Better results will follow 'when La Mare is rebuilt'

RESULTS at La Mare de Carteret High will improve if and when its long-awaited rebuild is finished, the Education minister claimed.

Robert Sillars

RESULTS at La Mare de Carteret High will improve if and when its long-awaited rebuild is finished, the Education minister claimed.

The pledge yesterday by minister Robert Sillars was backed by other education experts.

However, they expected head teacher Vicky Godley to turn around this year's poor GCSE results before the completion of a new school, which it is hoped will begin in 2015.

Deputy Sillars, pictured, said he hoped the new facility could be opened in 2018, which would in turn be a factor in bringing higher grades.

'We, as an Education board and as the community of Guernsey, should be determined to give them the same advantages as the pupils at St Sampson's High, Les Beaucamps and the Grammar School,' he said.

Comments for: "Better results will follow 'when La Mare is rebuilt'"

Guernsey Fudge

If States departments and civil servants cannot get their sums right, how can they expect students to get it right every time ?

Well said our kid.

Mare was new

Wake up!! The school was new when I went there! It was rubbish then, so nothing has changed it's not the building

Young people left that school without being able to read,or spell or know their times tables a shocking place to be at such a young age!! So come on stop all the excuses ! You have hidden behind this cloak for years! An absolute disgrace !

JohnT

Well said, bad results, excuses, excuses, excuses, it doesnt help the students who are there now.

The Mare may be rebuilt, but if the teachers arent up to it, then the results will be the same.

Mare was new

Beware this is a socialist page

Tiger

What a great message to send to the kids at that school. So basically it's not about the quality of teaching any more, it's about sparkly new buildings and anybody who is at LMDC taking their GCSEs over the next 4 or 5 years is basically written off from this point forwards?

Old buildings don't seem to stop the colleges from getting good results, do they? (yes, of course the ability ranges are different, but the point is it doesn't appear to impede their success) It sounds like he's (a) trying to get support for the capital prioritisation debate and (b) registering an excuse for the next few years' poor results.

What excuse is he going to use for the decline in results in the schools which DO have sparkly new buildings...? If the Grammar School is included in their list of "good" schools why do they say in their capital submission that "the number and extent of

areas of the building which now require attention are significant"?

JohnT

I wonder how old the Blancheland School building is.

Penny

Rubbish! New buildings have absolutely no correlation with results.

With this remark I have lost all respect for the Minister.

Good results come from good teaching, support at home and motivated students. Nothing to do with buildings. End of.

Neil Forman

Penny

Excellent post, totally agree

Gsyman

Agreed, what a stupid comment from the Education Minister. If this is the standard of ministerial insight God help the poor students.

Bev Hill

Well said Penny.

Jennifer

Totally agree, all of the very best schools in the UK manage with mostly Victorian and earlier buildings. The teaching is at fault,and lack of motivation at home. Not all young people are academic, we should value the artisan too. It would make far more sense to direct some of them to practical apprenticeships,whilst giving the academics amongst them the very best teaching to suit them.

markB

How does that work then?... putting someone in new classroom doesn't enhance their intelligence

Bev Hill

Agreed markB,

neither will putting poor teachers in a newly built classroom suddenly make them good teachers.

Disgruntled

Whar an idiot, it's the staff that do the teaching, yes the environment helps but the staff motivated by the head should be the key. That's your start ending point.

Spartacus

To be fair staff expect to work in a modern and fit for purpose building these days not a tumble down shack. That is part of the reason why it is difficult to recruit.

Disgruntled

How do you account for poor results at SS High modern high tech, still poor results, poor leadership I guess

Spartacus

No I blame the 11+ and inequality of funding which is also part of the reason why it is difficult to recruit for the High schools.

Island Wide Voting

Yes,let's abandon the 11+ and aim for the dizzy heights of 45-46% pass rate across the board :-(

Neil Forman

Spartacus

Inequality of funding is a problem not the 11+

IVW

You are not suggesting a one size fits all are you?

Questor

What doesn't help is that LMDC loses a greater proportion of its year 7 intake to the colleges through fee-paying than the other two, therefore the intake group's ability profile is lower.

JohnT

Excellent point.

Gruntled

@ Spartacus - LMDC HIGH is hardly a tumble down shack.

CoFE manage to produce 98% pass rate at Level 3 in a building where the workshops were condemned with 'concrete rot', two hand-me-down schools that were 'unfit' for secondary students (one of which suffers power cuts if you try to run a kettle and a heater at the same time) and one newish building designed with inadequate space for teaching.

Ed

It's not about new and improved facilities- it's about having competent, dedicated and diligent teachers as well as a stimulating classroom environment. I have seen- first-hand- how different classroom environments and the quality of teaching lead to different results being produced.

Emphasis should be out on selecting competent teachers...

Haley

How do good buildings and good results correlate? The Colleges operate in the oldest buildings in the island and consistently achieve the highest results. Surely its better teachers that are required!

JC

Didn't St Sampson's do fairly poorly this year, even in their new high tech building? And didn't the colleges do well in their old, low tech buildings? Do we think maybe the correlation between good grades and good buildings is just a big pile of rubbish and maybe they should concentrate on increasing the teaching standards of these schools and not just spout the same old bull malarky every year?

Stephen John

JC

A sensible posting that neatly sums up the reality of education in Guernsey.

Why has the Mare under performed after all the extra resources ploughed into the school post the demise of Neale?

Spartacus

Because the extra resources were withdrawn.

