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Unions back ‘pause and review’ requete

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TEACHING unions have called for a genuine ‘pause and review’ of the two 11-18 schools and a rejection of the rival three-school models that have been ‘plucked out of the ether’.

Andrea Dudley-Owen. (27281733)

On the eve of a crucial education debate that could establish a course for the island’s schools for the next 50 years, the NASUWT, NEU and Prospect have come together and written a letter to all deputies, setting out what teachers want.

‘It is incontrovertible that our members want a genuine pause and review, which involves consideration of a range of possible options – not just the one heavily prescribed option put forward by Policy & Resources, or even the more fulsome alternative advocated by deputies De Lisle and Le Pelley’.

In effect, the unions are asking deputies to support Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen’s requete and reject the most significant amendments.

It is made clear that they are unconvinced by the amendments, and are suspicious that they are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The amendment from Education, Sport & Culture aims to set up a States debate after the June election to look at whether more funding and more space could be added to the two-school model.

That amendment is described by the unions as too little, too late.

‘This is the promise of jam tomorrow when the ingredients to make it may never become available.’

There are similar misgivings about the amendments from Policy & Resources, and former Education members Deputies David De Lisle and Paul Le Pelley.

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‘All that glitters is not gold, and... the States is in danger of repeating history by yet again backing a proposal plucked out of the ether without being properly investigated.’

In reaching their conclusions, the unions have also laid out that they want to see the issue of parity addressed.

‘In particular, that any timetabling, staffing and resourcing advantages deriving from sixth form provision should not be conferred upon just one 11-16 co-located school.’

The letter notes that none of the politicians behind the various amendments consulted with teachers prior to their publication.

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The unions have mocked up their own dream amendment to the requete in order to make that motion clearer, and it includes ruling out selection, a requirement to draw up a terms of reference for a comprehensive comparison of different education models, proper consultation with teachers, and the continued establishment of the Guernsey Institute and the rebuild of La Mare de Carteret Primary School.

Summing up, the unions are confident that a ‘workable answer’ can be found that will enable ‘consensus to emerge’.

Education, Sport & Culture has warned that if the requete is successful it could cost the taxpayer up to £11.3m. and lead to a delay of around four years.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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