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Deputy slams inequality over college scholarships

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CHILDREN in social housing face such an inequality in education that not one has secured a scholarship at any of Guernsey's colleges for the last seven years, Education's deputy minister says.

Andrew Le Lievre released the surprising statistic at yesterday's States meeting as Education successfully secured backing for its plans for universal free pre-school for all three- and four-year-olds at an annual cost of £1.9m.

Deputy Le Lievre said that not one of about 350 scholarships at Elizabeth College, Ladies' College or Blanchelande College, for pupils in Years 7 to 13, was gained by a child from social housing.

He said that just 21 of more than 1,200 pupils at the Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre were from States housing and just 10 of these were in Years 7 to 11.

After the States meeting, he pledged that action must be taken to tackle the inequality, including the provision of free pre-school for all, regardless of background.

'When I heard, I was very angry,' he said.

'Why haven't these figures come out before and why has Education not tackled that problem?

'I was angry as a person who cares about my fellow islanders, particularly those who lose out on services because they simply do not have enough money and are blighted for the rest of their lives.'

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