Guernsey’s Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has today outlined its guiding principles for the future of Secondary and post-16 education.
Since elected to the Committee in November, Members have spent the time needed to understand, examine and challenge work carried out on policy development in connection with Secondary and post-16 education.
The Committee reviewed all consultation feedback provided by staff from a survey and workshops last year, which has helped shape the development of the Committee’s guiding principles for the future of Secondary and post-16 education. These principles mean the Committee is seeking to develop a solution that:
- provides greater equity for Post-16 Education and Training and in which the Sixth Form is not split across more than one site
- is pragmatic and delivers improvements in equity
- is reflective of the prevailing economic opportunities and limitations of the current financial climate
- is deliverable in a realisable timeframe whilst being mindful of disruption to the school community and which can be easily understood by all stakeholders
Based on these principles, the Committee is focusing on two variations of three 11 – 16 schools and a sixth form centre located on a post-16 campus alongside The Guernsey Institute. The difference between the two variations for the three 11-16 schools is whether there a school at Les Varendes or La Mare de Carteret sites, with the current St Sampson’s and Les Beaucamps schools featuring in both options.
However, there remains work to do including carrying out further engagement with Secondary school and TGI staff prior to the Committee finalising its recommendations to the States and publishing its policy letter on 10 May 2021.
The Committee believes the creation of a post-16 campus will result in a truly adult learning environment where there is parity of esteem across the different post-16 pathways. This cultural change in the years ahead will be crucial as the island moves towards a more skills-based economy.
The Committee continues to fully support the development of The Guernsey Institute so its plans for the post-16 campus will not see a full integration of the sixth form and TGI, but will see them co-located on the same site with the operational benefits between the two distinct entities being explored.
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said: “Having started from the strategic “top” and stated the aim of education, the Committee has been developing its guiding principles as a foundation for the future of Secondary and post-16 education. We sought feedback from Secondary school staff and States Members before Christmas and continued to refine our thinking as a result.
“The extensive consultation carried out with staff last year, via a survey in June and workshops at each of the four mainstream Secondary schools later in the year, played a key role in shaping these principles. We also considered the current economic situation, our future recovery and ensuring we were laying the building blocks for an education system which is fit for the 21st Century.
“For many years discussion on the future of Secondary education has hinged on plans for the sixth form. Any model which has a sixth form centre co-located with an 11-16 school could at best create a perception of students who attend that Secondary school benefiting from a different educational offer and at worst it creates a school which effectively morphs into an 11-18 school over time. The Committee does not believe this is a fair approach to education.
“The creation of a post-16 campus, where a sixth form centre and The Guernsey Institute are co-located and seek to maximise operational synergies while remaining separate organisations, has the potential to create a truly adult learning environment for the island, into which all of our students will graduate after completing their Key Stage 4 studies. We recognise the vital role that the post-16 sector plays in building the human capital – the value of knowledge, skills and experience – of our young adults, which Guernsey’s economic recovery and long- term prosperity relies upon.
“We are determined that in creating a campus that is used for all post-16 education we will begin the journey of mind-set shift in our community when it comes to comparisons between A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate with technical, professional and vocational qualifications all of which are equally valuable, and should have appropriate currency with employers and Higher Education institutions.
“The Committee has set out its strategy, guiding principles and preferred model. We have taken on-board the views of staff, for example keeping the sixth form on one site was one of the top priorities for Secondary teachers. We also believe the Committee’s direction aligns with the electorate’s wishes given the strong indication from the ballot box in October, when many voted for candidates whose manifestos expressly stated a preference for a three-school model.
“The Committee’s announcement today will give rise to many questions about the details. Some of these questions will be answered in our policy letter in a couple of months, some will take time to work through once the States has provided its direction on the Secondary and post-16 policy we want to adopt for Guernsey’s system of comprehensive education.
“In many of these areas, which are more technical and relate to ensuring the best operational environment, the Committee will want to consult with staff, using their expertise and experience to shape educational delivery.
“The community can be assured that all work that has gone before, including that which is relevant from earlier Committees and work done under the previous Committee in the autumn of last year, has helped greatly to inform current progress.
“Our work, including research sources and previous documents that have shaped our thinking will be presented transparently as part of our policy letter so ‘the how’ we came to our conclusions and recommendations can be well understood”.