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Professor Stephen Heppell

Published 24th May 2006, 12:58pm

World renowned education expert, Professor Stephen Heppell, returned to Cayman earlier this month to continue contributing to the education reform process.

The focus of the Professor's recent visit, hosted by the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture, was the design of Cayman's new schools and their facilities. Professor Heppell is providing consultative support to the project and following his valuable contribution the design process during his first visit to Cayman in February, it was deemed worthwhile to maintain his involvement as the project advances.

Referencing Professor Heppell's extraordinary qualifications and experience in the area of school design, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, JP, Minister of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture commented, "It is imperative that we address both the current and future needs of Cayman's education system in the design and development of the new schools. Professor Heppell's contribution is a small part of a large process however his methods are helping us focus on the right questions to ask and the right answers to those questions for generations to come."

The Professor's packed agenda included meetings with key stakeholders in the design of the new schools, such as the Department of Education, staff and students of John Gray and George Hicks High Schools, the Schools' Inspectorate, and Ministry officials including the newly appointed Senior Project Manager, Alan Cook, who will lead the schools' construction from the Ministry.

These numerous engagements afforded stakeholder groups to make their own contributions to the process by sharing their comments with the Professor and asking him questions. The Honourable Minister of Education remarked, "Identifying the full extent of the needs of the Cayman Islands' education system must be a collective process. By taking an inclusive approach we are ensuring that these schools will bring maximum return on spend for all who use them, especially the children."

In a presentation to staff of John Gray and George Hicks High Schools, the Professor, sought to inspire his audience to consider a wide range of possibilities for Cayman's new schools by demonstrating innovative ideas in school design which have proven successful all over the world. The Professor showed a classroom whose walls 'remember' anything written on them as well as other interesting design features which help create environments to inspire learning.

Professor Heppell also listened to students of George Hicks High School during a similar presentation when he asked for their opinions on some innovative ideas and concepts which represent possibilities for the new schools. Following the meeting, the Ministry of Education's Schools Development Advisor, Gareth Long, noted that the children had reacted favourably to Professor Heppell's approach, saying, "These children will be going back to their classrooms imagining a world of possibilities for their new schools, which will get them excited about learning".

Professor Heppell is internationally recognised as a leading authority on the design of schools and classrooms, as well as many other aspects of education. His impressive list of achievements to date has included work with governments and reputable corporations all over the globe. His work is frequently publicized by international media and he is currently involved with prestigious projects such as the BBC's Digital Learning Curriculum and BAFTA's celebration of digital ingenuity among children.

You can find out more about the Professor by visiting his website, www.heppell.net.