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Education looks to release its grip on schools

Education looks to release its grip on schools

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Education looks to release its grip on schools

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Board of governors will be introduced to challenge and support headteachers under proposals announced by Education, Sport & Culture.

It is one of the flagship proposals in a new education law, which is now out for consultation.

Nearly a decade ago an independent report by former headteacher Dennis Mulkerrin said the 1970 law ‘urgently’ needed updating and made recommendations to introduce a governing body system.

"The committee wants to overhaul our system of education governance, so that the responsibilities of school leaders, school governors and the political committee are all separately and clearly defined," said ESC president Andrea Dudley Owen.

"Headteachers need regular support and challenge as they focus on day-to-day education delivery. To allow this, we are proposing the creation of new boards of governors for education settings. We want people with relevant skills and backgrounds to represent school and The Guernsey Institute communities on these boards, and to formally meet and engage with school leaders."

Currently her committee has direct responsibility for governing all the States schools and The Guernsey Institute establishments with about 7,000 students.


Pictured: Guernsey's current four high schools.

In England, board of governors act as a ‘critical friend’, providing strategic direction for a school, they have responsibility for appointing and dismissing staff, hear appeals, set behavioural standards and form school policy on curriculum.

Guernsey currently has a system of school committees, whose roles and responsibilities have reduced over time.

"These committees do perform valued duties within the existing legal framework but to ensure there is no confusion with the new governance boards which we propose to introduce, the updated law will remove the requirement for School Committees," said Deputy Dudley Owen.

"We’re very hopeful that some of the current School Committee members, many of whom have served their community for many years, will consider putting themselves forward to be governors in the future, working alongside other members of the community who have not yet got involved in the life of their local school or the TGI."

The current education law was agreed in 1970, but is based on legislation from the 1940s.

"Our education law should outline what parents and their children can expect from the education system – both what students are entitled to and what our education settings are responsible for. Like lots of laws, the education law exists in the background for most people – essentially as an invisible safety net that protects students and ensures the way we deliver education is appropriate."

One example of where the current law is virtually silent is on safeguarding. 

Before finalising its proposals, which will be debated by the States, the committee wants feedback from the community. Its public consultation will go live at 16:00 today and be available at www.gov.gg/yourviews.

It has published a short animation on the education law.

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