Education in the Cayman Islands

Education in the Cayman Islands

By Andrea Lumsden

11 Feb 2020

The quality education system in the Cayman Islands often tops the list of reasons why families choose to live there and raise their families. In addition to a high standard of living, excellent infrastructure, stable government, low crime rate and friendly people, this thriving British Overseas Territory boasts a literacy rate of 98% and an educated workforce with an unemployment rate of 2.8%. With schools offering both American and British curricula and many notable extracurricular activities, Cayman’s youth have many excellent choices when it comes to their education.

What school system does the Cayman Islands follow?

All public/government-sponsored schools adhere to the British curriculum. Private schools follow either a British or American curriculum, depending on the school. Every year, the Cayman Islands Government Office of Education Standards conducts a rigorous audit and independent evaluations of all public and private schools regardless of which curriculum they follow. Visit the Ministry’s website to learn more.

Can any child attend public school?

Seats in public schools, which are operated and funded by the Cayman Islands Government, are reserved for the children of Caymanian citizens, with very few exceptions – such as expatriate Government employees. For this reason, most expat children attend one of the many excellent private schools in the Cayman Islands.

What’s the typical private school application process like?

The admissions process for each school varies, but typically schools will need proof that you are legally residing on the island and that expat children are endorsed on their parent’s work permit or residency certificate. Waiting lists are common so it is important to start the application process early and to more than one school. Schools will require overseas transcripts and personal recommendations from former teachers, and also require the student to participate in an interview and complete a placement test. Contact each school directly for detailed admission requirements.

students compete in math challenge
Students from across the Cayman Islands compete in the 2019 Minds Inspired Maths Challenge.

What are some of the top private schools?

Choosing the best school for your child is a personal decision with many factors to consider. Private schools on Grand Cayman which provide education from elementary through to high school include Cayman International School, Cayman Prep and High School and St. Ignatius. Here is a complete directory of all the private school options in the Cayman Islands.

What are the typical private school fees?

Tuition costs vary for private schools according to the instruction, from US$12,500 per year for preschool up to $26,000 per year for high school. Cayman Resident provides more information on what to expect to pay for school fees.

Is home schooling recognised by the Government?

The Cayman Islands Government mandates that all children between the ages of five and 17 must attend school or be home-schooled. For parents who prefer to home-school their children, there is a formal registration and approval process with requirements that must be met annually. For more information, visit the Department of Education website or download the requirements and application here.

Are there any special education schools?

There are a few schools and learning centres for children and teenagers who require special education services. The Lighthouse School (public) and Hope Academy (private) specialise in special needs education for children of all ages. Cayman Learning Centre offers a range of support services from part-time to full-time, including home-schooling. For more information on other schools, programmes and support groups click here.

Do any schools offer an international baccalaureate programme?

Cayman International School, which recently expanded and is located in the New Urbanist town of Camana Bay, offers an optional International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme to students in grades 11 and 12. This private school admits students of all ages from early childhood through high school and boasts an average class size of 15 students. They have strong athletic and technology programmes and state-of-the-art facilities that include a 25-metre swimming pool, a top-quality sports field, a performing arts auditorium and a STEAM lab complete with 3D printers. The school was recently expanded to accommodate 1,100 students. Visit their website to learn more.

If you’re considering a move to the Cayman Islands, our team of real estate specialists can help make the process a smooth one and make introductions to admissions officers at schools and organisers of after school activities. For more information on living in the Cayman Islands, contact our team.

Andrea Lumsden headshot

About the author

Andrea Lumsden has worked with Dart since 2013 and has been writing professionally since 2003. Graduating from University of Central Florida with a BA in Communication, Andrea has worked with clients across a range of industries, including financial services and real estate. Raised in Cayman by Costa Rican and American parents, she’s a New Yorker at heart who enjoys reading and travelling with her husband and three children.