One for the minister to answer
Wednesday 28th August 2013, 4:00PM BST.
EVERY week that passes, the Education Department spends around £1.4m to give this island’s youngsters a better fure by educating them to meet it.
This is a huge sum and represents £204,000 a day or an annual burden on the taxpayer in excess of £1,700.
In short, the sums are so massive, islanders have to be convinced that they are getting value for money for them. Or else perhaps they should be directed elsewhere, such as Health and Social Services.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that says Education = VFM. Its lavish central bureaucracy is not subject to independent vetting and not even Public Accounts or Scrutiny can be
bothered to check these things. Where there has been external analysis, such as the Mulkerrin reports and those that led to the Skills Guernsey initiative, they highlighted many failings.
So what we do know from third parties is that the colleges and the Grammar School do well, the College of Further Education picks up the pieces from the secondaries and the primaries are actually pretty good.
And the GCSE exam results just out suggest that, at best, the high schools have not maintained the progress made after the spotlight was turned on those grades in 2011.
Just as this newspaper was asking whether the lessons of Mulkerrin – which we might paraphrase as ‘it’s all down to the teachers, stupid’ – had been learned, the Education minister was telling anyone who would listen that grades would improve when La Mare de Carteret was rebuilt.
The online reaction from islanders over the holiday weekend was less than complimentary and the results at the new St Sampson’s High were not exactly confirmation either.
It is doubtful the minister was speaking for his board, so perhaps he was reflecting the views of his Grange House staff. They are the same ones, of course, who advised the previous board that exam results were just fine and there was absolutely no need to publish them.
If the minister wants to make a positive contribution to the grades debate, he could answer a single question:
How many teachers have been appointed since the Mulkerrin report was published and how long did each appointment take?