Education president Andrea Dudley-Owen faced nearly 45 minutes of questions rather than the standard 15, as deputies tried to drill down into the details of the upcoming three-school model policy letter.
Two days before the publication of the long-awaited policy letter on secondary schools, Deputy Dudley-Owen revealed that discussions on the staffing structure were ongoing, but the intention for the overall model was to keep within the existing revenue costs.
‘Ongoing running costs are always uncertain in regards to these areas.
‘In regards to the staffing model, that has to be undertaken in conjunction with unions and staff, there’s a long process ahead of us.
‘Revenue costs deriving from that, we don’t want to exceed what we currently spend on education today, which is what we’ve done in our financial modelling.’
The transition experience for students at La Mare de Carteret was a key theme of the questions.
Deputy Tina Bury was disappointed that pupils, parents and staff had not been told the transition arrangements last Friday, when the planned closure of the school was announced.
She wanted to know if the transition plan would be published in the new report.
Deputy Dudley-Owen responded that it was a sensitive and delicate area that needed time.
‘The right place for it is not in the policy letter, this is something that needs to be worked up in conjunction with parents and the community of the school, and we will be engaging with the school in order to ensure that those plans are carefully laid.
‘The policy letter is not the right place for that kind of detailed planning to be set out, and actually it’s an iterative, organic process over the next few weeks and months.’
She later clarified, in response to a question from Deputy Peter Roffey, that her committee’s favoured transition model would be in tomorrow’s policy letter.
‘As we stated during the presentation [to deputies] we have a preferred transition model which will make it into the policy letter at a very high level, but the question that I took from Deputy Bury was around the detail with regards to how exactly that was going to be handled.’
The future of La Mare de Carteret’s teachers was also covered. Deputy Adrian Gabriel asked for confirmation of no job losses.
Deputy Dudley-Owen said while she could not give guarantees, the committee did not want to lose people.
‘We don’t want to lose teaching staff from our workforce at all, there’s a natural wastage every year of approximately 15% of individuals who retire, or leave the service.
‘But not accounting for those, not one single teacher should be lost as an account of this transition. We need to ensure that staff feel confident and certain about their future in Guernsey and have career progression pathways and proper support.’