Education and Skills

Transforming Secondary Education – Community Hub

An amendment was laid by the Policy & Resources Committee to the policy letter brought by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture on moving forward the development of a community hub. This has been an area of intense frustration as various sites suggested have not been able to be progressed. Three years ago it was thought the site of the KEVII Hospital may be used, then Les Ozouets Campus and, as set out in the policy letter, Delancey. The latter is a compromise, which will enable new ways of working, but will only be an interim solution.

Sir, It has been known for years that many of HSC’s child and adult social services are scattered across the Island in ageing and unsuitable properties. For years, successive Committees and successive Assemblies have agreed that these services should be consolidated onto a single site, allowing for greater collaboration between teams, easier access for service users and opportunities for efficiencies combining common service. This would improve experiences for staff and service users and also enable the release of current sites.

And when I say years, I mean years spanning 3 electoral terms and at least 5 Health Boards or Committees.

The 2020 vision in 2011 made reference to a number of buildings in HSSD’s property portfolio being ill suited to the delivery of modern health and social care services or are expensive to maintain. Specific proposals were included in the Capital Portfolio at the beginning of this term to co-locate peripatetic services and a further commitment was made through the Partnership of Purpose. It is safe to say that no further commitment is needed- just action. 

The States of Guernsey has an Estates Plan. It establishes a number of Property Objectives for Estates Optimisation. First and foremost is better working locations, providing the right buildings in the right place and condition to meet current and future service delivery needs. Current community provision would fall short of this standard and it is right that action is taken to address this. 

In the context of the Partnership of Purpose, the relocation of community services is vital. Not only are some current work environments fundamentally unsuitable, they are creating a very real barrier to realising the values of the Partnership of Purpose and the adoption of new ways of working. 

The Partnership of Purpose is about achieving the physical, virtual and financial transformation of the health and care system. It is based on an ever closer integration of care which places the user at its centre and provides a greater focus on prevention and support and care in the community. The current property portfolio prevents this. Staff are forced to work in physical silos, service users are unable to access multiple services in a single visit and it is challenging to trial new ways of working. Multi-disciplinary working is happening, but it is having to overcome the fundamental challenges posed by the infrastructure. 

And I have to say it has not been for the want of trying but I until now it has felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall. A well built one at that. I won’t bother members with our own frustrations here but suffice it to say we had lost confidence that any solution would be found. Everything seemed to be wrong, nothing seemed to be right. However, hopefully the stars are now aligned and I was pleased to hear the P&R Presidents commitment to the co-location of a number of services at Delancey. This provides a real opportunity to improve working environments and pilot new ways of working across current team boundaries. It is considered that there would be opportunity to co-locate staff from the Children & Family Community Services, the Youth Justice Team, the Youth Commission, and other services. It has the potential to enable the vacation of Lukis House and Swissville and other sites.

And I would aks members to consider this. Under the survey undertaken by Peter Marsh Consulting and set out in Section 3.1 of the policy letter, none of the buildings at Delancey were rated as good. 

But, it is a sad indictment of our current property processes that they are a considerable improvement on those currently occupied by community services. Indeed, all the work undertaken to date has indicated that it would fully meet the needs of community services.

The development of Delancey for health and care purposes is considered a vital albeit interim milestone in the Partnership of Purpose as we work towards a long term Communtity Hub. It will in the short term improve working environments, enable a number of States’ buildings to be vacated and enable new ways of working to be piloted.

That is why we want members to support proposition 6a). however, that is only an interim solution.

It is a good next step that will help transformation and free up States property and will enable us to start to make real changes. However, it is not a long term solution.

  • Because, whilst the proximity to service users is beneficial, the site is not centrally located on the Island;
  • Accessibility to the site is less than perfect with no bus route, minimal parking and being on top of a hill not the easiest for those with mobility issues.
  • Delancey will host a range of services to pilot collaborative working between statuary and charitable sectors however the site size limits the number of services that can be located there and the ability to incorporate private providers
  • The extent and scope of the long term ambition will require a larger and more flexible space, to host a community café and other facilities which Delancey will not be able to accommodate
  •  As opposed to just housing Children & Family services, the long term Community Hub will accommodate a range of services throughout the life course of our people which will need a range of in-reach and out-reach providers
  • The long term Community Hub will strengthen our approach to meeting the needs of all our service users (supporting the disability & inclusion strategy)  

In short, the site is temporarily sustainable for services relocating there, represents a better quality environment for our staff and will act as a test bed for transformational changes, but not for the longer term aspiration of a Principal Community Hub.

I think I need to go into more detail about what we mean here.

A key aspect of the new model of health and care is the physical co-location of services through a number of easily accessible sites called Community Hubs. Through these Hubs, individuals will be able to access a range of face-to face and virtual services provided by public, private and third sector organisations. By consolidating services which are currently scattered across the Islands, the Community Hubs will seek to improve access to care and enable islanders to deal with multiple health and care needs in a single visit. This approach will be of particular value to those individuals with long term conditions and will facilitate direct access to services which currently require a referral. 

While it is envisaged that there will be a network of Community Hubs throughout the Island- some of which may be developed around existing GP practices or community centres, and is something we are currently in discussion with various interested parties, it is considered that it will be necessary to develop a Principal Community Hub. What makes this different is, in addition to supporting public-facing services, it would also provide a base for shared back-office support for the public and third sectors. 

The Principal Community Hub needs to incorporate a wide range of service provisions, from across HSC, ESC, ESS and the private and charitable sectors. By combining a wide range of community services, and areas available for hire by other community groups, the site will be a valuable resource to all members of the community.  

To achieve these ambitions, a number of site requirements have been identified, which indicates that there are few available which would readily allow the envisaged co-location of the full breadth of services. The vacation of schools through the Transforming Education Programme is likely to be one of the few opportunities available to the States to the re-purpose an existing building as a Principal Community Hub, thereby avoiding the significant capital costs associated with a build. 

The Committee’s officers have undertaken extensive work to scope current provision and opportunities for the future but we’ve had to pause the progression of a Business Case based on growing uncertainty in respect of site availability.

Without the progression of this work and the associated development of the infrastructure underpinning community care, the Committee’s ability to realise the Partnership of Purpose is stymied. Without shared spaces, the ability to adopt new ways of working is limited, the development of working practices across organisational boundaries is restricted and we cannot improve convenience for service users. 

