As Education committee rebel Deputy Andy Cameron explained why he broke ranks with the rest of his political board, the National Education Union said the new plans, announced on Friday, offered even more uncertainty to teachers and parents.
‘In brief, having achieved nine months of “pause”, the proposals now supported by four of the five elected members of ESC seek to replace one four-school model with another four-school model but this time with a far greater measure of uncertainty due to the lack of meaningful “review” detail,’ said a spokesman.
While many members would welcome the implied plan to consolidate the further education sector, the proposed closure of La Mare de Carteret High School and what was described as the ‘filleting’ of the 11-18 school at Les Varendes would be likely to feed further concerns about lack of detail.
The NEU wanted to see more information about the quality of fit-for-purpose facilities, larger class sizes and curriculum breadth, especially at post-16 level.
The union also expressed concerns about a lack of detail for teacher transfers, jobs and salary projections, a case also taken up by the NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach. He was concerned about transition arrangements for teachers and guarantees of job security.
‘The NASUWT will be consulting with members over the coming weeks to ascertain members’ thoughts and concerns around the proposal,’ he said.
NASUWT has dismissed the idea of an amendment proposing three 11-18 schools, being put forward by Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq. ‘[This] would not be viable economically or educationally, leading to reduced curriculum choice through fewer subjects being offered, and the consequential impact not only on jobs but also pupils’ ability to follow relevant courses,’ said Dr Roach.
The NEU added: ‘While staff and parents await the possibility of amendments representing the different strands of thought represented by Deputies Cameron and Le Tocq respectively, it still remains unclear whether Policy & Resources or ESC would deal with the consequences of the States agreeing to the proposals set out in the policy letter.’
The union said it would continue to negotiate and discuss the plans, but wanted to see existing agreements honoured by the States and would look to ‘inject a much-needed measure of clarity’.
Education is proposing to have three 11-16 schools at Les Beaucamps, La Varendes and St Sampson’s and a co-located sixth-form college and vocational education centre at Les Ozouets.