‘People are either happy with plan or tired of issue’

A SECOND drop-in session for people to ask questions about the future of secondary education showed there are still mixed feelings about the committee’s plans.

Education, Sport & Culture president Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, her vice-president, Bob Murray, and committee member Deputy Sue Aldwell were at the drop-in.

Deputy Andy Cameron, who does not support his committee’s proposals, was not there.

The other member, Deputy Sam Haskins, was not able to make this drop-in but was at the one last weekend. Senior officers were also on hand to answer some of the more technical questions from the public.

The drop-in was held at Beau Sejour so that passers-by could look at the plans and ask any questions they had.

Between 9 and 11.30am, between 30 and 40 people stopped for a conversation.

Education is proposing having schools for ages 11-16 at Les Beaucamps, Les Varendes and St Sampson’s High, as well as post-16 education centred at Les Ozouets.

Deputy Murray was chatting to his former teacher, Geoff Mahy, who had concerns about losing the Grammar School.

‘I have taught at lots of Grammar Schools over the years and, looking at these plans, I would describe it as a botched comprehensive scheme,’ said Mr Mahy. ‘And moving the Sixth Form Centre down the road adds to that.’

Deputy Murray was explaining the rationale behind the committee’s thinking, and said that the relative lack of engagement from the public at Education’s drop-ins and events might indicate that people are either tired of the issue or happy with the committee’s proposals, although he could not say which was more likely.

‘At some point we do have to make a decision,’ he said.

‘This has been going on for years now and I hope a decision of some sort will be made the week after next.’

Diane Mitchell, left, a former education director in Portsmouth and Bournemouth tells ESC member Deputy Sue Aldwell she likes its plans. (29723609)

Diane Mitchell, a former director of education in Portsmouth and Bournemouth, was also there, hoping to get some further clarification about what would happen for those in post-16 education.

‘I think ESC is doing the right thing, although I am aware that lots of people think it’s not,’ she said.

‘These plans are what I would have recommended if I had been in post given the situation we’re in now.’

The education system in Hampshire is a similar model to what ESC is recommending and is renowned for having outstanding schools and fantastic post-16 education, she said.

‘I understand the nervousness some people have because change is difficult but there are successful models of education out there to provide a template that Guernsey could benefit from.’

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