‘We are open-minded on best secondary model’

EDUCATION has said that if it was interested only in its one school/two colleges model, it would have quit months ago.

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The committee has published its terms of reference for a fresh review of secondary education in Guernsey and has made clear that it is more interested in getting agreement on a model that can be used to secure improvements than in winning an old argument about the review.

The States decided in March that the committee should go away and review the options.

Its original model, an 11-18 school across two sites, will be included in the review, and will be compared with having three 11-18 colleges; two 11-16 colleges and one 11-18; and three 11-16 colleges plus a sixth form college on a different site.

‘I want to be very clear about this. The review of models is not an exercise in validating the earlier model of two 11-18 colleges,’ said ESC president Matt Fallaize.

‘If my committee was interested only in doing that and was not prepared to consider other models, we would have walked away months ago.’

He said that it was ‘more essential than ever’ that the current model was reformed.

‘Schools and teachers are doing their best but in a structure which ties one hand behind their backs,’ he said.

‘We are not going to secure the best possible outcomes without reform of the current model.’

Even the current model is going to need efficiencies to be made sooner rather than later or risk compromising the quality of education, he said.

But there was a pressing need to develop a new model ‘which can promote the highest standards and demonstrate better value for money’.

‘This can be done only by developing a model which has sufficient support to be not only endorsed by the States but for the States to stick with it and actually introduce the changes.’

Deputy Fallaize said ESC’s goal was to present a report to the States which allows members to agree a model that can be implemented to end a period of prolonged uncertainty and instability and to provide teachers and schools with the best chance of securing the best possible outcomes for students.

‘That is what we are focused on and we are open-minded about how that is best achieved.’

ESC and its advisors have recently started meeting union representatives to discuss the review and Deputy Fallaize said these will be held at least every two weeks.

‘Even where there may be differences of opinion on certain aspects, our meetings have been productive and we look forward to continue working collaboratively with union representatives throughout the review,’ he said.

Staff will be consulted during various phases of the review and a survey has been sent out asking for staff members’ principles and priorities for secondary education.

There will be more detailed discussions with staff in the autumn as the review develops.

Review phases ...

The review has been split into five phases:

Phase 1 – planning and preparation (April-June, 2020)

Phase 2 – Reducing the long `list to a shortlist (May-July)

Phase 3 – Shortlist evaluation (July-August)

Phase 4 – Shortlist consultation (September-October)

Phase 5 – produce policy letter (November-December)

Review criteria

The scope of the review, as approved by the States – first in January and then in March, this year – sets out the following criteria:

. There should be one school

. The timeline and budget for The Guernsey Institute should be revised

. The timeline and budget for La Mare de Carteret Primary School should be revised

. A £600,000 budget should be transferred from the 11-18 school to the digital roadmap

. The secondary education models to be reviewed should include: two 11-18 colleges; three 11-18 colleges; two 11-16 colleges and one 11-18 college; three 11-16 colleges and a separate sixth form college on a different site (it is also noted that ‘In addition, it will be important to be able to compare these models with the status quo to clearly articulate the implications of continuing with the current model.’)

. The models should be compared against a range of criteria including quality of education, value for money, infrastructure and organisational considerations.

. The review should allow the opportunity to discuss space standards, configuration of space and day-to-day operations

. The current Education, Sport and Culture Committee to remain in place

. The policy letter to be submitted to the States before 28 April 2021

. A stakeholder engagement plan should be drawn up

. Planned revenue savings would be deferred

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