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ESC Rebuffs Alternative Reform Ideas

Education Sport and Culture has published its summary of how proposed alternatives to its education reforms compare ahead of them being debated in the States.

ESC is attempting to get on the front foot ahead of what is expected to be a long and heated debate, after years of political wrangling over Guernsey's future education system.

It has tabulated its model compared to others being suggested in numerous amendments, saying it has 'carefully considered' them, as well as the publicly-aired opposition of teachers.

In a lengthy statement, ESC President Deputy Andrea Dudley Owen says there is 'more than enough space' in the three secondary schools in its model without extending Les Beaucamps. 

‘"Two independent reviews, in 2015 and 2019 (so not commissioned by or for the current Committee), confirmed that St Sampson’s and Les Beaucamps were built bigger than was required at the time. The second of these, a comprehensive report in 2019, identified that Les Beaucamps could accommodate up to 825 students and St Sampson’s up to 900 students. However, I really must stress that the Committee has no intention to go anywhere near these numbers in our proposed model. But these reviews, the latest one is published on gov.gg, confirm the fact that we have more than enough space on each site. In our model, Les Beaucamps is expected to peak at no more than 726 students in 2027 and St Sampson’s at 727 in 2024. These are not big numbers, these are numbers that our schools can readily accommodate. I fully appreciate that where Les Beaucamps is concerned, staff have been used to operating the school with student numbers significantly under capacity in recent years, but the fact that staff have become accustomed to having more space than their colleagues in other schools is not a good reason to build an extension."

She also rebuffs claims the policy lacks detail, saying 'comprehensive proof-of-concept work of the overall model has demonstrated that it can - and will – work'.

The committee says some of the comments made publicly are inaccurate, and that it has updated the education pages of the States website for 'anyone interested in the debate to review its factual content'.

Deputy Dudley-Owen says the committee's stance of not speaking to school staff via the media should not be interpreted by the community as a 'sign of apathy' towards their concerns.

"In each instance we have responded directly to staff because this is the right thing to do. We met with staff at La Mare de Carteret last week, followed up with a written reply, and responded in writing to staff at Les Beaucamps, because when I asked, this is how they preferred us to reply.

We have very recently received a letter from staff at the Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre and will respond to them directly too. In addition, we have continued to focus on direct communication and engagement with staff, with members of the programme team visiting each States of Guernsey 2 Secondary school several times in recent weeks to capture further feedback, questions and concerns. These are being responded to via weekly communications, which are then subsequently published on gov.gg, so that we ensure that everyone – not just staff in our schools – can see what the concerns are and can read our factual response to them."

She goes on to say though, that whilst being highly-valued and 'our greatest resource', teachers 'are not the right group of people to design the model.'

She says there 'won't be any surprises for staff down the road' and they will have plenty of opportunity to influence how schools operate,  but that none of that work can start until the States agrees the model and releases funding.

She says a 'do minimum' option is 'completely lacking in ambition', and other challenges to ESC's proposals create 'new inequity' for students.

"Regarding the amendments submitted, while the Committee acknowledges that a “do minimum” option may appeal to specific school staff groups for different reasons based on their current circumstances, we believe it is completely lacking in ambition and does nothing to tackle the inequity in the current system - it retains one 11-18 site alongside two 11-16 sites - or to future-proof our system for the changing economic world. Three 11-18 schools of differing sizes, or 11-16 schools with only very limited post-16 teaching on two of the three sites, which has also been proposed, creates new inequity as the sixth forms will be so small and, presumably, will offer different curriculums or require some students to move to different sites while others can be taught without having to move.

‘There is also a move to keep the current system going for a few more years, until the first students who didn’t sit the 11+ have taken their GCSEs. We simply cannot see the value in any more delay, which is costly, because we would have to do more remedial work at La Mare de Carteret to keep that building in a habitable condition, and also serves only to prolong the uncertainty for staff, students and their families which is simply unacceptable.

And finally, there is an amendment that, on the face of it, seems to wrap all the other amendments into a single set of proposals to make the debate easier. But on closer inspection I am a little concerned that it doesn’t quite do that. It also offers the “back stop” position of completing the review started by the previous Committee which the current States voted not to complete."

Deputy Dudley Owen says close to £6m of taxpayers' money has been spent in the past three years trying to find a solution.

She says he committee cannot support any further delay as it would 'throw more money down the drain'

"It is our Committee’s proposals that offer the most pragmatic answer to the Post-16 conundrum...

