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Few supporters for attempt to force schools comparison

News | Published:

AN ATTEMPT to have Education, Sport & Culture go away and compare two- and three-school models failed after members resoundingly rejected an amendment from the president of Policy & Resources.

Policy & Resources president Deputy Gavin St Pier's amendment seeking to look for alternatives without halting the one-school plans was called a dog's dinner by one of his own committee. (27288364)

Gavin St Pier, supported by the committee’s vice-president Lyndon Trott, also wanted members to be given the chance to reaffirm its decisions to grant P&R delegated authority to deal with the funding of ESC’s business case on the two-school model, as well as the creation of the Guernsey Institute.

ESC president Deputy Matt Fallaize referred again to his comment that creating two 11-16 schools and one 11-18 school would lead to a ‘postcode lottery’ in which only students who lived in the centre of the island would go to a school with an attached sixth-form.

‘My committee cannot accept such egregious inequality of opportunity and this Assembly should have nothing to do with it either,’ he said.

P&R member Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq said the amendment was a dog’s dinner but he would support it reluctantly. He said another discussion of education was akin to the film Groundhog Day, repeating what had gone before. ‘We are in a mess,’ he said.

Deputy Trott said it acknowledged concerns of both the community and the teaching profession with regard to density, facilities, scale and traffic management plans of the proposals for changes to education.

If the amendment were passed and the propositions to reaffirm various decisions, such as that to go ahead with one 11-18 school on two sites was rejected, he said that would be an irrefutable signal that the Assembly did not want this progressed.

ESC member Deputy Peter Roffey said that if the amendment was showing leadership, it was leading people into a maze.

Committee vice-president Deputy Richard Graham said the amendment was a ridiculous charade and a cynical attempt at deception, and under that three-school model two-thirds of students would be disadvantaged.

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‘I say this, whether to politicians seeking an easy way out with the election in mind, or teachers clutching for any model that will allow them to stay broadly as they are, or members of the public desperate at all costs to stop the Lisia School project in its tracks, if you tie your green ribbons around this particular model you have lost any right in my view to claim that you are putting the interests of students first and foremost,’ he said.

Deputy St Pier said that if the amendment did not pass, he did not know what was going to happen and he did not think anyone else did either: ‘It’s akin to a policy Russian roulette,’ he said.

The amendment was lost by 26 votes to 10, with two abstentions.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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