Education resists calls to complete pause and review

THE two-school model is close to being declared officially dead, as States members lined up yesterday to criticise calls for a like-for-like comparison of different models to be properly considered.

President of the Education, Sport & Culture committee Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29373907)
President of the Education, Sport & Culture committee Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29373907)

Education, Sport & Culture wants to ditch a previously agreed decision, which was borne out of the ‘pause and review’ campaign, that it should draw up a side-by-side analysis of different schooling models.

It is seeking permission to crack on with its preferred model of three 11-16 schools plus a separate Sixth Form College next to the Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets.

Deputy Tina Bury is leading the drive for the ‘pause and review’ report to be finished and made available to the community in order to restore public confidence.

She said States members should be allowed to make an informed decision to avoid further delays.

‘I genuinely believe that a transparent and comparative review is the only way to achieve this.

‘We need to choose a different process to that which has been chosen previously.

‘The States and the ESC committees that have gone before us have tried it the other way several times and it does not work. All of our recent history shows us that, because when the real details start to come out of any chosen model, usually when we’re quite far down the line, they’re never perfect.

‘Questions start to get asked and when there are not evidence-based answers to those questions the foundations start to shake, they get rocked, and before we know it, it all falls in on itself and grinds to a halt, and we’re back to square one.

‘And already those questions are being raised.’

The sharpest bolt of opprobrium of the day came from Deputy Bob Murray, the vice president of ESC, in his maiden speech to the Assembly.

He referred to the general election, which saw three of the main architects of the two-school model unseated.

Deputy Murray pointed out that none of the 38 successful election candidates had expressed a preference for the two-school model, and in his mind that meant it was defunct and a waste of time and money.

‘In relation to it being a viable option, it is in my opinion entirely discredited by numerous stakeholders, including, I would suggest, the majority of the electorate.

‘In terms of it being used as a benchmark the suggestion is ludicrous, not only because it is discredited, unwanted, and therefore untenable, but because it never existed.

‘We have no idea therefore whether it could ever have been a credible alternative to the actual operation of our four current secondary schools, which has to be the only real benchmark that any future configuration can be measured against.’

Deputy Murray pledged that when the policy letter on their preferred model is published it will be comprehensive.

He also promised that the ‘pause and review’ investigation would be published in full in May.

The debate on Deputy Bury’s motion resumes today.

In the States Page 4

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