Les Beaucamps High: ‘make do and mend’

NOT all Guernsey people are happy with plans to rebuild Les Beaucamps High School.

0718833.jpgThis artist’s aerial impression of the proposed Les Beaucamps High rebuild shows how the new layout would look. (0718833)

NOT all Guernsey people are happy with plans to rebuild Les Beaucamps High School. Two islanders who attended a meeting to present the proposed plans said now was the time to ‘make do and mend’ - not spend millions on a new school.

‘With careful expenditure, the school could be brought up to a reasonable standard which could extend its life for another 10 years. Get us through this recession and then spend when we have got the money,’ said Peter Tilden-Smith, who has lived in Guernsey for over 40 years and works in the building industry.

He was concerned about capital spending in the island, as was James Collings, a software engineer, who was born and grew up here before living off-island. He returned to Guernsey five years ago.

‘As a community we cannot afford to have everything we want. The States haven’t bothered to maintain it and now it has escalated to a category one in terms of urgency,’ said Mr Collings.

‘I’m sure there are ways of making do and mend. I don’t believe there is a need to spend £35m. We have to cut our cloth to fit.’

But Les Beaucamps High’s head teacher said putting off the rebuild was simply not an option.

‘I can see what they are saying but it has no validity. The longer we put it off, the more it is going to cost,’ said Peter Le Cheminant.

He said, as pointed out in the public presentation earlier this week, if the school were to be kept going it would need £5.5m. spent on it over the next decade to make it wind and water tight.

Comments for: "Les Beaucamps High: ‘make do and mend’"


Does no-one else agree with the builder? surely £5.5mil over a decade is better than a £35mil lump sum?!?!


Guernsey does not have the money. Those that want to spend it, are not living in the real world. Deal with it - make it watertight.

Although I feel a level of sympathy for the working conditions, if the money is not there, it's not there. I agree with the two folks at the meeting. Capital projects are all lining up for money, they all say they are "critical". But people, we are in the middle of a recession. Guernsey tax payers are doing as much as they can. We can't spend what we don't have.


Well ultimately if the states had kept the school in a half decent state they could maybe manage for another year. But as the states havent and the place is falling apart, something needs to be done. How are children meant to sit their GCSE's with windows falling out all over the place?


As long as overseas labour arn't brought in to carry out the project this £35mil project will add a huge amount to our economy and help us weather the current financial situation.

If however the states goes down it's usual route and contract it out to a UK company who bring in UK labour and materials then they will have wasted what could be a great piece of governance.


Agreed Starscream. Given the current clie, those that didn't maintain over the past 15 years need to be held to account. Some honesty about why it wasn't maintained wouldn't go amiss; if it was dereliction within Education, hold the officers to account; if it was part of an under-policy to willfully damage the building then fess up - we aren't stupid. I'll take the maintenance bill over the rebuild bill please.

Amanda Holmes

I can't believe people are even arguing about this!

I have a daughter at the school, and the conditions they work in are appalling.

The staff are brilliant, but they are working under extremly difficult conditions. The last comment is correct, the window did fall out. How dangerous is that? Let alone the very popular these days "health and saftey" issues.Do the States want to wait until a pupil is badly injured or killed? Or perhaps less serious - wait until the kids start getting ill due to damp, or cold.

They had the money for St Sampsons, and look at the problems that caused. Come on States-get your prorities right!


Further clarification is needed. He says that the school needs 5.5m spent on it over the next decade to make it wind and water tight. Does that mean that it wont be wind and water tight for 10 years? Does this builder have an indepth knowledge of what is actually required for the maintenance of this individual school? or is he just estimating?

The layout looks very impressive - especially with the 3 basketball courts and 2 tennis courts. Perhaps they could divide the project into several phases if they wanted to spread out the costs?

Guern abroad

make do and mend maintenance is the way forward, for all situations Don’t blame it on the tools If you have a will you will find a way not an excuse!

I went to the other old prefab supposed to last 25 years school back in the 80s, it leaked then, but I went to get an education.

If you are inclined it does not matter what your surroundings are, you make the best of it, as it is in your interest.

There are plenty of children in schools world wide that are in far worse condition.

The States need to pull their finger out and get onto a maintenance program pronto, for all buildings in their care.


Shopping List

Decent Runway (long enough for more than G-JOEY

Proper Waste Water Treatment Plant

New Incinerator (one we would have had but another 25 milliion at least)

Deep water Birth for fuel.....despite biggest tidal range in Europe and lots of wind available

Etc Etc

Oh yeah, milk, eggs and bread as well!

Safeways is going to have a good week!


I agree with Starsream and mhh, we have to live in the real world, we have not got the money.Loaning money for all the forthcoming projects would only put this Island into serious trouble.If we do have any surplus money, it should go towards,helping young Guernsey entrepreneurs, tourism or food production. Something that will take us away from our relyance on Finance.

I was at Les Beauchamp School in the third year of its opening,and money has not been spent to properly look after the building.

The annual Education maintenance budget is about £30,000 per building, which is not enough.

Should we have built Les Rondin Scool and Les Nichols?


At Grammar, we played tennis, basketball, netball all on the same courts. Could they not reduce costs a bit by dong the same? Unfortunately iw as not particulary 'sporty' so i dont know if these are correct sizes, but it worked for us.


