As the States discussed the new Government Work Plan for the first time, deputies debated the need for a review of primary education. They noted a disparity between school rolls, particularly high at St Martin’s, Amherst and Vauvert, and low in the two primary schools in the country parishes. Overall, members heard, there were some 660 spare spaces across 11 States primary schools, representing over-capacity of some 177%, said Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, who led the push for a review of primary education to become a priority action, when it has been relegated by the Work Plan process.
Her amendment effort was defeated by 27 votes to 10, but afterwards noted that the concept of a review was not opposed in principle, but due to lack of resources to carry out the work.
‘The debate made it clear that the argument was won even if the amendment was lost,’ said Deputy de Sausmarez.
‘This was work that was started in the last political term, so I was disappointed to discover that it hadn’t been progressed.
‘We got a clear indication from various members that there is a need for this review.
‘Various people who voted against it stated that they hoped it would be prioritised in this political term.’
She said that any rebuild of La Mare de Carteret Primary needed to be postponed until a full review of primary education had been completed, and said she would return with the same argument again next year if the Education Committee had shown no further intent to progress.
Deputy Steve Falla seconded the amendment.
Before entering politics he had campaigned strongly to save St Andrew’s School from closure, which failed.
He said it felt wrong to delay a review of the primary sector for what could be another four to five years when it was such an integral part of the island’s education system.