When Education hits the headlines in Guernsey, it’s rare that politicians with responsibility for the island’s schooling don’t face fierce criticism.
However, today’s focus is on Les Beaucamps School – not because of changes put forward by Deputies - but due to an alleged ‘culture of fear’ atthe school, harboured by the Senior Management Team.
Strike action is being threatened next Tuesday and Thursday, which could become the first industrial action by teachers in more than a generation.
Rumours of almost a third of teaching staff being signed off with stress related illnesses and teachers leaving within a term of arriving, despite receiving long-term licences, cannot be ignored. Results of a well beingsurvey from staff have not been made public, but staff who have seen the results told me they do not make easy reading (Access to Information request ready and waiting.)
However, as always, there are two sides to every story.
Vice-President of Education, Sport & Culture, Deputy Carl Meerveld, says the National Negotiating Official, Wayne Bates, may have out-of-date information. Data relating to the rates of sickness for staff at the school was not available to politicians at the time of asking, raising questions whether the rumours may actually be ‘Fake News.’
Meanwhile, parents I have spoken to have told me of a school running well and performing above expectations and when they heard about the potential for strike action, the only reactions they gave were of shock. From the outside looking in, the ship looks to be on course and well captained. But it seems it could be a different story on board - and Head teacher, Sophie Roughsedge, could well be in the crosshairs of the NASUWT.