I’m not especially happy we can’t pin down where the new Hub will be and I understand the process we have signed up to but have yet to be convinced that all parties are quite aware of the roles that they are there to undertake. Inaction appears to have been the order of the day. Decisions do need to be made. That’s why I am pleased there is a deadline state, although I would hope matters can now be resolved in a more timely manner given the work that has already been done by HSC staff.

This has been going on too long. The will is there politically I believe, but process has got in the way. It needs this Assembly to make things happen and I ask members to support this amendment.

Education – health & wellbeing

I made this speech when laying an amendment to the secondary education policy letter to ensure health and wellbeing was considered was considered in educational transformation.

Sir, I will be brief. This second amendment again reflects the necessity of a close working relationship between HSc and ESC to meet the objectives of the Policy & Resource Plan and to enable our children and young people to have the best start in life.

I will not go into great detail here, but the Committee did think it was important that, amongst all the talk about what education should be provided where, a key point had been largely missed, and that was the importance of the mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing needs of all learners.

Again, like our first amendment, this amendment seeks to reinforce the message of our proposition in the policy letter approved last month, which is to affirm that the States in all its policy decisions, should consider the impact of those decisions on health and wellbeing, and make use of any opportunities to improve health or reduce health inequalities, across all government policies. The importance of this is set out in the CYPP, which has recently been refreshed and which represents an example of joint working between officers at HSC and ESC.

However, we believe that, given the fundamental importance of the subject matter we are debating and how, whichever model is chosen, this should not be forgotten and be an integral part of the transformation of secondary education.

Institute of Health & Social Care

I made this speech when laying an amendment to the secondary education policy letter to ensure that a proper review was undertaken of the Institute to ensure that we maximised its benefit.

Sir this is the first of 2 amendments I am laying on behalf of the Committee for Health and Social Care which are intended to be constructive additions to the propositions we are debating today. We have already circulated the views of the Committee in relation to the 2 models in so far as they overlap the mandate of the Committee and I don’t want to repeat that information here. However, I will make a few key points.

As Members will recall, one of the propositions approved in our policy letter on a Partnership of Purpose, transforming Bailiwick Health and Care, was to direct both HSC and ESC to review the training provision and education provided by the Institute to ensure that it continues to meet the health and care needs and to explore wider range of off and on-island training opportunities.

The reason for this amendment is to build on that proposition. I think it is fair to say that the Committee is concerned that the original proposition may well get lost in all the changes that are likely to be need to be made, whatever model is chosen. In addition, it only covered the Insititute and not the provision of health and social care studies more generally and no time limit set.

According to the World Health Organisation there will be shortage of 12.9m healthcare workers by 2035. It is already estimated there is a shortage of just over 7m.

In, ‘A universal truth: No health without a workforce”, it identifies several key causes. They include an ageing health workforce with staff retiring or leaving for better paid jobs without being replaced, while inversely, not enough young people are entering the profession or being adequately trained. Increasing demands are also being put on the sector from a growing world population with risks of non-communicable diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease, stroke etc.) increasing. Internal and international migration of health workers is also exacerbating regional imbalances.

That is the stark reality of the situation we face. 

Whilst we have sought to address these issues in our policy letter, we are concerned that in the whole lead up to this debate, little attention has been given to the Institute, other than its reporting line. There is a crisis in the UK and beyond in terms of the numbers of qualified health and care professionals at all levels. We are already impacted by short sighted decisions by the UK Government to take away bursaries for nursing trainees and the Brexit decision is thought to have reduced the numbers of foreign nationals moving to the UK. This is already impacting on Guernsey and we have to do something about it now.

ESC has a really important part to play and not just through the Institute. The College of Further Education plays a crucial role as a provider of health and care training. Currently there are 23 Year 2 Level 3 students, around half of whom we expect to go direct to HSC or other care providers and others going on to take a degree in a related subject. IN addition, there have been 35 adult learners on part-time courses in the last 2 years who have been employed with HSC or other health and care providers on-island.

But frankly, we need more than that and I hope that the new T levels will provide that opportunity, with distinct health and social care pathways. As this is a Committee amendment I won’t say where I believe these are best delivered and in any event, this amendment is relevant whatever model is chosen. But, we need to understand what the need is and how it will be delivered, now. 

The Committee looks forward to working with the CESC to develop a coherent system for education and training of a health and care workforce that meets the needs of Guernsey which is the purpose of this amendment and I ask members to support it.

Secondary education – 2 v 3 schools

I made this speech in the debate over the different secondary school models. Just to remind anyone reading my speeches, that I post what I have written in advance, but these can change as a result of debate. In this instance, there was a concluding paragraph, which is available from Hansard.

Sir, I should state in advance I am a governor of the Ladies’ College. However, they have no opinion on this matter and I am speaking as an individual Deputy. My opinions are my own, as they say.

I have grown to detest education debates. For me the the nearest equivalent is having your wisdom tooth out. It’s starts off with a dull ache. You think that it will be ok, you hope it will be ok but it gets worse and worse and you know you have to have an appointment. You know you have a date with destiny that can’t be put off. When you get there, much like the debate itself, it can be uncomfortable, with lots of weird noises all around you. Afterwards you still numb until that wears off and then there is that residual bit of soreness and a hole I your life. However, the lead up to this debate has, to use another dental pun, capped it all. 

We should not be where we are. We have 2 models in front of us, both of which have flaws. We have a teaching workforce which feels it is not being listened to, parents who want certainty and children asking both of them what’s going on. This should not have happened. What we should’ve seen is a single policy letter, being the culmination of proper consultation, and not of the tick box variety and working together. I remember well working together with Deputies Conder and Fallaize in the last term to get a solution to the machinery of government changes in so far as they related to the Scrutiny Mangement Committee. We could’ve fought it out in the media but we didn’t and ended up with a solution acceptable to all. 

The problem has been, for too long, the obsession over buildings. Once St Sampson was built, there was an expectation for every school to be replaced. Les Beaucamps should not have been rebuilt, at least not before La Mare. The amendment seeking a 3 school model perpetuated the problem but does have to be seen in the context of the debate in March 2016.

But to argue that funds should not have been made available to investigate the alternative model at this stage is false. I believe it has probably save time and money. The alternative would have been that we would not only have had the policy letter in front of us today. But also an amendment directing that there be an investigation into a 2 school model. The policy letter doesn’t provide a slam dunk argument for the 3 school model as we’ve already heard before and during this debate and it is highly likely that there would’ve be sufficient doubts for such an amendment to be successful. As such it would’ve resulted in a much longer delay before a final decision was made.

Anyway, we are here now and we can and must make a decision now. So what should it be?