Spartacus

Bring back special measures please.

Pupils need and deserve the resources NOW.

Vicky Godley can only do so much.

Disgruntled

Looks like Godley and Sillers have proved how little they can do and should move over.

Spartacus

While the 11+ is still in place no one will stop the erratic results.

GM

Spartacus

Yes Spartacus. Results would no longer be erratic. The overall average would be dragged back towards the current average of the high schools.

This week has been an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the high schools, with everybody pointing out where all the problems lie, with crap teachers and behavioural issues right at the core. Until those problems are eradicated, the Grammar and colleges will be even more in demand than ever.

Change that at our peril.

Spartacus

Of course the average would not be dragged down.

"All the evidence regarding comprehensive schools - and there is a lot of it - shows that the top 25% of students achieve just as well as they would have in a grammar

school, but the rest do better than they would have done in a secondary modern" Mulkerrin.

The 11+ represents injustice for children. It's cruel.

GM

Spartacus

Oh, I see, this is one of the comments of Mulkerrin that you do actually support, having discredited everything else that he said.

I don't accept that view at all. The Colleges and Grammar school work very well for Guernsey, and consistently churn out excellent results. Why would anybody want to risk undoing all that?

The objective surely has to be the raise the standards of the high schools to raise the average. Invest in better quality teachers, get rid of the poor ones, ensure that the housing laws don't force us to send the good ones packing, and raise the standards of behaviour required so that the disruptive elements at the high schools don't jeopardise the learning of the rest.

Spartacus

GM

I suggest you read the education department's responses to the Mulkerrin recommendations if you are to have any hope of understanding the complexity of the problem.

GM

Spartacus

Where can I find those responses?

Spartacus

http://www.education.gg/mulkerrinsecondary

Mr Lloyd

'He clearly got it wrong'

Spartacus talking about Mulkerrin. Just this week in fact!

Yet almost in the same breath here, hiding behind his quotes in an attempt to prove a point!

Neil Forman

Spartacus

These should not be special measures, they should be normal measures. We cannot put a price on children's education. On that I will agree with you.

Mulkerrin identified that poor teachers are not dealt with and they carry on until their housing licenses expire, if a teacher is not up to the job they need to be removed ASAP. How much damage can be done in five years.

The Colleges and Grammar use pupil data efficiently, this is one area that could be improved in our high schools.

Quoting 2011 figures, pupils at LMDC attaining five GCSE A*-C grades were 24.5%. If you include Maths and English into these scores it drops to 11.5. These are the foundation subjects and should be a lot higher than this. If left unchecked it will only get worse.

Spartacus

Neil

Some leading educationalists do not share the same enthusiasm for data. Some feel that it is detrimental.

I agree with robust performance management for teachers however I suspect that there was only one head teacher who may have been ineffectual in this duty.

Regarding English and Maths it was identified that there was a specific problem for the High schools with attracting and retaining specialist teachers in these subjects. This problem goes back to the 11+.

GM

Spartacus

Those educationalists probably don't share the enthusiasm for data because its a measurable benchmark which highlights poor performance.

Re your last sentence, "this problem goes back to the 11+", is that merely your opinion?

Spartacus

I'll leave it to an expert to explain about how leadership can create the right climate.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley.html

Neil Forman

Spartacus

The Colleges & Grammar use data efficiently, so does Les Beaucamp high. Problems can be identified and dealt with instead of festering. This is also a good insight into teacher performance.

How would scrapping the 11+ solve retaining specialist teachers? The same number of schools and pupils will be kept.

Spartacus

Neil

An attentive teacher does not need to look at data to discover if a pupil is struggling. At the colleges and Grammar the proportion of struggling students is low but at the Highs schools the proportion is high. The resources allocated do not match these proportions. It is nothing to do with teacher performance.

Sir Ken Robinson, possibly the world's most lauded educationalist, is dismissive of the obsession with data. He says teaching is a creative talent.

Teachers generally disapprove of 11+. It is not desirable for teachers to work within an 11+ system and particularly in a high school within 11+ system. The results do not reflect their efforts or teaching abilities, but merely the problems of the cohort as I have said on the other thread.

Disgruntled

Dead right GM. I worked in education in an area that had selective education, both the grammar and high schools had good results the staff made the difference. Time to get away from the silly school committees and have a proper board of governors with some teeth to take the senior staff to task. You only have to walk into our schools to see there is little discipline if there is no discipline among the pupils it no doubt extends to the staff.

The Educator

Spot on minister - new buildings equal success, St Sampsons results down, LBH results down........

guernseyal

I went to the old Grammar School and got good grades when I left. The building leaked, the central heating was either off or like the furnaces of hell, the windows kept 1% of the wind out and doors opened and closed as and when they felt like it. It was down to the teachers and their efforts that we did well, not the surroundings. If anything the desperate repair of the place gave us a get on regardless attitude. So, I thank the teachers (now at least - maybe not then!) for their efforts. A shiny new building would have made no difference at all.

soph

Results depend on

1) Dedication of teaching staff

2) Parental help at home (eg with homework or making sure their kiddies are in for night)

3) Making sure pupils are NOT over challenged by exam taking for something they will never achieve

So Education Minister, a new school will solve this? Or a case of poor building maintenance leading to a new one needed?

Come clean and tell us all

Ed

I would like Robert Sillars to explain- on this thread- why there is a correlation between new schools and academic success...

