‘Teachers are open to compromise on schools’

TEACHERS are open to a compromise on secondary school models, if the Education Committee would engage with them in a meaningful review, a teachers’ representative has said.

Sarah Buck, left, pictured with and Connie Armstrong. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29754292)
Sarah Buck, left, pictured with and Connie Armstrong. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29754292)

This week deputies are set to debate Education’s proposals for three 11-16 schools at Les Varendes, Les Beaucamps and St Sampson’s, with post-16 education being consolidated at Les Ozouets.

Les Beaucamps English teacher Sarah Buck has been speaking on behalf of the organisers of a secondary teacher survey. That research, which saw 73% of secondary teachers respond, had 87% of them come out against the current proposals. Mrs Buck appreciated that many were tired by the long-running debate, but she felt the level of concern coming from teachers needed to be addressed.

Education has said it had consulted with teachers during the process, but Mrs Buck said they were just presented with Education’s model. Engagement meetings were held, but there had been little sign of that feedback having an effect on Education’s plans.

She said it was important that the States returned to 2020’s pause and review, and this time have a ‘meaningful’ review.

‘I do think staff would compromise,’ she said.

‘A review is a longer process, but I think the results may be quicker than successive proposals going to the States.’

One of the amendments put forward for debate this week would allow for a review.

Mrs Buck said the previous pause and review allowed for a pause, but did not have the meaningful review that was needed.

This will be the third time a secondary education proposal has gone to the States in the last four years. Mrs Buck noted that the two-school model – under former deputy Matt Fallaize’s committee – drew criticism from teaching staff due to the detail. But the latest committee’s proposals lacked that detail, meaning staff could not even give thoughts on it.

Education has declined to comment on the recent survey, stating it will not debate the matter in the media and would seek to engage direct with teachers instead. Mrs Buck said she had not yet heard from Education since the survey was published last Thursday.

In terms of general discussion with deputies, Mrs Buck said she was disappointed that deputies who were supportive of Education’s proposals would also not engage in debate and discussion with teachers. The States debate is set to get under way at this week’s meeting, which starts on Wednesday. The debate will happen largely during school hours.

Mrs Buck said she planned to listen to it during break and lunchtimes and catch up in the evening, to ensure she keeps abreast of the issue.

Comment, page 14

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