Does the government keep track of children attending school on island? Cayman is very transient. Is it possible to move to the island with my family and not enroll my children in school? How is that monitored, aside from nosy neighbours? However, if ever questioned, the person could lie and say they were homeschooling. Can this be independently verified or does a formal complaint have to come about?
How about when children leave the island, does the school notify the government that the child should no longer be monitored for attendance? Or semi-long-term residents? Some people bring their children on island for 4-6 months at a time. They are officially visitors. What is done about those children?
Auntie’s answer: You certainly have compiled quite a list of questions. But, luckily, the Department of Education Services (DES) took the time to answer every one of them.
First off, though, I want to point you to an earlier column I did on this topic (see Making sure kids go to school) which you also might find helpful.
Now I will go through your questions one by one, with all the information provided by DES. All children who are enrolled in government schools are tracked through the Student Information Management System; in addition, three truancy officers are employed across the three islands, charged with monitoring attendance and investigating school reports of not attending or registering. Other agencies or individuals can make these reports as well.
The answer is a resounding “no” on the possibility of moving here and not sending your children to school; that would be illegal. The Education Law, 2016 mandates that all children of compulsory school age (5-17) must be enrolled in a government or private school, or be home schooled, for at least five hours a day for each official school day.
In addition to the so-called nosy neighbours, there are official entities that keep an eye of school attendance, including the DES Office of Registration and Truancy Services, the Department of Immigration (DOI) and the Department of Children and Family Services, as well as other government offices and key people in the community.
As for lying about a child being home schooled, proof of that status needs to be verified through DOI and DES by completing a specific form (RS101) and submitting a school admission letter or home-school certificate of operation. Any related complaints that the DES receives will be investigated and “dealt with through the appropriate government agencies”. For more information on home schooling, you can read this previous column.
When a family leaves Cayman, the parents of a child in a government school must complete a formal withdrawal form either at the school or the DES. Once that form is processed, the DES will then “deactivate” the student from the Student Information Management System as well as remove the name from the active school register so his or her attendance will no longer be monitored. In addition, Truancy Services will follow up to confirm the child has left the island.
If expat children are only here for some months, they will be considered visitors, but if they remain over the visitor extension period, then DOI will advise the parents of the Education Law and the consequences of not enrolling them in school. In addition, DOI will request the children be repatriated to their home country to attend school.
If children are removed from school here, the parents must provide a reason in writing for taking them out or complete a withdrawal form along with specifying the educational programme the children will be attending on-island or if they will continue their education overseas.
And lastly, for good measure and continuing the theme, I also asked that since immigration requires proof that children of work permit holders are in school, what happens if they are taken out of school in between permit renewals? Are private schools monitored? The answer is that school attendance officers are tasked with investigating infractions for students in government schools only. However, if “children from private schools are caught up in a DES truancy sweep, these cases are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and reported to the respective private school”.
Recent answers from Auntie
Why has Gimistory been cancelled for two years in a row? I really miss it! Auntie’s answer: Before I get into the “why” I must clear up one thing. While it may seem that Gimistory (which is also a favourite of mine) has been gone for two years, the last time it was cancelled was […]
Where can I get/view the repossessed cars from the bank? Auntie’s answer: I have to admit that this question makes me a bit sad. I cannot fault you for inquiring about repossessed cars but it does conjure images of people who have fallen on hard times, which is especially upsetting as we get nearer to […]
I want to donate some of my son’s toys to charity. Can you tell me where I can do this? Auntie’s answer: While I am always happy to find the answers to difficult questions and help people solve problems, I cannot deny it is also nice to be able to deal with a query such […]
Do we have any pollution monitoring here on the island? Ocean water quality, air quality, anything? Are