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Committee for ESC responds to Deputies Meerveld, Dudley-Owen and Prow

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Friday 13 March 2020

Statement from Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, in response to open letter from Deputies Meerveld, Dudley-Owen and Prow.

"The three deputies' open letter presents a completely false picture of events. The development of the 'one school in two 11-18 colleges' model has been paused in accordance with the recent States' resolutions.

"We are acting cautiously in our interpretation of the resolutions precisely to avoid any conflict with the States' directions. Where there is any doubt or where further direction is needed, we are returning to the States through the Policy Letter we have submitted for the next meeting. This is the most transparent and constructive approach. We are also acting in accordance with legal advice.

"Late on Wednesday an instance was identified where staff had not paused an order for PE kit which arguably should have been paused pending the clearer directions we are seeking at the next States' meeting. We have been assured that no supplier took any action as a result of this. No new or additional contractual or financial commitments have been established. Contrary to what is implied in the three deputies' letter, which mentions uniform generally, the main uniform order was placed by the States some weeks ago when retailers were understandably advising that they could wait no longer to place orders with their suppliers. We included this in our comments on the Requête which were circulated before it was debated so it should come as no surprise to the three deputies.

"In following the recent direction of the States, we are working to manage a number of practical challenges of which school uniform is only one. In doing so, we are trying to balance the different interests of students, schools and taxpayers. These challenges are made no easier by the frequent need to divert resources to respond to misleading interventions by a small number of deputies. The three deputies should perhaps also consider that this is a time when our Island is trying to deal with the single biggest public health issue we have faced since the Second World War.

"Earlier this week we wrote to parents to provide them with as much information as possible and committed to providing more information soon. We will be able to
work towards more certainty on practical matters such as secondary school admissions and uniforms once the States have considered our Policy Letter and provided the further directions necessary for us to take the next steps."

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