Guernsey Press

Education set for extra £1m. a year for secondary schools

AN ADDITIONAL £1m. is set to be spent each year by Education, Sport & Culture on secondary education.

Education, Sport & Culture president Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen maintained the island was on a positive trajectory despite the damning Ofsted report into St Sampson’s High. (Picture by Nate Le Messurier, 31031774)

A damning Ofsted report of St Sampson’s High School revealed issues with attendance, poor behaviour, bullying and teachers’ understanding of the curriculum.

‘We have asked for a £1m. increase to our budget – but that isn’t specifically around this particular school. This is around extra resources going into the school to enable it to make those improvements,’ said ESC president Andrea Dudley-Owen.

The additional funding was detailed in the Government Work Plan, agreed by the States earlier this month. In part the funding was driven by Covid and seeks to make education delivery more sustainable.

‘These are medium-, short-term measures in order to ensure [head teacher] Mrs [Vicky] Godley’s action and her senior leadership team's action is delivered upon and be delivered upon with support from the Education office. But the wider issues is that education needs improving across the board.’

Attendance was poor across the board, but particularly for disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs.

‘Attendance levels at school have dropped since the lockdowns and work needs to be done to engage with parents and carers to ensure they understand that it is really important their children come to school,’ said Deputy Dudley-Owen.

‘It is compulsory for children to access education in Guernsey. If the children are not being provided for by the States or private colleges, parents must say they are home-schooling.’

Ofsted said staff were not sufficiently skilled in subject curriculum design, behaviour management or supporting students with special educational needs.

‘The most important investment the States can make is in our children, and we must make sure our staff are well trained and that they have the tools to be the best teachers they can be. It’s not just about what happens to education. This is a community matter because it takes an island to raise a child,’ said Deputy Dudley-Owen.

When asked if she was concerned other schools would receive poor reports, she said everything has been put in place that needs to be done to rectify the problems.

‘There was a lack of leadership, structure and support for schools. We have a director of education who is immensely well-respected and trusted by the workforce. We have head teachers who are working collaboratively in all sectors – we are on a really positive trajectory.’

An emergency question was put to Deputy Dudley-Owen regarding the Ofsted report of St Sampson’s High School.

‘I formally apologise to the students, their families and the wider community for the failings,’ she said.

‘Vicky Godley has a good track record of leading schools to improvement and success.’