More time needs to be invested into assessing the competence of current teachers and establishing what needs to be done to raise the quality of teaching. In fact, I have the opportunity myself to judge the ability of some teachers- and I can remember a great deal about the situation at St Sampson's High, where I had substantial first-hand experience of poor quality teaching.

Only if Robert Sillars could actually see what went on in some of the classrooms... In one lesson I was in, the students were given the choice of whether they wanted to compete the tasks set and, realising that not many students were particualrly interested- in fact, not interested at all- the two teachers sat at the desk with their legs crossed and had a discussion about football. Now what is that if it is not evidence of cack-handed teaching?! How on Earth are students supposed to get good results when stuff like that goes on?

Robert Sillars, it looks like there are problems that require attention, eh?

Island Wide Voting

Thanks Ed for your insider contributions

Are there any other students out there with Ed's obvious intelligence and zeal ( on school matters anyway)who could chip in with honest facts about the goings on at the 'coal face'

Spartacus

Yes me! It's a while back but I recall similar experiences in my days at College. What about you IWV didn't you go to Grammar? Wasn't it the same at your school? Perhaps you can't remember that far back ;-)

Ed

Spartacus

This cannot be tolerated in the modern world, though. Back in those days there was less of a competitive environment and less stress put on the importance of excelling academically. In order to thrive in the highly complex world of the present day, one needs plenty of intellectual equipment. However, only through being in an intellectually stimulating (classroom) environment- and having dedicated, wholehearted and skilled teachers- can one even begin to gain the skills and knowledge to compete, effectively, in this modern rat race for life, success and fulfilment.

A well-oiled educational machine including competent teachers is the clearest indication that we have progressed from the past. However, until that machine operates smoothly, the island will be in retrograde...

Island Wide Voting

Sparty

Yes Grammar,Boys Intermediate actually, for me was quite a while back ... decades rather than mere years ... but I remember that discipline was strict and punishment was swift for the few who failed to grasp that they were there to learn stuff

I am still grateful that I got my shot at a decent education at Intermediate by passing the 11+. The alternative for me was St Sampsons Secondary at Delancey which was considered in the mid 50's to be the pits

No extra coaching from my builder's labourer father or flower packer mother.I didn't even get a new bike for passing as the cost of the new uniform and ancillary gear was difficult enough for them to bear

There were no dodgy course work marks and no half dozen exam re-sits in those days.You passed or failed the GCE's at your one and only sitting.Employers in those days knew exactly what they were getting and many of my class mates,and I include my self,did OK in later life within the island

It's quite proper to move on with the times but only if those moves lead to improvement

Ed

IWV

I know quite a few that have experienced the same as me and I know some students that, if reminded of what happened on certain occasions, would remember how ridiculously incompetent some of the teachers were when it came to trying to educate the class. However, it is worth mentioning that some of the incidences of terrible teaching that I am referring to occurred during my first (school) year at the Sixth Form.

Nevertheless, such examples of poor teaching in the Sixth Form should be sufficient to make the likes of Robert Sillars realise that poor AS and A-level grades are due- in part- to cack-handed teaching and, therefore, that something needs to be done to improve the quality of teaching at both secondary and post-16 level.

Sarnia expat

Are you saying this is not the case then? That Ed is not telling it as perhaps you would like it to be?

miss piggy

Buckland, Neale, Mulkerrin, Grand, Williams, Brown, these are some of the individuals at the top of Education, they are part of the collective of decision makers that are leading the way down a black hole of poor education for our children. These are the people that have had enough time to make positive changes to our system and have failed.... Stop patting yourselves on the back about your promotions and rediculous offerings of savings for the Financial Transformation Program and focus on our children, they are the ones that will and are suffering while you sit at your meetings counting the pennies that have been saved.

We have the population of a small town, we have the oportunity to have an Education sytem that is the envy of the world giving all of our children an excellent start in life.

The Smoke and Mirrors that the Education department sends out with its not so Impressive 'Vision statement' and gastly promises of 'we will do better next time' has no relevence for the students and parents of those who have been let down already.

New broom sweeps clean?

Lauren

This is utter ridiculous I was a student at that school only last year and my results were better then this years! La Mare Highschool was in the gutter when I took my exams and only this year have the boards for exams they are with changed the way they do exams! Yes they are harder! But surely if that is the case then they should get teachers helping pupils more! Mrs Godley improved my Highschool experience! At the end of my years! But that school building had nothing to do with it! It's up to the teaching facility to get a grips with they're method of teaching and actually help students!

Lolaiiulove

Well this is actually ridiculous that they are starting to blame inmate objects for the down pour of grades from last year! The building has nothing to do with the fact that the grades were worse then last year. The only thing they won't blame is the teaching staff! They blamed the students and now the building! Whats next the poor postman! I was only a student last year and my best friend has just finished at La Mare, it is ridiculous how the school is actually still running because of the fact that education can now blame a building which has nothing to do with how the school system of teaching is run. Maybe they should look at the teaching staff before accusing an inmate building.

damo

I take it you are the same poster (as evidenced by the matching avatar) in the post prior?

Please proof your posts before hitting the submit comment button as your grammar undermines your excellent results !

Karen

Please, please explain to me what an 'inmate' building is!

Island Wide Voting

Karen

It's probably a prism

Spartacus

That would produce a rainbow of grades rather than a down pour?

Bob Mills

As others have stated, the building is not to blame. New buildings cannot improve teaching.

States need to look elsewhere for poor results before pouring money into the school.

