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Mulkerrin: did lesson sink in?

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WHEN leading educationalist Denis Mulkerrin produced his review of education services in Guernsey shortly before the end of 2011, his headline point was that the most important person in any school was the pupil. The most important asset was the teacher.

WHEN leading educationalist Denis Mulkerrin produced his review of education services in Guernsey shortly before the end of 2011, his headline point was that the most important person in any school was the pupil. The most important asset was the teacher.

Unsurprisingly, his central conclusion was that the single most important way of improving education and exam results was making the way it recruits teachers significantly better.

With this year's crop of exam results coming in from the island's secondary schools worse than last year, does this mean Mulkerrin's mantra is being ignored?

The short answer is it is too early to say.

Education is investigating what lies behind the results and already is speaking about the need for a replacement La Mare de Carteret School, although Mr Mulkerrin also reported that buildings were way down the scale of things that affected pupil performance.

However, while results have varied this year, all the island secondaries did significantly better than in 2011, the year of poor results which triggered the Mulkerrin review.

In the case of La Mare, nearly a quarter of all students achieved at least five GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths and English, a result that was twice as good as that in 2011 under the previous, discredited Education regime.

Were the secondaries ever going to match last year's results, after all the extra resources that were poured in following the sacking of the previous Education minister?

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The point is that there has been an improvement over the disastrous 2011 and the school is back at its historic norms in a year when gradings have tightened and, according to one head teacher, a pupil who got a D this year would have had a B two years ago.

Perhaps the question Education ought to be asking is whether the progress is sufficient in the circumstances and whether the schools have all that they need to put the children at the heart of everything that they do.

One parent went online yesterday to say that the head of La Mare was handling housing licence applications because she has no PA and no one at Education was willing to help.

What islanders really want to know is whether the Mulkerrin lesson has been acted on.

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