Requete ‘does not seek to discredit Education’
A PAUSE and review of the education transformation is the only way that the States can win back the confidence, trust and support of professionals and the community, States members were told yesterday.
In her speech that opened debate on the ‘pause and review’ requete, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen questioned why the States should implement a model of education which is opposed by so many levels, not only from the community but from key stakeholders, teaching staff and douzaines, and when the majority of professionals believed that the two-site model would not actually provide better educational outcomes.
As a former member of the Education committee she said she understood the work and effort that went into a project of this type.
‘I lay this prayer before this House with regret – regret that we have found ourselves in this undesirable position.
‘We cannot continue with the plans to continue with a one-school-two-sites model at this stage.
‘We need to win back the confidence, trust and support of the professionals and the community.’
In the face of such overwhelming opposition for the two-school model, Deputy Dudley-Owen and her requete supporters felt they would not be doing their duties of deputies for the people if they did not call for a delay to the progression of Education’s plans.
The requete would have stopped the committee entering into any contractual agreements or proceedings of the one school on two sites until a report was put before the next States looking at all alternative non-selective options to the model.
She said it was the only appropriate solution to the current state of opposition and raised concerns that if the requete was not supported and the problems ignored, there was a ‘real risk’ that professionals in education would consider industrial action and members of the public would protest, perhaps worsening when actual building contracts begin.
‘This requete is not an attempt to argue against [Education’s current] policy or to discredit it, this debate is simply about finding a solution to a plan that has hit crisis point.
‘This is an opportunity to reaffirm the one-school-on-two-sites model, if it really is the best option, or to identify a better alternative.
‘In either case it will be with proper engagement and proper support of the key stakeholders so they can make an objective decision of what will lead to the best outcome for the island.’
Highlighting how the current model had been criticised by education professionals, teaching staff, support staff and their unions, Deputy Dudley-Owen said this was something the States should be very worried about.
‘Nearly 6,000 have signed a petition, 3,000 people have marched, 90% of teachers and support staff and five douzaines have come out in opposition to the one-school-on-two-sites plans.
‘This is the biggest demonstration of professional and public opposition to any policy that the island has seen.’
Pausing the plans, seeking proper engagement with key stakeholders and reviewing whether Education’s model was the best fit for the island was, she said, the only way to regain the trust and support of islanders who would feel like their voices are being listened to.
Rushing to get a spade in the ground without a review would be ‘a serious political blunder’.
- The debate continues today.