Guernsey Press

Herm leaseholder is ‘thrilled to bits’ at school’s reprieve

THE States’ decision to overturn the temporary closure of Herm School after just three days has been welcomed by the island’s leaseholder.

John Singer. (32515733)

John Singer, who sat through the final day of debate on Friday, said he was ‘thrilled to bits’ at the 28-9 vote in support for a requete from Deputy David De Lisle, which will see the school reopened for its four pupils within the next few weeks.

He said it would be a bonus for recruitment and retention of staff to work on Herm and could help to secure the island’s future as a business.

‘I am elated, very pleased for all the parents of young children coming through in Herm.

‘We have five or six children aged 0-2 at the moment, and three mums pregnant, so there will be excellent school numbers coming through, and now those parents will stay on the island – otherwise they would have left their employment.

‘They will now receive the education for their children that they expected when they took employment on Herm, and they deserve it.’

Mr Singer, chairman of Herm Island Ltd, said he agreed with Deputy Neil Inder’s claim that the proposal to close the school was ‘tearing at the social fabric of the Bailiwick’.

‘If the school had closed we would have been unable to employ any new families with young children, the families with children would have left before they reach the age of four, and it would be the totally correct decision for them to leave.

‘I couldn’t turn around to them and say please don’t go – I wouldn’t send my four-year-old on a ferry through the winter.’

Mr Singer said that he did not see any reason why school numbers should continue to fall, but the threat of the school closure would have put off potential employees with young families.

‘Numbers falling was self-fulfilling with the policies adopted.’

Mr Singer said it had been a tough day in the States Chamber. ‘I’ve been in constant contact with numerous deputies over the last 14 days – it’s been arduous for them and arduous for me.’