I am not going to beat around the bush, if I had been in the States, I would have voted to scrap the 11+. Having sat the exam myself, I was surprised I took this view but, having listened to the arguments put forward by the professionals, parents, students and other deputies, I feel it is out-dated and better approaches which benefit all students are available.
As to three schools, I am not sure this was the right decision. In my view there was insufficient information on the costs of the options, however, I do understand that obtaining answers would have led to further delay and uncertainty. Despite that, in the end all the options put before the States have produced just that.
I hope the report to follow provides all the information to be able to decide the best value for money – value being both in money terms and more importantly for the children of Guernsey. If, for example, the cost is similar keeping four rather than three schools, if elected, I would keep four schools to avoid upheaval and uncertainty and, of course, it would mean that, finally, Le Mare would be rebuilt.
I certainly do not think we should wrap our kids in cotton wool. Children learn the most before and during primary school and we should give them the best teachers and facilities we can. I also believe that we should have secondary schools which they can aim at that continue to provide a great education which encourages aspiration. The challenge will be to ensure the setting achieves just that.
An excellent education at tertiary level is also important although we can’t compete with the wonderful universities around the world. We can, however, offer good and suitable tertiary education here for young adults, and adults who wish to study later in life, and I hope the proposed university goes ahead. It is important that we have courses which are relevant, jobs available in sustainable businesses and affordable homes and then we will have a better chance of ensuring Guernsey’s children can stay in Guernsey if they wish.