Guernsey secondary heads back dropping 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

State-run secondary head teachers in Guernsey have signed a letter in support of scrapping the 11 plus.

The five heads have backed an overhaul of the island's education system which, if approved, will create one States-run secondary school spread across four sites.

The letter says "learning should be a personalised journey".

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

The letter, sent to the government's elected deputies, says: "We agree that we can work effectively in a system that allocates places aged 11 based upon catchment and meets the needs of all children and young people.

"We urge caution in approving amendments which lead to school closure recognising the distress, anxiety and pressure that this places on children, parents and school staff."

The heads of Guernsey Grammar School, Les Beaucamps High, St Sampson's High, La Mare High and St Anne's School in Alderney, have invited all deputies to visit their schools ahead of their decision.

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

The heads say they fully support the views of primary head teachers, expressed in an open letter in February, which detailed their opposition to the 11 plus.

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

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

The proposals will be debated by the States this week.

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