, both Government and Opposition, on the latest designs for the new high schools. Politicians will always be just that, but there was real interest and involvement in the radical new plans for our schools which is one component of the transformation of education. We always stress that new buildings do not raise standards alone, but combined with a new curriculum and real relevant focused teaching and learning styles then they can make an unbelievable difference. The aim is "world class education" we are all working hard to try and achieve it. These school designs are fantastic.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Check the detail!!

Standing in for a colleague I went to check a school bus about to be delivered to a school - initially I was pleased to see the Ministry slogan ..... until I looked again..... Message: The devil is in the detail.. - imagine if that had arrived at a school on Monday? I am not even consoled by the fact that it was consistent on both sides!!! Needless to say it was changed before delivery the next day!!

Parliament Questions

A really fascinating aspect of the current role is to support the Honourable Minister during Parliamentary Question Time. After prepared and printed questions and answers, unlike the UK, Minister can take advice prior to answering unknown supplementary questions. This always results in high adrenalin quick thinking work and also allows real promotion of the education transformation process that we are undertaking. A GREAT day! (although this is the third or fourth time I have been surprised at how few questions the Opposition have asked - not that we are necessarily complaining!.)