Friday 20 December 2019
Good progress is being made on plans to rewrite the island's Education Law, which has remained substantially unchanged for 50 years.
When the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture was elected last year it identified the development of a new Law as one of its main objectives. The Committee is on course to submit a Policy Letter to the States in the first quarter of 2020 in which it will propose detailed recommendations about the new Law. If they are approved by the States, the new primary legislation and several associated ordinances could be laid before the States for approval before the end of 2020.
Next month there will be a period of public consultation on potential changes to the Law as well as discussion forums involving groups with a special interest in one or more sections of the Law.
The Committee has been advised on the new Law through a working group which includes political members, representatives of primary and secondary head teachers, legal advice, policy advisors, the Head of Curriculum and Standards, and the Head of Inclusion and Services to Children and Schools.
Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:
"The current Law is years out of date and overly permissive. It includes much which is unnecessary and it is silent on some very important aspects of a modern education system. Repealing and replacing the Law has been an aspiration of successive States for perhaps the past 20 years. Once we have reflected on responses obtained through the consultation period, which is imminent, we will be within touching distance of presenting the States with the Policy Letter and the resultant Projet de Loi will be an important step forward for education locally.
"The current Law draws heavily on UK legislation which is rooted in the society of the 1940s. The new Law intends to capture the purpose and objectives of education as we enter the third decade of the 21st Century. Our proposals will make the Law much clearer in setting out the rights and responsibilities of all those who have an important role to play in the success of education, including schools, parents, students and the Committee. They also include more about education standards, devolution of governance to school leaders, equality of opportunity, special educational needs and modern international standards in relation to children, none of which are covered adequately in the present Law.
"The consultation period early in 2020 will be key to help inform the development of our proposals. We will be announcing details of this early in the New Year."
Cate Mason, Head teacher at St Martin's Primary School, said:
"The Education Law Review is an important step for the Bailiwick of Guernsey as its proposals will bring legislation in line with best educational practice. The proposals, if approved, will ensure the law has excellence, inclusion and equity for all children and young people at its heart. I am confident that they will both preserve what is great about our schools and colleges and also promote positive change and development across our education system."
The development of a new Education Law is part of the Committee's Transforming Education Programme. The Programme also includes creation of a single 11-18 School in two colleges at St Sampson's and les Beaucamps; creation of The Guernsey Institute for all further and on-island higher education in purpose-built facilities at les Ozouets; redevelopment of La Mare de Carteret Primary School; co-location of health and education services at secondary schools; and multi-million pound investment in improving digital services in schools and colleges in all phases of education.