In a monumental move, the Education, Sport & Culture Committee will ask politicians to rescind all resolutions from previous debates on the future of secondary education - but committee members are not yet ready to reveal which models of education they want to keep on the table.
Last March, the States approved now-ESC President Andrea Dudley-Owen's requete calling for a 'pause and review' of the previously-agreed one school, two sites model.
Shortly afterwards, the States approved a policy letter from the then-ESC Committee which sought to specify the 'next steps' in the review. It confirmed that the committee - and any future committee - would assess three alternative educational models against the benchmark of the one-school model.
Pictured: Resolutions 5 and 6 of the 'Next Steps' policy letter that paved the way for a review of alternative educational models. ESC wants to rescind all of the resolutions committed to in this policy letter, which can be read in full HERE.
However, after the previous committee lost out at the General Election, the new committee headed up by Deputy Dudley-Owen suggested the current four-school model should be the benchmark of any such review.
Deputy Dudley-Owen and her committee believe it is "illogical" to compare models to a baseline that they say has been roundly rejected by the teaching profession and many islanders.
Her committee is understood to want to clear the decks and proceed with the final stages of the review "unfettered by the complex web of previous resolutions."
“If the States approves our request to rescind these old resolutions, we will continue with the review of secondary education with a more focused scope - one that doesn’t dedicate time to solutions that cannot be delivered," said Deputy Dudley-Owen.
"We have all the value of the work done so far, keeping the members of our independent oversight panel on board and we will not be going back to square one."
There is no word at the stage as to which models the committee wants to drop, or whether it wants to add any new models to the conversation.
The committee came under fire in the States last week for refusing to answer questions on the subject in a tense exchange that has continued to be discussed online by current and former politicians since. A transcript of that Q&A can be found HERE.
Though equally, re-reading the resolution it's unreasonably obstructive "..shall be restricted to models.." taken literally would prevent the committee from discussion of any other secondary education model until the review concludes. Clearly the review needs greater freedom— Aidan Matthews (@AidanDSMatthews) February 3, 2021
Pictured: Some of the discussion that has taken place online since ESC's controversial response to questions in the States.
Deputy Dudley-Owen has given her word that under no circumstances is selection back on the table. She has also confirmed that the much-acclaimed Guernsey Institute is here to stay.
However, the ESC President has said that work to progress a new Education law has been "de-prioritised" for now - reportedly because her committee feels it represents too much change in one go - while the committee is again reiterating that it must now work under tighter financial constraints because of the impact of the pandemic on public finances.
“Engaging directly with staff will be a key focus for the committee during the final stages of the review," she said. "We have learned much from the significant feedback from staff, via the survey last summer and the series of workshops run in each school late last year, and we are currently planning our next phase of engagement with them.
“We will shortly be able to explain in more detail what our plans are for the final stages of the review, to update staff, States Members and the public on our work developing our own guiding principles and what options remain on the table as resolutions that serve only to impede our work in this important area of our mandate.”
Pictured top: Education, Sport & Culture Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen.
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