Guernsey Press

New Education Law has been finalised

PLANS to finally replace the island’s 50-year-old Education Law have been completed.

Education Committee president Andrea Dudley-Owen said the Education Law was ‘an invisible safety net’ for the island’s young people. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32078618)

Education Committee president Andrea Dudley-Owen said that she hoped that most islanders would never need to have a practical involvement with the law, but she described it as ‘an invisible safety net’ for the island’s young people.

‘The vast majority of parents, carers and students will thankfully never have a reason to directly interact with the Education Law,’ she said.

‘That is both positive and to be expected in a community such as ours. Nevertheless, we cannot understate the importance of having an Education Law which sets out the universal entitlement of our children, meeting the needs and expectations of a modern education system.

‘I’ve likened it before to an invisible safety net which offers protection for our young people and ensures the way we deliver education is appropriate for a modern, forward-thinking jurisdiction.’

The current Education Law was agreed in the early 1970s but is based on UK legislation from the 1940s. Some of its contents, including reference to corporal punishment, are based on educational practice dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

The committee described the update as a ‘significant milestone’ with the educational experience of children at the heart of the proposals.

Updating the law was one of its key priorities for the political term and it said it had sought to take a ‘practical but aspirational approach’.

The committee said its most significant move was to overhaul the system of educational governance, shifting responsibility for 20 education settings, and 7,000 students, from the political committee to governance boards, with purpose, constitution and high-level duties set out in the law.

‘The flagship and most high profile of our proposals for the new Education Law is the introduction of governance boards which are key in facilitating continuous improvement in education,’ it said.

‘Being on governance boards will enable islanders who are passionate about improving education to represent local school and The Guernsey Institute communities and act as a critical partner to education leaders.

'Governance boards remove the requirement for the committee to provide direct governance to all 20 States-maintained education settings and would, instead, enable us to focus on system-wide policy-making and governance.’

Current school committees have already been advised about the proposed switch in governance systems. Initial responses were mixed.