Tuesday 17 April 2012
The Education Department has today published an independent review of States-maintained primary education in Guernsey and Alderney. The review was undertaken by Denis Mulkerrin, supported by former Guernsey Headteacher Trevor Grayland and former Surrey Headteacher and data expert Tim Tatham.
Jon Buckland, Education Chief Officer said:
'We welcome the report and will be examining the recommendations in conjunction with the recommendations of Mr Mulkerrin's Secondary Review,'
'This will assist greatly in the development of the future vision for education in Guernsey and the ongoing actions required to continue to improve the education service for all our children and the wider community.'
The review was commissioned by the Education Board and considered:
- levels of attainment and progress in literacy and numeracy,
- comparable statistics between Bailiwick schools in these areas and with other relevant jurisdictions,
- whether the findings of Mr Mulkerrin's Secondary Review equally apply to primary schools
- the effectiveness of school performance setting and assessment
- the effectiveness of independent evaluation
- the actual or potential effect on education outcomes of specific issues as may be identified by the review
- the processes and policies surrounding public dissemination of key education performance indicators
- the effectiveness of transition between pre-school, primary and secondary phases
In his introduction to the report, Mr Mulkerrin commented:
'I have found it a rewarding experience visiting primary schools, talking with headteachers, observing teaching, chatting with staff and, very importantly, listening to the views of children. In particular, I have seen a lot of happy smiling faces. Morale is high in Guernsey's primary schools,'
'What has impressed me most has been the committed and caring approach of staff and the attitude of the children. It is clear that the staff really care deeply for the children and know them extremely well as individuals. The children in turn respond to this very well. They show respect for their teachers and engage well in lessons. I have seen virtually no discipline problems; rather, I have seen children who work well and enjoy everything that their school has to offer.'
In his report Mr Mulkerrin notes that it is difficult to make comparisons between Bailiwick schools and those in England. This is because Guernsey has replaced national SATs tests with moderated teacher assessment at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. This was introduced as the Department believes that this form of assessment gives a more accurate picture of pupil achievement and is of greater benefit for informing the future learning needs of pupils.
'It is always difficult to compare our schools with those in other jurisdictions,' said Deputy Director (Education), Alan Brown. 'What is important however is ensuring that all our schools are successful in raising the attainment of their pupils and that pupils make good levels of progress as they move through their school. We are already publishing progress and attainment data for individual schools in our Annual Report. I am also please that Mr Mulkerrin states that the effectiveness of school performance setting and assessment is good.
'Mr Mulkerrin notes that there are advantages and disadvantages of the SATs testing system in England and we will need to think carefully about how we assess pupils at the end of Key Stage 2 in future.'
The review highlights that reading results, especially those for boys, have shown a decline since 2009 and Mr Mulkerrin suggests that extending the use of focused reading groups and increasing the number of volunteers willing to help children with reading in primary schools could be very effective in improving literacy skills.
'We are pleased that the Report shows the real value that volunteers can bring to our schools,' said Mr Brown. 'We already have a number of businesses who support our schools by providing volunteers to help with reading and other activities but we are always looking for more and are excited about the launch of a new charity that can help. But parents must also play their part and we would support Mr Mulkerrin's view that the education of the child is not for the school alone. The importance of the partnership between home and school is of critical importance for the development of our pupils'
The Report makes recommendations about the further delegation of powers to schools, professional development, performance management, updating the Education Law, validation reports and streamlining the eleven plus process, all of which the Department has already addressed in its response to Mr Mulkerrin's review of Secondary Education.
'The Department is pleased to note that Mr Mulkerrin supports the view that an entitlement to pre-school education can have a profound effect on a child's future levels of attainment. We are still planning to bring our proposals for the introduction of such an entitlement to the Assembly later this year for approval,' said Mr Brown. 'This will also include proposals for quality standards for our pre-school providers which will have, as one element, transition arrangements.'
'We have also been looking at an alternative allocation of teaching assistants to schools and changes are in the pipeline for September 2012.'
A copy of the Review of Primary Education in Guernsey is available to download from the bottom of this page or the Education Department's website www.education.gg/primaryreview