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"Education Law proposals were virtually ready - where are they?"

Friday 15 January 2021

"Education Law proposals were virtually ready - where are they?"

Friday 15 January 2021


A law that could pave the way for Education to devolve governance to school leaders is yet to be touched this term, as the new committee comes to grips with the generational challenge of transforming secondary education.

A general induction process for new Education, Sport & Culture members - four of whom are entirely new to the States - has reportedly dominated deputies' time, bringing progress on the law changes to a standstill.

Reforming Guernsey's Education Law was one of the key proposals put forward by the previous ESC, gaining significant support but to some extent lost within the eventual unpopularity of the one-school, two-sites model, which has been 'paused' but appears unlikely to be resumed.

Deputy Peter Roffey, the only member of that committee who remains in the States, said a "virtually ready" report was handed over to their successors on ways to reform the "grossly outdated" law. 

"There are desperately needed repeals to the law, which dates back to the 1970's but was actually based on the UK legislation from the post-war era, so it's around 75-years-old. 

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Pictured: The former ESC Committee. Matt Fallaize, Mark Dorey and Rhian Tooley lost their sets at the island-wide election, while Richard Graham stood down. 

"A massive amount of work has been done by a working party for the new committee to draw upon. It would be a great shame if that work was squandered or just put on the shelf.

A policy letter was "virtually ready to be submitted" to the States, with recommendations that could have seen the law reformed by the end of 2020 before the pandemic hit and the majority of the committee lost their seats at the polls. 

"The current law is so permissive over what Education can do and there is no universal entitlement for students," said Deputy Roffey on the need for change. 

"There is also the way it addresses the needs of special needs students and the legislation for that has to be updated.

"Repealing the law would also open the door to devolved management of schools."

"Education Law is grossly outdated"

While Deputy Roffey is the last standing member of the previous committee, current ESC President Andrea Dudley-Owen is the only member of the new with any political experience. 

The need for her committee to get to grips with its wide-ranging mandate and its focus on the secondary and post-16 review has absorbed most of their time. she said. 

"Thus far in the new political term, the committee has focused its attention on a general Education, Sport & Culture induction process which is both necessary and appropriate, especially given that four of the five voting Members are new Deputies," said Deputy Dudley-Owen.

"Insofar as more detailed subject-specific inductions and briefings are concerned, the Committee has focused its attention on the Secondary Review and The Guernsey Institute, alongside gaining a detailed understanding of the various component parts of a high-quality education ‘eco-system’.

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Pictured: The creation of the Guernsey Institute is one of the matters that has dominated ESC's time, Deputy Dudley-Owen said. 

Deputy Dudley-Owen said her committee - made up of her, Bob Murray, Susan Aldwell, Andy Cameron and Sam Haskins - has been able to determine its strategic priorities as a result of this work. 

"The committee will next turn its attention to the Education Law Review and an introductory briefing has been scheduled. Amongst other things, this briefing will expand upon the various drivers for change.

"It is only after this introductory briefing that the committee will be able to confirm how it intends to proceed. The committee will be pleased to provide a further update after it has had time to reflect on that briefing."

Pictured top: Deputies Peter Roffey and Andrea Dudley-Owen. 

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