Well done to all the pupils that did succeed.

bobule

Suitable facilities and good teachers can only do so much to help children pass exams, a large slice of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of parents to develop and motivate their children to succeed in life. Maybe this is the elephant in the room?

Neil Forman

Bobule

Very true.

Clare

Exactly !! Very well said . Why is this never mentioned ? You can't just blame teachers when they are dealing with students who receive no input from their parents !!!family life and parental expectations has a Hugh impact on results !! Sort out the parents !!

Angel

Hurrah for common sense!!

damo

Utter, utter nonsense.

Good results will come from good teachers and discipline !!!

What planet are you from Deputy Sillars?

It is unbelievable that he thinks this will make a decent contribution to learning...

I will do his job part time for free as he clearly is not capable of doing the job

Pete

this appalling mentality is nothing short of moronic. It scares the hell out of me that we have such incompetent Ministers running some very important departments,whose only roles in life have been/are salesman, landlord, radio broadcaster and digger driver. all elected by their fellow deputies..still that's democracy!!!!

Cher Eugene

Part of the problem is the dislike of appointing Ministers who have real knowledge of the objectives of their ministry as they might know more than their senior civil servants. The Education minister knows sfa about education but would probably make a fine C & E minister. Even in charge of the States computer system.

Mind you, what does one do with the Deputies who have no experience of anything apart from being a States member?

Island Wide Voting

You give them a plastic shopping bag and let them roam the streets

Sarnia expat

Oh dear, you do have a chip on your shoulder. How rude.

Disgruntled

Did you forget the milkman!

Ed

I really hope that Robert Sillars takes some time to visit this forum as he will soon realise that this idea of his is ludicrous and that it's folk like us that have the most rational notions.

It would be a good idea for the Education Department to use some of the ideas posted on here as the basis for enhancing the academic performance of local schools.

Does Robert Sillars and his like visit the local secondary schools regularly? If they did they would have a stronger grasp of the situation occurring within some of them and realise that the quality of teaching is- in some cases- absolutely appalling.

He could do with taking some time to see what's happening in some of the lessons that I attend- he would then see where the real problem lies.

Fairydust

Are you an ex teacher?

What are your credentials; why do you feel you know these notions as facts?

Ed

No, I am a student. I don't regard the 'notions' that I mentioned in the first paragraph as facts, I just they are more logical explanations of why the current situation is so appalling.

As I have said already, I have had ample opportunities to observe the performance of teachers and, from what I have seen, the level of teaching- in some cases- is utterly abysmal.

Fairydust

Equally, there are countless Grammar staff whose idea of teaching a topic is via VHS. if you have intelligent students in front of you, they'll learn regardless of poor standards.

There is a huge socio economic divide of students in the division of schools. You are not comparing like for like.

Where, do you suppose, the illiterate kids go? (Clue - it's not Le Murier). Where do the kids of most drug addicts go (yes, they do exist, sorry to pull up the carpet they've been swept under). The kids who aren't fed? The ones in care?

The private schools frequently get rid of students not deemed good enough, and they are sent to high schools mid year.

I am very interested to know how you've had amply opportunities to observe teaching standards firsthand in other schools when you are a student yourself?

Ed

Many teachers taught me at St Sampson's High and I am currently being taught by a few at the Sixth Form Centre. I think spending several hours a week with 10 different teachers is sufficient to derive accurate conclusions. It's a reasonable supposition that the situation is the same in other schools; half the teachers are good, the other half are not so good.

You can argue with me, but as someone with extensive first-hand experience poor quality teaching in two different schools, I think I am qualified to judge the situation- and,indeed,the competence of many of the teachers.

kevin

What a complete load of tosh!

Katie

I attended LMC this year along with most of my friends. I think that it is unfair to tarnish the reputations of any teachers without making a clear statement. in my experience Mr Starbuck had a difficult year in maths, he wasn't focused but Miss Champion, in history, was a big favourite with everyone. She was strong and fair and didn't need to walk out of classes in the mudfle of the year. LMC is not an easy place to teach at, most of us had some kind of issue and I don't think that most teachers could have done anymore. Mr Starbuck amongst a few of the science teachers could have helped more but I guess in life things are never perfect and I would like to give my thanks to all of the teachers who know they could do no more, for the rest of you, you know who you are as the report always says 'must try harder' or be accused of being a hypocrite

Adama

I should imagine that poor Mr. Starbuck was rather more worried about the threat from the Cylons than teaching this year.

Valeite

What a daft statement to make,there is no place on the island more daunting at 11 years old than the Elizabeth College building but they constantly churn out fantastic results from their pupils it is the teaching and discipline that contribute to success not a shiny new building.

Adama

Enlarge EC to take all island students! Problem solved.

maurice

What is this minister mumbling about? What the rebuilding of this school has anything to do with the quality of teaching and the quality of learning? In some poor country of Africa, where some school haven't even got the roof let alone the facilities many student acquire a great missionary education. What this does it tell us? That teaching for starter is not only a profession but also a vocation, and on the side of the pupils or students is up to each individual do the best they can with the facilities they have.

Spartacus

He's talking about the exam results and the benchmark of 5 GCSE's A*-C including English and Maths, not comparable to a missionary education in Africa.

maurice

Dear Spartacus of course I understood what the minister meant, nevertheless my thoughts about teaching and learning go deeper that the actual present issue of la Mare school. In here I try to understand the real predicament of schooling in these days and age. When many years ago after the war we went to school we had old buildings, fewer facilities and yet we learned according to our various capacities, but there was more diligence and discipline and less mocking about.