Well, I’m not an educationalist. Now they’re interesting beasts in that if you put 2 together you’ll often get 2 opinions. That’s not quite as impressive as economists who when you put them together they often come up with 3. But still, it is not helpful to those of us who have not lived in that world. We had 2 people over from the UK recently – one representing an 11-18 School, the other 6th Form Colleges. Both believe their model makes sense, that the figures prove it! And today we have heard from those who believe passionately about one structure or the other based on ‘evidence’ in inverted commas.

But I don’t care where the buildings are. On an island of 25 square miles it really is the least important issue to be worried about. I used to have walk and take a bus to school every day further than Guernsey is long. It really is not what we should be worrying about.

This really isn’t about bricks and mortar. It has become obvious to me that the number of schools is really a red herring. You can play around with the number of rooms as much as you like, but it is the organisational structure that will make a far bigger difference to educational outcomes than the physical structure. There really is no reason to get hung up on which school will be closed or which rebuilt. In our brave new world we need to consider all the schools we end up with as new, whether they are completely rebuilt or not. They willnot be community schools, but Island schools.

Now the recent presentations from Messrs Morgan and Watkin were very interesting. I didn’t agree completely with what either said although there was useful information to take on board. However, the most telling comment for me came from Mr Watkin when he was asked why if 6th Form Colleges were the answer was Mr Morgan’s Cotswold School doing so well. His response was, ‘ well that’s just because Mr Morgan is a very good headteacher’. Now that really did stand out for me. Because isn’t that what it’s all about? Effective leadership? It certainly has a huge role to play. Through the right leadership the right culture develops.

It is as true for Education as it is for Health and Care. It is not the buildings that matter, it is the people. Those people are the teachers but they are also the parents and young people. No education system will reach its potential unless each is engaged and empowered. And transformation won’t happen unless there is a culture of empathy, integrity, honesty and respect.

Therefore, whilst I have of course considered the merits of a 2 and 3 school model and believe one to be preferable to the other, how I vote is ultimately going to be based on which model will enable real transformation to take place which is informed by what we are trying to do at Health and Social Care. I should point out here that I speak as an individual and not as President of that Committee.

For me a key enabler for change is the replacement of the Education Law.

It was put in place in 1970 before I started school and before a few in this Assembly were even born. Times have changed somewhat in the last 47 years as has legislation in other areas, a clear example being the Children’s Law, which puts the interests of the child at the centre. Not the Education Office. 

Where you have a law that has the following as a clause, you know it needs updating;

‘No woman shall be disqualified for employment as a teacher in any States’ school or voluntary school, or be dismissed from such employment, by reason only of marriage.’ Is that really necessary in 2017? OK I’d get it in 1917, possibly 1967 but 2017? There are also pages over religious instruction but nothing on mental, physical, social and emotional wellbeing. It also includes requirements of the Medical officer of health which are past their sell by date and will need to be considered in line with the propositions approved by the Assembly last month. [ The Committee] may, by direction in writing issued with respect to all States’ schools and voluntary schools or with respect to any of such schools named in the directions, authorise the Medical Officer of Health to cause examinations of the persons and clothing of pupils in attendance at such schools to be made whenever in his opinion such examinations are necessary in the interests of cleanliness. Really? In 2017? 

I was really pleased to see that the alternative model calls for a rewrite of the Education Law. This was something I called for in my 2012 manifesto and have been disappointed nothing has been done in the last 5 years. In reality we should’ve had a policy letter on this Law before we decided the number of schools, but anyway.

Only the alternative model appreciates how important this change is – which really bothers me. Why don’t ESC make much of it? It seems obvious to me, but then I’m not an educationalist. The other things that surprises me that isn’t in the policy letter, given that is has come through loud and clear from the conversations I have had with teachers from a range of institutions the last few months, is how little there is in the policy letter about the governance and leadership structure other than to say senior management will be able to focus on educational outcomes. This is odd given the first sentence states that ‘First and Foremost this policy letter is about transforming education in Guernsey’. We had at the 11th hour and amendment, but that just causes delay. We really don’t need an advisory panel. CFE has a shadow Board already. It just needs the switch turned on.

What was clear from both speakers recently was the autonomy that schools have now with headteachers being responsible for multi-million pound budgets and held accountable for them. We hear from the Committee that they can’t make savings and that their budget is too low. They may well be right, the percentage cuts to budgets are not themselves evidence- based. However  I do believe that savings can be made, or greater value can be obtained, through the devolution of governance and leadership. 

I suppose my disappointment with proposition 3 in the Fallaize amendment is that there is no deadline set for a policy letter to come to the States.

Now, I’m not going to repeat what has already been said in terms of the benefits of a 2 11-18 v 3 11-16 schools with a 6th form college that really isn’t a 6th form college and a tech college which is only a part-time college. Deputy Roffey is the one that has summed up the best to date the benefits of the former over the latter. 

However, the best arguments in support of the 2 school model have come from the senior teachers and the recent letter by Mr Dennis Mulkerrin. Recurrent themes being resilience, breadth of curriculum, easier recruitment and inherently greater effectiveness and efficiency. ESC talk a lot about cost, ‘what’s the cheapest; but ultimately are silent on value for money – cost, effectiveness and efficiency. In his trip down memory lane yesterday Deputy Inder didn’t mention the fact that was something I brought up during the 2016 debate. The cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean the best. Throwing good money after bad being the operative phrase.

It’s not that I don’t think that ESC sincerely believe their model is the best but I just think that their mindset is wrong. This is not a growth mindset but a closed mindset.

One particular statement bothers me, which exemplifies the problem for me, and I quote

‘Research evidence indicates that students in 6th form colleges do better at A level than those in both 6th forms and FE Colleges.’ Really that is a nonsense statement. How on earth can you prove that statement beyond reasonable doubt? You can’t unless you can specifically do a controlled experiment. The reality is that every school in the world is unique and dependent on the cohort, catchment, staff and other external factors. There are so many variables and you can’t state that is the case for every single student. If it were the case, there would be no 6th forms attached to 11-16 schools. It isn’t the case anyway, as Deputy Fallaize made clear in his speech.

I think part of the problem is the obsession with Equality of Opportunity – that phrase beloved of the Education Dept for many a year. Again, something I picked up on in March 2016. It Appears 24 times within this document and the ESC President mentioned it more than once. But what does it actually mean? What values are they seeking to use to judge it? We don’t know. It can mean more than one thing. My concern is what ESC mean by it and I will use the example of how they have dealth with gifted and talented to demonstrate that.

