Teachers rob Education of credibility
UNDER attack on four fronts – teachers, parents, pupils and politicians – Education’s plans to transform the secondaries are creaking.
Rarely has a States policy met such concerted public and professional resistance. That the objections are still there long after the political debate was done and dusted is testament to both the strength of feeling and the size of the task.
Quite how resolute States members will remain in the face of such criticism remains to be seen. Deputies have been known to cave in before – the change of heart over building the massive Suez incinerator came very late in the day and followed heated protests outside the Royal Court House.
Those islanders hoping for a similar volte face had their prayers answered this week with a letter from 88 St Sampson’s High teachers and support staff openly criticising the plans.
The near unanimity of the staff behind a statement which revealed utter contempt for the transformation was a sledgehammer blow for Education.
At a stroke it robbed them of the credibility to go to the public and claim the backing of professionals.
It also risked opening up a damaging divide between all the head teachers and their staff.
Without public or professional backing there is no question the transformation plans are in trouble. All that remains to be seen is whether the showdown comes within a few weeks or after June’s election.
Education’s only hope is to break up the alliance. Despite being pressed, their political critics have carefully avoided giving a fixed alternative vision for secondary education.
For once they do, they know the fragile coalition of 11-plus supporters, three-school fans and La Mare re-builders will collapse.
A political strategy built on such weak foundations is bad news for pupils, parents and staff, all of whom crave certainty and stability.
The decision to belatedly renege on the Suez deal cost the island millions. That was a price worth paying for a waste system the island could live with.
The cost of derailing Education’s plans at this late stage will be more than just financial. La Mare will still be crumbling and pupils will still be skipping the 11-plus while deputies wonder which system might win the hearts of public and professionals.