Education consults heads and vows to ‘get it right’
EDUCATION is determined to restore public confidence as it works on its reforms and has met head teachers to discuss their commitment to ‘working together to get this right’.
The new committee’s president, Matt Fallaize, vice-president, Richard Graham, and chief secretary, Gus Paterson, held an ‘open round-table discussion’ with the heads of primary, secondary and special needs schools, along with the principal of the College of Further Education.
Steps have already been taken to address some of the long-term concerns of head teachers, with a new marketing strategy set to be drawn up in conjunction with school leaders to maximise the island’s recruitment potential.
Deputy Fallaize, who took on the presidency last month, said his committee had to get the public and the professionals on board from the outset.
‘From the committee’s perspective, this meeting was really about starting as we mean to go on and we were very grateful so many kindly made themselves available to attend,’ he said.
‘We are committed to working with school leaders – the collective educational experience in the room means we would be foolish not to. I was delighted with the nature of the discussion.
‘There was absolute understanding and agreement by all of the importance of clear communications with all teachers, staff, students, parents and the wider community and the need to restore some confidence, given the uncertainty understandably caused as a result of the States debate.’
The committee and its officers are working towards identifying the two sites for the new 11-18 model of education and the transitional arrangements for students and staff.
‘We sought to reassure head teachers on these points,’ said Deputy Fallaize.
‘Following the meeting, head teachers agreed to update their staff on discussions and the committee will be sending a message to all staff this week.
‘A letter will then be going to parents of all primary, secondary and post-16 students next week. Plans are also being developed to engage directly with students after the Easter holidays.’
Deputy Graham, said the committee is determined to ‘get this right’.
‘We wanted to assure head teachers that the committee means business and I hope we managed to do so.
‘In addition to the discussion on the future model of secondary and post-16 education, the meeting also touched on a number of areas where head teachers had some long-term concerns.’
‘Recruitment was one such issue and communications staff will be working with head teachers to develop a new marketing plan in the coming months.’