Millions for Island’s education system?

THE government has pledged to support a multi-million-pound investment in the Island’s education system in order to plug funding deficits identified by an independent review.

Senator Tracey Vallois
Senator Tracey Vallois

Findings from the review, as well as the outcome of a major consultation exercise for those with involvement in education, were outlined yesterday and will – if backed by States Members – lead to a three-year investment drive starting in January.

The review concluded that additional funding of £8.5 million had been identified, with ‘additional pressures’ adding a further £3.1m of deficit, resulting in an updated requirement of £11.6m for the education system.

In order to address this underfunding, the Government Plan includes an additional £7.9m for education, rising to £11.6m over the next four years.

The consultation exercise, dubbed the Big Education Conversation, included a number of key themes:

  • An immediate need to provide adequate funding and resources targeted at areas of greatest need such as special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision.

  • ‘Immense support’ for teachers and the ‘fundamental role’ they play in children and young people’s learning and attainment, with calls for improved support and more access to professional development opportunities for teachers.

  • An opportunity to consider giving schools and colleges greater autonomy to make decisions, supported by appropriate governance and accountability arrangements.

  • A focus on the roles played by parents and other agencies, reflecting their potential to add further value to the education system.

Education Minister Tracey Vallois said: ‘A full and independent review of school funding arrangements was required to ensure that the priority to put children first is realised and, specifically, to ensure all children will be able to attend schools that are well resourced, with good levels of financial support, so that schools can positively support the achievement of the best outcomes for all children.

‘Fulfilling the ambitions for our education system is a journey that will take a number of years but it is a journey I have been on since I became minister.

‘I am delighted that the government has recognised the importance of this and are proposing investment to ensure that we deliver on our commitments.

‘The Education Reform Programme is a three-year programme of work, which will create the foundations for a high-performing education system in Jersey. From these foundations, it is envisaged that we will fully realise the outcomes over the next ten years.’

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