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ESC on the cusp of States sign-off for new school model

ESC on the cusp of States sign-off for new school model

Friday 10 September 2021

ESC on the cusp of States sign-off for new school model

The views of teachers are being "treated with disdain" by some politicians, says one of the unions representing them, as the States moves closer to deciding the future of secondary and post-16 education.

The States is deciding whether to push forward with three 11-16 schools and a single sixth form co-located with the Guernsey Institute at a £40m campus at Les Ozouets.

Debate on education - which was deferred from July – recommenced with Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq’s amendment. Seconded by Deputy Al Brouard, they wanted to replace ESC’s model with three 11-18 schools in order to avoid families  having to buy their way out of the mainstream schooling system to get 11-18 provision.

However, with concerns over economies of scale, cost and a “lack of passion” about the proposals, they were dismissed by 22 votes to 14. 

Next up, came Deputy Gavin St Pier and Deputy Andy Cameron’s suggestion to scrap ESC’s preferred school model and work with teachers to “co-design from the bottom-up” a new way forward that can earn widespread support among the professionals charged with delivering it. 

The States refused to debate the main proposal. Deputy St Pier’s fallback option – asking the States to note the lack of support from the profession – was lost by 11 votes to 23 after a short and heated exchange that saw ESC President Andrea Dudley-Owen warned by the Bailiff for accusing the backbencher of dishonesty. 

On Thursday morning, debate started on a proposition by Deputies Marc Leadbeater and David De Lisle to delay any decision on the future of secondary education until more data has been collected on the current system, while also proposing the retention of La Mare de Carteret as part of a preferred three-school model.

That model failed to gain much support, and was defeated by 27 votes to 11. 

Pictured: There was a recorded vote on Amendment 2 which was lost.

A late proposal by Deputies Aidan Matthews and John Gollop asked ESC to return to the States within six months with a policy letter setting out the costs for the construction of a new secondary school at La Mare de Carteret, funded in part by the use of Les Beaucamps for post-16 education instead of rebuilding Les Ozouets at a cost of £40m.

The amendment received short shrift, with Deputy Dudley-Owen convincing the States to not debate it, given the potentially massive ramifications at short notice. 

The proposal that gathered the most traction among States members was that of Deputies Lyndon Trott and Charles Parkinson to require ESC to come back to the States for final sign-off once the proposals are worked up in greater detail, in light of significant concerns from the teaching profession.

Deputy Dudley-Owen opposed the addition of what Deputy Trott put forward as “good governance”, arguing instead that: “letting people know what is going on is good governance.

“Once we have this project underway, we cannot continue with this stop-start approach."

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen

Pictured: Deputy Dudley-Owen is expected to give a lengthy closing speech to the Assembly this morning. 

The amendment was ultimately defeated by 20 votes to 15, meaning the debate finally moved to general debate – two months after it first began before the summer recess.

Debate continues this morning, with a conclusion expected in ESC's favour by lunchtime. 

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