Guernsey's education system is going through an exciting transformation and the two principles at the heart of that programme are: 'opportunity' and 'excellence'. The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture is striving to create a system that gives students the chance to fulfil their potential.
Whatever decision on structure the States of Deliberation make, the aim is to give every one of Guernsey's students the best education experience they can have, whether academically or pastorally, or through cultural enrichment, sporting and social activities.
Following a vote made by the States on 3 March 2020 to pause previously agreed plans to introduce one school across two 11-18 colleges, the Committee was directed to conduct a review of secondary education models.
Later in March 2020, the Committee went back to the States to seek further direction on the specifics of the review. The States gave that direction, so the Committee is now looking at a number of specific areas. At the forefront are the four models of secondary education being analysed. The following three models will be 'benchmarked' against the previously agreed one school, two colleges model:
- a system with three 11 to 18 colleges
- a system with two 11 to 16 colleges and one 11 to 18 college
- a system with three 11 to 16 colleges and a separate sixth form centre
This review will be concluded ahead of 28 April 2021, when the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture will bring a further policy letter to the States to present the outcome of the review. The States will then decide which model of secondary education Guernsey will implement.
What will the review be looking at?
- Alongside directing the Committee to hold discussions with key stakeholders like education staff, the March policy letter set out the criteria for the review. The analysis of education models needs to include:
- Quality of education
- Promoting the highest possible standards and outcomes
- Range and equality of opportunities, including curriculum and facilities
- Curriculum breadth and opportunities to group students flexibly
- Standard of and access to facilities indoors and outdoors
- Recruitment, retention, flexibility and resilience of staff teams
- Pastoral support and wellbeing of students and staff
- Support for students with special educational needs or disabilities
- Pupil teacher ratios and average class sizes
- Extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities
- Ease of transition between different phases of education
- Value for money
- Capital expenditure
- Revenue expenditure: making the best use of the funds the States are prepared to spend on secondary education annually
- Transition costs to move from the status quo to the new model.
- Infrastructure & organisation
- Infrastructure at the school sites
- Infrastructure around the school sites
- Capacity and capability of the States to implement the model
- Consistency with States' strategic objectives
- School operational issues which are specific to any particular model (excluding those which are general to all models).
Is Higher Education included in the scope of the review?
- The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture's plans for enhancing the Island's higher education offerings are not included in the scope of the review.
- Plans for the development of The Guernsey Institute are being progressed. The Guernsey Institute combines the College of Further Education, the GTA University Centre and the Institute for Health & Social Care Studies all under one management board. The States agreed to protect the plans for The Guernsey Institute when it voted on the March policy letter, and agreed to only consider new secondary school models that would fit with this. This excluded models, for example, that would have included a tertiary college.
- The Guernsey Institute already has a Shadow Board of Governors and, in the longer term, there are plans for a purpose built facility to be developed at Les Ozouets, which is currently one of a number of College of FE sites.
Will there still be 'one school' moving forward?
- Yes. The States have supported the 'one school' approach for secondary education at each stage of the process, and most recently, when it voted on the March policy letter. A system of having one school - the Federated Guernsey Secondary School - with multiple colleges has a number of advantages. For example, an executive leadership team spread across the school allows for the ethos of equality to be taken further, and also allows for efficiencies across the board. These range from a better choice of subjects for all students to financial savings.
What happens to education while the review takes place?
- While this review is done, the existing four secondary schools will continue business as usual, with two of them looking to recruit new interim head teachers. All elements of the previously agreed one school over two 11-18 colleges have been put on hold. This means students will continue to attend the island's four high schools, at Les Varendes, Les Beaucamps, St Sampsons and La Mare De Carteret. Les Murier, Les Voies and Le Rondin will all continue supporting students with special educational needs and disabilities, while St Anne's School will carry on providing secondary education in Alderney.
- 3 March 2020 - Pause and Review Requete passes
- 18 March 2020 - ESC Policy Letter to receive further direction on the review passes
- 28 April 2021 - ESC to have presented a new policy letter to the States outlining the findings of the review
Why should things change at all?
- At present our secondary schools vary greatly in size, and this affects the number of opportunities students at different schools can have. As the island transitions away from selection, to an all-ability system, the aim is to give students the widest possible range of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities and give teachers in Guernsey the chance to work across all key stages in secondary education, which will maximise the chances of developing, recruiting and retaining great teachers to add to our already great pool. The Committee want to achieve all of these goals while also delivering the best value for public money possible.
Education Law Review
- When the Committee was elected in 2018 it identified the development of a new Law as one of its main objectives. A period of public consultation on proposed changes to the Law was undertaken in the first quarter of 2020 with further engagement with key stakeholders planned. The Committee is on course to submit a Policy Letter to the States before the end of 2020 in which it will propose detailed recommendations about the new Law. If they are approved by the States, the new primary legislation and several associated ordinances could be laid before the States for approval before the end of 2021. The Committee has been advised on the new Law through a working group which includes political members, representatives of primary and secondary head teachers, legal and policy advisors, the Head of Curriculum and Standards, and the Head of Inclusion and Services to Children and Schools.