Deputy seeks to hold ESC to school models comparison

THE POLITICIANS in charge of education in Guernsey are being asked to stand by the outcome of the ‘pause and review’ campaign and provide a like-for-like comparison of different school models.

Deputy Tina Bury. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29303682)
Deputy Tina Bury. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29303682)

An amendment to this month’s States debate has been put forward by Deputy Tina Bury and seconded by Deputy Adrian Gabriel.

It calls for a side-by-side review of secondary education models so that when States members make a final decision it will be informed and based on evidence.

The Education, Sport & Culture committee wants to rescind all of the old resolutions linked to secondary education which were approved by previous Assemblies.

For instance, it is proposing to rescind the direction that a comprehensive comparison of schooling models should be carried out with the two-school model as the benchmark.

It is part of the government work plan’s blitz of 135 resolutions in order to reduce the amount of gridlock in the workings of the States.

Deputy Bury wants to ensure that three of the resolutions relating to schools survive that cull, but with slightly altered wording in order to broaden the scope of the review if needed.

This would allow ESC to include additional models and criteria alongside those specified in the 2020 ‘pause and review’ requete.

In a report attached to the amendment, Deputy Bury sets out why she believes it is necessary.

‘In order that States members can make an informed decision about the future structure of secondary education, given the tortuous history, the most likely – arguably the only – way to conclude nearly a quarter century of debate about the future structure of secondary education remains exactly as proposed in the requete submitted by Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen and six other members, i.e. to present the States with a review comparing various models of secondary education, on a genuine like-for-like basis.

‘This amendment adjusts existing resolutions to make them more flexible so that the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, as soon as practicable, finalises and publishes the comparative review of models of secondary education at the same time or before it publishes its policy letter on 10 May 2021.

‘The amendment supports the committee by ensuring it can include any models or criteria which the committee wishes to include.’

Under the amendment, each school model would be assessed on a range of criteria.

These measurements include educational outcomes, pupil teacher ratios, average class sizes, special needs provision, curriculum breadth, staff recruitment, capital expenditure, revenue expenditure, and infrastructure around the school sites.

Last month, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, the president of Education, Sport & Culture, said rescinding old resolutions would ‘clear the decks’ and allow her committee to own the final stages of the review, unfettered by previous directions.

ESC expects to publish its policy letter on the reorganisation of secondary schools on 10 May this year.

Before then, though, it has committed to releasing information on its ‘guiding principles’.

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