‘We must not return to old ways’
THERE are growing calls for the pandemic to be a ‘catalyst for change’ in how the States operates.
The issue was raised during the Scrutiny hearing.
Education president Matt Fallaize revealed that when the shackles came off, they were able to be nimble.
‘The States of Guernsey performs best in a crisis and that might partly be due to the flexibility.
‘It’s a wide subject that goes beyond Covid. There is a culture of control that impacts many areas like recruitment and expenditure, but when there was more freedom everyone responded creatively and dynamically.
‘There were certainly some positive lessons that can be carried into non-crisis times.’
Scrutiny member Deputy Jennifer Merrett asked whether the ‘clipboard brigade’ had gone back to business as usual with the schools reopening.
Deputy Fallaize responded that while people were very awakened to the possibility of change, there was a risk that bureaucracy would creep back.
‘Unless there is serious cultural change we are not going to be able to take advantage of the opportunities.’
The early indications are that when schools closed on 23 March, children were able to continue their studies, teachers maintained good contact with them, and parents engaged well.
Schools stayed open for children of key workers, and children who had been classed as vulnerable, often due to home life.
It took two to four weeks for ESC to set up an online distance learning programme and most children did complete the work set for them.
ESC used fewer live online lessons than the independent colleges, but that was part of the strategy.
When the schools reopened on 8 June, there was a 97% overall attendance record, which was higher than normal for that time of year.