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Introduction to Education In Barbados

Since the introduction of free secondary education in Barbados in the 1950s, the Governments of Barbados have continued to ensure the education of every child on the island up to secondary level. That being so, it is compulsory for children living in Barbados, between the ages of 5-16, to be in school.


Students wear uniforms to school in Barbados and there are dress codes to which every child is expected to adhere at both private and public schools.  Schools begin between 8.00am and 9.00am and finish between 2.00pm and 3.00pm.

Most children in Barbados attend pre-schools and there are a number of Private Day Care with Pre Schools attached to them throughout the island and some of them are listed in this section of this web site.

There are approximately 15 Government owned nursery schools, 75 Government primary schools and 21 Government secondary schools. With the exception of the St. Leonard's Boys and Springer Memorial Girls' Secondary School, the government secondary schools are co-ed.  Milton Lynch Boys' Primary School and the Christ Church Girls' Primary School both located in Water Street, Christ Church and Hindsbury Girls Primary School are the only public primary schools that are not co-ed.


Students have the option of attending private primary or government primary schools.   If the student is entering a government primary school, it is expected that he or she attends the primary school closest to his/her home.


Primary school students benefit from low cost school meals.  


Children move from primary school at the age of eleven after completing a local secondary school entry exam usually referred to as 'The Common Entrance Exam' (CEE) that test their skills in English Language and Mathematics.  Children are then placed at a secondary school according to their performance in the CEE.   It should be noted that some children are allowed to take this exam a year earlier or a year later.


The average student spends five or six years at secondary school before writing the regional Caribbean Examination Council Examinations (CXC/CSEC). Some students spend an additional two years in 6th form at the end of which they write advance exams that are equivalent to an Associate Degree.


Students in the secondary schools gain from a text book scheme that allows for books at a minimal cost.   All school children ride free to and from school on the government owned buses.

There are a number of private primary and secondary schools on the island and they generally follow the same curriculum as the public schools.  


However, Codrington School, a private school, offers a different approach to education. They offer the IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB).  Children in the junior section at Codrington, can continue to the secondary section without any such exam.  

The Irvine Wilson School caters to the hearing impaired and the Ann Hill Schools caters to the mentally challenged. Some students with special needs are incorporated into five special public primary schools usually referred to as "An Annex".    

While most schools offer a number of clubs and sports for students, a number of students benefit from numerous other extra curricular activities and sports found in this Directory.

There are also a number of private institutions offering classes in a variety of areas and many offering help for students requiring special attention.

The island boasts of the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnique and the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) where students can choose to continue their education after secondary school.


Entry Into Schools For Non Nationals


All non-nationals requesting a placement in Barbados schools are required to obtain a student Visa.


The child can be entered into a public primary school if there is space available.  There is no tuition charge at public primary schools.

To enter a secondary school, the child must take a placement exam which can be arranged by contacting the Ministry of Education (Tel 246-430-2700).  There will be a tuition fee for secondary schools and this varies from school to school.

To enter private schools where there is a tuition for both primary and secondary level, the visa requirement stands and again, acceptance depends on the availability of space and the individual requirement of each school.

Parents of non national children are encouraged to seek more information from the school that they might prefer.

Please note that the above remains for persons coming to Barbados on the Barbados Welcome Stamp.

More information for visitors coming to Barbados on the Barbados Welcome Stamp can be obtained via the following site

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