Guernsey Press

Sark pulls back from ending obligation to house students

SARK’S government has withdrawn proposals to pass on its responsibility to house students in Guernsey.


Six post-13 students were due to be continuing their education outside the island’s school system in September, but only four have managed to find suitable accommodation, either in Guernsey or the UK.

Chief Pleas had proposed it be freed of the obligation to house this year’s cohort of secondary pupils, which was met with a backlash from Sark’s Board of Education. But just a day before the government was supposed to meet, Education committee chairwoman Conseiller Fern Turner announced the meeting would not be taking place and that propositions had been dropped.

‘These propositions were never requested by the current committee and were put in place and actioned by our previous chair and the civil servants,’ she said.

‘We feel that following on from the recent email from the Board of Education and consultation with some conseillers and members of the public that we would be remiss to proceed as is at this moment in time.’

In the letter sent by the BoE, it was requested that Education and Policy & Finance first complete proper consultation to ensure any changes to the law met all local and international obligations.

It said the proposals would have ‘life-changing consequences for families on Sark and any family that may want to relocate here’.

In July Chief Pleas rejected plans for a ‘Sark House’ – which would have been used to house children staying in Guernsey – because it was not considered financially viable. It was said to be the preferred option for the majority of the island’s parents and children.

‘Our moral obligation to meet the needs of the children and their families is even more pertinent now,’ said a BoE spokesman.

‘Abdicating government responsibility for certain areas of education and placing the onus on parents is simply not acceptable in this day and age, especially not where this education is mandatory – as it is for children up to the age 16.’

Sark scrapped secondary education in 2019, meaning students over Year 8 would have to seek education off-island or be home-schooled.