ESC president shocked by claim of strike over States’ school decision

EDUCATION, Sport & Culture president Andrea Dudley-Owen is shocked by speculation about possible strike action by teachers following States approval of her committee’s reorganisation of secondary education.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29981307)
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29981307)

She was asked during last week's debate whether she could guarantee that strikes would not result from the plans, which have been opposed by 87% of teachers who responded to a survey by unions.

‘I was shocked by that,’ she said of the remarks made by Deputy Tina Bury.

‘There’s been no talk about strike action at all and I think that that is really irresponsible when we’re making decisions of this type.

'To start to introduce that as a potential issue is really quite foolhardy.’

She said opposition to her committee’s plans from the teaching profession had been exaggerated.

‘We know that there are concerns that have been raised by some of the teachers, but there are many teachers who haven’t raised concerns,’ she said.

‘We know that there’s no one model that can be coalesced around by a vast majority. This has always been about compromise.’

Deputy Dudley-Owen indicated that teachers’ concerns about the plans could be allayed with better communications from government.

She said some of the elements of ESC’s plans ‘may not have been entirely understood because some of them are sort of high-level political and it’s up to us to ensure that our messaging is really clear’.

‘It’s been a tumultuous ride,’ she said, ‘and I think some people have become bruised and battered by the process and the prospect of change, if it’s going to affect you, can instil a little bit of fear.’

She said transition arrangements for students who would be required to move away from La Mare de Carteret High, which is to close, would be published shortly.

‘We want to ensure that the planning that we do is done with the school, because the school knows their community the best,’ she said.

She reiterated her commitment that all children from the closed school would stay together and move collectively to Les Varendes ‘along with as many of their teachers as possible’.

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