Guernsey Education must save £7m in two years

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Guernsey Education must save £7m in two years

Post by GD on Tue 29 Jan 2013, 6:11 pm

Saving £7m in the next two years while improving services will be Guernsey Education’s biggest challenge yet, the department’s minister has said.

Deputy Robert Sillars said meeting the target set by the States-wide efficiency drive would be “hugely difficult”.

His comments follow the release of the department’s annual report today.

Last year, Education met its saving target of £1.6m. But this year and next, the target represents a 2.4% and 4.7% budget reduction.

Deputy Sillars said if the department had been performing well, then the move would be less difficult.

“But as we have to improve and to continue to improve, we have to make sure that any savings/cuts we do make, don't affect the educational outcomes for our children, and that's really where the difficulty is going to be.

“The amounts are far larger in 2013 and 2014 and it's going to get harder as we go forward.”
Although 2011 saw poor GCSE results across the island’s high schools, triggering a wide-ranging review of the sector, in 2012 they dramatically improved.

Deputy Sillars said while Guernsey was ahead of England and Wales, he wanted the island to surpass that standard.

“I expect Guernsey to have a far better education system than England or Wales..we need to be going forward and far ahead of that.”

Overall, primary school results in Key Stage 2 have gone up, but several schools failed to meet the Bailiwick average for the number of students reaching the required level for maths or English.

Deputy Sillars said targeted help was being provided but it would be a huge challenge to keep improvements going.

A number of reviews are currently underway to ascertain where savings can be made.

The States has already agreed to reduce the grants the colleges receive.

Asked whether they should be cut completely, Deputy Sillars said the schools were an important part of education in Guernsey but the subsidy could be looked at again in 2015/16.

Other on-going reviews cover the apprenticeship scheme, outdated 1970s Education Law and the way schools are managed.

Deputy Sillars added that staff had a tremendous amount of work to do this year, including implementing the actions from two Mulkerrin reports and launching its vision for the next 20 years in February.

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