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Education Minister Hon. Tara Rivers

As the Education World Forum is in London it provides a good opportunity for us to visit high performing schools in the area and learn first-hand of the employment initiatives of the UK Government.

Minister Tara Rivers

Published 20th January 2014, 3:35pm

Education Minister Hon. Tara Rivers has been invited by the FCO through the Governor’s Office to attend the Education World Forum in London, England from 20th-22nd January. Accompanying the Minister at the forum will be Councillor for Education Winston Connolly and Chief Officer for Education Mary Rodrigues. Deputy Chief Officer Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia is also joining the delegation, to be a part of a series of employment related meetings planned.

The Education World Forum provides the opportunity for Ministers with responsibility for education at all levels to come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced in their education systems. Based on last year’s participation, it is anticipated that over 100 Ministers of Education from countries around the world will be represented. The theme for this year’s forum is, “Planning for 2015: policy-making catalyst for a decade ahead: measurement, reach and enterprise.” For more information on the forum please visit:

Minister Rivers and her team will stay on in London until 26th January in order to participate in a number of meetings with high ranking Ministers and Lords responsible for Education and Employment, respectively, in the UK. The delegation will also visit a number of high performing schools in the London area and Jobcentre Plus locations. Minister Rivers will also host a reception at Government’s London office in order to meet and greet Caymanian students in the UK. 

Commenting on the planned trip, Minister Rivers said, “As the Education World Forum is in London it provides a good opportunity for us to visit high performing schools in the area and learn first-hand of the employment initiatives of the UK Government. The Ministry is currently reviewing the governance model of public schools in the Cayman Islands in an effort to explore methods to improve local education and raise standards. We are also trying to develop the services provided by the National Workforce Development Agency, and are interested in reviewing similar agencies operating in the UK in an effort to better inform ourselves of the successes and ways to avoid the potential pitfalls of programmes geared towards addressing the issue of unemployment.”

In particular, the delegation will visit high performing schools known as Academies in England, which are publicly funded independent schools. These schools must follow the law and guidance on admissions, exclusions and special education needs and disabilities like fully maintained public schools but they benefit from greater freedoms. These include: being independent from local authority control, having the ability to set pay and conditions for their staff, deciding how they deliver the curriculum and having the ability to change the length of their school terms.

The Jobcentre Plus location they will visit is the UK Government’s arm that assists in helping people find jobs. The plan is to spend time at a centre and meet with relevant senior staff to get a thorough understanding of the work that takes place through a Jobcentre Plus, both from an operational and from a policy perspective. 

In Minister Rivers’ absence, Councillor Alva Suckoo will be acting as Temporary Minister on her behalf and Deputy Chief Officer Christen Suckoo will be Acting Chief Officer.