... Our plans in this area are bold, ambitious and future-proofed and they could be a cultural game-changer for the whole island".

  CfESC Proposal Amendment 1
(Cameron & de Sausmarez)

Amendment 2 
(Leadbeater & de Lisle)

Amendment 5
(Le Tocq & Brouard - 1st option)
Amendment 5
(Le Tocq & Brouard - 2nd option)
Model at a glance 11-18 learning partnership
  • 3x 11-16 schools of equal size:
  1. Les Beaucamps
  2. Les Varendes
  3. St Sampsons
  • All Post-16 education at Les Ozouets Campus:
  • 6th Form Centre for A-levels / IB
  • The Guernsey Institute for technical, vocational & professional qualifications
11-18 learning partnership
  • 3x 11-16 schools (size unclear):
    • Les Beaucamps
    • Les Varendes
    • St Sampsons
  • 6th Form Centre at Les Varendes for A-levels / IB
  • The Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets for technical, vocational & professional qualifications
11-18 learning partnership
  • 3x 11-16 schools of equal size:
    • Les Beaucamps
    • La Mare de Carteret (using existing school building + separate new block to accommodate 2 extra classes in each year group)
    • St Sampsons
  • 6th Form Centre at Les Varendes
  • The Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets for technical, vocational & professional qualifications

3 x 11-18 schools (on existing sites) where:

  • 11-16 sections are roughly the same size
  • 6th Form Centre mainly based at 1x 11-16 school site
  • 6th form 'satellites' at 2x 11-16 school sites
  • Maximise vocational & academic mix between 6th Form Centre & The Guernsey Institute
  • The Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets for technical, vocational & professional qualifications
3 x 11-16 schools of roughly the same
size (on existing sites)
  • 6th Form Centre at 1x 11-16 school site
  • Facilitate post-16 studies (including Alevel) at the other 2x 11-16 school sites
  • Maximise vocational & academic mix between 6th Form Centre & The Guernsey Institute
  • The Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets for technical, vocational & professional qualifications
Total number of sites 4 4 5 4 4
Number of Post-16 sites 1 2 2 4 4
Class size tipping point 28
(No change to current policy, unconnected to model)
Unclear
(Amendment suggests lower than 28 may be possible)
26 Unclear Unclear
Will each school be roughly the same size? Yes - for 11-16 Unclear - for 11-16 Yes - for 11-16 Yes - for 11-16
No - for 16-18
Yes - for 11-16
No - for 16-18
Will some staff move between sites during the school day? Yes - from 3 x 11-16 schools to 6th Form at Les Ozouets Yes - in both directions
between 6th Form & 3x 11-16 schools
Yes - from 3x 11-16 schools to
6th Form at Les Varendes
Probably - between 3x 11-18 schools Probably - between 6th Form & 3x 11-16 schools
Will some 16-18 students move sites during the day? No No No Probably Probably
Capital costs £43.5m £38m - £54.5m
(based on Amendment details)
£59m Unclear
(based on Amendment
details)
Unclear
(based on Amendment
details)
Revenue costs Not more than today (expected savings re-invested into all phases of education) Likely to be more than CfESC model (based on Amendment details suggesting: smaller class sizes; (ii) more staff travel between sites Likely to be significantly more than CfESC model (based on Amendment details suggesting: smaller class sizes; (ii) using older (less energy efficient) school) Unclear
(based on Amendment
details)
Unclear
(based on Amendment
details)
Earliest delivery date 2024 Sep 2025 or Sep 2026
(depending on extent of works at Les Varendes)
La Mare de Carteret
(Sep 2025)
Sixth Form
(Sep 2026)
Sep 2025 (estimate - based on Amendment details) Sep 2025 (estimate - based on Amendment details)
Student disruption due to building works (11-16 and 6th Form) Les Varendes improvements taking place during school holidays only
  • Les Varendes 11-16 improvements taking place during school holidays only
  • Les Varendes 6th Form Centre loss of outdoor space & disruption for students for up to 1 year
  • St Sampsons loss of outdoor space & disruption due to building works for up to 1 year
  • Les Beaucamps possible permanent loss of outdoor space and disruption due to building works for up to 1 year
  • La Mare de Carteret building works on site for up to 2 years
  • Les Varendes remodelling on site for up to 1 year
  • (works cannot be concurrent)
Up to 2 years disruption on the site chosen for the main 6th Form Centre Up to 2 years disruption on the site chosen for the main 6th Form Centre

 

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