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'80% of the island is upset over this'

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MANY islanders still have serious concerns about the two-school model, despite several meetings, drop-ins and question-and-answer sessions having taken place.

Education member Deputy Peter Roffey answers questions from Shirley Banyard. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 26940382)

More than 100 people attended the Beau Sejour drop-in on Monday to discuss with, among others, executive head teacher Liz Coffey, Education president Deputy Matt Fallaize and programme director for transforming education, Steve Foote, their concerns and fears over the transformation.

Michelle Nash came to talk about the issue of buses and the environment.

‘It’s ridiculous,’ she said. ‘They haven’t thought about the students living in different parts of the island, students in town having to travel to the other side of the island to get to school.

‘I’ve been speaking to this chap here, Steve Foote, and he said they would use bikes, but when it’s pouring they will not do that.

‘I can’t understand why they didn’t choose the Grammar School, I’m really worried, all this money for this – I won’t be voting for them in the elections.’

Although the idea behind the drop-in was to give islanders an opportunity to speak to those involved in the schools’ transformation, many were not impressed by their responses and questioned their decisions.

‘ESC are not listening to islanders,’ said Philip Ogier.

‘It’s easy to plan a building, yet they haven’t worked out the logistics – it’s like it will be a magic trick.

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‘I would say 80% of the island is upset over this and for that reason it should be put to an island-wide vote on whether it should still go ahead.’

Pam and Brendan Murphy came to discuss concerns over the use of an isolated green lane for the proposed drop-and-stride location at Victoria Avenue for Victor Hugo College.

‘This lane is dark and isolated,’ said Mr Murphy.

‘Back in 2010 the school and others had opposed its use, now they’re saying it can be used and lights will be installed. We’re extremely concerned.

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‘Any suggestion that an ancient green lane route should have urban lighting must be opposed.

‘Having made their minds up, my impression is that these so-called consultations are window dressing.

‘I have yet to receive any satisfactory answers from politicians or their civil servants.’

Current students of the schools also had their say and discussed with Mrs Coffey their alarm that they had not been consulted at all about the change.

‘It’s good to see students so passionate about what will happen and the effect that this will have on others,’ Mrs Coffey said.

‘There have been concerns over exam results being affected and we will need to keep an eye on this. Let’s just say it’s my job to keep them consistently good, if I can’t then I’d be looking for a new job.

‘This isn’t a magic bullet, there will be things that will need to be changed and reviewed and this is an opportunity for people to come down and talk to us and get access to the right information. This isn’t a publicity stunt, but you can’t please everyone.’

n The planning permission consultation on the school sites ends tomorrow.

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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