What are the benefits of co-locating the Sixth Form and The Guernsey Institute (TGI)?
The brand new, fit for purpose campus for all post-16 education will provide a mature adult learning environment with bespoke, high quality facilities for both further and higher education. The Sixth Form Centre curriculum will benefit from the shared facilities available at the TGI, where students can follow mixed pathways of academic and vocational subjects using all these facilities. It will also provide a hub for employer engagement for both the TGI and the Sixth Form. The post 16 campus also allows all students to leave their 11-16 school and transition together for their next steps in education, training and employment.
The existing 11-16 school at Les Varendes will benefit from the capacity that is released by this development. Under the current feeder primary model, there could be up to 1200 students at the peak on the site who cannot be accommodated in the current build, and approximately 1000 students on the site in 2030. We know from the survey data that schools of this size were not considered the best fit Guernsey by the profession or the community. By locating the Sixth Form with the TGI, the location of Les Varendes will be available for use by the 11-16 school and can accommodate growth if necessary.
What are tipping points and how do they differ from average class size?
The tipping point is the maximum number of students intended for any one class; when the tipping point is reached, a new class (form of entry) is established. By contrast, the average class size is the result of accommodating the total student population across the available classes.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture changed the tipping point from 26 to 28 in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, effective from September 2021 in line with the policy for primary schools. This was to ensure funding is distributed fairly across whole education system, and is unrelated to the changes in school model.
Modelling suggests that over the first ten years of the new system, class sizes in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 for core subjects will average between 25 and 26. Across all subjects, class sizes would more often be lower because of the lower numbers required in subjects such as Design and Technology and the additional option subjects running at GCSE.
Research from the Education Endowment Foundation about class size found that: '...overall, the evidence does not show particularly large or clear effects until class size is reduced substantially to fewer than 20 or even 15 pupils. It appears to be very hard to achieve improvements from modest reductions in class size to numbers above 20, for example from 30 to 25.' What makes the biggest difference is for schools to have good quality staff, manageable staff workloads, excellent staff retention and high quality staff professional development and training.
Why make changes to the swimming pool at Les Varendes?
The pool was decommissioned in 2017 because of the need for repairs, ongoing maintenance and high running costs. As part of the capital investment programme, this area will be re-purposed to provide space for the Music Service, the Youth Commission and the SHARE team. The pools at Les Beaucamps and Baubigny will continue to provide good access and opportunity for swimming in the curriculum, with continued use of the facilities at Beau Sejour, when needed.
What is the projected population sizes for the schools?
The Island's projected population is modelled by the States' Treasury team. This data is updated every year to forecast projected numbers for each school. Projections across all schools indicate approximately 720attending each site after the transition period which drops to 630 students on each site by 2030, based on current population projections.
Has Covid affected the projected population numbers?
The latest advice from the States' Treasury team is that the emerging data does not show any indication of a baby boom as a result of Covid. In fact, Quarter 4 2020 births appear unusually low and Quarter 2 2021 births are about average for our recent past. This is considered unsurprising given that birth rates often fall in times of economic stress because people who plan pregnancies tend to want financial security. Added to that, almost every jurisdiction which reports on divorces is finding that divorce rates have risen, and travel restrictions have limited access to fertility treatment.
I have heard questions raised about the capacity of Les Beaucamps High School. Can it accommodate the expected number of pupils?
Yes, it can. Several independent reports have shown that the school can accommodate up to 780 students. However, the maximum projected is 726 students in 2027 after which the population drops rapidly to 630 by 2030.
How will vulnerable children be supported with attendance and extra-curricular activities?
Everyone working in Education shares the objective of enabling and encouraging all children to get to school, including those who may be reluctant or who are disengaged.
Many schools across Guernsey have vulnerable children who live some distance from their school and who manage to get into school each day. By working together across the Secondary School Partnership, the arrangements put in place to transition to the new model will include ensuring that best practice is shared with all school staff to address the specific challenges in their area.
We know that the full breadth of curriculum, including extracurricular activities, is an essential part of our children's education. Children who currently live near La Mare de Carteret might rely on public transport to travel to their new school, and it is important that they have available transport when taking part in after-school activities. As part of detailed design, a dedicated project team member will focus on travel and transport arrangements, including solutions to ensure all children can participate in extra-curricular activities.
How will traffic be managed?
School bus provision will be reviewed to ensure the right numbers of students can be transported to each site. The team member responsible for transport will explore all options as part of the detailed planning, and staff and parents/carers will be invited to give their feedback on travel and transport.
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