Now it was my amendment that is referred to in the policy letter. At the time I laid it ED supported it but said that it wasn’t needed. If anything demonstrates why it was needed it is when you read the section entitled ‘Stretch and Challenge’ and more specifically paragraph 3.43. where it states, and I quote, ‘All our childnre and young people have their own unique gifts and talents. It is the job of every education system to nurture and feed these unique talents’. 3.44 talks about the amendment and 3,45 says how it will draft and publish a policy but, but, apparently a considerable amount of work has already been done to provide the opportunity for childnre to be and I quote, ‘stretched and challenged’. Reading that it felt like they were saying – get in your box Soulsby, this is about selection and we don’t want any selection. No it wasn’t!

All that tells me is they have paid lip service to this amendment and have done no research whatsoever. It is clear to me that They have entirely missed the point that those who are G&T often have other challenges, including autism, anxiety and mental health issues. If any of them had actually met such children and spoken to the teachers who absolutely do nurture them they will hear how such children need extra support and not just in developing their gifts and talents but for their mental wellbeing. Such children can suffer asynchronous development, they are often seen as awkward, perfectionist. They have the imagination and ability to see beyond the obvious which can make them feel very different.

As I said when I spoke to the amendment, a review of gifted and talented provision in Scotland suggested that the focus on equality of opportunities and reluctance to consider selction in the Scottish education system meant that the needs of gifted and talented pupils had largely been ignored. That was written, incidently before the latest PISA figures showing the problems facing the Scottish education system.

So, I was pleased that a better appreciation of what a policy for gifted and talented children might encompass was provided in the alternative report.

Similar to EoO and not quite understanding how to deal with it there is the other buzz-phrase of Parity of Esteem. Apparently there is an issue between academic and vocational routes. News to me. Anyhow, I fail to see how this can be resolved by putting all full-time students in one building. What is more likely to achieve that is to rebalance funding and put more money into the College of Further Education, give staff long term contracts and let the Board of Governors and Head get on with it.

And in relation to post 16,  there is the tiniest mention of T Levels in the policy letter. This is surprising as it looks like it looks like they represent a revolutionary change in technical education. Indeed, based on Mr Watkin said, it would appear 6th form Colleges, far from providing all level 3 courses in the future are likely to end up just teaching A levels, with technical colleges teaching T-Levels. That would imply this idea of having one school teaching full-time courses and another part-time would be out of kilter with where qualifications are going. That is even ignoring the fact that we were told 6th Form Colleges are Level 3 establishments designed to get students into university. 

So, finally and in summary. I said I wasn’t an educationalist. But I don’t need to be to make the right decision through taking a logical approach. It is self-evident that the alternative model provides the best option for the future of secondary education.

This is not just because having 2 11-18 schools, plus CFE is more advantageous than 3 11-16, and 2 other unique institutions, but because it is providing the environment for transformation.

But transformation will only be a success if it has the people behind it. You can’t get everyone behind it, but at least sufficient to make it happen. And my real concern is that should the policy letter be passed, the Committee are going to have an uphill battle in getting people to that point. We know teachers are concerned. We know industry is concerned and others. That does not bode well.

In fact for me I think that means the policy letter approach is too big a risk to take. We are talking 10s of millions of pounds here after all. 

Eleven Plus and selection

I made this speech in the November 2016 debate on selection.

Sir, Declaration of interest. LC Governor – very proud to be so given the latest ISI Inspection report that rated it excellent in all categories. Also pleased that Post 16 team not only beat Elizabeth College but was the Guernsey winner of the de Putron Challenge last week, I have to declare a personal interest in the latter too. Btw what I am about to say are my own views and not those of the College, whose stance is neutral on this issue.

Now, I wasn’t looking forward to this debate. Not so much because I knew I would just hear all the same arguments as 6 months ago and in some cases, the same speeches as 6 months ago, at times it’s felt like groundhog day but greatest reason I’ve not looked forward to it is more personal. I rarely bring in family into my speeches, but I feel I need to today because it explains why for me the whole debate around selection is not an easy one.

A month before the last education debate my Mum was admitted to hospital and she died just over a week after it. Her funeral was a day after the SE hustings, so the election was quite bittersweet for me. She was a teacher, a highly respected teacher I might add and, like many others, whether they are a majority or not, was against selection. 

Incidentally, she was in the first year to take the 11 plus. It gave her the ticket to leave the family home where she had been expected to stay and look after her parents and strike out as a professional woman. She was one of the first to start tapping on that glass ceiling. 70 years later the cracks are appearing but it hasn’t broken yet.

Now When I went to visit my Mum in the evening after the Education debate I told her that the States had voted against selection as I knew it would make her happy and, in one of the last times she was able to manage speech, she said, ‘Oh good’. Of course, I couldn’t tell her I voted to keep selection. In her prime we would have had a robust exchange of views about it and she would probably have convinced me I was wrong. She was a woman of strong opinions, feisty and independent as Deputy Roffey would say. So perhaps members will forgive me when I say I have not been looking forward to going through the same debate all over again. The associated memories are still quite raw.

I had pondered whether to say anything at all as, despite everyone making a speech, most if not all of those of us sitting here now had already made up our minds before we entered the Chamber. In fact, I think everyone, has had a script in front of them. I am no different of course. 

Because in the end I succumbed, if only to vent my frustration that we are having the wrong debate at the wrong time. How, whatever we decide today won’t make a jot of difference in sorting out the problems we wish to solve.

We should’ve had this debate 6 months ago of course. This delay hasn’t helped anyone. The debate should’ve been a dim and distant memory now and we should have the Committee for Education Sport and Culture looking at the really important stuff, the stuff that goes far beyond the structure of secondary education.

We should be debating the quality and level of teaching resources. I was surprised that, during the budget debate that no member of the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture mentioned the likely impact of savings of 3, 5 and 5% over the next 3 years. There is a strong correlation between the resources put into education and the results achieved. You can see that from what happened at La Mare. Which has made great strides and which Deputy St Pier highlighted in his speech yesterday.

We should be allowing headteachers more autonomy. One of the biggest frustrations for the school heads is the fact they can’t manage their own schools, particularly with regard to recruitment. I’ve been told of numerous errors made by the centre and the inordinate amount of time it takes to recruit. I want to hear from the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture about what they are doing about that.

We should be looking at how we reverse the growing mental health issues of our schoolchildren.

