Education has defended its 11-18 proposals against criticism from a group of educationalists, whose counter-proposals the Committee says would lead to "massive inequality".
The Committee was responding after 57 educationalists put their name to an open letter to States members that called for changes to Education, Sport & Culture's proposed restructure of secondary and post-16 education.
"In 2018 the States agreed that as soon as possible secondary education should be organised in two 11-18 colleges operating as a single school. In less than three weeks the States will debate the capital funding proposals to put their agreed model into effect," the committee said in response.
"In recent days some retired educationalists have proposed that the States should change course and that instead there should be one 11-18 school of around 1300 students and two 11-16 schools of around 800 students. This model would fail to provide many of the educational benefits of the model agreed by the States.
"It would save little, if anything, in one-off capital costs and would be at least as expensive in annual running costs. During the transition period it would be more disruptive to students. Most of all it would create new inequalities of opportunity for young people based on where in the island their parents live. It would also require the transition model to be changed nearly a year after it was published, thus creating new uncertainty for parents and students."
Pictured: Representatives of the committee have offered to meet with the educationalists to discuss their concerns ahead of September's debate.
The committee said the authors of the letter had clearly acknowledged the benefits of 11-18 schools, having suggested that there should be one, but were advocating denying those benefits to other students based on catchment areas.
"Students at 11-18 schools have substantial advantages, including when they are in the 11-16 phase of the school. Additional staff resources required for sixth forms benefit the 11-16 phase of the school too. Current head teachers and successive committees have acknowledged that offering teachers the opportunity to teach all phases of secondary education, including A Level/IB courses, assists recruitment.
"All students benefit when staff teams are better able to take a long-term view of curriculum planning, factoring in the requirements of post-16 studies. Sixth form students can have a positive impact on the culture and behaviour across the school and make valuable contributions to the life of the school, including running clubs or supporting younger students.
"The authors of the letter recommend that a third of 11-16 year-olds should benefit from these advantages, along with those in the grant-aided colleges, while the other two-thirds should be denied them based on where in the island their parents live. It would be staggering to spend tens of millions of pounds in order to introduce such new inequality of opportunity."
Pictured: The Les Varendes site would require around £20m. worth of work to be made "fit-for-purpose", according to ESC and Property Services.
Further, their revised model would cause "substantial disruption" to the students at the Grammar School, by "breaking every promise made to them by the States since 2016?" since they would need to be moved into one of the high schools while Les Varendes was refurbished.
"The model proposed in the authors' letter would lead to massive inequality of provision and inequality of opportunity and greater disruption to students at a similar cost with fewer educational benefits," the committee concluded. "Changing course now would be expensive and prolong uncertainty; and changing course for an inferior model of roughly the same cost would be extremely unwise."
"The evidence was considered at length by the States in January 2018 when the one school/two colleges model was approved. We now need to ensure a smooth transition to the new model for the benefit of all students for many years to come."
Pictured top: The two sites identified for use under the one school/two sites model are the current Les Beaucamps and St Sampson's High schools.
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