Guernsey’s Committee for Education, Sport and Culture intends to submit its policy letter on the future of Secondary and post-16 education on 10th May 2021.
It is unsurprising that work on policy development in connection with Secondary and post-16 education has been impacted by the need to prioritise resources on managing the Covid-19 response and the serious impact on schools of the current lockdown. The Committee says they are fully committed to publishing its recommendations to the States in a little more than two months.
The Committee say that they fully understand the desire from staff and many in the community for progress to be made after so many years of debate around the future model for Secondary and post-16 schooling in Guernsey. This work is the Committee’s most pressing priority, amongst a high number of key work-streams across its large mandate. Prior to the publication of its policy letter, the Committee will release further information about the direction of travel for this work-stream and it will do this before the States meets in March to debate the Government Work Plan submitted by the Policy & Resources Committee.
During the Government Work Plan debate, the Policy & Resources Committee will be asking the States to rescind 135 previous States resolutions, including a number relating to the future of Secondary education. This is in response to a request from the Policy & Resources Committee for all States committees to identify extant resolutions that had either been superseded or did not align with this Assembly’s policy objectives.
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said: “Whilst there is still work to do before the Committee is in a position to finalise our recommendations to the States, we are making good progress. We know there is a huge desire for this long-running issue to be resolved urgently, for the benefit of our students, staff, parents and carers and the wider community. All of those groups want the very best we can deliver in terms of comprehensive Secondary and post-16 education. The Committee very much shares those aspirations.
“All Committees were asked by P&R to review extant resolutions and come back to them, with those that they would wish to be rescinded to support the strategic policy direction of new Committees. We wanted to be transparent about our desire for some previous resolutions relating to secondary education to be rescinded, so went public with our plans prior to the release of the Government Work Plan.
“Earlier debates in respect of Secondary and post-16 education have been high profile and have been the subject of multiple policy letters by various iterations of the Committee over a series of political terms. Given this fact, unlike in some other areas where the rescission of resolutions might readily leave a policy vacuum due to a previous absence of political decision making in that area, if successful, the proposed rescissions will return us to the policy position of being able to find the very best way of delivering secondary education in a non-selective environment. This is what we are committed to doing, not least because of the strong indication from the ballot box that this is what the electorate has called for.
“This Committee is intent on being open with all of our key stakeholders, but we must be allowed time to complete the work. We will shortly be in a position to explain in more detail the guiding principles we have developed, taking into account the extensive feedback from staff via a survey and workshops last year and advice from the senior educationalists that support us, and what this means for secondary education policy and the operational models that remain the focus of our work. It is crucial that we continue to engage with staff and union colleagues so they hear from us directly before we explain this publicly, which is what we intend to do very soon”.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said: “The Government Work Plan has been led by our Committee and part of it focuses on reducing the inordinate amount of extant resolutions that States Committees are required to work to. While I have no doubt that each was generated with the best of intentions, the fact is this is a new Assembly with a desire to deliver action in this term.
“The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has done exactly what was asked of it, and of course it will now be for the States to decide if they agree with the Committee that its work on secondary education will be better served if these resolutions are rescinded”.