Members of the Committee for Health and Social Care visited the Communities teams on Friday and during the visit we met the school nurses. They spoke of the increases in mental health issues they are experiencing now – spread between all schools, girls and boys. They expressed their concerns over the increase and the role social media is playing. That is what needs to be looked at – how can we support our children – what should schools be doing? We focus on secondary schools as places to get GCSEs, they are all judged on how many 5 GCSEs A* to C they get, but education is more than that. We need to support the whole child. I want to see schools bringing in the award winning Decider Skills, created by 2 amazing HSC staff. If you’ve never heard of it, see me afterwards, as they say. That is what should be looked at.

Changing the structure of schools won’t change those issues and if we decide to get rid of selection, time and resources will be diverted from where they are most needed. And you really don’t have to take my word for it. I’ll get on to that in just a minute.

There are 2 phrases used in this debate that have got me worked up and they are, ‘equality of opportunity’ and ‘social mobility’.

This obsession with ensuring everyone gets the same academic education is contributing to the problem. We should be debating what we are doing about technical education, why there are only 22 apprentices registered at the College of FE this year. 

One size really does not fit all. I have some great friends who are the most skilled craftsmen that you will ever find, can turn a piece of metal or wood into a thing of beauty. Does, sticking them in a classroom doing the same work as someone with an IQ of 120 make any sense? Of course it doesn’t. And that’s the point. We are totally missing the point. The whole selection debate is completely missing the point. Selection is not about elitism it is a means of helping kids get an education that suits them.

Equality of opportunity isn’t about giving all kids the same academic opportunity. What is being missed is supporting and enabling our skilled young people. Those creative people, those for whom learning For Mice and Men is a complete waste of time. To be honest I think FMAM is a complete waste of time for children who are academic, but that’s another matter and for another debate. Those that get so worked up about selection are those that just don’t get the fact that we are all different and should have an education that fits who we are. Let’s not forget that those who are highest paid in our society include sportsmen, actors and musicians. Not being academic doesn’t mean having the lowest paid jobs. It is a problem of our society if we don’t value those jobs.

And that leads me onto the issue of Social mobility. Well, I’m sorry but this is a complete red herring it is nothing to do with the system of secondary education. We hear there are few children in the Grammar school who live in social housing and none in the Colleges. Well, honestly, isn’t that a symptom of problems elsewhere, not the cause?

The problems of social mobility are well recognised in the UK.  Social Mobility Commission report published 2 weeks ago said that those born in the 80s have less social mobility than their parents, this despite the fact the vast number of children attend comprehensive schools. 

They state that and I quote, ‘Successive governments have focused on reforming school structures, with mixed results.

The Commission hopes that the Government will move on from an over-reliance on structural reform to a new and relentless focus on improving teacher quality and fairly distributing teachers to the schools that most need them. Sir Michael Wilshaw said just that on the Today Programme this morning.

So, whilst the anti-selection lobby generally have been quick to quote the sentence where the Commission asks the government to consider whether they should bring in Grammars, it is not to do with their belief it will make social mobility worse, but that politicians should put their ideological viewpoints to one side and get on and focus on what really matters – the quality of teaching. That’s why, if I were in the UK I would not support the re-introduction of Grammars.

Issues around social mobility start well before a child reaches 11. It’s why 1001 days initiative which Committee for Health and Social Care is fully behind and wants to see traction on, is needed as part of suite of measures to give children the best start before they even start school.

At the other end of the education system, why is it that so few State educated children go to the supposedly top universities compared to those in private schooling? Five times as likely to get to Oxbridge if go to private rather than state school. 

And why should social mobility be set by what academic qualifications you have reached by 21? Surely that is what lifelong learning is about? How sad, if we think we can’t strive for a better and more fulfilled life for as long as we are fit and able to do so? Given today’s schoolchildren are likely to live beyond 100, surely government must help that happen. But we aren’t, we’re obsessing as we have been doing so for years and years and years on just one small period of time in a person’s life. We currently have the longer working lives initiative, but if we don’t learn when we are older, what opportunities will there be for us? Jobs are no longer for life. Lifelong learning will be essential.

Now, I went to a Grammar School but didn’t particularly enjoy it, but that was the UK in the 80s and it wasn’t a great time to be at school, either as student or teacher for that matter.

But, for years I supported all-ability schools. I’m still not ideologically opposed to them. 

But I have a real issue about bringing in such a system here because I don’t see that we have a broken system, quite the reverse and I have real concerns about what the alternative will mean.

Firstly, there can be no doubt that the Grammar School is a top performing school. I do not want to get rid of a school that is a top performer. In fact, why get rid of any of the schools as they currently operate, if, as may well be the case, they are already outperforming. Deputy Stephens said in her speech how great they all are.

So, the alternative.

Members will be aware of an email we received recently from someone in our community who attached a paper on how Hampshire comprehensive schools perform compared with Guernsey in terms of the percentage of pupils achieving five or more A* to C-grades at GCSE or equivalent including English and maths, the Gold Standard as it is described. The purpose of the information sent was to demonstrate how average Guernsey’s State secondary schools were, having an average percentage of 61%.

Well, I thought I’d look more into that, just to get a better idea of the schools in Hampshire. Now, I looked at the best performing schools and found that the average number of pupils in those schools achieving over 70% was 1,400 pupils. None of them had less than 1,000 pupils. Conversely, those with less than 40% had on average half that, under 700. None of them had more than a 1,000 pupils. 

So, the smaller the school, the worse they perform. At 61%, based on the size of school you could in fact say that Guernsey schools were outperforming. Whatever. The Truth is Comprehensive schooling does not work unless you have large pupil numbers. We are told that you can still have selection within an all-ability school through setting. Deputy Roffey says he doesn’t believe in all-ability schools without setting. Well I get that. That is the one reason why I am not opposed to all-ability schools in principle. I really am not. 

However, setting requires a large enough cohort to ensure that you can stretch the best and focus on the most challenged. Deputy Leadbetter says he wants to see the end of selection but retain 4 schools. Well sorry, but you can’t have both!

Of course, those against selection want to separate this debate from the number of schools, but in reality you can’t. With all ability schools at least one school will need to close. That is if we really care about giving our children the best education and are not just doing so for ideological reasons. Bigger really does mean better, and of course that was always Ed Dept’s motto, certainly for primary schools. To get to anything approaching 1,400 pupil schools we would need to get down to not 3, but 2 schools, even then we’d only have 1,300 pupils. And that might work in the UK, but how would that fit on this small island? What schools should be expanded? Can they be? How much will it cost? Is that where money should be best spent – or teaching resources?

That’s it in a nutshell for me. It is all very well having ideological fancies, but you have to think of the practicalities.

