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‘No one listened to us on school transformation’

News | Published:

A SIGNIFICANT number of teachers who responded to a union survey said they felt professionals had not been listened to with regard to education transformation, with one saying plans were ‘a health and safety nightmare’.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 26338937)

The survey, carried out by the NASUWT, explored teachers’ views and experiences in relation to the school transformation project, job satisfaction, workload and the impact of education policies.

More than three-quarters of respondents indicated that they do not agree with the current plans, with a similar proportion not agreeing with the two-sites model in principle.

Members had the opportunity to submit free-text comments, with a significant number stating that they felt professionals had not been listened to.

The two sites, accommodating around 1,400 pupils each, were perceived as being far too large for Guernsey on too small a footprint for the buildings. The splitting of the sixth form and the uncertain future of special educational needs provision were also common comments.

One respondent said the extra number of children who will be expected to populate an already full building will far exceed the additional buildings planned for the transformation.

‘Logistically, moving between classrooms will be a health and safety nightmare. Corridors are already narrow, there will be bottlenecks and pinch-points that at present nobody has acknowledged,’ they said.

Another called the plans ‘appalling’.

‘Kids, teachers and parents will be caught up in traffic jams for absurd amounts of time, there won’t be enough parking, sports will be limited and other subjects reduced to a factory-like delivery, students will disrupt lessons during their lunchtimes because other students will be in lessons, students won’t have any time or space for recreation and socialisation and corridors are likely to be dangerous during lesson changeover.

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‘The teachers will never see each other and, at the moment, the plans still have loos coming directly off the corridors.

'Many of these mistakes – consciously or otherwise – have been trialled at Beaucamps and resulted in a near strike.

‘These plans are for inner city schools in a rural island, and [are] unlikely to be good for that reason. They are made in defiance of all the advantages a small place can offer.’

Many members referred to the three-school model in their written comments and said it was still the most suited to Guernsey.

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The most positive comments about the transformation plans were that it was a non-selective approach and a majority of respondents did not want to see a return of the 11-plus exam.

Other positive comments were about the opportunity of teaching A-levels, the opportunity for more collaboration between staff and the retention of the feeder school system.

However, almost a quarter of respondents said they had no positive views of the proposals at all.

Some 42% of respondents said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the job of teaching, down from 60% in 2016, while 59% said their job satisfaction had declined in the last 12 months, up from 46% in 2016.

More respondents disagreed with statements such as ‘I am respected as a professional’, ‘My opinions are valued by school management’ and ‘I am provided with the resources to enable me to teach effectively’ than when respondents were asked in 2016.

In 2016, 61% thought the States did not have the right approach to improving education, rising now to 88%.

Only 7% thought the States have the right approach and 5% were unsure.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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