Rick

I am just amazed that most of the comments above seem to suggest that the solution is "one thing or another" but that we seem blind to the need for the solution to be both composite and holistic.

Surely we need, improving teaching standards, better management, at least acceptable-to-excellent standards of accommodation and facilities, a housing policy that encourages us to retain excellent teachers for extended (maybe even permanent) periods, overt and active involvement and support of (and for some) parents and not least children who are brought up to know that they can and will achieve great things . It is by addressing all of them at once at the very best level that our own passion and commitment can that we will see our young people reach the heights in all areas of their life that they are fundamentally capable of.

If Mr Sillars is helping to highlight one key area out of a range of those we must address, then we should be supporting him in that piece, as we should be supporting and encouraging every other individual who has something positive to bring to the table.

I think that many have taken the chance here for a quick potshot at a soundbite rather than considering that perhaps our minister might just also be considering other hurdles that limit our capability in getting the very best opportunities for our students.

voter

Agree many strands to this, and accommodation is but one part and far from the most important (as Mulkerrin himself has stated).

FTP-driven near panicked short-term cost cutting could be damaging education in the short-medium term by reducing things like the special support given to some kids that need it to progress and thrive at school.

The long-term costs of such short-term planning could be greater - quite perverse.

But the capital budget is free of the arbitrary short termism and so could progress. That is we could spend many more £millions making small improvements to learning outcomes by school building.

If somehow we could be more holistic and target spending in priority to what will enhance learning outcomes?

I went to several schools. One of my best school years (in terms of quality of teaching) had a very old portacabin as the main classroom. It made not a jot of difference. I also learnt in some much newer classrooms a few years later and it was the quality of teaching and the cohort / classmates that made the biggest impact.

Whilst accommodation is a factor, and I am sure that it would be a little harsh to suggest renaming the Education Department the Educational Buildings Department, there are many people concerned by the apparent excessive focus on bricks and mortar rather than who teaches and how.

Building projects are complex, risky, expensive and resource intensive and can inevitably be a major distraction from other key activities for senior management, including those more likely to deliver greater improvements to learning outcomes.

Also there is a long lead time for any new accommodation related benefits - several years. We need major outcome improvements in the short term - can Education resource all of this at once? The worst possible scenario is they have too many balls in the air and drop the lot!

kevin

Valeite

A point of order. The Elizabeth College buildings are old however they contain facilities and equipment which are the envy of even the Grammar School let alone LDMC.

Also I ask all the posters on this subject What do you think would happen if the teachers from LDMC swapped places with thier counterparts from E.C. for say, two years?

Sarnia expat

Just give the Mare the teachers our children require, no more, no less. We can cope with crappy buildings, but we can no longer deal with staff who are unmotivated, unskilled in some instances, and a head teacher who is trying to turn around a situation left her by previous people in positions of authority. Stop fannying around with excuses such as the fabric of the classrooms is poor, and concentrate on recruiting teachers who can actually do what they are paid to do. In response to Kevin's question, I would suggest that in my childs case at least, teachers from the College could do him some good. They still require and inspire respect from their pupils at the College, which can only be a distant dream for certain members of staff at the "high school". Sometimes it seems that it is not teaching going on here, but simply crowd control.

Ed

I am inclined to agree with your last three sentences, Sarnia Expat.

Neil Forman

Sarnia expat

Good post!

I attended LMDC primary & secondary schools, I had good teachers who would demand respect. When I left in 1985/6 there seemed to be a change. Most teachers left because of discipline problems, one became a gardener another became a milkman, what happened?

I speak to some of my ex teachers and one described a scenario where a pupil stood toe to toe with him knowing the teacher had no back up. This is where things are going wrong, unless teachers are given the tools to deal with this behaviour nothing will change.

If I had acted in this way my father would have made me see the error of my ways pretty sharpish.

Grumpy teacher

Mulkerrin commented that Jeff Smith, the former head of the Grammar School, stated that one of his reasons for leaving was that he felt he was running the school with one hand tied behind his back. I wonder if Mrs Godley feels the same?

Ed

Kevin

In response to your last quesiton, my hunch is that the environment in Elizabeth College classrooms would become somewhat more casual and the students would learn less. Whilst I acknowledge that disruption does occur in the 'superior' schools, the level of disruption is generally greater in the high schools, which- in part- is due to the fact that some of the teachers are quite relaxed and don't appear to mind whether some students don't give a damn.

However, I can imagine that there are quite a few teachers at La Mare de Carteret that are competent, dedicated and willing to have their students succeed. To my knoweldge, there are many St Sampson's High teachers that are equally as competent. Therefore, it's logical to assume the same of La Mare de Carteret.

When it comes to the competence of the teachers, I would say- in the high schools- it's 50:50; one half are, the other half are less so.

Ed

Sorry, I should have erased the sentence 'Therefore, it is logical sto assume the same of La Mare de Carteret'.

Kurtz

Why is this man Minister for Education? he has no experience in this field and should move over.

A Voter

Guernsey cannot provide all its own teachers, even though there are a lot more home-grown than before.

Off-island recruitment remains key.

Recruitment and retention is already a challenge - Guernsey is competing with UK schools where total salary packages are similar, career progression prospects are much better, buying a house is typically much cheaper, cost of living lower and you are not thrown out after say 5 years because of a housing licence.

