Can my child attend Lighthouse School?

| 20/03/2019 | 2 Comments
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

I am a Honduran national and working in Grand Cayman on a work permit. I have a 7-year-old son who is a Down’s syndrome child. Can he attend the Lighthouse School in Grand Cayman, and if he can, what would be the way forward and the cost?

In Honduras, my son has to go to regular school, but clearly the teachers are not trained to teach him. He is so sweet, gentle and loving, but because he looks different and does not act like the normal children, he is teased and bullied all the time and the teachers all want me to take him out of school.

I believe my son is entitled to an education and the opportunity to live a normal life as much as possible by being able to hold a job and take care of himself.


Auntie’s answer: May I first say how sorry I am to hear your son is being bullied at school in Honduras. No child should have to suffer through that and I fully understand your desire, as a mother, to give him every opportunity available to ensure the best life for him.

While it may be possible for your son to attend the Lighthouse School (947-5454), there are several obstacles to overcome and admission is not guaranteed.

The first major issue, as explained by a Department of Education Services (DES) official, is that your son must be officially resident in the Cayman Islands. For that to happen, you would have to apply to the Department of Immigration (see Work Permit Amendment (Dependents) Form) to add him as your dependent, meeting certain conditions, including that you are financially able to support him.

However, one of the requirements listed for adding a dependent under 18 years old is a letter from a private school confirming acceptance or attendance, so this seems a difficult, if not impossible, path for you. It might be best to call the DES (945-1199) to determine if there actually is a way forward.

But if that hurdle is cleared and you are given permission to bring your son to Cayman, you would then need to fill out an application to attend a government school, which you can get from the registration team at the DES.

Since you know your child needs to attend a special school, your next step would be to email the senior school improvement officer (SSIO) for special educational needs (SEN) at Barbara.peace-ebanks@gov.ky to arrange a meeting to discuss your son.

Depending on the outcome of that meeting, you could then be given a Lighthouse School entry panel form to complete and will be asked to provide supporting evidence for your son and what he needs.

After you return the form to the SSIO, the application will be presented at the next Lighthouse School meeting about entry, at which a decision will be made as to whether your son meets the criteria set out in the SEN Code of Practice on the Ministry of Education website.

If your son’s entry is approved, you will be informed and the arrangements will be made for him to start attending the school.

As for cost, the fee per term is $250 for years 1-6, $300 for years 7-9 and $400 for years 10-12.

I wish I could point to an easier path. I hope everything works out for your son and he gets the education he deserves.

Send questions to auntie@caymannewsservice.com

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please contact the special needs foundation http://www.specialneedsfoundation.ky/
    also Hope academy can cope with special needs.

    • Desperate mother says:

      Many thanks for that information. That maybe the easier way. Thanks to ask auntie for the great information and kind words.

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