The reality is, changing to comprehensive schooling won’t sort out the problems we think it will solve and quite frankly, to make it work at all will need major upheaval not only of the education system but the estate.

With no guarantee it will make a jot of difference. 

And as an aside I’m really sorry for Deputy Le Clerc, who says that she felt a failure, scarred for life, in reality she should be telling kids that the system has enabled her to be a success. And Emotional blackmail is not the basis for making change. Hard cases don’t make good law.

Back to the alternative.

We hear Deputies Fallaize and Stephens say that those pro-selection haven’t got an alternative to the 11+, but the truth is, when we say all-ability schools, we don’t actually know what that means. Deputy Roffey spoke about how we shouldn’t slavishly follow the UK. So what is the answer then?

So finally, 

I want the Committee for Education Sport and Culture looking at quality of teaching, mental health issues, getting more students into the top universities, lifelong learning, increasing the number of apprentices and through all that, provide equality of opportunity and social mobility.

Selection or non-selection won’t do any of that. At best it will be a distraction, at worst it could be very destructive. 

As we get closer to the end of this debate, I would just like members to think on this. No we don’t have a perfect system. Neither is the system broken.  Equality of opportunity does not mean the same size fits all and just changing to a new system of education will not improve social mobility. In fact, this is the point. Spending years putting a new system in, and believe me it will be years, re-organising schools, the need to recruit more teaching staff, are years where the real issues in our education system, our wider society, will not get the full attention that they deserve.

We hear a lot about experts in this debate, pedagogical insights abound, but what we really need is just a bit of common sense. For that reason, I will be supporting the amendment.

Policy for Gifted and Talented Children

I laid a successful amendment to the Education Department’s report on Secondary Education in March 2016. My speech is below.

Sir, I did think I heard a collective groqn that another amendment would be laid but hopefully this won’t be a mammoth debate as I believe the Education Department will not oppose it. As I mentioned in earlier debate, this amendment is relevant whichever way we voted on selection. However, I do believe it will fit in very well under the non-selective system that has been approved this week.

At present the use of Gifted and Talented programmes is variable across schools and there is no central policy. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that there is a co-ordinated policy across schools, something which I think makes complete sense and works very well under a comprehensive system. It is something in which I have taken a good deal of interest in the last few years.

So, what are Gifted and Talented students and why does there need to be a policy for them?

Dr Francois Gagne,  who was a leader in the field on this area made the following definition;

Gifted students are those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains of human ability; intellectual, creative, social and physical. Talented students are those whose skills are distinctly above average in one or more areas of human performance’.

The key word here is ‘Potential’. That a child needs support and guidance to achieve his or her gifted potential. It is estimated that approximately 5% of students in a mixed ability school will gifted & talented but that is not set in stone and will vary, and should.

So, why do gifted & talented students need to be considered separately? Well,  the normal curriculum may not be sufficiently interesting, motivating or straetching for the most able. They often need more challenging tasks if they are to maintain their enthusiasm, develop independence and reach their potential. Some exceptionally able students may have weaknesses which need specific attention if they are not to undermine outstanding abilities in other areas.

Extremely able students can become bored, unhappy or disaffected if their potential is unrecognised or neglected.

Gifted and Talented Education or GATE, is a broad term for special practices, procedures, and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted and talented.

At present, schools approach gifted and talented students in different ways and to a greater or lesser extent. There is no overriding policy approach. St Sampson has details of their GATE for years 7,8 and 9 on their website. However, there is no policy in terms of the identification of gifted and talented, aims and objectives and measurement of outcomes. The purpose of this amendment is to fill that gap.

In a recent review of gifted and talented provision in Scotland, the author suggested that the focus on equality of opportunities and reluctance to consider selction in the Scottish education system meant that the needs of gifted and talented pupils had largely been ignored. I don’t think we can afford to ignore our giftes and talented ppils. Failure to identify such students risks damage to individuals who are so tuned off by rigid education that they opt out, sitting well below the attainment radar on their way to dropping out.

In turn, that damages our society and not letting them reach their potential means we are not maximising the potential value to our economy.

Sir, this is a common sense amendment, I understand the Education Department will not oppose it and I urge members to give their support.

One schools 4 Sites v 3 Schools

Following the decision of the States to end the 11+ at the March 2016 States’ meeting, attention turned to the number of sites that should be retained. The choice was between the Education Department’s preferred model of one school across four sites, with the concept of a ‘hard’ federation, versus a 3 school model. The latter succeeded. My speech on the matter is below.


Sir, Deputy James said the other day, a long long time ago, how that she felt she had fireworks going off in her head. WEll I don’t know if she’s like me and after 4 days of debate those fireworks have turned to jelly. Much of what Deputy James has said in this debate resonated with me. That might well be because I have more than once expressed to her my disbelief at the Education Department’s hypocrisy when it comes to their report now and their arguments made to close St Andrew’s School.

We were told a reason for closure was falling pupil numbers. That there would be a peak and then numbers would tail off. Here we are told we need 4 sites due to rising pupil numbers.

They want to retain 4 smaller schools rather than have 3 bigger schools but a reason for closing St Andrew’s was that large schools meant better education outcomes and help teacher recruitment.

We were told during the St Andrew’s debate that closing a school would not result in large schools in the UK sense but a size to ensure better educational outcomes. And to hear Deputy Sillars earlier quote a report supporting smaller schools seems so, so, ironic. And hearing others quoting the advantages and disadvantages of smaller schools gives a huge feeling of deja vu. It does, however, support the point I made the other day that you can find an educationalist to support any argument you want.

Now, Deputy Parkinson said he’s like to see 4 schools and have each one specialise, say int he arts or sport. Well, how will that work given the decision made yesterday which would result effectively in selection by catchment area?

All that aside I think I should comment on a term used both in the run up to debate and today and that’s value for money. It’s been quite disappointing hearing some comments about value for money which have demonstrated a real lack of understanding as to what it means. Value for money is at the heart of public service reform and quite rightly so.

On page 30 of that document is a diagram showing 3 interconnecting circles representing cost, quality and need and in the middle it shows that where those circles interconnect we get value for money. Value for money is not cost. Deputy Gollop, this debate is not about cost. It is about cost, quality and need.

Now we are told we shouldn’t be bothered about value for money when it comes to education, health and social care. But, this represents a complete misunderstanding of value for money. You just can’t throw money at something regardless of whether it is needed or the quality of provision. This is an irresponsible use of funds. That way leads to financial meltdown.

