THE education debate is due to continue, starting on Wednesday 8 September. The States Assembly will be making a decision that will affect all of our children’s futures.
I do not support the proposal put forward by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture.
My reasons for this are:
1. There is no detail in the policy letter that has been written. The plans they have only concern the physical buildings. So at the moment, we know which schools our children will go to, but nothing about what will happen once they are inside.
If the plans as they stand are agreed, it means that further details about them won’t come out for about 18 months. I believe at that stage people will see the serious flaws in the plans and will object to them (as happened with the two-school model). If the public at that point object as strongly as they did last time, we could see even further delay and disruption for our children.
I would prefer to have a slight delay now to get things right. Get the teachers on board, get them involved in the planning and get this right.
2. The capital investment that the committee is asking for is only for the building of the sixth form centre and therefore only of benefit to students aged 16-plus.
There is no planned investment into the three high school sites, so no investment into the education of 11-16 year olds.
No improvement to facilities. No expansion of buildings to accommodate the extra students from the La Mare site which is closing.
The increase in students on the sites, without an increase in the size of the school buildings, will lead to an increase in the size of classes and an increase in the student:teacher ratio.
3. There are no revenue costs in the policy letter. Although education should not be based on cost alone, we should have an idea of how much the yearly running of the schools is going to be – after all, we’re all going to be paying for it through whatever taxes the States decide to throw at us.
4. And, here’s the really big one... according to the majority of the teachers (87% of secondary teachers who responded to a recent survey), the plans put forward by ESC are going to be detrimental to the educational outcomes of our children. The plans will produce worse outcomes than what we currently have in place (which was only ever meant to be a temporary measure).
How on earth can the members of the States Assembly agree to an education model that will actually worsen the education of our children?
Now, I don’t know how many (if any) agree with me, or if you have your own concerns, but if you do, please, please write to your deputies to let them know how you feel.
If you think that this model of education isn’t right, tell them.
Time is running out and we have to get this right.