The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has now confirmed that it has abolished the 'shadow' Board of Governors of The Guernsey Institute. which has existed since early in the 2012-16 States' term.
The Committee says the structure of the Board "is no longer appropriate" following a decision of the States in September to co-locate The Guernsey Institute and the Sixth Form Centre as part of its reorganisation of secondary, further and higher education.
At 09:10, the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture issued a statement which confirmed Express' story that the Board had been told that it no longer had a role in the running of The Guernsey Institute.
The Committee said it "intends to explore what advisory roles members of the shadow Board can take on to support the Committee's vision for the Les Ozouets Campus". It is believed that this offer was discussed by members of the former Board when they met yesterday. But at present there is no indication whether any of them will continue to work with the The Guernsey Institute or the Committee.
Pictured: Deputy Bob Murray, the Vice-President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said that his Committee would like some of the members of the Board which has just been abolished to help advise the Committee on the future of higher and further education.
The Guernsey Institute - or its largest predecessor, the College of Further Education - has had its own 'shadow' Board since early in the 2012-16 States' term. It was established as a first step towards devolution of powers away from the States to governors and leaders of schools and colleges.
Although the Committee has not publicly discarded plans which have existed for many years to transfer more responsibilities from the Committee and its Education Office to schools and colleges, removing the Board of The Guernsey Institute may be a further indication that devolution is no longer a priority.
In the first year of their term of office, the States have rescinded Resolutions directing a transfer of responsibilities from the Committee and Office to schools and colleges. They have also shelved plans to re-write the 1970 Education Law, which would be necessary to transfer such responsibilities in law.
Deputy Bob Murray, Vice-President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said his Committee "have given this subject much thought since we took up office a little over a year ago" and that "the role of the shadow Board has come into much sharper focus in light of the recent policy decision of the States to co-locate the Sixth Form Centre with The Guernsey Institute as part of a post-16 learning campus for the whole of our community at Les Ozouets".
‘While we don’t believe the shadow Board structure is right for where we are currently, the Committee is very keen to explore what the role of an advisory group might look like and the extent to which members of the shadow Board might be willing to partner with the Committee on such a development.
"We believe we share the same goals and aspirations for life-long learning and a highly skilled workforce that supports our islands’ economic prosperity, so we would like to explore how we might continue to draw on the considerable expertise of the members of the shadow Board in some other form."
Pictured: The executive leaders of the constituent parts of The Guernsey Institute (l to r): Simon Le Tocq (Chief Executive, GTA University Centre), Tracey McClean (Head, Institute of Health and Social Care Studies), Jacki Hughes (Executive Principal, The Guernsey Institute) and Louise Misselke (Principal, College of Further Education).
The Board - first of the College of Further Education and then of The Guernsey Institute - has enjoyed limited powers but not inconsiderable influence since it was established by the then Education Department under the political leadership of Robert Sillars. Richard Conder, who served as Vice-President of Deputy Sillars' Committee, said yesterday that he would be "disappointed" to see the Board of The Guernsey Institute wound up.
"Julian Winser and his colleagues have selflessly devoted their time and energies over many years to the progress and welfare of The Guernsey Institute and its students," said Professor Conder, who is also a former Chief Executive of the GTA University Centre.
"They took on the role with the clear understanding that governance of The Guernsey Institute would be devolved to them and the Institute’s executive leadership. That this has not happened and has caused this team to have become so disillusioned is very sad.
"It is a serious lost opportunity in terms of operational efficiencies, external business engagement and potentially students' outcomes."
The Guernsey Institute brings together three organisations which provide or commission further and higher education in the Bailiwick: the College of Further Education, the Institute of Health and Social Care Studies and the GTA University Centre.
The Committee has said that it remains committed to the concept of The Guernsey Institute, including developing a single centre for further and higher education on the site of the former St. Peter Port Secondary School at Les Ozouets.
At tomorrow's States' meeting, the Committee faces urgent (Rule 12) questions about the effects of delay to its reorganisation of secondary, further and higher education after announcing last week that there was now a "significant risk" of the reorganisation not being concluded in the current States' term.
Pictured: Julian Winser has led the 'shadow' Board of The Guernsey Institute since it was established by the then Education Department under the political leadership of Robert Sillars as a first step towards devolving more responsibilities to schools and colleges.
Julian Winser, who has chaired the shadow Board of The Guernsey Institute since its formation, said that its members had become frustrated over a number of years.
"There has been a lot of uncertainty over our role as a result of the 2020 election and a new Committee that understandably wanted to develop its own plans, not to mention contending with the fall out of the global pandemic," said Mr Winser.
"As a result of the shift to create a post-16 campus with both The Guernsey Institute and Sixth Form Centre, we recognised that it would be impossible to achieve the aimed-for level of independent corporate governance required for The Guernsey Institute alongside the States-provided governance for the Sixth Form Centre.
"We understand the need for a new solution. As a group of people who have a lot of commercial experience, the members of the shadow Board remain firmly of the view that The Guernsey Institute has the potential to be a truly exceptional provider of technical, vocational and professional learning.
"We know that industry will continue to work with The Guernsey Institute to ensure that its students are demand-led in terms of their studies and are work-ready upon their graduation."
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