Schools would be successful if independent

THE debate on secondary education has yet again been dominated by matters relating to real estate and building contracts. With apologies to those who are tired of reading my views on this subject over the last 40 years, I would like to introduce some terms that may not have featured during the discussions that led to the latest version of the Education, Sport & Culture policies that have remained unacceptable to most islanders. Among the terms I would like to introduce are quality, efficiency, accountability, transparency, acceptability and social mobility. Any consideration that includes these matters must focus mainly on the way the service is structured and how it is managed.

Certain truths are self-evident, such as:

Independent schools always perform better than state schools because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t survive.

The worst possible way to deliver a public service is through a state-owned monopoly managed by civil servants, with consumers having no choice.

At 13-plus a pupil and his or her parents will have a much clearer idea of the direction that future education for that child should head than they had at 11-plus.

Based on these unvarying facts, I have for many years been suggesting that every Guernsey school should be independent and managed by school staff working under the ultimate control of a board of governors, that pupils should move from primary to senior school at 13-plus after a comprehensive assessment of their particular needs and aims, that the choice of senior school should be for pupils and parents to make, not teachers or civil servants, and that ESC should pay each school an agreed scale of fees for each pupil at the school.

In the end, the decision taken will depend on whether Guernsey’s politicians and civil servants are more concerned with providing islanders with the highest possible standard of services or if they just want to control every aspect of our lives.



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