Guernsey Press

Host families for Sark pupils continue to be in short supply

PARENTS in Sark are still experiencing problems finding host families for their children to be educated in Guernsey.

Michelle Brady, head teacher of Sark School, has appealed for more Guernsey families to host pupils from the school. (Picture by Andy Brown, 32246608)

The head teacher of Sark School, Michelle Brady, said many parents continued to send their children to the UK to guarantee boarding places.

She acted as a host herself while living in Guernsey, looking after secondary school pupils from Herm.

‘I found that it was rewarding because it added another dynamic to our family life,’ she said.

‘We became great friends with the family of our host student.’

She encouraged people in Guernsey to consider hosting Sark pupils, who she said were confident, caring and creative.

Sark School takes pupils from pre-school until the age of 13, after which they can attend schools in Guernsey through a service agreement with the States.

Mrs Brady, who started at the school in September, having previously taught at Vale Primary and Elizabeth School Junior School, has been living in Sark five days a week during the academic year, which has just finished.

She is promoting greater links between the islands, and some of her pupils recently visited St Peter Port for sailing instruction.

The school currently has 28 pupils, split into three classes. Its numbers increased in recent years as a number of younger families relocated to the island during the pandemic.

‘To have small classes and split across ages is rare now. Some people actively look for that,’ said Mrs Brady.

‘I was a little nervous working like this to begin with, but I’ve seen that the children’s development is not restricted by age. There is so much potential for peer learning.

‘Its a lovely way and lovely place to teach. We are a big part of the community and everything is on our doorstep.

‘The kids here are very confident as they spend so much time interacting with adults and with the natural environment.’

The school shares its building with the community hall and a cafe and bar.

‘It is probably the only school in the British Isles that has its own bar, although I’d like to point out it doesn’t open until after 4pm,’ said Mrs Brady.