We don’t need no education

MY LAST two columns have been about education and, even though it is still the most important topic in our political firmament, for the sake of diversity I feel I have to abandon it for the moment and focus on some dull-as-ditchwater subject.

 (Picture by Shutterstock)
(Picture by Shutterstock)

The States of Guernsey is ripe with such subjects – in fact, focusing on DADW stuff is pretty much its day job and our island couldn’t operate without them. One very topical one is the politically important decision taken by the Environment & Infrastructure committee to get some of our excellent stonemasons to repair our sea walls.

They had the vision and foresight to prepare us for Storm Ciara and, at the time of writing this, the west coast is still habitable. Good work, guys and gals. And you stand as a giant beacon to the concept that keeping things repaired is a jolly good idea. Shame for decades that those in charge of our schools didn’t see the need to do that and just let them fall into disrepair, forcing us to eliminate a couple of good options for our new school model.

Can’t think of anything more to say about E&I that is the least bit interesting, but since I still have a lot of blank space to fill I will pluck another DADW topic out of thin air and move on to Scrutiny.

I read this week that Scrutiny is moving back into reviewing Home Affairs to see how it is getting on. I suppose they have some time on their hands while they are waiting for more information to conclude the review of the hiring of a curriculum expert which may or may not have had some undue political interference.

OK, I thinks that’s about it for Scrutiny, except I wonder if Deputy Green has picked up on the confused reporting about land bordering the Grammar School (I hereby declare that by making reference to the Grammar School I am not in any way endorsing a selective system above any other educational model), which to a large part convinced many that the site was too small to be considered in any future model. This was because the States did not own the surrounding land.

Well, blow me down with a feather – it turns out that the old Grammar Association, which owns the land, was never approached to find out if they would be willing to sell it for an extension. Strange, considering they ceded land years ago for the Sixth Form Centre.

A bit of scrutiny required there, I think. Perhaps when the Home review is finished? If that’s not too late.

One thing I’ve always criticised the States for is its difficulty in communicating with the electorate. It’s still not great but it is getting better. Greater use of social media and more use of videos can only be applauded and so I can now segue into writing about States PR.

Take Lisia School as a great example, with both Twitter and Facebook accounts. Lisia’s Twitter account already has nearly 180 followers and the Facebook account is close to 400. Amazing the support it’s getting from the community.

And we mustn’t forget the videos which have really caught the attention of the public. One has been viewed more than 17,000 times, which goes to prove just how well this sponsored Facebook campaign is going. The videos themselves are very well produced and have a definite ‘Children in Need’ feel to them, with sad music and serious face to camera presentations. I was nearly in tears at the end.

It occurred to me that a really upbeat video campaign earlier in the process may have won over more hearts and minds to the project? But still, 17k views is nice and I see 69 people actually clicked on the thumbs up to ‘like’ the video.

Elizabeth and Ladies’ College put out a video about their joint sixth form and I doubt it got as many views. It was so unlike the Lisia videos. Too upbeat and positive, with lots of shots of happy, smiling learners both in class and doing fun enrichment activities. There are no children in the Lisia videos. Probably better that way.

Struggling for non education-related content now, but I need another couple of hundred words so let’s move on to our system of government.

One of the great things about our government is that it has a plan. That plan is owned by our principal committee, Policy & Resources.

Because of that plan, P&R can exercise the leadership function which is sort of entrusted to it. At any moment there is no doubt where we are headed politically because we can always look to P&R to show us the way at any time we need to ask. In any emergency, P&R is there keeping us informed and keeping us calm.

Look at Brexit. We know where we are, we have had many good updates on progress and we have some faith in our leaders.

Same for the education reformation.

We know exactly where P&R are. Hiding somewhere I think. Anyone have any idea where P&R are on education? Deputy Trott was green ribbon-laden at the protest march and Deputy St Pier was incognito in the crowd, observing.

Usually when there is a platform and a crowd of thousands a politician such as Lyndon would have to have the microphone snatched from his cold, dead hand, but on that Sunday he was obviously resting his fine voice.

Surprisingly, there is a lot going on in Guernsey today other than debate on the ‘one school, two colleges’ model and it has been a relief for me to drop that subject for now and focus on other things.

Yes, education, education, education would have been just too much.

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