We should not think that there are teachers queuing up to rush over here! We have to attract and retain.

Constant teaching bashing will not help this either.

But wait and see the outcome of Minister Langlois' pension reform proposals.

If implemented this will amount to a very substantial pay cut (given that final salary pension is just a contractual entitlement to deferred salary).

As he is not confining it to new employees this will deter existing staff from staying (when more lucrative and better career opportunities and lifestyles exist in the UK) and will of course make it even harder to recruit great teachers from the UK.

We will probably lose quite a few home grown teachers as they will not like the inferior pension added to the much higher cost of living. And they will get better promotional prospects in the UK.

We need to think through all decisions in the widest context, including the wider economic impact. If we get a reputation for having poor education in Guernsey then that will further deter keyworkers with children from coming from off-island to fill vacancies that we cannot meet from local workforce. This could be to all our detriment and cost the island a lot more than the staff cost savings that caused the problem.

Valeite

Kevin

Elizabeth College might have up to date facilities and equipment now,but they did not have them when my son was there. Many of the top notch universities are ancient but keep turning out top students.

Neil Forman

Valeite

It is the quality of the teacher that counts.

Crispin

So a new building will magically improve results? Anyone with an iota of sense can see that statement as pure and simple rubbish.

Island Wide Voting

Custard Castle was new once

Valeite

Quality of teacher,well I would never have guessed that.

Sorry to be sarcastic.Also a year with a teacher that takes a dislike to a child or vice versa can almost write off an entire year,it happens all the time. In my time at Hautes Capelles many years ago we had the same teacher for two years, well if you did not get on with that person,two years went down the pan. It works both ways. We cannot always blame the child,teachers have to take some responsibility and their attitude toward pupils.

Neil Forman

Valeite

I could have worded that better. You are right, I experienced the same problem in primary school.

Pragmatist

Having had extensive experience working in education for the last twenty years, I would like to contribute to this debate. Having worked in schools with results less than 20% and more than 90%, I have experienced both failing and succesful systems. Having worked in some of the most deprived areas of Haringey and Brixton I have seen social depravation and poor school buildings.

Guernsey is not the "land of milk and honey" that many would like to portray. Deep down there are serious issues of depravation, child abuse/neglect, addictions, inadequate mental health services and poor quality services. However, none of the above are solely responsible for poor results. Education to some extent have their hands tied. They can only recruit teachers who want to come here. Every school has "poor quality" teachers as well as those who have lost the heart for the job, but are stuck. Many of the later group acquired positions of authority when they were motivated and now hold (potentially) a great deal of influence.

Some suggestions? Instead of having the two/three tier system of education, create a four or five tier system. Privatise education and create "specialist" schools. Re-build La Mare as a "community College" or a 4-14 school. Have students able to transfer to the Grammar (or Beaucamps or St. Sampsons') at 14 (as per Hautlieu in Jersey); have an expanded 14+ system for apprenticeships and key skills based at LMDCHIGH, with students channelled into the most appropriate areas for their academic ability.

This would involve breaking the geographical link with school transfer, but why not? Perhaps those students in need of more specialist teaching could go to St Sampson's and develop skills through dual placements with Le Meurier? Students could be motivated throughout KS3 to transfer at KS4?

In some ways, this would compensate for ROSLA ( raising of the school leaving age), which in my opinion caused more damage than the amalgamation of SPP & LMDCHIGH. Instead of one size fits all, let's accept all children are different. Let's take the opportunity to rethink how to give the best and most appropriate education to all.

Some of the least academically driven students, whose behaviour, attendance and work rate was shocking at 14-16 have made a success in the world of work and college. So, why not give them the chance at 14 and see how the results then look.

Please feel free to criticise, but. Make it constructive. The debate must be re-opened before it's too late.

Spartacus

Pragmatist

Great post with some very interesting ideas. I welcome your input.

I agree that it is not just a matter of education which yields the exam results but it is symptomatic of deeper problems in our society which are affecting children's well being. This must be acknowledged and addressed. The medical officer of health's report on health equity must be taken seriously and infiltrated into every government policy.

High school students do not get the same opportunities as other schools when it comes to GCSE choices at age 14. However I believe a change of school at age 14 could be enormously disruptive and cause more problems than it would solve.

I also believe that formal education should start at 7 as it does in Finland with pre school emphasis on reading and learning through play. From that date onwards I don't see any necessity to categorise or disrupt schooling at all until children are ready to make their own choice of further education at 18.

Pragmatist

Thank you Spartacus. The Finnish model, which you champion does have its merits, but without Universal pre-school education of the highest quality will it work?

Social surveys showed that LMDCHIGH had the highest number of households with few or no books. The survey, undertaken 2 or 3 years ago (possibly by Alun Williams?) showed that the social issues that impact LMDCHIGH would perhaps be even worse if parents' were left to take responsibility until the age of 7?

I am championing a system that removes the 11+ but introduces the 14+. The grammar would become a "specialist" college, as would both LBHS and SSH. This division, is far better. However, I also would champion a system that allowed students to effectively "remain" or "retake" literacy and numeracy in year 7 at the expense of other subjects until they had reached a level such as that they could access secondary education.

I believe in skills over content. However, I also realise we cannot create a 100% white collar workforce and should create an education system that allows for the employability and success of our students in the workplace.

Spartacus

Pragmatist

I believe in pre school care rather than pre school education and I believe the offerings in Guernsey are second to none and the facilities will expand and improve when the proposed universal offering is introduced. I believe this will bridge the gap at an early stage of child development to allow greater support to the children who need it and to their parents.

