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Meerveld pursues motion to halt debate on schools until November

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ONE OF Education's leading critics is pursuing his motion to halt the political debate on the two comprehensive school model of education until November and has refuted criticism that it would increase uncertainty for parents, pupils and staff.

Carl Meerveld (25569811)

Deputy Carl Meerveld has published his draft sursis, or motion to delay, in order that the public can give feedback before he draws up the final version.

The deputy for St Sampson's, who is a former member of the Committee for Education, Sport, & Culture, is critical that the business case for the two school model was published just 11 working days before the planned debate next month.

'Policy letters dealing with propositions which have such significant financial commitments are or should be based upon detailed business case which are published with or incorporated into a policy letter. '

'This allows scrutiny of and inquiry into the facts supporting a policy letter from the date of publication, which has not been the case in this instance.'

ESC is asking for £157m. to develop two new 11-18 colleges at St Sampson's and Les Beaucamps, rebuild the College of Further Education at the Ozouets, and construct a new primary school at La Mare de Carteret.

Deputy Meerveld insisted that postponing the States debate until 16 November this year would not delay the overall process, which he claimed still run concurrently.

'We have been informed that the planning application will be submitted in mid-October.'

'The Development and Planning Authority then have to consider that application (a 3-month process).'

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'Once planning permission is granted, the committee will have to undertake a tendering process and select a contractor before construction can begin.'

Deputy Meerveld has always been an outspoken critic of the 2 school model, he wants to see three smaller 11-16 comprehensive schools with a strong community ethos, and a separate, dedicated 16-18 sixth form college

The President of Education, Deputy Matt Fallaize, has already criticised the proposed sursis as 'a new low' and 'the most irresponsible and unnecessary proposal to go before the States in many years.'

He wants a decision to be made on the education transformation at the States Assembly meeting in early September.

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Deputy Fallaize, who has been forced into a game of political whack-a-mole over the last couple of months, has seen his committee's plans face a backlash on social media.

Earlier this week Deputy Sarah Hansmann-Rouxel jumped to the defence of his transformation scheme on Twitter.

'It’s just lazy saying this hasn’t been thought through or we haven’t debated it enough.'

'Simply wishing an alternative because it sounds more palatable (dressing it up as ‘community’ schools) doesn’t make it viable.'

'Those deputies who are stirring the pot are the same deputies trusted to bring policies to the States that answered those difficult educational questions, instead they spent their time trying to undo past decisions without answering the core of their policy.'

Deputy Hansmann-Rouxel added that whilst she is not a 'huge fan' of the two school model, it is the only model that can provide greater benefits at lower cost, and that the current system was failing too many of the island's children.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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