Three unions, representing teaching and support staff within Guernsey's education services, have raised a number of concerns with the plans for 'one school-on-two-sites' model being introduced for secondary school pupils.
The National Education Union, Prospect and the Association of School and College Leaders have issued individual statements highlighting concerns their members have over the plans to merge the island's Grammar School and High schools into one school spread over two campuses.
The NEU, which represents school teachers, further education lecturers, education support staff and teaching assistants and was formed by the merger of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in 2017, said its members have raised concerns about the published plans for secondary education.
Pictured: ESC members, President Matt Fallaize and deputies Mark Dorey, Rhian Tooley, Peter Roffey and Richard Graham.
The NEU says it carried out a survey of its local members to 'determine the nature and extent of those very real professional concerns'.
Although there is still support for a non-selective system of secondary education in Guernsey, the NEU says its members aren't convinced the new model, based across the two chosen sites, will be fit for purpose, and whether the educational opportunities will even be equal at both schools.
"Whilst it is clear that members do not wish to see a return to a selective system, the survey responses did confirm very real concerns about the prospective student experience if the proposals were to go ahead in their current form.
"In particular, members lacked confidence in the extent to which the published plans would provide school sites that would be fit for purpose for up to 1400 students, especially at Les Beaucamps, A majority also lacked confidence in the likelihood that the quality of educational opportunities in the two proposed colleges will be equal.
Pictured: The new Lisia School will have campuses at the current St Sampson's and Les Beaucamps High School sites.
"These results probably contributed significantly to the stated lack of confidence in the learning experience for Guernsey students being improved after the transformation is complete and members’ views were amplified in a series of detailed comments about the issues identified. The detailed concerns identified by both teachers and support staff have been communicated to members and officers of both Education, Sport & Culture and the Policy and Resources Committee."
The NEU says its members remain 'committed to delivering the highest standards of education' and that together with other associations, 'the NEU will also continue to work in the very best interests of the island's education community'.
Those concerns have been echoed today by the union representing non-teaching staff working in schools. Prospect says it is joining the teaching unions in raising its own members' 'concerns over the planned operation of the new 11-18 (Lisia) School'.
Pictured: The Grammar School site will be closing once the Lisia School is open.
Negotiations Executive for Prospect, Stephen Langford, said its members are also concerned over the sizes of the new school sites, and any impact on teaching and learning - and also over the lack of staff engagement so far.
"As might be expected with a change of such magnitude, Prospect members have been expressing a number of concerns over how the new school will operate. These were confirmed in a recent survey of members, where issues about the physical configuration of the two new colleges, and their potential impact on teaching and learning, came to the fore.
"The other significant concern was in relation to the level of staff engagement that had taken place."
Prospect says that its representatives, together with the teaching unions, have met with ESC to raise these concerns, 'and to discuss how best they may be addressed'.
Mr Langford said; "these discussions have been open and constructive, and various actions have been agreed. We look forward to continuing to work with ESC to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements for both students and staff."
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has also surveyed its members, who have raised similar concerns.
Pictured: La Mare de Carteret High School will close once the new Lisia School opens. The primary school is due to be rebuilt under the wider plans for education in Guernsey.
ASCL National Negotiator, Michael Kidd, said there is support from its members for the new model of secondary education but there are also 'areas of major concern'.
“Alongside the joint unions, ASCL conducted a survey of members’ views on the Transforming Education Programme. The responses received showed that while there is overall support for the approach being pursued by the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture, and support for the one-school-on-two-sites non-selective model, there are also areas of major concern around some of the detail contained in the policy letter, in particular the lack of social space and outside space for pupils.
“Having subsequently met with members of the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture, members of the Policy and Resources Committee and States Officers, ASCL welcomes the recognition by the employer of the concerns expressed in the survey and the commitment to further consultation and negotiation.”
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