Wednesday 30 August 2023
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has lodged an amendment to the Requête about education provision in Herm, due to be debated by the States next week.
The Committee announced in May that it intended to run a pilot scheme for a year whereby primary-school aged children living in Herm would travel to attend school in Guernsey.
Its decision is the subject of a Requête, led by Deputy De Lisle, seeking to overturn the pilot and continue delivering education in Herm.
The Committee's amendment offers the States three options (propositions two and three will only be debated if the preceding proposition is not approved).
- Recognising the concerns expressed by the Requérants in respect of the pilot scheme, the Committee's first proposition seeks to allay those concerns via the formation of a working group to oversee the pilot, which would operate as planned and ensures that the views of Herm's residents are represented by one of the Requérants who would be a member of the working group.
- The Committee's second proposition seeks agreement from the Assembly that, should it decide education provision must continue in Herm, it will be for years Reception, 1 and 2 only (i.e., 'infants'). It also directs the Policy & Resources Committee to work with the CfESC to agree whether any additional resources necessary to ensure that education is provided on a basis that is equitable and appropriate, taking into account the quality of States-maintained primary education provision available in Guernsey, should be funded through a reduction in its savings target or by additional funding.
- The Committee's third proposition enables the States to direct it to provide education in Herm for all primary-aged children. It also directs the Policy & Resources Committee to work with the CfESC to agree whether any additional resources necessary to ensure that education is provided on a basis that is equitable and appropriate, taking into account the quality of States-maintained primary education provision available in Guernsey, should be funded through a reduction in its savings target or by additional funding.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture does not support Propositions 2 or 3 at this time, because it considers it necessary to allow the pilot to proceed in order to be able to fully assess the pros and cons of providing education in Guernsey for Herm's primary-aged children.
It should be noted, and is explained in greater detail in a report the Committee has appended to its amendment, that there are financial implications not expressed in the Requête itself that ought to be taken into account when considering whether to revert to delivering a States-maintained education provision in Herm. For both educational and safeguarding reasons, the Committee cannot support the delivery of education in Herm without additional resources to ensure the quality of education is improved and safeguarding is appropriate.
Deputy Sue Aldwell, Member of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:
'The Committee made its decision to run this pilot scheme because we are committed to ensuring that children living in Herm are afforded the same educational opportunities as their Guernsey peers, to support their social integration and help prepare them for the transition to secondary school. Learners attending the education provision in Herm are entitled to receive the same broad, rich curriculum as their peers in Guernsey, and it is the Committee's responsibility to ensure this entitlement is realised.
'In the new academic year there are four children who would be educated in Herm, across three year groups. When you're educating such small numbers across several year groups, there are many barriers to successful teaching and learning. There are 18 areas of learning as part of our broad curriculum, which cannot possibly be delivered across diverse age ranges as well as they could in single age groups. If the States is determined to continue providing education in Herm without the evidence from the pilot to inform that decision, they need to understand that we will need to invest resources so that the provision is more equitable with that received by children in Guernsey.
'I really would urge people to read the short report we have appended to the amendment if they want to be properly informed about this important issue.'
The Committee's amendment and appended report can be read at Herm School Closure - States of Guernsey (gov.gg)