Guernsey primary heads support scrapping 11 plus

Guernsey secondary schools. Clockwise from top left; Grammar School, St Sampson's High, La Mare de Carteret High and Les Beaucamps High
Image caption If approved the plans would see the island's four States-run secondary schools form a federation

Primary head teachers in Guernsey have backed proposals to scrap the 11 plus exams in an overhaul of the island's education system.

The Education Department proposals include creating one States-run secondary school spread across four sites.

A statement from all primary heads on the island said the changes "will work".

The 11 plus exams could be scrapped by 2019 if the proposals are accepted.

Head teachers raised concerns about pupils' wellbeing at having to sit the 11 plus and families being "anxious" about the results.

Peter McGovern from Notre Dame du Rosaire Catholic Primary School said: "A decision was taken in 2001 to stick with the system we've got and I feel we've been waiting since then to reverse that decision and do the right thing.

"We need to implement the proposals without further delay."

Education Department proposals

  • Approve £64m for the rebuild of the La Mare de Carteret Primary and Secondary Schools
  • 11 plus tests no longer held after September 2019
  • Primary schools to feed into four Guernsey mainstream sites - Les Beaucamps, La Mare de Carteret, St Sampson's and the current Grammar School site at Les Varendes
  • Each secondary school to cater for about 600-720 pupils aged 11-16
  • The sites will be run by an executive head teacher, supported by a board of governors
  • All four sites to run the same curriculum for the first three years
  • During later years students may move school or work across two sites depending on their subject choices
  • Post-16 A-level and International Baccalaureate studies would continue to be delivered from the Les Varendes site and the College of Further Education would continue to offer BTEC courses and vocational qualifications
  • Funding for the grant-aided colleges could be reduced, by more than already planned, and replaced by a bursary scheme

Mr McGovern added: "The proposals on the table at the moment are the least disruptive option.

"I think the transition from the system we have to the new system could almost be seamless in the way it's being put together."

Education Minister Robert Sillars previously said the 11 plus was not an "appropriate way" to determine a child's future.

The written exams help decide which pupils are offered places at the Grammar School or the grant-supported colleges.

But the Treasury and Resources Department has questioned the lack of costings in the report.

The proposals will be debated by the States in March.

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