New secondary model ‘a great opportunity’
GUERNSEY’S new model of secondary education represents a great opportunity, a visiting head teacher has said.
Ed Vainker is executive principal of The Reach Academy in Feltham, which was visited by representatives of Education, Sport & Culture last autumn as the island prepares for changes to Guernsey’s education system.
Mr Vainker was in the island to take part in the Educational Leaders Forum, but during his visit to Guernsey he met more members of the department and its staff.
The ELF meets throughout the year, but after feedback from head teachers it has been ‘refocused and refreshed’ and the new format is designed to inspire leaders in education through a range of diverse speakers and keep them abreast of educational developments.
Mr Vainker brought with him a member of the school’s senior leadership team, Jon Hutchinson, who was heavily involved in designing the curriculum.
One of the key themes of the ELF meeting was how Education could develop the curriculum to ensure that students are able to build on prior learning, and Mr Vainker said the Reach Academy showed how this could be achieved.
‘One of the thing’s I’m really excited about is the opportunity you have in this island,’ he said.
‘The opportunity to have coherence and continuity.’
The new school model in Guernsey, doing away with selection at 11, would give every child the chance to excel.
‘Let’s not assume their past performance is the only indicator of their future potential,’ he said.
‘I think a system that sorts at 11 is going to miss out on a lot of talent that young people have in this island.’
He believed it was important that more of the workforce attained a higher level of education and the Reach Academy’s view was that no matter what their subjects or whether they left at 16 or 18, all students should have had a rich experience.
The ELF took place yesterday morning and the current chairpeople are Gary Hind and Elizabeth Coffey, also Guernsey’s executive headteacher, who said that the conference had been very useful.
‘The conference this morning has provided a lot to think about and reflect upon, particularly with reference to our ongoing plans for the curriculum in Guernsey,’ she said.
‘The opportunity for school leaders to design and implement a curriculum that is right for our context is crucial as we move forward together.’