Future of Guernsey's secondary schools debated

The Education Department wants to rebuild La Mare de Carteret secondary and primary schools, and conduct a wider review of the number and size of schools.

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Education Department welcomes La Mare decision

Guernsey's Education Board has welcomed the States' decision to conduct a review of secondary education, after which the La Mare rebuild is expected to go ahead:

The Education Board is pleased that work on the much-needed redevelopment of La Mare de Carteret Schools can now continue, following today’s States decision.

By voting for the amendment proposed by the Education Minister, seconded by the Deputy Minister and supported by the majority of members, the Department’s design team can be remobilised and the project driven forward to its existing programme.

This work includes the preparation of a full planning application, continuing with the process to appoint a contractor and also the additional work to prepare plans for the extension of the high school to cater for up to 960 pupils, should this option be supported when the States debates the future structure of secondary education next March.

The work currently remains on schedule for construction to start on site in May 2016 with the new schools opening in September 2018 with external works and the demolition of the old buildings completing mid-way through 2019.

Following today’s decision, the Department will also be progressing with its plans for meaningful public consultation on the structure of secondary education, including consideration of the future of selection, the future funding of the grant-aided Colleges and options for the possible rationalisation of the education estate. This work will also include consideration of Post-16 education.

The Board wishes to make it clear however, that no decisions on any of these issues have yet been made.

All final decisions on the future structure will be made by the States of Deliberation by March 2016 and before construction starts on La Mare de Carteret Schools.

– Education Department

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Nine-month deadline for Guernsey education review

La Mare. Credit: ITV News

Education officials have less than a year to carry out a top-to-bottom review of all of secondary education in Guernsey.

The Education Department has committed to look at the size and number of schools and the 11+ selection system by March, if it wants to keep the redevelopment of La Mare De Carteret on track.

Tendering for the rebuild will carry on while that review is carried out.

The Education Minister is confident they can meet the deadline and complete the redevelopment by 2018.

But the review raises huge questions for other schools, with the Grammar School PTA saying they are already seeing parents move their children to the fee-paying colleges specifically to avoid the uncertainty.

A major consultation will have to get underway soon, calling for parents, teachers and pupils views on a wide-range of issues affecting secondary education.

Vote to delay La Mare rebuild passes

La Mare Credit: ITV News

Politicians in Guernsey have voted to delay the rebuilding of La Mare De Carteret, until a review into secondary education on the island is complete.

The deadline for this is March 2016.

La Mare rebuild faces further delay

The La Mare rebuild could face another delay. Credit: ITV News

Education appear to have pulled a u-turn in the fight over rebuilding La Mare De Carteret schools.

They have proposed a change to their own plans which would require them to bring back a report by March next year reviewing the future of secondary education including the size and number of schools.

Education say it provides certainty and avoids a delay in starting the building work, and they will tender for both a 600-capacity high school and a 960-capacity high school, allowing two options depending on what the States decide in March.

But already questions are being asked about how the construction start date can be guaranteed if the rebuild is dependent on a future States resolution.

Yesterday Education rejected calls from politicians to carry out a very similar review, arguing that a failure to approve the building work now would likely mean further delays to the project.

Deputies are debating the new plan from Education this morning and will vote later today.

Our reporter Rob Moore is at the meeting:

Compromise deal expected on La Mare following a no vote for education review

A compromise deal on the La Mare de Carteret rebuild is expected this morning.

The deal could satisfy both Education and Treasury officials who are divided on the £60 million redevelopment.

Deputy Ellis Bebb's calls for a wider review of secondary education, before the rebuild goes ahead, were rejected by states members yesterday.

The amendment to the Education Department's proposals lost narrowly by 24 votes to 21.

It's not clear if the new deal will address some of the concerns raised by the Treasury or Deputy Bebb, who said a recent independent review into the redevelopment plan left too many unanswered questions.

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Rejected: call for review before rebuilding La Mare

La Mare is at the centre of the debate. Credit: ITV News

Deputies have rejected a call for a review into secondary education to be carried out before the La Mare rebuild takes place.

The amendment, tabled by Elis Bebb, lost by 24 votes to 21, at today's meeting.

Now, it's the Treasury and Resources Department's turn to propose their amendment - they want the States to commit to reducing the number of schools on the island, before beginning the La Mare rebuild.

Future of La Mare De Carteret could be clear today

Parents and students in Guernsey could find out today if their school will be rebuilt.

It’s the second day of a formal States debate over whether tens of millions of pounds should be spent on the Le Mare De Carteret project.

Politicians will debate calls for a wider review of education in the island, including the role of the 11 plus selective system and the number and size of schools.

The Treasury and Resources Department wants politicians to agree to close at least one school before the rebuild is allowed to go ahead, but the Education Department says it is vital now.

Watch: parents branded 'ranters and ravers'

Politicians in Guernsey have begun debating the future of education on the island.

There have been concerns over whether the redevelopment of La Mare de Carteret will happen - with more than 40 emails sent to the Treasury.

But the Treasury and Resources Deputy says the people who sent the emails are "ranters and ravers" who do not understand the situation.

And he says the redevelopment will go ahead:

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