‘11-plus could be back as option’
A RETURN of debate on the 11-plus and the number of secondary schools is on the cards as Education’s critics begin to ramp up pressure on the committee’s transformation plans.
Former Education, Sport & Culture vice-president Carl Meerveld, pictured, said the proposals were heavy on ideology and light on tangible details.
‘Many deputies have shared disappointment and concerns about both the lack of detail in these proposals despite the new committee having been in post for 18 months, plus they have questioned how practical and achievable they are,’ Deputy Meerveld said.
‘The transformation of our education system has very far-reaching implications. It will directly impact the lives of present and future generations of our children going through this system, who are arguably our community’s greatest asset.’
The latest policy letter was released earlier this month, outlining how Education expects to make revenue savings of around £2m. a year with its one school, two college model at St Sampson’s and Les Beaucamps.
ESC will ask the States at its September meeting for £69m. for the extensions to St Sampson’s and Les Beaucamps and £47m. for the Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets campus.
After speaking with several colleagues, Deputy Meerveld said three things needed to happen to enable an informed debate.
‘Firstly, the Education committee needs to present a much more detailed and comprehensive plan.
‘Secondly, this more comprehensive plan needs to be reviewed and commented on by all stakeholders.
‘And thirdly, their policy needs to be compared directly with the other options previously considered, the three-school model and a return to a selective four-school model.
‘Transforming our education system involves very significant strategic decisions, it is incumbent on the States to do considerably more exploration of all options.’
He envisioned an amendment being laid, by Education or others, to broaden the debate to encompass all options before the policy letter is debated.
‘Not only does the quality of education impact on their personal futures, but it also has a long-term economic impact due to soft and hard skills imparted to these future economic contributors.
‘The perceived quality and stability of Guernsey’s public education system also has an ongoing effect on the ability of local businesses to attract overseas workers with school-age children,’ he said, adding that the education system and environment shape the personalities and attitudes of future generations.
For these reasons he believed it was imperative that the current plans are scrutinised in detail by all stakeholders – parents, teachers, employers – to ensure informed decisions, the States would then need to review their feedback alongside all options.