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Co-located sixth form gathers support

Co-located sixth form gathers support

Friday 21 February 2020

Co-located sixth form gathers support

St Sampson's High School teachers have come out in support of a three-school model with a co-located sixth form, while Education says that "could replace selection by ability with selection by postcode".

The President of Education, Sport and Culture has issued a statement in response to an amendment placed against the requête which threatens his preferred one-school model, over two-sites.

That requête, calling for a 'pause and review' before any further work is done on the Lisia School model, is due to be debated by the States next week.


Pictured: Deputies Andrea Dudley Owen, Rob Prow and Carl Meerveld, placed the requête which could lead to the two-school model being scrapped. 

There are five amendments placed against it so far, one calling for the La Mare de Carteret site to be rebuilt, meaning Guernsey would have three high schools for children aged 11-16 and a separate sixth form centre, while continuing plans for the Guernsey Institute and the rebuild of La Mare primary.

Another amendment suggests looking again at a three-school model, with the Grammar school site used as an 11-18 school with a co-located sixth form, while Les Beaucamps and St Sampson's High Schools stay open as 11-16 facilities.

That amendment, lodged by Deputies Gavin St Pier and Lyndon Trott is the one teachers at St Sampson's High are saying they want to see pursued.

An anonymous survey has been held, with 90 out of 91 staff members saying they are in favour of that amendment. 

St Sampson's High

Pictured: Staff at St Sampson's High say they like the idea of a co-located sixth form at one of three high schools. 

The staff say:

"Ahead of the debate where the requête and appropriate amendments will be discussed next week, 98.9% of staff from St Sampson's High School wish to express their support for a three school model with a co-located Sixth Form located on one of the sites.

"The closest model to this is the model that has been suggested in the amendment laid by Deputies St. Pier and Trott. We urge all other deputies to back this amendment in order to allow a full comparative business case to be put together and returned to the chamber for debate before the end of this term."

It was the staff at St Sampson's High who first went public with their concerns over the Lisia School model last month. That in turn led to staff from the other high schools, the Grammar School and Le Murier all saying that surveys of their staff also found the majority were against the 'two-school model'. 

The St Sampson's High staff say those concerns have not gone away despite a wave of publicity over the education transformation since then.

"Following on from our letter published on 20 January, little has been done to assuage our concerns. Responses to questions raised have not been quantified or debated; they are vague and, in some instances irrelevant.  A response remains a response until it becomes an agreement!  

"Furthermore, we believe that there have been many comments made by ESC that are simply not true, misleading or have been made to scare the public to try and support their plans.

"Events in recent weeks have certainly shown that there is a significant number of the community who are not satisfied with the proposals currently being deployed for the one school, two site model. There have been majority votes against the associated traffic proposals in douzaine public meetings; a majority of island douzaines who are not supporting the plans; a majority of school teaching and support staff who have clearly laid out their concerns; significant public interest and comments on social media and in the press; and a strong turn out at the protest march.

"We appreciate that the Deputy St Pier/Trott amendment includes liaison with stakeholders which, despite ESC’s comments to the contrary, has not happened with the present committee or its leaders. We would encourage meetings with deputies and leaders in the coming weeks to discuss this further, to correct and support our misgivings with the two site, one school model and build on a plan going forward. 

"We remain solely committed to obtaining the best educational outcome for the people of Guernsey."


Pictured: Deputy Matt Fallaize is standing by his Lisia School plans. 

Education, Sport and Culture had already issued a statement to the media criticising it, before the St Sampson's High staff threw their support behind the three-school model with a co-located sixth form. 

ESC admits that there is opposition to the two-school model, but they insist their model is the one which offers the best and most equal educational outcomes for all students. 

The committee said any reference to a “co-located sixth form” is pure semantics as the school with a sixth form centre attached or on the same site would "inevitably operate as an 11-18 school, as the Grammar School & Sixth Form Centre does today, and the schools without sixth forms would operate as 11-16 schools. A central principle of the education policies pursued by the States over the past two years has been that all secondary age children should benefit from being in 11-18 schools."

Deputy Matt Fallaize, ESC President said:

"It is sometimes argued that we could have a sixth form centre completely separate from an 11-16 school even if it is on the same site whether physically attached or not. Of course this is nonsense.

"The 11-16 phase and the sixth form phase would inevitably have the same senior management and most of the same teachers and share facilities and there would be a good deal of integration between sixth formers and 11-16 students. In all practical senses it would operate as an 11-18 school.

"Our Committee is fully committed to 11-18 schools, but whether one favours 11-16 or 11-18 schools in a non-selective system it is neither rational nor fair to have two- thirds of students of compulsory school age in 11-16 schools and one-third in an 11- 18 school based on nothing more than where in the island the student lives. We would have replaced selection by ability with selection by postcode."

Deputy Peter Roffey, ESC Member, supported that.

"We agree with those who articulate the benefits of 11-18 education. That is a principle of our model. But we want to ensure that all young people of compulsory school age are able to benefit from being in an 11-18 school. That is one of the reason why the model of two 11-18 colleges was developed and the case for it remains as strong now as it was when it was approved by the States in 2018 and 2019 after years of debate about various education models.

"I think it’s important to remember that the size of the sixth form at Les Varendes is twice the size of the average school-based sixth form. What we are suggesting by running two sixth forms as an integral part of two 11-18 colleges with around 1400 students (falling to around 1150 over the next 30 years) is very conventional and replicates what is done in 80% of the leading 200 non-selective schools nationally."


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