Teachers and deputies hope there will be more opportunities to contribute to a new education strategy being developed by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture.
The Committee says the strategy will be substantially developed in the New Year and will "ensure that the States-maintained education eco-system is ambitious and aspirational".
Some deputies want and expect the strategy to be debated by the States. The most-recent 'vision' for education, published in 2013, was debated and approved by the States. But Nick Hynes, Director of Education, said recently that the current Committee's strategy would be approved by the Committee only and would not involve the States' Assembly.
Deputy Peter Roffey said in a tweet that he hoped the education strategy would "provide seminal and thoughtful debate in the States".
Both crucial in their own ways. But a bit like comparing apples with pears. Getting taxation right is crucial for short - medium term success. Getting education right crucial for medium - long term success. Hope both provide seminal and thoughtful debates in the States.— Peter John "Rufus" Roffey (@PeterRoffey5) November 13, 2021
Pictured: Some deputies are still hoping to persuade the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture that the education strategy which it is developing should be debated and approved by the States' Assembly.
Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller was surprised when she learned that the developing strategy would not go to the States' Assembly.
"I think it is fair to say that there was an expectation that the education strategy would come to the States [because of] the way it has been referenced by members of Education, Sport & Culture in the Chamber and elsewhere this year," said Deputy Kazantseva-Miller.
When approached by Express for her views not only as a deputy but also as a mum with three children in States' schools, Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez said she thought the strategy might yet still go to the States for debate.
"I know that significantly improving the quality of education is quite rightly a key focus for the Committee and the education strategy will be central to how that is achieved," she said.
"I expect that, once they have agreed the strategy at Committee level, they may in fact want to bring it to the States, as it is so fundamental to the high level of aspiration they have for States' education and that will be the best way to secure the engagement and political buy-in that such an important strategy deserves.
“At Environment & Infrastructure, that was our approach to the Strategy for Nature, which we agreed as a Committee and then brought to the States as part of our Climate Change Policy in 2020. The Strategy for Nature is foundational to our natural environmental work in the same way that I'm sure the education strategy will prove foundational to education in the Bailiwick.
"I wish the committee well with this very important strategy and – especially being a parent stakeholder myself – am really looking forward to seeing it.”
Pictured: If the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture cannot be persuaded or required to submit its education strategy to the States, Deputy Yvonne Burford's Scrutiny Management Committee may provide the only source of political scrutiny of the strategy through a public hearing which the SMC intends to hold early in 2022.
Irrespective of whether the strategy goes to the States, it looks set to be included in a public hearing hosted by the Scrutiny Management Committee. Deputy Yvonne Burford, President of the Scrutiny Management Committee, told Express that she hoped to hold the hearing in the first quarter of 2022.
"We will be conducting a public hearing with Education, Sport & Culture as part of our normal rotation of scrutinising all of the Principal Committees and it could reasonably be expected that questions on the education strategy will form a part of that hearing," said Deputy Burford.
Deputy Kazantseva-Miller said that if the strategy was not going to the States for debate there would need to be alternative opportunities for deputies to contribute to it.
"I can see the approach being suggested and taken by the Committee," said Deputy Kazantseva-Miller. "This is actually similar to the approach we [the Committee for Economic Development] took with the updated Digital Framework earlier this year, which was launched without going to the States for approval.
"I...can understand their intentions as being those of setting a high-level vision and framework and then working with professionals to make it happen day and night. I can see the value of this iterative approach.
"However, this does not diminish the importance of engagement and seeking views and participation of different stakeholders..so I would welcome an engagement programme that involves deputies so we can have a chance to contribute."
Pictured: Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller has taken a keen interest in education policy since being elected to the States last year and wants the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture to provide opportunities for other deputies to contribute to its developing education strategy.
Local teacher Connie Armstrong, who is District Secretary of the National Education Union, said that teachers would welcome more involvement in the development of the strategy and greater understanding of its content.
"Unions haven’t been involved in the strategy but we are aware of it," said Mrs Armstrong.
"We’re aware of some limited school staff involvement. We would welcome as many opportunities as possible for staff to be part of the process and have ownership of it.
"The strategy is very high level at this stage and teachers are busy dealing with day-to-day issues, such as rising covid cases in schools, staff shortages, OFSTED inspections and increased workload. Staff will be particularly interested in the operational impact of the strategy – the how and when, and whether there will be adequate support and resources in schools for the strategy to have any positive impact."
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