Homes for teachers plan being considered
OFFERING social housing to teachers – who are ‘undervalued’ in Jersey – is being considered to help attract staff to the Island, the Education Minister has told a Scrutiny panel.
During a public hearing of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, Senator Tracey Vallois said that she believed teachers were facing increasing work and financial pressures and that Jersey would struggle to attract education staff unless action was taken.
Panel member Deputy Steve Ahier asked how many teaching vacancies there were in the Island and whether the Senator thought that housing issues were making it difficult to recruit staff. Senator Vallois said she did not have the vacancy rate to hand but would provide it to the panel.
She added: ‘I think our biggest issue in Jersey is housing and that’s part of the reason why we have such a high cost of living over here.
‘There’s no one silver bullet which is going to fix this – it has been an issue since the 50s and 60s. This has been mentioned time and time again if you look through the archive. In terms of the vacancies side of things there is a level of belief that teaching maybe isn’t as valued as it should be.
‘If you look at other jurisdictions such as Finland, they really value their teachers – so much that there is literally a waiting list to teach there.’
Senator Vallois added that the pressures teachers faced in the classroom and in terms of workload could be causing some to leave the profession.
‘It would be easier for teachers to turn around and say “you know what, I don’t need this hassle. I’ll go and work in the finance industry in Jersey because it’s less hassle and I’ll probably get paid more”,’ she said.
Earlier this year it was announced that Hue Court and Plaisant Court, which are owned by social-housing provider Andium Homes, were going to be converted for use as key-worker accommodation for employees in the Health and Community Services Department.
Deputy Ahier asked the minister whether a similar policy ‘should apply to teachers’.
Senator Vallois said: ‘I believe there is a key-worker paper that is being developed at the moment by the Housing Minister and I have had a conversation with his officers around the key-worker accommodation theme.
‘We recognise that there is a need, particularly for specialist teachers.’
She added: ‘The area of specialisms is potentially where, at first point of contact, we would need some form of support in terms of key-worker accommodation.’