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Heads back plan that parents brand nightmare

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HEAD TEACHERS are backing Education's 'second-best' plans for pupils who will be affected by the delay on the schools project at Les Nicolles.

HEAD TEACHERS are backing Education's 'second-best' plans for pupils who will be affected by the delay on the schools project at Les Nicolles. Education has angered parents by announcing that current Year 5 children at Amherst, Vale and Hautes Capelles, who are due to go to St Sampson's High in September 2008, will start their secondary education at St Peter Port School - two months after its official closure.

Heads at two of the three feeder schools understood parents' concerns but sought to allay their fears.

'I'm convinced that the Education Department has thought all the proposals through. There is no way they can get all the children into the old St Sampson's building,' said Hautes Capelles Primary head David Boalch.

'It's inadequate for modern secondary education.'

He did not believe the children's education would be adversely affected.

'If they could have moved straight away into that building next term with all pupils, that would have been the preferred option. This is second best,' said Mr Boalch.

He was adamant there would be good staff at St Peter Port, where pupils would spend a year - the site would be run by current La Mare de Carteret head Philip White - before moving to St Sampson's High.

'Mr White is an experienced head already and I have no worries about the set-up of teaching there,' he said.

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Mr Boalch said he was happy to speak to any parents who had concerns.

'We will have a Year 6 evening next term to talk about 11-plus and transfer arrangements - we do this every year as heads,' he said.

Vale Junior School head Nick Falla said: 'It's necessary just to allow the various GCSE groups to finish their courses on various sites. I would like to think it has been organised well and travel arrangements will be made to keep disruption to a minimum.'

Amherst Primary head Tracey Moore was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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Other parents have added their voice to the concerns since getting letters advising them of the changes on Wednesday.

'It does all seem very messy that the children will be split up from other children at the same school. I think it's unsettling for the children and it would be better if they waited until the new school was all ready before making changes,' said Sam Ingrouille, mother of Vale Year 5 pupil Jamie, 10.

'I'm really not sure it's best for the children. It seems to be making life very complicated for parents and travel arrangements would be a concern when you have other children at other schools when they are finishing at the same time,' she said.

Education is currently finalising transport arrangements for those who will have to spend Year 7 at St Peter Port.

'Why should our children move if Education are not ready?' asked Annette Le Page, 33, whose daughter Enya Bessin, 10, attends Vale Junior.

'There is a lot of negative reaction - we have younger children at this school and some of us already have to do two school runs.

'I don't know what I will do - I will have to find an alternative. It's just not going to be practical for most of us. Most of us have other children down this end.

'I just don't want her going to St Peter Port - it's not in our catchment area,' she said. 'If they could go to the original St Sampson's School, it would be perfect.'

Tracy Cooper's daughter Charlotte, 10, currently attends Hautes Capelles.

They live at Delancey, just minutes from St Sampson's, but now face the problem of getting to St Peter Port instead.

'The letter explained well why they came to the decision.

'I'm not saying it's the wrong one, but there are still question marks over transport and for siblings going to different schools,' she said.

Education minister Martin Ozanne had sought to assure parents that his department has thought very carefully about managing the move to Les Nicolles and the closure of St Peter Port.

He said the advantage of doing it the way it had proposed was that children beginning their secondary education in September 2008 would do so as a complete St Sampson's High year group with teachers with whom they would become familiar and would have for the rest of their time there.

This was a better solution than starting the children in separate schools with different teachers and then merging them a year into the middle of their Key Stage 3 curriculum work, he said.

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