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Decision on future of Education delayed until September

Decision on future of Education delayed until September

Saturday 24 July 2021

Decision on future of Education delayed until September


The States has run out of time to make a decision on the future of secondary and post-16 education before the Assembly's summer recess.

The States met last week and again this week, covering the Government Work Plan, political authorisation of a new Abortion Law and the suspension of Deputy Chris Le Tissier for anonymous and offensive tweets on social media.

Overloaded States scheduling after numerous sparse debates took its toll on the Assembly, which only managed to fit in ESC rebel Deputy Andy Cameron's alternative education model in last week's debate. 

The continuation of debate on amendments calling for three 11-18 schools, and a three-school model based around the rebuild of La Mare de Carteret, was pushed to this week's meeting.

Once debated, the States will then be asked to debate either the amended proposals or ESC's own preferred plans. The committee wants three 11-16 schools and a separate sixth form centre co-located alongside The Guernsey Institute. 

Deputy Andy Cameron 3 school model

Pictured: The States chose to reject Deputy Andy Cameron's amendment for 11-16 schools at St Sampson's and Les Beaucamps, plus another 11-16 attached to a sixth form centre at Les Varendes, by 22 votes to 17.

With the GWP debate only concluding at around 15:30 on Friday, the States called time on any fading hopes that a resolution would be found this side of the summer break.

With the hours slipping away, the Bailiff Richard McMahon called a lunchtime meeting with ESC President Andrea Dudley-Owen, States Assembly & Constitution Committee President Carl Meerveld and Policy & Resources Vice-President Heidi Soulsby to consider the options to fit in a meaningful debate. 

Following the meeting, Deputy Dudley-Owen spoke to the proposers of the two key amendments - Deputies Jonathan Le Tocq (for the 11-18 model) and Deputy Marc Leadbeater (for the 11-16 model) - to get their thoughts. 

The ESC President said: "I spoke to both about this afternoon’s proceedings and the probability of getting any substantial business done within the time remaining, even if we were to sit until 7pm, which was my suggestion."

Dates next week were then discussed, but ultimately ruled out due to concerns over participation. 

Deputies Andrea Dudley-Owen & Carl Meerveld

Pictured: The ESC President and the President of the States' Rules Committee were both invited to discuss what to do on Friday lunchtime to discuss what to do about the education proposals, with time running out to debate them in full.

"It transpires that there are an awful lot of us away from the States and not available to make it next week," said Deputy Dudley-Owen.

"We discussed some creative ways around that, such as may be trying to get people proxy [voting] or changing the States rules, however the most pragmatic and practical thing to do, disappointingly, is sadly to defer the education debate until the first meeting we have in September, despite all efforts to avoid that.

"We are where we are, between a rock and a hard place"

Deputy Dudley-Owen continued: "It is important we can all get a really good airing on this, everybody who is for and against and the amenders have their chance to state their case in September in the Chamber."

In a short debate, Deputy Adrian Gabriel asked what effect this would have on the transition to the new, fully comprehensive system.

"We are hopeful we can overcome this," replied ESC Vice-President Bob Murray. "However if this goes on too long, we could find ourselves in the position where the secondary has got out of step with The Guernsey Institute, as the TGI has a separate timeline that we are trying to catch up to.

"There would be a substantial financial implication if that were to go on for too long, but we are hopeful that we can actually overcome that by meeting in September."

In the meantime, he accepted: "There may be some interim funding needed to maintain the momentum. We will have to speak to P&R about that as a special allocation."

Teachers from the Grammar School & Sixth Form Centre invited all Deputies to the school for a meeting earlier this week to discuss their continuing concerns about ESC's model. 

grammar-sixth-form-centre.jpg

Pictured: The meeting was attended by Deputies Ferbrache, Gabriel, Oliver, Le Tocq, Mahoney, Dudley-Owen, Gollop, Falla, Dyke, Murray, Soulsby, St Pier, Cameron, Bury, Kazantseva-Miller, Matthews, Fairclough and de Sausmarez.

"We have been quite clear in our support for a 3 x 11-16 model with a co-located Sixth Form Centre at Les Varendes," they said.

"Whilst we understand that this did not gain support in the Cameron Amendment, we still hold strong that this would be the most pragmatic way of organising secondary and post-16 education on our island while continuing to deliver an outstanding Sixth Form education.

"Failing that, we would endorse a streamlined review being carried out over a shorter timeframe than ‘Pause and Review’, with new terms of reference."

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