Guernsey Press

Secondary education delay to consult staff

EDUCATION wants more time to talk with teachers so has delayed publication of its full secondary education plans.

Education, Sport & Culture president Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29389380)

The committee was due to publish the detailed proposals on 10 May, but has pushed that back to the 28th.

It has been criticised for a lack of consultation – the National Education Union has said it is still waiting for reassurances on class size, curriculum breadth and the quality of facilities.

The union also previously raised concerns about how meaningful any engagement would be.

Education announced the original publication date when it released an overview of its preferred way forward on 8 March, the same day schools went back as lockdown eased.

‘When we announced our original publication date of 10 May for the policy letter, we did so with the intention of carrying out these two phases of further engagement with staff before that date,’ said Education president Andrea Dudley-Owen.

‘However, a combination of lockdown making face-to-face engagement impossible and the impact of the sensible delay in the States debating the Government Work Plan has meant we simply ran out of time to engage with staff in the way we wanted to.’

The GWP debate was delayed by one week to begin last Wednesday.

‘As such the committee has taken the pragmatic decision to push back the publication of the policy letter, which will in turn give us time to run an intensive period of engagement with staff.

‘Also, and just as importantly, it gives us the opportunity to present our recommendations direct to the whole community before the policy letter is published.’

Its preferred option is three 11-to-16 schools at St Sampson’s, Les Beaucamps and either La Mare or Les Varendes, and a sixth form co-located with The Guernsey Institute.

The committee said that consultation with staff and others in the last half of 2020 informed this approach.

It originally planned to talk to staff last week. This week is the Easter holiday.

The first stage will see separate engagement sessions with groups of staff from the secondary and special schools, The Guernsey Institute and then their leaders.

These will be held soon after the Easter break.

‘The sessions will be discussion based and examine some key issues that the committee is aware from union representatives that staff want to discuss,’ an Education spokesman said.

‘The sessions will be led by independent facilitator Phil Eyre.’

Then in May the committee will deliver a presentation, open to all secondary and TGI staff, which will outline the contents of its policy letter and explain its recommendations ahead of its being published.

There will also be public presentations, one of which will be live-streamed.

‘While it is unusual for a committee to present its recommendations prior to a policy letter being published, we felt this was a continuation of the level of engagement we seek that is so vital to this process,’ said Deputy Dudley-Owen.

‘There will of course be an opportunity for members of the community to attend in person and ask questions, but we recognise that some people who are interested in our plans might not want, or be able, to attend in person. By live-streaming the presentation in a similar manner to that which has been so successful for Covid-19 briefings we are trying to ensure everyone who wants to has the opportunity to hear first-hand from the committee.’

Last term the expectation was that the results of the review of secondary education would be published by 28 April.