In January 2018 the States will debate a policy letter and propositions entitled The Future Structure of Secondary and Post-16 Education in the Bailiwick (P.2017/110), which has been submitted by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture ("the CfESC").
At the States' meeting an amendment will be submitted asking the States to delete the propositions put forward by the CfESC and to replace them with propositions which would allow the Alternative Model to be approved instead.
The CfESC Model and the Alternative Model would restructure secondary and post-16 education in totally different ways.
In the CfESC Model the structure would be as follows:
- Three separate schools each providing 11 to 16 education only - and the schools would vary in size from the smallest at five forms per year to the largest at eight forms per year;
- A post-16 college offering full-time courses (including A-levels, International Baccalaureate and full-time vocational, applied general and technical courses) predominantly aimed at 16 to 19 year-olds; and
- A training college offering apprenticeships, further and higher education and part-time courses and working in partnership with the Institute of Health and Social Care Studies and the Guernsey Training Agency with a view to adopting the title Guernsey University College.
The CfESC Model proposes three secondary schools which would vary greatly in size. The largest school could have 60% more students than the smallest. It is based on assumptions about optimal school size which are wholly unsupported - and indeed contradicted - by relevant evidence.
In the CfESC Model the States would withdraw from the 11 to 18 sector, leaving this 'offer' entirely to the grant-maintained colleges. It would be especially self-defeating to do this now, at the same time as introducing comprehensive education. It would also deny teachers the opportunity to teach across all key stages of secondary education.
The CfESC propositions include no commitment to devolve governance and leadership to schools and colleges even though this concept was endorsed by the States nearly five years ago. Nor do they contain any commitment to replace the archaic 1970 Education Law despite secondary education locally being on the brink of its greatest period of reform in nearly 70 years.
The CfESC Model would divide sixth form studies from 11 to 16 studies. It would divide vocational and technical education between two separate organisations. The College of Further Education would be partitioned - cut in two. A post-16 college and a separate training college would be created as part of an unorthodox structure for which there is little support among professionals who lead and/or deliver post-16 education locally.
Dividing vocational and technical education between two separate organisations would deny many lecturers the opportunity to practise across the full range of their subject. It would be in conflict with international best practice. It would also be in conflict with developments which are imminent in the curriculum and structure of technical education nationally. The CfESC Model tries to create divisions where there are none and should be none.
The CfESC's post-16 proposals have been condemned by the College's 'shadow' governors and former principals and industry. There is nothing to suggest they would lead to better educational outcomes. The likelihood is they would be largely detrimental to students and their teachers and lecturers.
The Bailiwick needs more, and future generations of students deserve better, than this uninspiring vision proposed by the CfESC.
In the Alternative Model the structure would be as follows:
- One 11 to 18 school operating across two sites - and each site would have between nine and ten forms per year;
- The 11 to 18 School operating on two sites would offer sixth form studies on both sites (A-levels on both sites; IB on one site) with 200 - 225 sixth form students at each site;
- The College of Further Education would continue as a single, integrated organisation offering vocational, professional and technical courses for full-time and part-time students, including apprentices;
- It would be an objective of the College to integrate with the Institute of Health and Social Care Studies and the Guernsey Training Agency as soon as possible and an ambition to form a partnership with a UK university to become University College Guernsey.
In the Alternative Model resources would be pooled in one 11 to 18 school operating across two sites of a very similar size. The number of students at each site would be in line with the average size of the highest-attaining comprehensives nationally, all except one or two of which also have sixth forms. Students would have the widest possible range of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities. Importantly the Alternative Model does not require larger class sizes than the CfESC Model.
In the Alternative Model teachers would be able to work across all key stages in secondary education, which would maximise the chances of Guernsey developing, recruiting and retaining great teachers.
The Alternative Model would allow the States to maintain the 11 to 18 'offer'. This is particularly important in the years ahead when the new comprehensive system needs to secure the confidence of parents of children of all abilities.
The Alternative Model includes a firm and unambiguous commitment genuinely to devolve governance and leadership of both the 11 to 18 School and the College of Further Education. It also includes a commitment to a new Education Law to capture the educational aims and aspirations of a modern, democratic society and set out the powers and duties expected of a government in relation to education as it approaches the third decade of the 21st century.
In the post-16 phase the Alternative Model provides a single sixth form operating on two sites which can maintain students' subject choice. The College of Further Education would not be partitioned - all vocational and technical studies would remain part of a single, integrated organisation.
The Alternative Model allows lecturers in vocational and technical studies to practise across the full range of their subject. It provides for the closest possible integration between college-based and employment-based technical education, which would allow the Bailiwick to take full advantage of developments which are imminent in the curriculum and structure of technical education nationally.
The Alternative Model foresees a new era of stronger collaboration between the 11 to 18 School and the College of Further Education. It is better able to cater for developments in lifelong learning. It sets out a more coherent approach to integrating with other providers of vocational and professional education, which would provide a stronger platform to work towards university college status.
The report explores all of these issues in detail. They also consider the family of secondary education providers in the Bailiwick, which includes le Murier, les Voies and St. Anne's. This report concludes with sections on the practical implications of the Alternative Model, including sites and costs.
The removal of selection at 11 means that secondary and post-16 education locally is about to undergo a period of substantial transformation. This transformation should be based not on convenient management of the existing estate, but on educational policy and educational outcomes. Buildings are not unimportant, but the future of the Bailiwick depends most of all on the knowledge and skills of its people.
The Alternative Model would put the Bailiwick in the best position to realise the twin objectives of comprehensive education: excellence and opportunity.
A copy of the report can be found in the downloads section on this page.