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Herm parents shocked at school closure news

Herm parents shocked at school closure news

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Herm parents shocked at school closure news

Wednesday 24 May 2023

The news that Herm School will be closing has been described as "heartbreaking", "crazy" and an "awful decision" with an almost unanimously negative response through social media to the decision among parents in the island.

While one mum of Herm children confirmed on social media that she made the decision to move her sons to Vauvert Primary School full time because of the lack of new pupils joining Herm's school, other parents have said they were happy with the unique experience it offered.

On Tuesday, the States committee for Education, Sport and Culture announced its decision to shut the school and send all primary school aged children in Herm to Vauvert Primary in St Peter Port on a one-year trial basis from this September.


Pictured: Herm's children will commute to St Peter Port daily for lessons from September.

ESC said it held meetings with the parents of Herm children and the Herm Island management on Tuesday where it explained its decision to shut the school in the "best interests of the children’s education". The news was announced publicly via social media later that same day.

A Herm parent commenting on the announcement on the States of Guernsey Facebook page said they were invited to a meeting about the school on Monday before being informed of the decision on Tuesday, with the public announcement being made immediately, which she claims was made "with no previous parental consultation".

She and other Herm parents praised the island's school currently and in the past for the "education and guidance" provided to their children, primarily by Herm's long standing teacher Mary Carey.

Above: Herm School's roll has fluctuated over the years but the numbers have always been low.

"The Herm children have always had a primary education which is second to none," commented another parent.

The mum who had commented saying she had made the "sad decision" to move her children from Herm School to Vauvert full time in January did so because her three sons were starting to get fed up with each others company.

She wrote that they were starting to feel "excluded" and that they had previously had trouble making friends. She said that she hoped other Herm families would see the long term benefits of the change proposed.

Although it says money wasn't the motivating factor, ESC said it would save the island between £60,000 to £85,000 a year by closing Herm School.

With just four pupils currently enrolled at the school, it is one of the most expensive schools to run in the Bailiwick - possibly only topped by the cost of running Le Murier or Le Rondin schools which both teach children with varying additional needs.

Above: Just a year ago Herm School had eight pupils, it now has just four.

The bulk of the cost of running Herm School will be spent on Ms Carey's wages. Having taught at the school for around two decades she appears to be universally popular with people in Herm and the staff at ESC.

Nick Hynes, Director of Education, said: "I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Mary Carey, who has dedicated almost two decades to teaching children who live in Herm and has done a remarkable job in that time."

A Herm parent wrote on Facebook that: "My children are already learning far beyond their school years and taught to their individual strengths under the guidance of their wonderful teacher, Mary Carey, in a unique setting that is ‘broad, diverse and ambitious’."

Another wrote: "My child attended the school for seven years and had the best start they could ever wish for under the expert tutelage of teacher Mary Carey."

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