Guernsey Press

Education Law has not been scrapped, says ESC president

The Education Law, a major piece of work by the previous ESC committee, has been put on the back burner. Helen Bowditch examines a leaked copy of the report and its implications

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Education, Sport & Culture president Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29285200)

A COMMITMENT has been given that proposals for a new Education Law will be brought before the States within the next 18 months.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, president of the new Education, Sport & Culture, said that her committee had inherited work in progress which had not been formally signed off by the previous incumbents.

She firmly rejected any suggestion that the huge piece of work had been scrapped.

‘There is a small group of people, including a few of our colleagues in the Assembly, former politicians and some journalists, who are trying to continually pit us against the previous committee, she said.

‘The narrative seems to be that we should unquestioningly adopt work begun by that committee.

‘Aside from being poor governance, this is a new committee duly elected – by both the electorate and the Assembly – to lead policy direction for Education, Sport & Culture and that is what we are going to do.

‘We will continue to work at pace, to learn, to research, take advice and will with due consideration make changes, if necessary, to policy.

‘Much of the work of the Fallaize committee is being continued by the new committee, for example the completion of the SEND review and the introduction of Ofsted inspections, so that we have an evidence base to work from. There is no question of throwing away or ignoring work undertaken simply because it did not start on our watch – this would be ludicrous and a waste of valuable taxpayer-funded work and effort. No one need worry that we are losing the baby with the bathwater.’

Several politicians had asked why the proposed new Education Law had not come to the States, when it was almost ready to go last October before the election.

An extensive public consultation with more than 500 responses from organisations and individuals had already been carried out.

However, Deputy Dudley-Owen said such an important piece of work needed analysis.

‘For resource-heavy policy work, such as the Education Law, it would be a dereliction of duty to simply pick up somebody else’s work and submit it to the States for debate without having reviewed the policy context against the current committee’s strategic direction and making adjustments where needed.’