Although i would never begin to agree with the states they are stuck in a hard place. A rebuild would surley create jobs but is the money avaliable. Is a rebuild really needed? New windows and a water tight roof would sort the wind and water tight and surley the damp. They should have maintained it correctly and definelty should be now, weather its due to be knockeddown or not. I used to play football in the gym about 20 years ago...is it still the same one? If they go by UK standards for sports facilities there wont be a lot. "Multi-use" is the UK phase.....to the point where mathes and sience could/should be taught on squash courts!!!! The states need to budget better......where does the money all go?


Maybe they could save some money by implementing a work for the pension scheme for the unemployed on states projects such as this.


>>The states need to budget better……where does the money all go?<<

We gave it away to corporates last year. Unfortunatley the States still think they have the 95million income a year and continue to act like drunken lottery winners.

Maybe the Ministers should speak to Citizens Advice Bureau.

Any idiot can spend money; the test of their metal for States members is to manage debt and reduced earnings.

I wait in anticipation and little faith.

Michael LL

I agree with Jackie again, as I do on the other 'Les Beaucamps is falling apart' article on this site.

I repeat again, when I was at school every year the school got painted and in term time, we all witnessed painters up to 1984 when I left. I had a tour around the school about 10 years ago and everything was in as good condition as when I was at school.

The states have obviously purposely left the place unmaintained in recent years so they can say the place is falling apart and they need to rebuild it. This is absolute rubbish, if one window was coming out and if there are other faults it does not need the building demolished and rebuilt, DUH YOU FIX THEM SILLY. We would not demolish our houses if one window was faulty.

Fixing those bars or chains accross all the windows as they did, would have probably cost the same or more then fixing the window and any other faults there.

In these times where the states should be saving money they should be "MAKING DO AND MEND" get it in your thick skulls states members.


We have no money.....”RUBBISH”.....have we not just spent millions on two tankers!!......... I bet 99.9% of posters would not enter their workplace if it were in the same condition this school is in and you expect children to be taught in such dire dire conditions. I am ashamed that we have spent millions on an art center for a few "arty farties" and we allow our secondary schools to disintegrate in such an appalling way. Education is for all not just those privileged few whose mummy and daddy are well connected. Some of you need to live in the real world. Good education or Health and Safety of pupils or staff is of course not a priority in some peoples eyes and is this because their children do not attend this school. I say spend the money, this is not a third world country or at least is never used to be........Z10, lousy policies and under spending have destroyed this island.


BJP I think you are being slightly melodramatic and missing the point. Had the Education Department not run the schools down you would not have been so incensed. Turn your anger on Edu, not those of us that can see the cynicality of the political process from a mile off.

I do agree, however, on your general thrust regarding zero/10. The funniest thing is that the grand architect leads the island and those that promised to 'tweak' have gone deafly silent. But that's for another time.

It's a lovely sunny day; I'm going to the beach. Enjoy!

Stephen John

If, after the so called 11 plus debate of a few years ago, Education had returned to the States within a few months, the States were in the mood to give Education what they wanted to sort the schools out.

Problem is that Education only went back for money some 18 months later. At that time attitudes had changed. In addition there was concern about the cost, as the initial projected costs increased substantially, almost month by month.

A further factor was the spending of so many millions on the art centre wnen so many mainstream education places neeeded money.

There was also an attitude of why spend money on maintaining buildings that were soon to be replaced.

Problem was that the States had not agreed to the grand plan, when it eventually materialised; of the mandarins of the Grange.

The result is the state of disrepair of some Guernsey schools in 2009.


Regardless of cost all students on the island deserve the right to a decent education and the correct buildings to receive these. I have not set foot in the building since I left in 1998 but then then buildings were in need of desperate repair. We were lucky enough to have fantastic teachers make up for this.

If it is possible to make the buildings work for the next 10 years and then they become more than suitable for education then seeing as the financial climate is not ideal at present this could be an answer. However, I do hope that the correct people are involved and that the right decisions are made so that when the money is spent on repair/new build it is not money wasted.

As a teacher on the mainland in a situation witnessing the beginnings of a major rebuild it does not take a building to be near disrepair to be considered unfit for purpose. Education is changing where is needed and 'out of the box' teaching required.

Whatever happens I hope to return to the island in the next few years and hope to enter a situation where it doesn't matter if a student is sport or arts orientated but the right facilities are available to all.


Who says we will have more money in 10 years? Noone can be sure and I wouldnt bank on it...(pardon the pun).

Just get it done. At least then we can be assured of having a nice school in 10 years - if nothing else. Dragging these things out always increases the costs exponentially. The project will be good for generating employment as previously stated.


I don't see the point of spending £5m+ on patch-ups that will last just 10 years. To me it is a waste of money. And what will the projected cost of a re-build be in 2019? £45m?

I side with Wil on this - just get it done.

If we keep on protecting the rainy day fund then nothing will ever get done on this island. Guernsey is a big economy for its size and could cope with running a deficit for 10, 20 or however many years it takes. This is the only way we are going to bring all of our infrastructure into the 21st century.

Why is everyone so scared of making a big investment? The longer we leave it, the more it is going to cost everyone.


The deficit is closer to £50m.

Adolphus Collenette

Seeing as how everything is done for show & not practicality,make you wonder.

When the "new" block was built 10 yrs ago at St.Sampsons it was too small and impractical.Most of that structure is now high maintenance.

The Baubigny schools are already having problems collapsing cielings,bad plumbing and the future maintenance is immeasurable,compare with the Forest new schools.