Friday 23 June 2023
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has withdrawn, with the support of the States Assembly, its proposals for a new Education Law.
It has listened to the extensive feedback from States Members during this week's debate, where a significant number of amendments were successful, and will take the proposals away and undertake further work and consultation in light of the direction it has received from the Assembly.
The Committee does not believe that creating legislation on the floor of the Assembly via so many amendments is good governance and doing so risked unintended consequences once the legislation was drafted.
The Committee will bring proposals back to the States this term, which take account of successful amendments, the sentiment behind those Amendments not debated and, the views of stakeholders following a further period of extensive consultation.
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:
'This outcome is naturally very disappointing for the Committee and all those stakeholders, and there are many, who engaged with us during the preparation of these proposals and were supportive of them. Nevertheless, it is clear that a significant number of States Members are concerned about elements of our proposals, and I of course respect the will of the Assembly. After more than 50 years since the Law was last updated, it is to be expected that there has been nervousness about seeing what a modern progressive law should look like and how this could apply to Guernsey.
'I am saddened that so many amendments were lodged by Members who had no prior discussion with the Committee before doing so. Many of these type of amendments have price tags attached and would lead to delay, matters that were not acknowledged or were blatantly ignored by those who brought the motions. I also cannot hide my disappointment that our attempts to engage with States Members throughout our time in office and in anticipation of this debate have been poorly attended.
'However, irrespective of my disappointment our Committee has acknowledged concerns raised this week and we brought the Motion to Withdraw because our education system is too precious to create a new Education Law, which we need to make sure is future-proofed to last decades, on the floor of the Assembly through a significant number of amendments that have not had the benefit of being fully worked through by the Committee and our experienced educationalists.
'Our Committee will now take a little time to reflect on the debate and carry out the necessary further work to bring back reworked proposals. It is essential that we don't lose sight of the need to move this work forwards swiftly, for the benefit of children, young people and families in our islands. The Education Law Review is part of a suite of work taking place to transform education, and to realise the aspirations of our ambitious Education Strategy. We will not let this hump in the road, albeit a big one, deter us from moving the education system forwards for the benefit of our learners and the wider community.
'I am determined to deliver the draft proposals back to the Assembly before the end of term and working with colleagues to make sure this happens. We must continue our hard work of improving and strengthening education in Guernsey and striving towards an excellent provision all round.'