Jersey fee-paying schools cut plan to be delayed

Image caption,
Deputy Reed wants to reduce the subsidy to fee-paying schools by 50%

Jersey's education minister, Deputy James Reed, will give politicians and schools more time to discuss proposed subsidy cuts to fee-paying schools.

If the States agree there will now not be any changes to school subsidies until the 2012 financial year.

It was originally planned for the 50% reduction in the subsidy to take effect from 2011.

Senator Perchard, an opponent of the proposal, has called for consultation to extend beyond time scales.

The council of ministers backed Deputy Reed's proposal to reduce the subsidy but wanted more time to ensure schools and parents are able to deal with the effects.

Deputy Reed told BBC Jersey he would still be arguing in favour of the proposals.

He said: "I said all along that the initial discussions have only just started and time needs to be allowed to develop the proposal further.

"It is also accepted that this particular proposal should be included in the 2012 business plan which would be subject to the approval of the States."

Private sector

Senator James Perchard, an opponent of the minister's proposals, said that he hoped the consultation would go beyond just looking at time scales for delivery.

He said in an e-mail to the council of ministers: "I trust that "by meaningful consultation" the minister accepts that he must consult on the principle of, and the implications of, cutting the subsidy to fee paying schools, rather than just a time scale for the delivery of his flawed plan."

Senator Perchard also wants the education minister to look at the wider "inefficiencies" in the States education provision.

He said: "Given falling pupil numbers and the inefficiencies in the states provision, I believe this extended period of meaningful consolation will provide the minister with an opportunity to consider the closure of at least one primary school and one states secondary school.

"I believe that such an option would be the best way to raise the standards of education, to reduce the overall cost of education to the tax-payer, and increase the social mobility of our population."

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