ESC rebel says he can save States millions

THE Sixth Form Centre could be saved on its current site under an alternative plan put forward for the future of the island’s schools.

Deputy Andy Cameron, right, with ESC vice-president Deputy Bob Murray heading to a States meeting. (29737146)
Deputy Andy Cameron, right, with ESC vice-president Deputy Bob Murray heading to a States meeting. (29737146)

Deputies Andy Cameron and Lindsay de Sausmarez are proposing that three 11-16 schools are sited at Les Varendes, Les Beaucamps, and St Sampson’s, with a ‘co-located’ centre at Les Varendes.

They believe that keeping the sixth form centre where it is would save tens of millions of pounds, which could then be reinvested into upgrading each of the school sites.

‘Teachers have raised concerns that Les Beaucamps does not have enough science labs, and both Les Beaucamps and St Sampson’s lack adequate covered social space, a problem particularly noticeable during the lunch break on rainy days,’ they said.

‘Les Varendes does not have a working swimming pool, while the other schools do. This amendment seeks to use some of the proposed capital allocation to rectify issues like these in order to improve the student experience.

‘The policy letter proposes no such improvements.

‘Rather than spending tens of millions of pounds building a standalone sixth form centre that is projected to accommodate just 328 students by 2035, this amendment proposes a more moderate and pragmatic approach that will benefit all year groups, not just the sixth form.’

The flagship of Education, Sport & Culture’s policy letter is a post-16 campus at Les Ozouets, with a brand new sixth form centre built alongside The Guernsey Institute.

In the explanatory note to their amendment, Deputies Cameron and de Sausmarez outline perceived problems with ESC’s model, including cost, bigger class sizes, reduced curriculum breadth, timetabling logistics, a lack of space, and a need for four sites instead of three.

A reduced number of sites, they counter, would mean lower capital and revenue costs.

Deputy Cameron is a member of ESC, and he dissented against his committee’s plans after he heard the feedback of teachers.

In this regard, he and Deputy de Sausmarez have said their amendment takes account of the views of teachers and parents.

‘It actively addresses common concerns about those proposals and, because it has taken that feedback into careful account, it is likely to be considerably better supported.

‘It is a pragmatic step forward that requires less expenditure in terms of both capital and revenue (which is particularly welcome given the current fiscal context and the falling student number projections), makes the best use of our existing estate and, because it represents better value for money, is also better positioned to deliver improved educational outcomes and experiences than the policy letter’s original proposals.’

The States will debate the future of education next week, and so far there are five amendments.

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq is leading the charge for three 11-18 schools, and Deputy Marc Leadbeater wants La Mare de Carteret High School to be saved.

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