Could end of education saga be in sight?

OUT with the old and in with the new.

The freshly-elected States members have opted for a change in direction, with a new Policy and Resources president and committee, leaving Jonathan Le Tocq the sole survivor of the last term’s top table.

Today the focus will turn to electing the other 12 committee presidents and little continuity is expected there either.

With the previous presidents of the principal committees having either chosen to stand down or been ejected by the electorate, there will be some new faces steering political policy for the next four years. And there are a few potential hot potatoes up for grabs.

Hottest of all has to be the presidency of Education, Sport and Culture, with Andrea Dudley-Owen emerging as the most likely contender to pick up the mantle.

With a succession of previous incumbents having ended their tenure by either resigning or being ousted come the next election, it is clear that the next president will have a challenge on their hands to bring the secondary school saga to a conclusion.

In theory, the path ahead should be relatively straight-forward. With the ‘pause and review’ in progress and most new deputies seemingly in favour of three schools, it is tempting to hope for consensus on this previously contentious subject.

But with the results of the review not expected until next spring and the new P&R president calling for ‘action now’ in his speech on Friday, it’s possible the new Assembly might opt to pause the ‘pause and review’ in favour of immediately pushing ahead with a three-school scheme.

The problem is which three-school model to implement? Should it include a rebuilt La Mare? A modernised Grammar? Should the schools be evenly sized? Should they have the same facilities? Should each school have its own sixth form, or just one, or should there be a separate sixth-form college, and if so, where?

There are still many issues to be resolved, but what is clear is that the new ESC Committee will need the support of stakeholders as well as fellow States members if they are to succeed where their predecessors failed.

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