Is Education about buildings or excellence?

THE States may take a big step towards resolving the future of secondary education next week.

But today our teachers take a significant pot shot at the proposals from Education, Sport and Culture, saying these plans are some distance removed from the pursuit of excellence which the committee has sought to present.

The committee talks about addressing discrepancy of facilities at post-16, offering greater choice, encouragement for further education and lifelong learning, and a new post-16 campus acting as a ‘centre of ambition and aspiration’.

The teachers say that over time the government’s ambition for education has shifted from the provision of new buildings to a transformation to offer ‘world class’ teaching and learning.

But there is a struggle to connect that lofty ambition with a report to the States that effectively sees four schools replaced with four schools.

‘While that narrative was changed, insufficient attention has been paid to true educational transformation… the focus has remained on buildings and facilities,’ the teachers say.

‘What all these initiatives have had in common is that they have fallen upon contact with reality.’

So teachers don’t want to pick a model. They just want the resources to do a good job, to deliver high quality education.

So they say to deputies – don’t pick your model and try to make it work. They want to do detail with the committee now, not later. They want to know that the proposal will work, and for all parties to believe in that and work together and achieve it. Does that require completion and publication of Pause and Review?

Could that be achieved through the Andy Cameron ‘do minimum’ option, thereby potentially releasing £20m. or so for investment into the current 11-16 estate and the broad educational offer?

When consultants talk about the need for digital upskilling with 30% of local jobs at risk over the next 15 years, and our primary focus is apparently on models and buildings, and indirectly on outcomes and standards, no wonder there are deep concerns among those who have to tap the potential of the young people who will shape our future.

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