Books in the home are overrated these days but I believe internet access is essential and the library is an underused public resource.

I agree that your idea of separation at 14 is perhaps better than what we have now. I also agree that literacy and numeracy shortcomings could be addressed before progression. That is an excellent idea and would motivate children and parents.

Felix

Pragmatist, your name suits you! I agree with your vision for post 11 education; the Guernsey system you describe would ensure that the majority feel valued. It is truly centred around the ability, skills and potential of the student. What you are suggesting provides that flexibility and challenge which surely would achieve a better 'fit' in terms of purpose, than the system we currently have.

Yvonne Burford

Spartacus, tangential to the discussion but with some parallels, talk of motivation always reminds me of this: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Du6XAPnuFjJc

Also have you read Alfie Kohn on education?

In general FWIW, I went to the old Blanchelande and Grammar for Girls, got mediocre results, spent time in a portacabin and dropped out.

Spartacus

Yvonne Burford

Thanks for the reminder on motivation, very pertinent to recruitment of teachers and relevant to the subject of learning and results generally.

Alfie Kohn is another genius trying to drag the world out of the dark ages where the likes of GM and Ray would like Guernsey to stay.

Thanks for sharing a little bit of info on your schooling, you're not the only one who feels that a so called "privileged" education is perhaps overrated.

Island Wide Voting

Yvonne Burford

Did you land on your head? :)

Sanguine

Spartacus, totally agree with school starting at 7.

I fear this would however put a strain on the poorer parents pockets (day care etc) then again if you can afford dont have right?

Spartacus

Sanguine

Every problem has a solution.

Island Wide Voting

....but so many of your solutions Sparty require a 50p in the pound tax rate

Bridge

@Pragmatist. It is a shame that with all your teaching experience you still can't spell deprivation.

bcb

Hey look everyone a spelling mistake has been located. Well done Bridge you can feel proud.

Pragmatist

Thanks BCB. Noted Bridge, as deprived is spelt correctly, I can put this down to a typo. However, glad that you take the time to proofread and that you only found one mistake. Also, as you do not comment on the content, I'll take that criticism. Thank you.

Disgruntled

So to sum up big vote of no confidence in the Education Minister.

markB

Go stand in the corner Sillars!!.. and put that hat on your head with the big letter "D" on it!!

MP

Agreed - what a plonker!

concerned

If its true that severe behavioural issues is one of the things that's at the heart of the matter, I'd like to know how on earth anyone can do anything about that when you aren't allowed to properly discipline the kids anymore?

Yvonne Burford

Discipline. From the Latin disciplina, to teach.

West

Nice comment Yvonne. Bet that's a vote winner

True-Guern

The man is in the wrong job or is being advised by Carol Steere! New schools will not resolve the problem - good teachers will. My daughter (at the Grammar School) has spent a year being taught maths by a teacher who is not a maths teacher - explanation was that there are not enough maths teachers - it seems this is an Education problem not just a school problem.

As an aside, if the high schools are so great (and it seems to me that the two brand new schools are still not performing)why does Deputy Sillars pay for his son to go to Elizabeth College?

Disgruntled

You do have to wonder why he fought so hard to get a job he is totally unqualified for.

Felix

It would be interesting to know how many teachers based in states schools opt to pay for their child to attend the colleges. Of course they have a choice if they have the means to pay but it does send out an interesting message....

Island Wide Voting

Felix

... and deputies... and civil servants

MP

Let's see what happens going forward with the number of pupils who have now ended up at the "wrong" school as they were able to pass the 11+ at its much reduced level. Simply able to spot patterns better than someone else is enough to get you to Grammar now! Never mind if they can spell or add up!

Island Wide Voting

MP

If that's true it would indicate that there is /has been a large drop in the numbers of children in the relevant age group ... and if THAT is true then there should be no need to rebuild La Mare when it would be easier / cheaper to expand the intakes at Les Beaucamps and St Sampsons High

Disgruntled

IWV one of the most sensible suggestions yet, maybe you should throw your hat in the ring.

MP

I don't think there's been a drop in the number of children.

It's more of a lottery as to who will now pass through.....

MP

IWV

It's more that there are no longer 7 exams for the 11+ and that there are only 2 - verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning.

No English no maths

ST

The 11+ change has been hard to handle. How do you explain to a child who has performed to a high standard and been in the top 5 of the year group consistently for 3 or 4 years, been awarded certificates for English and Maths, been used as a teachers helper in maths classes for year 3 students whilst being a year 6 student, that non of that counts and now they must join the ranks of the schools that have some of the worst results in the country and stay there !

I.Le Page

Who do I sue?I laughed so much I fell off my chair!

Bridge

PLEASE JOIN FACEBOOK PAGE "SAVE OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS". Thank you.

Mowog

I am a teacher at a High School in Guernsey.

I pay for my child to attend college.

I am not paying for better teaching (there are strong and weak teachers at all educational establishments) or for a certain quality of building (a good teacher would be so in a portacabin, a weak one would remain so in the most expensive, high-tech building in the world) - I am paying for the absence of the type of behaviour that prevents teaching and learning from taking place. The behaviour of a relatively small proportion of students that stop the hard working majority from achieving their potential.

We need provision for those students who don't want to learn - and are determined to prevent those around them from doing so. These students enjoy the 'reward' of a spell of time at the 'Link' and on return to school are only motivated by their desire to return.

