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Fresh Bid To Scrap Proposed Education Reforms

Two Guernsey deputies are attempting to block proposed changes to secondary education.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, and ESC committee member Deputy Andy Cameron are bringing amendments when the debate on the long-running issue resumes.

If supported, their motion would send Education Sport and Culture back to the drawing board - to come up with a 'workable model' that has the support of the teaching profession.

The pair say the current plans are expensive, particularly those for a separate sixth form.

Listing other perceived problems with and opposition to ESC's direction, the deputies say it would be better to maintain the status quo than to proceed.

It asks the Assembly to note:

a) the support of the teaching profession, recognised by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture as key stakeholders, is a pre-requisite to the successful implementation of any proposals to reform the secondary school phase;

b) the secondary Principals oppose the proposals set out in the policy letter;

c) an overwhelming majority of secondary teachers – 87% of those responding to a recent survey - oppose the proposals set out in the policy letter, believing them to be operationally unworkable;

d) the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture have been aware of the teaching profession’s concerns referred to in b) and c) for some time;

e) the proposals in the policy letter will result in larger class size policies;

f) the proposals in the policy letter, with no additional capital investment envisaged for additional physical provision to accommodate increased pupil numbers and greater demands in the 11-16 secondary schools at Les Beaucamps, St. Sampson’s and Les Varendes, which will result, for example, in some specialist subjects (e.g. sciences) being taught in some non-specialist spaces some of the time;

g) the proposals envisage moving from the current model of having four secondary school sites to one that will have four secondary school sites, following the closure of La Mare de Carteret High School and the opening of a new sixth form centre at Les Ozouets, consequently failing to realise the recurring annual revenue cost savings that would arise from having a smaller number of secondary school sites;

h) there will be no additional capital investment in the 11-16 secondary schools at Les Beaucamps and St. Sampson’s;

i) at a time when the Policy & Resources Committee have advised that resources are severely constrained, the proposals in the policy letter will require the building of a new sixth form centre at Les Ozouets at a cost of £40m, less than a half a mile from the site of the present Sixth Form Centre at Les Varendes, which was newly built only 16 years ago;

j) the proposals in the policy letter will require the closure of La Mare de Carteret High School, which has had a record of both achievement and performance improvement in recent years;

k) following the closure of La Mare de Carteret High School, its staff will be required to apply for and slot into vacancies in the remaining 11-16 secondary schools at Les Beaucamps, St. Sampson’s and Les Varendes and this methodology will be the most expensive route to populate all posts in the secondary school sector;

l) The Guernsey Institute project is long overdue and should be proceeded irrespective of decisions in relation to the secondary schools;

m) the proposals envisage approximately 1,200 pupils and staff on the Les Ozouets and Les Varendes sites which will have an inevitable detrimental impact on traffic in the area, in respect of which, no detailed consideration has yet taken place;

n) that the policy letter envisages that the new Sixth Form Centre to be located at Les Ozouets will have approximately 400 pupils, whilst there are no other standalone sixth form schools or centres in the British Isles with less than approximately 650 pupils.

o) having regard to a) to n) above, maintenance of the ‘status quo’ in the short-term would be better than proceeding with the proposals in the policy letter.”

The unresolved debate about how and where students are educated - which was paused for the summer recess - is set to resume in the States Assembly next week.

ESC is asking politicians to approve its three 11-16 schools model  - Les Beaucamps, Les Varendes and St Sampson’s - and co-locate the Sixth Form Centre and the Guernsey Institute at a newly-built £40 million Les Ozouets campus.


 

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