And I remind members yet again that in the the consultation on the personal tax and benefits review, respondents said overwhelmingly that they weren’t prepared to keep on funding these services. Frankly, this report makes it impossible to determine whether the Department’s proposed solution is value for money. It sets out little in the way of figures, little on outcomes and how this will lead to a better educational system. That’s the problem.

In response to Deputy Gollop’s accusations against the members of T&Rwho supported retaining selection and now support the 3 school model. But the fact is you could have a 3 school option under selection as Deputy St Pier said in his opening speech. It would probably require more work and the criteria for selection would need to change to make it work but the point is it could work.

Sir, how can I as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, faced with this report and at the same time seeing the potential for greater value for money do anything other than to vote for the 3 site option. I can’t and will be supporting amendment B2.

Secondary Education Report – 11 Plus

Probably one of the most divisive subjects that we have had to debate this term. It formed part of the Education Department’s policy letter proposals for secondary education. I thought it a very disappointing report with little in the way of evidence or desired outcomes. Financial information was sparse and the public consultation was totally ignored. The accompanying letter from Treasury & Resources was scathing. In fact the whole situation was unacceptable, with 2 Departments unable to reach consensus over 2 years. That can’t be allowed to happen again.

It was no wonder that the report was heavily amended. It had to be. A decision on the 11+ was needed before deciding the structure of schools.

Here is my speech on the 2 amendments which set out whether or not the 11+ should continue. The States voted to get rid of the 11+. This was followed by a subsequent amendment to retain selection through a combination of assessment and tests. I supported it, but this too was defeated.

Sir, as expected, there are many here who have strong views about the 11+, both for and against and these positions have been expressed well yesterday and today.

It’s hardly surprising, given that there is an abundance of material on the matter and that anyone can provide evidence to support their point of view. Indeed, I believe there is a whole industry dedicated to providing information to support a particular viewpoint and I think many educationalists have done very well indeed out of such debate over the years.

And really that’s the point. There is no overwhelming evidence either way to say whether the 11+ is better or worse than no selection at all.

So, as someone who has not nailed her colours to the mast of the 11+ or alternatively said scrap it altogether, I have found it very difficult to determine the best thing to do. Perhaps that reflects my experiences. I was brought up by a teacher who often made it clear she believed it should go, someone who attended a Grammar, which at the time I was there has the teachers working to rule, oh the delights of the late 70 and early 80s, and having a child at the Grammar school who has blossomed there.

I hear what my good friend Deputy Le Clerc said but I don’t think we should look at personal experiences but rather what is in the best interests of the Island as a whole.

For me, how I vote focuses around 2 claims. The first is the limitation and long term impact on children and the other about the shortcomings of the exam itself. I am going to focus on the former.


So, firstly, the big buzz word is that the 11+ does not provide equality of opportunity. This was said by all those not in support of the 11+.

The reasoning seems to be around restriction of access to the curriculum. That sounds reasonable. I mean if you can’t get access to the course you want, then that is not equality of access.  However, I have been scratching my head as to why and how that means the solution is to scrap the 11+.

Will it be possible to offer all subjects under the system Education proposes? I do wonder the logistical nightmare of managing a timetable across 4 separate sites. I suspect there may well be a call for some new software to enable that to happen.


Now, I have been trying to get to the bottom of why there are such low numbers of chidlren from social housing that go to the Grammar and Colleges. We are told they are low, but no explanation. However, it is an argument made to demonstrate inequality of opportunity.

Now this is looked at in paragraph 7.8 where it states that in a 3 years period, of the 230 children in social housing only 3 went to the Grammar. Just over 1%. That is low.

BUT it goes on to say that the teachers only assessed 31 out of the 230 as being capable of going to either the Grammar or Colleges.  So that is just 13%. However, the top 25% from any year go there.

I’ve not heard anyone today explain that difference and why it is the 11+ that is to blame.  Doesn’t that demonstrate the equality of opportunity exists before Year 6?

Is it the primary school system? We hear they are wonderful, and they’re mixed ability, no one has a bad word to say for them. Or is it the family circumstances of those children? Is this something which demonstrates the importance of the 1001 days programme? We need to sort things out before the children even get to school?

I do see that the numbers from social housing are less than those in private sector. But is it the 11+ concept that is at fault?


I do understand that setting can be a solution, althought the report is vague on this and should this amendment be passed I would be happy to second an amendment referred to by Deputy St Pier, to ensure that it is.

However, there will be a fundamental difference between setting students across 4 mixed ability schools than setting under a selective system, which exists now in core subjects. I know it does at the Grammar

Taking the top 25% of a distribution and setting that gives you much tighter ability levels in each set rather than the comprehensive model that takes the whole distribution and divides it up into sets, resulting in much wider ability levels in each set. Of course the alternative will be to have more sets and perhaps that is a solution.


Now, one issue that hasn’t been clarified is whether results will be published by campus or as one school?  Frankly I think the public will demand it by campus. Well, I think the Housing Minister might quite like that as it could well stimulate the housing market with parents moving to the most desirable catchment area. Something that has been done in respect of primary schools. Of course, those in social housing aren’t able to make those same choices.  So we will have selection, but based on geographic accident, or perhaps not,  of where your parents are, rather than ability


Finally, Another commonly cited problem, is that the 11+ can cause mental health issues. I can understand that a child who does not get a Grammar school place may, wrongly see themselves as failures. It is hard not getting what you want and looking like you are not as good as someone else.

However, as Deputy Minister of HSSD, when I heard that children were damaged by the system I did think it was beholden on me to find out more.  The response I got from the mental health service was that they have come across children over the years who have attributed low self esteem ,anxiety and low mood to failure at the 11+ but often there are many other factors which contribute to the development of children’s mental health disorders so it is difficult to say there is a direct link .

Interestingly though, they are  seeing a rise in the number of young people  presenting with low mood ,anxiety , self harm and eating disorders as a result of exam pressure around GCSEs and A levels. I would hope that the initiative under the CYPP that we debated 2 weeks ago will help alleviate this.

However, clearly for some it will be upsetting to not get to the Grammar  or Colleges. I know that many like Deputy Duquemin consider this a very important point. Deputy Brehaut’s comments that it’s the only test you can only take once, it is all or nothing, but that is true of other tests. Going for a job, you either get it or you don’t. And degrees, post-graudate qualifications are limited, if not by the institution, certainly in terms of money.


So, finally and more briefly, turning to the argument on the  structural problems of the 11+ we do hear that in the last 2 years there are more girls than boys at the Grammar School, a minority from social housing and that many children are coached. Can’t these issues be dealt with through changing the structure rather than getting rid of it totally?

