TEACHERS’ unions have warned against attacking their members’ pay.
TEACHERS’ unions have warned against attacking their members’ pay.
IN THE days before the States once again debate the organisation of secondary education and in particular selection at 11, correspondence on these matters which has been received by deputies from teachers has generated some controversy and public interest. Like other deputies I have received countless emails and calls from teachers, past and present. The overwhelming majority have put arguments against selection at 11, but a few have put arguments in favour of selection at 11.
I HAVE three children, each of whom achieved different 11-plus results and therefore went to three different schools. This does not make me an expert in education, but gives me an insight into the current debate. I would add that my children have now left school and all work in Guernsey. First of all, I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory that we should get rid of the 11-plus ‘because it damages children’. I have always considered that if, by the time your child is 11, he or she doesn’t realise that some people will be brain surgeons and some people won’t, then they will be totally unprepared for the many tough lessons life is able to deal them over the rest of their lives. I also don’t believe the many ‘you can achieve anything you want’ slogans which are so prominent on social media these days. (As a colour-blind person, I was never going to become a commercial airline pilot.) Of course the important thing is that each and every child achieves their full potential. Anything less than this is unacceptable.
FOR too many generations I believe Guernsey has badly let down the majority (75%) of our 10- and 11-year-olds by labelling them as failures, as the result of retaining the highly unfair, divisive and discredited 11-plus system. Based upon the original work of Cyril Burt (b. 1883), with very strong evidence now that he actually falsified his original research data, in 1926 it formed the foundations of the Hadow report, which was adapted for the 1944 Butler Education Act which stated 25% of children are to be the educated ‘white collar workers’ and 75% ‘blue collar workforce’ for manual/factory work, which suited post-war Britain very well 76 years ago. A simple analogy could be if you had a diagnosis of cancer today, would you be quite content to receive a course of treatment and accept its outcomes, as used in the 1940s health care system?
I HAVE just listened to the president of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture being interviewed on BBC Guernsey. He was responding to a teachers’ survey showing that 71% of educationalists support scrapping selection at 11. I have to say that I was appalled at the dismissive tone Deputy Paul Le Pelley took towards his own professional staff. While I welcome the fact that he re-iterated his previous statement that he was in ‘listening mode’ and was willing to hear the point of view of local teaching staff, he repeatedly sought to belittle their viewpoint by claiming they had ‘a vested interest’.
WHAT was already a tough in-tray for Education to deal with has become an even trickier task with a strong majority of teachers making it clear that they believe selection should go. A survey organised by those in the profession showed 70% supported the States decision last term to move to all-ability secondary schools – this compares with 21% who would support a different form of selection. In electing Deputy Paul Le Pelley as Education, Sport & Culture president, the States put in a man it knew backed an alternative form of selection to the 11-plus.
TEACHERS have voted overwhelmingly to get rid of selection at 11, a new survey conducted by concerned educational staff has found.
THE important education debate continues. But are the deputies listening to the informed opinions of the experts? Or are they prone to listen to doorstep chatter by people who are simply nostalgic for their old school days? Or listening to those who have a vested interest in the continuation of the unfairness and inequality of a selection system? I ask them to consider the following points:
I HAD the great privilege of adjudicating the music section of the island’s Eisteddfod a few weeks ago and have been reflecting on the exceptional quality and quantity of the performances I heard. The 10 days or so of musical celebration were highly enjoyable and made a deep impression – I was made very welcome and hope to return soon to visit with my family.
TEACHERS are the builders of our society.
EXPERIENCING life away from Guernsey is still a popular option, students said, despite the breadth of opportunities that are available locally.
DEPUTIES spent yesterday furiously trying to untangle the mess they had made of the review of secondary education. To a large extent they have failed and left it for others to tidy up.
WITH two weeks to go, the battle lines have been drawn and the trenches dug in the secondary education debate. The lack of common ground on such a divisive issue is perhaps not surprising but it is disappointing that, more than a decade since the last 11-plus debate, there is so little sign of fresh thought or a way past the stalemate.
The Education Department is again under fire as its proposals to abolish the 11-plus and create a single secondary school over four sites have been criticised from several angles. If it wants to push them through in the life of this Assembly, there are some things it needs to do in order to show everyone that what it is proposing is better than what the island has...
ONE OF the most difficult problems in all primary and high schools in Guernsey which has not been addressed is bullying. It is estimated that over 20% of all children are bullied, some very seriously. Teachers are well aware of the problem but find it very difficult to deal with.
CUTTING teacher numbers would be one of the key ways Treasury believes potentially £160m. could be saved over 60 years by rationalising the entire education estate and closing one of the four secondary schools.
EDUCATION began this year by announcing its new vision for how secondary education would be revamped.
A FORMAL dispute has been registered between Guernsey’s largest teaching union and the States.
WITH just over four out of every 10 secondary school teachers brought in on licence, off-island recruitment is a key concern.
ALMOST half the teachers at the Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre have been replaced within the last 15 months.
AN EDUCATION recruitment drive for 40 new teachers is part of regular staff turnover, the department has said.
I WOULD like to the thank the Guernsey Press for its supportive editorial comment on Wednesday 5 February and acknowledge that the Education Department can always do better with the way it communicates exciting initiatives such as the Guernsey federation of secondary schools to its staff, students and the wider community. On behalf of the Education board, I welcome this opportunity to provide some greater clarity on the proposals and address some of the misconceptions currently circulating.
TEACHERS could be keen to accept voluntary severance to get out from under the ‘stresses and strains’ of the profession, a union official has said.
STATES negotiating is again under the spotlight after it was revealed that teachers and the Policy Council are still at odds over last September's pay - a year after talks began.
DOZENS of supply teachers have been thrust into financial hardship following problems with a new computer payment system, it has been claimed.