ESC – ‘rebuilding La Mare would be too expensive’

REBUILDING La Mare de Carteret school would be too expensive for the stretched States of Guernsey purse, Education, Sport & Culture has said, as it confirms it will be pushing forward with the former Grammar School site instead.

La Mare de Carteret High School. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29552561)
La Mare de Carteret High School. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29552561)

ESC stated that rebuilding La Mare would cost about £30m. more than using Les Varendes.

The long-awaited proposals for three 11-16 schools will be published on 28 May and debated by the States on 14 July – but La Mare will not feature in them. School staff, pupils and parents were told by letter yesterday afternoon.

Education, Sport & Culture president Andrea Dudley-Owen said that in March her committee had confirmed it wanted three 11-16 schools, with the Les Beaucamps and St Sampson’s sites in the mix.

‘We confirmed at that stage both La Mare de Carteret and Les Varendes sites remained options under consideration for the third school, but that more work was needed to evaluate them before we finalised our recommendations to the States,’ she said.

‘We have spent a lot of time reflecting on the right thing to do – the right proposals to take to the States.

‘For the last few months our thinking had been that we would give the States the choice of the location of the third school, but as the project has progressed, within the context of the emerging financial circumstances, we know a rebuild of La Mare simply does not make sense financially given an additional cost in the region of £30m. than using Les Varendes.

‘After a lot of soul searching and discussion, we’ve decided the proposals we take to the States will not include the rebuild of La Mare as an option for the third 11-16 school.

‘We joined the committee knowing we would have to make some tough decisions and this has been by far the hardest, but we cannot shy away from doing what we believe is right for Guernsey.’

Under the previous ESC committee, all four secondary sites were looked at and La Mare scored top marks in eight out of nine categories in the 2019 analysis. The only point that raised concern was the cost of the rebuild, with other areas such as traffic, location and available area scoring highly.

The same analysis discounted the Grammar School due to lack of surrounding land around the school in States ownership, the degree of remodelling required, and the amount of temporary accommodation which would be needed during the transition period.

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