Deputy Aidan Matthews has confirmed he is considering a bid for the vacant seat on the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture when the States elect a new member on Wednesday.
Deputy Matthews, pictured top, voted against the ongoing reorganisation of secondary and further education last year. Express understands the Committee would prefer to nominate a candidate who voted for its plans. But Deputy Matthews may still stand for the vacancy "from the floor".
"Yes, I am interested in the vacancy on the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture. As you’ll perhaps recall, at the beginning of the States' term I was unsuccessful in securing a Committee place," Deputy Matthews told Express.
"Having stood from the floor once previously, I do have a speech that could in theory be dusted off and updated if that were a suitable course of action."
Pictured: The remaining members of the Committee (clockwise from left): Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President, and Deputies Sue Aldwell, Sam Haskins and Andy Cameron.
"I supported the three 11-18 model [three secondary schools, each including sixth form studies] along with Deputies Al Brouard and Jonathan Le Tocq, and a little mercurially along with Deputy Peter Roffey, although perhaps in his case more as a least-worst option from those available," said Deputy Matthews last night.
"My views remain largely similar, though I accept the States voted decisively, at that time, to pursue an alternative model. I don't see this as a good time for an 'I told you so' approach.
"The Committee will have its work cut out finding a way to maintain momentum and deliver the overall aims of the education strategy and the priorities identified in the Government Work Plan.
"Since then, there have been significant shifts in the States' financial and economic outlook, inflation, and importantly a new approach to strategic population policy.
"I'm quite sure that top of parents' list of priorities will be addressing the shortcomings identified by Ofsted at St. Sampson's High School and improving standards such as literacy in our primary schools.
"No doubt the Committee will seek to address these challenges head on."
Pictured: The Committee is looking for a new construction partner for its secondary and further education model after the loss of RG Falla.
The election of a new member comes just a week after the Committee announced the termination of its deal with RG Falla to construct the flagship of its £105million reorganisation plan: The Guernsey Institute and a sixth form college at Les Ozouets.
The Committee acknowledges that its search for a new construction partner will probably further delay completion of its new model beyond the most recent target date of September 2025. The Committee's President, Andrea Dudley-Owen, said last week that "it is not yet possible to state with any accuracy what the cost implication" will be of the setback.
One member of the Committee, Deputy Andy Cameron, has already said he hopes his colleagues will reconsider "a more economical model" of secondary and further education following the loss of its construction partner.
Deputy Cameron's preferred option had some similarities to the £105m model which has been States' policy since September 2021 – in particular, retaining 11-16 schools at Les Beaucamps and St. Sampson's.
However, he wanted to maintain 11-18 education at Les Varendes, avoiding the need for a new sixth form college at Les Ozouets. Under his plan, Les Ozouets would have accommodated only The Guernsey Institute, which combines all further and higher education.
Pictured: Deputy Andy Cameron said the collapse of the Committee's deal with RG Falla to construct a post-16 campus at Les Ozouets presented a good opportunity to reconsider whether sixth form studies should instead remain nearby at the Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre at Les Varendes (above).
As well as originally advocating a model of secondary education based on three 11-18 States' schools or colleges, Deputy Matthews also voted for Deputy Cameron's suggested model in preference to the Committee's model when they were debated by the States' Assembly in July and September 2021.
Deputy Matthews said at the time that the model put forward by the Committee and agreed by the States' Assembly was "a simple levelling down exercise to reach the lowest common denominator".
"It Introduces inefficiencies that weren't there at all," he said. "We are throwing away money at a time for something that isn't worth doing. We've moved to one site for no good reason with poor infrastructure."
Pictured: Deputy Bob Murray, believed to be the driving force behind the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture's reorganisation of secondary and further education, left the Committee three weeks ago to become a member of the Policy & Resources Committee.
Deputy Matthews is a member of the Committee for Health & Social Care.
"At an individual level for me, holding a place on both the Committee for Health and Social Care and the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture may be challenging," he said last night.
"Whilst holding more than one Committee place is not uncommon in the States, the two Committees are known - after the Policy & Resources Committee - as the two with the highest workloads."
The Committee has not announced its preferred candidate to fill the vacancy and is under no obligation to do so ahead of the election on Wednesday.
Express understands the Committee has been considering whether to nominate Alderney Representative Steve Roberts for the vacancy.
Mr Roberts and Alex Snowdon were re-elected as Alderney Representatives over the weekend and are full members of the States' Assembly in Guernsey and eligible to sit on States' committees.
The other members of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture are Deputies Sue Aldwell and Sam Haskins.
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