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Educational System in Barbados

The one tip that you hear expats living in Barbados repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Barbados. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Barbados is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Barbados.
|-Educational System in Barbados

Barbados is known for its high standard of education, which is reflected in its literacy rate of almost 100%. The educational system in Barbados is based on the British model and is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. The system is divided into several stages, each designed to cater to the developmental needs of students at different ages. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive understanding of the educational system in Barbados, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, and options for homeschooling and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Barbados?

The education system in Barbados is divided into four main stages: Nursery, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. Nursery education caters to children aged 3 to 5, Primary education is for children aged 5 to 11, Secondary education is for students aged 11 to 18, and Tertiary education includes all post-secondary education, vocational training, and higher education institutions.

Nursery Education

Nursery education in Barbados is for children aged 3 to 5 and focuses on the basic development of the child. It is not compulsory but is highly recommended to prepare children for primary education. The curriculum includes basic numeracy, literacy, and social skills.

Primary Education

Primary education in Barbados is compulsory and caters to children aged 5 to 11. The curriculum focuses on developing basic skills in subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education. At the end of primary education, students sit for the Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination (BSSEE) to determine their placement in secondary schools.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Barbados is for students aged 11 to 18 and is divided into two stages: lower secondary (Form 1-3) and upper secondary (Form 4-6). The curriculum includes a wide range of subjects, and students sit for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations at the end of Form 5. Those who continue to Form 6 will sit for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education in Barbados includes all post-secondary education, vocational training, and higher education institutions. The University of the West Indies is the main tertiary institution in the country, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Newcomers can enroll their children in Barbadian schools by first contacting the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training. They will need to provide necessary documents such as birth certificates, immunization records, and proof of residence. For secondary school enrollment, results from the BSSEE or equivalent examinations from their home country may be required.

Can children still learning English enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning English can enroll in public schools in Barbados. English is the medium of instruction in all schools, but additional language support is provided for students who are not proficient in English.

Are there public bilingual schools?

While there are no public bilingual schools in Barbados, some private international schools offer bilingual programs. These schools typically have more flexible admission policies for international students.

What types of private schools are common in Barbados?

Private schools in Barbados include faith-based schools, international schools, and Montessori schools. International schools often follow the curriculum of their home country and are popular among expats. Montessori schools follow the Montessori method of education, which emphasizes child-centered learning.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Barbados often choose to send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the familiarity of the curriculum and the presence of other expat students. However, public schools in Barbados are of a high standard and are also a viable option.

How expensive are Private schools in Barbados?

The cost of private schools in Barbados varies depending on the school and the level of education. On average, annual tuition fees can range from BBD 5,000 to BBD 20,000. It is advisable to contact the school directly for the most accurate information.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Barbados?

Yes, homeschooling is allowed in Barbados. Parents who wish to homeschool their children must apply for permission from the Ministry of Education and comply with the regulations and curriculum guidelines set by the Ministry.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Barbados?

Yes, children living in Barbados can attend online schools. However, it is important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the educational standards of Barbados.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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