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Meerveld lodges conduct code complaints against Education

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CODE of conduct complaints against all five members of the Education, Sport & Culture committee have been made following the row over a controversial appointment.

Depouty Carl Meerveld. (25502638)

Deputy Carl Meerveld, who is a former vice president of the committee, has submitted the complaints to the code of conduct panel because of his concerns about the interview process for the new Head of Curriculum and Standards.

‘I can confirm that I have submitted code of conduct complaints against members of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture. I will not be commenting on the complaints until the panel have reached their determination so as not to unduly influence the correct procedures.’

The island’s senior committee – Policy & Resources – revealed last month that it was carrying out a ‘fact-finding exercise’ into the episode, but Deputy Meerveld is clearly not satisfied with that.

‘I have been disappointed by the lack of action from P&R regarding these serious issues, despite them being far more egregious and clearly evidenced than anything Home Affairs was accused of and Scrutiny is yet to launch an inquiry.

‘I have therefore submitted my concerns to the States Members’ Conduct Panel detailing the breaches I believe the members of the committee have perpetrated.’

The Scrutiny Management Committee has announced it wants an independent review to be commissioned to look into the episode, and ESC has promised its full cooperation if that goes ahead.

The five members of ESC are deputies Matt Fallaize, Richard Graham, Rhian Tooley, Peter Roffey and Mark Dorey.

Deputy Fallaize, the president of ESC, had no comment on the latest move from Deputy Meerveld, but he has consistently maintained that nothing improper took place, and there were no transgressions of protocol.

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As a former member of Education, Deputy Meerveld was highly aggrieved when the three-school education model was thrown out by the States last year, and he has faced accusations of sour grapes, which is something he strongly refutes.

The row centres around an interview panel which voted 4-1 to appoint a local head teacher to the new post of Head of Curriculum and Standards, with Deputy Fallaize being the sole vote against.

The head teacher accepted the job, and then withdrew, and it was offered to Deputy Fallaize’s preferred choice of Clare Sealy, who at the time was a headteacher of a London primary school.

HR officer Amanda Singleton resigned when she was asked to fill out an employment permit for Ms Sealy, because she did not want to lie on an official document by stating that there were no suitable local candidates.

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It has been a turbulent few months at Education because the department’s most senior officer, the chief secretary, left her post and moved to work in the States senior management team.

The new Director of Education pulled out last week citing ‘family circumstances’, just days before she was due take up the key position.

In a few weeks’ time major plans to overhaul the island’s state schools into a two-school comprehensive system will be debated by the States Assembly and supporters of those proposals fear that the recent turmoil is a distraction which risks muddying the waters.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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