Let's see if the new Les Voies School can help instigate change.

GM

Mowog

And that pretty much sums up the 11-plus debate.

As I've said before, many times, this is why so many parents will make huge sacrifices to send their children to the Colleges. Some will call it snobbery, while others will call it protecting their childrens' future by not seeing their education jeopardised, and by minimising the chances of their children falling in with the wrong crowd.

Either way, its not a mere elephant in the room. Its a thundering herd.

Spartacus

"We need provision for those students who don't want to learn"

Yes we certainly do. Finland solve the problem by investing resources in engaging these students within the mainstream school and maintaining an all inclusive environment.

I can't think of amore expensive so called "solution" than Les Voies School. How many pupils does it cater for and at what cost? Ridiculous.

Disgruntled

Maybe you should move to your beloved Finland, maybe disappear as Spartacus did after the third servile war.

Sean McManus

Spot on, Mowog. So sad... but so true.

It's all very well for those safely removed from the front line talking about an average child "improving" by some notional number of National Curriculum sub-levels per year.

The suits that peddle such idealistic notions sometimes seem to prefer the comfortable debates about data and buildings to the far less comfortable practicalities of dealing with "those students who don't want to learn - and are determined to prevent those around them from doing so."

Many teachers recognise the very real value-for-money returns that would accrue to the majority of pupils, and to our community more generally, as a result of allocating appropriate resources towards properly tackling disruptive behaviour in our schools.

Spartacus

The education department have issued a statement about this matter which they call "selective reporting".

Sillars is a good minister, people should have more faith in him.

http://www.education.gg/article/108657/Clarification-re-Ministers-comments-about-rebuild-of-La-Mare-de-Carteret-schools

Neil Forman

Spartacus

From the horses mouth;-))

Pragmatist

Actually, on reflection depravation, as in depraved, is correct.

Bridge

@Pragmatist, apologies - I misread your post. Bridge

Pragmatist

Dear Bridge

I hope that you are succesful with your Facebook campaign. I choose not to join as I would prefer to remain anonymous in this debate at the present time. I apologise if I have missed this, but would you be prepared to state what the aims of the group are? Thank you.

Bridge

@Pragmatist - thank you for your supportive comment. I understand your wish to remain anonymous. I think many more people are refraining from joining SAVE OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS for the same reason. I have however decided to waive my anonymity (whatever it is worth) because the cause is so urgently pressing. How much longer do we have to put up with the never-ending lies and manipulation of facts by Education?

Does Education really believe the people of Guernsey are so stupid? Does it believe that the electorate deserves to be treated with such disdain? It is a truly frightening situation.

It seems that our Education Department has no accountability and is being run like a dictatorship with no regard for public opinion or social responsibility.

Pragmatistu

Dear Bridge

See my post number 45!

Bridge

@Pragmatist, are you SURE you won't join Save our Secondary Schools? You could always set up a new id and post under a pseudonym?

Pragmatist

The publication of answers by the Education department in response to specific questions aimed at LMDCHigh raised by the press are somewhat strange. The department and the school clearly have different perspectives and either the worst case scenarios would be that either, the department is giving an interesting version of the facts, or, there is a clear lack of understanding between the department and the school.

1. At least one member of SLT informed a member of staff that "we ARE effectively under special measures".

2. The excellent specialist advisor who worked so hard to assist the English department in 2011/12, was replaced by another advisor in 2012/13, who clearly did not "gel" with the department or assist in ways that were considered helpful or constructive.

3. The maths specialist, was seen rarely in 2012/13.

4. It was known in September 2012 that he year 11 cohort were "weaker" than the previous cohort. However, staff were informed by SLT that the year group was on target to achieve 35% 5 A* to C (including English & Maths).

5. Two new deputy headteachers were appointed for the 2012/13 academic year. As a result of one of these appointments, staff morale dropped significantly and micro-management with "trendy" ideas were introduced.

La Mare has significant issues. A falling roll, based on the reduction of numbers of students at primary school, the increased numbers of students at the two other high schools and parents voting with their wallets.

Closure of the school may have been an option in the UK, with a re-branding, staff and ethos. Perhaps it would have been kinder or everyone if his had been considered in 2012?

Felix

I guess you could argue that the validity of the 11plus has always been questionable in depicting potential. However it will be particularly interesting to see the GCSE results in 5 years time.

True-Guern

Instead of investing in quality teachers we have ended up with a Performing Arts Centre. I don't watch a huge amount of TV or many movies but I do listen to a lot of music yet I can't recall the last Guernsey Resident to become a famous performer.

It seems that each minister wants a fancy building with his name on it.

Every department seems to be filling the press with demands for cash (one hospital wing won't even make it through the winter you know!)yet has anyone considered that the cost of a shed to service the busses at £15m (when Island Coachways did it in an old corrugated iron tram shed)would be enough to keep the school swimming pools open for 150 years!!

It's not just education that is a shambles - the whole assembly is probably the worst we have ever had. Maybe Deputy Sillars should lead the way by falling on his sword.

worried

Its not just the secondary schools, it seems that the college of Further Education is making some strange cut backs.

My son wanted to study BETC Media but because the course is not running they have suggested that he go down an IT or Art route that he has no inerest in.

There is a level 2 creative arts course but he has his GCSEs and doesnt want to go to the sixth form.

My son worked hard to get the GCSE results he got and expected to start at the college in September with his friends on the level 3 Media course.

Its such a shame.