The allure of settling into your own island hideaway and immersing yourself in the island lifestyle is undeniably strong. The Bahamas attracts a multitude of new residents each year – people who come for work in our banking and tourism sectors, for example, those who are looking to take advantage of our stability and advantageous tax environment, or simply those who make the decision that they want to live their own best life away from the hustle and bustle of the mainstream.
But as you dream of escaping the realities of your day-to-day life back home by establishing your own haven of rest and relaxation on Bahamian shores, there are certain practicalities that can’t be ignored if you’re planning on bringing a young family with you, chief among them: private education.
The Bahamas has produced a plethora of highly-talented individuals. Think of people like Sidney Poitier, Lenny Kravitz on the creative side. Ask any Bahamian and they’ll tell you of friends and family who are excelling in medicine, law, engineering, science, technology, journalism and business. Many young Bahamians, armed with a local education, head off each year to the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to pursue further studies at leading international universities before returning to The Bahamas with their higher degrees. At a minimum, all children take the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE), which is based on the U.K.’s General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and the International GCSE models, and is commissioned by Cambridge University.
So there are no shortage of private educational institutions you can look to when you are looking to further your family’s schooling while living in The Bahamas, positioning them for achievement in the islands and far beyond.
1. ST. ANDREW’S INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Yamacraw Road, Eastern New Providence
Photo Credit: The Nassau Guardian
For 68 years St. Andrew’s has been welcoming children from a variety of backgrounds, with a vision of providing “world class education, nurturing lifelong learners and empowering internationally-minded individuals.”
The co-educational private school teaches the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program up to year 6, followed by its own Middle Years Program for years 7 through 9. At this point, students start to study for the BGCSE. Those continuing into years 12 and 13 will follow the IB Diploma Program. St Andrew’s was the first school in The Bahamas to be accredited to the Council of International School (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, as well as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).
Students are encouraged to participate in intra-school sports competitions, including in activities ranging from swimming to volleyball, soccer to track and field, with the school’s team – The Hurricanes – doing admirably well in championships throughout the years.
2. THE LYFORD CAY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (LCIS)
Lyford Cay Drive, Western New Providence
Photo credit: BahamasWeekly.com
With a highly multi-cultural student body, situated within the exclusive Lyford Cay community in Western New Providence (home to celebrities like Sean Connery, the Aga Khan IV, and British billionaire Joe Lewis), the Lyford Cay International School (LCIS) is a very-internationally minded educational institution.
Operating for over 53 years, the LCIS teaches the international baccalaureate program at primary, middle and senior level and emphasises extra-curricular participation in athletic, artistic, cultural and musical activities. Students are technology-enabled and each get a digital device to help them with their studies at the school. The LCIS Visual Arts Institute, established under the direction of renowned Bahamian artist, Antonius Roberts, links students with some of the country’s most well-known visual and performing artists. The school enables students to participate in a wide variety of sporting activities, including golf and tennis taught in partnership with the sports-centric, nearby Albany Resort.
LCIS’s students graduated with their full IB diploma at a rate of 85% in 2015, higher than the international average of 79%.