Monday 23 January 2023
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has published the first annual report examining where the priorities and commitments of the Education Strategy are being met and where improvements are needed.
Developing an Education Strategy was made a priority by the Committee as soon as it was elected following the 2020 General Election. It serves as a common point of reference, or guiding compass for what the Bailiwick's education system needs to deliver. The four priorities of 'Our Education Strategy' were developed in partnership with schools, settings and service leaders to make sure that there is a collective sense of ownership throughout States' education community.
The States-maintained education system is broad and diverse, covering early years, primary, secondary, post-16, special educational needs and adult learning across numerous sites. The Education Strategy is the glue that binds all this together with one common purpose.
The priorities, which have several further commitments within them, are:
- Equity, safety and inclusivity
- Meeting the needs of our community
- High-quality learning and excellent outcomes
- Outstanding leadership and governance
While the first annual report highlights that in many areas positive progress is being made, it is also an honest reflection of where more improvements are still required.
The report contains a lot of detail, but below are just a few examples of the evaluations made:
- A positive commitment to engage and work with partners so that educational development is informed by a range of views and is clearly communicated.
This commitment falls under the priority of 'Meeting the needs of our community'. These improvements have been made through developing links with partners across Health & Social Care during the pandemic which are being maintained to improve services for children and young people. The States Early Years Team's also has well-established partnerships within the Crown Dependencies and leaders across the organisation regularly use the Education Strategy as a platform for engagement with our staff and learners - as the Strategy was developed using feedback from staff, young people and adult learners.
- A positive, but requiring further development, evaluation has been made against the commitment to ensure that school, post-16 and lifelong learning offerings evolve to reflect best practice in curriculum development.
This commitment falls under the priority of High-quality learning and excellent outcomes. This evaluation was reached because while this is positive partnership working in some areas there remains work to do. We know that all our settings have carried out rigorous self-evaluation and this shows that the majority believe that their curriculum requires further development. The curriculum is fundamental to the educational experience of our learners and consequently there has been a significant focus upon development activities.
- A strong evaluation against the commitment to ensure that there are measures in place safeguard and keep learners safe.
This commitment falls under the priority of Equity, safety and inclusivity. This strong evaluation was reached because all education settings have detailed safeguarding policies in place which align with best practice nationally. As part of this work all schools and settings maintain an up-to-date register of everyone who works in or visits the setting so that we can ensure children are safe. Last year we launched mandatory training with our HR colleagues focusing on 'Safer Recruitment' for our schools and settings. We have also worked with our Police colleagues to introduce Operation Encompass which ensures staff are made aware if any learner experiences a traumatic event at home so they are ready to support them.
You can learn more about Our Education Strategy and read the full annual report at Our Education Strategy - States of Guernsey (gov.gg).
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:
'After so many years of uncertainty in education the Committee made one of its first actions to set a much-needed route map, so that across the system everyone would understand where we are collectively headed. That route map - our Education Strategy - has enabled proper alignment of action and now informs everything that happens across the whole education system. Our policymaking and the operational decisions of our teams must align with the Strategy; and if we have been doing things that don't align with the Strategy, we must realign them or stop doing them altogether.
'At its highest level the Education Strategy is simple: we aspire to excellence right across our education system, for every learner and for everyone working to support them. This Report is the first of its kind and clearly shows that we have some way to go on a journey of continual improvement, but we know how to get there. By stating our strategic Priorities and Commitments and striving to realise them, we will deliver the excellent education system that all of our children, young people and adult learners deserve, that our workforce can be proud to be part of and that our community can have confidence in. I need to openly say that it will take us time to get the education system to where we need it to be, but we are striving together towards that goal.
'As well as setting the strategic direction, one of the Committee's most important functions is to govern our education system. In part, we achieve this by holding our Senior Leadership Team to account for progress against our Strategy, and we have robustly challenged the evaluations within this Report to ensure it is an honest and objective summary of where we are today. It is the baseline against which our future progress can be assessed.'
Nick Hynes, Director of Education, said:
'The success of any organisation is underpinned by a clear plan which sets out how that organisation is going to move forward and develop, and I strongly believe that the vehicle to enable us to achieve this is our Education Strategy. I have said many times before, that the Education Strategy is quite simply the glue that binds everything together and ensures that everyone working across our organisation is working toward the same vision, with the same shared values and aims.
We know that there are great and exciting things happening across many areas of education at the moment and there is much to be proud of, but there are also existing challenges and things we know we need to do better. We know we are not quite where we would like to be just yet and this Report is a transparent and honest appraisal of the progress we believe we have made against the priorities and commitments within our Strategy so far. In this Report we set out where we are now and what we are going to do to improve things moving forward; recognising that this will take time.
'Everything we do must focus on getting the very best outcomes for all our children, young people and adult learners. This means listening to all stakeholders, building on the stability we now have, working together as a team, building trust, and having confidence in our leaders to make the right decisions. We won't always get this right first time but we will listen and learn because working together not only with all staff but also with the community we serve is key. If we can do this then I am confident that together we will deliver an aspirational and excellent education system for Guernsey and Alderney.'