On this I thought I’d look at my old school’s website. It is still a Grammar, but now has the benefit of being a locally managed Academy School, with Humanities College status, which was rated as outstanding by Ofsted at its last review. I was interested to find out all its policies are published on the website and that included its equality objectives. These are based around equality of access, equality of provision and equality of outcome.

In relation to the former it have the following policies;

  1. To give preference to students on free school meals in the admission border zone.
  2. To ensure the 11+ reading test does not have a ‘middle-class’ bias.
  3. To set a test that restricts the benefit of an 11+ tutor.

These policies have increased the proportion of childnre on free school meals who attend the school from 6% to 8% in 2015. So, it can be done.

I suppose to me the most important issue is not about equality of opportunity but fairness, which is part of the criteria that the department are said to have considered. Is it fair that every child gets the same education rather than the education that is right for them? We don’t have a failing system. All the schools are doing very well, or so we’re told.

So, why would we want to throw everything up in the air and hope that a bespke untried system will work better, when we don’t know what better is? That is the issue for me. I don’t have a strong ideological viewpoint, but I wish I did as it would make it so much easier. I just don’t see that getting rid of the 11+, or selection generally, will lead to Nirvana.

For that reason I can’t support Amendment 1 but will support Amendment 2.

Children and Young People’s Plan

I made the following speech at the February 2016 States meeting.

Sir, so here we have it, another strategy, but one that has an integral part to play in the transformation of HSSD. As the Plan makes it clear, it is just part, although an incredibly important part, of a wider whole.

Key to this is providing a joined up service to users, in this case the children and young people rather than the current labyrinthine structure of different services that they have to find their way through.

Early intervention is another theme that runs through this plan. Again, a key strand to the overall transformation of our health and social care services.

We all know it makes sense, deal with an issue before it blows up into something that will require more expensive and complicated intervention.

Of course, this is always a difficult approach to take, as the results can take years rather than weeks or months.. BUT that is where a difference will be made. We have seen how short termism through annual targets in the FTP led to tactical savings whereas what was really needed was more strategic transformation.

This is the nub of the problem.


Will the next States and the one after that, hold its nerve as the service goes through its transformation? It isn’t going to be a short journey after all and it will not be achievable without the support of other departments, because that is the point. The transformation of the health and social care service is part, a huge part, of the overall public service reform.

This Plan makes that fact very clear. It will not be achievable without partnership and engagement both within and outside the States.

For instance, the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture has a part to play.  It was clear from the report that children wanted more support available in school. That makes perfect sense.

We also have to remember that issues that children face can occur irrespective of their backgrounds. Loneliness, abuse, neglect, concerns over sexual and gender identity can happen irrespective of where a child or young person lives or what their parents or carers do. In fact it can sometimes be harder for children in a very loving family to discuss their issues for fear of causing upset which in turn affects their mental wellbeing. That’s why schools have a major part to play.

But we do know that for some children, their life story could be written before they are born. They may be few in number, but the amount of time and resources expended on them and their families is disproportionate to the wider population. On social workers, health workers, police and education services, to name just a few.

That’s what makes the  strengthening families initiative so important. But we also need to stop the cycle and that’s where the 1001 days programme comes in.

Now I attended the presentation on 1001 days in January last year. It was absolutely fascinating and what made it compelling for me was the science behind it. How a childs brain development can be directly affected by various influences on it from conception to 2 years old. The groundwork for good citizenship occurs in the first 1001 days. A society which delivers this for its children creates a strong foundation for almost every aspect of its future. A society which fails to deliver it generates enormous problems for the future in terms of social disruption, inequality, mental and physical health problems, and cost. The programme seeks to ensure that happens.

All sounds great, but The States can’t do it itself and it can’t do it without funding. How do we do it without cutting services elsewhere or raising taxes, neither of which hold much appeal after 5 years of FTP. The use of social finance, or ethical investing, could really make a big difference here

Ethical investing already exists here. Some members here like me may put money towards micr-finance initiatives like Kiva that help entrepreneurs in the developing world. Social finance is very similar, but on a larger scale and directly benefiting the Guernsey community. Investors only get a return, if the desired outcomes are met. Of course it means detailed planning to get parameters right, setting out responsibilities and putting reporting structures in place, but we aren’t reinventing the wheel here and based on experiences elsewhere, this could be  the right solution for what we are trying to achieve.

So, where are we now? As with SLAWS, HSSD has not been put everything on hold to awit the strategy.

Well,  it was clear from the Children’s Diagnostic undertaken just after the Board took office that we could not afford to wait for this strategy to come here today. We really couldn’t. It made stark reading which made it clear we were failing our most vulnerable children.

Work has already begun with a prototype MASH, or Multi-Agency Support Hub. It is already making a difference but we now need to take it to the next level. We need to bring in the strengthening families scheme and 1001 day programme in as soon as we can. If we don’t the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage, inequality, dysfunction and child maltreatment will continue.

And  through partnership and engagement this is an area we can make a difference.

So, there we have it, the CYPP reflects the wider transformation through integrated services, early intervention, thinking differently in terms of funding and partnership and engagement. It all looks great on paper and we are seeing it begin to look great in action. But we now need to raise our game and do so now.

La Mare de Carteret – Education amendment

Following the defeat of the Bebb amendment, T&R proposed an amendment seeking to reduce the number of secondary schools. However, discussions were continuing during the States’ session and this ultimately led to the withdrawal of the T&R amendment and the replacement with one from the Education Department that had been agreed with T&R.

This included a review of the 11+, numbers, sizes and location of secondary schools and for T&R to provide funds to enable progression to tender approval. I made a brief speech on the amendment that I supported and was passed by the States,

Sir, I think there are definitely cost implications with the amendment that Deputy Bebb proposed, certainly in terms of maintenance, and I think a lot of what Deputy Dorey just said recently is something we should be debating when Education bring their report some time before March, I hope.
I am glad to see common sense prevail. I could not support the Bebb amendment as I was not happy with the potential for infinite delay that could easily have happened. I said in the last debate that I believed this had all become a matter of trust, and now this amendment requires the Education Department to deliver on that trust.
I do, though, have similar concerns to Deputies Trott and Burford regarding the tendering process. I think a lot of caution and care is going to be needed before those documents go out. We cannot just send standard documentation, for at this stage we have got no cast iron guarantee of construction, let alone what that construction will be , and so I suggest time is invested up-front before rushing out to tender.

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