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Sark to keep its school open for teens

Sark to keep its school open for teens

Thursday 17 January 2019

Sark to keep its school open for teens

After plans to send children to school in Guernsey from the age of 13 up were widely opposed, Sark's government has got to come up with a new plan for its teenagers.

There are so few of them that the results of yesterday's debate will only affect a maximum of four children from this September onwards, but it could have repercussions for other families in the island.

Chief Pleas' Education Committee had suggested using Les Beaucamps High School and Blanchelande College as two partner schools, so that pupils at Sark School could move to one of those sites at the age of 13. That would have given them time to settle in before starting their GCSE studies. It was also intended to ensure a sense of community if more than one Sark child moved at the same time.

A survey was held on the proposals, with the results available to read here. The answers given by Sark residents weren't conclusively in favour or against though.


Pictured: Some of the survey responses gave mixed results. 

Sark School educates children from age 3 with four classes split into age groups, with provision for teaching and learning support up to the end of year 11, when most pupils would have sat their GCSEs. 

At the moment there aren't any GCSE age students in Sark, but four children are believed to be entering the equivalent of year nine in the next school year, meaning they would be on the cusp of preparing for their exams in the following two years. They would be the ones immediately affected by any plans to send all children age 13+ to Guernsey to school. 

However, the plans put to Chief Pleas were not passed yesterday, with new plans now needed before any decisions can be made in the long term.

In the short term, those pupils affected later this year will have a choice of going to school in Guernsey, partially funded by Chief Pleas, or staying in Sark - to be supported through their GCSEs by the three teachers at Sark School, which is currently predominantly teaching primary school aged pupils.

There'll now be a fresh look at the options including talking to other schools in Guernsey about linking up with them, or the possibility of teaching GCSEs at Sark School itself. 

private colleges

Pictured: Guernsey's three private colleges. 

One of the tasks for Sark's Education Committee is now to talk to the other two colleges in Guernsey about possibly sending children there, rather than limiting Sark families' choices to Les Beaucamps or Blanchelande. 

Conseiller Pauline Mallinson said for now, the proposal to send children to Guernsey at age 13 was withdrawn, while further work is done on the plans. For the children entering the equivalent of year nine this September, they will have the choice of staying in Sark, going to Guernsey, or going to school elsewhere. That will affect four children and their families at most. 

She said there will be more talks on what can be done to support them, both practically and financially, whatever decisions are made. 

Pictured top: Sark School. 

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