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Education says it must do better on schools' freedom

Education says it must do better on schools' freedom

Friday 24 March 2017

Education says it must do better on schools' freedom

Jersey's Education Department says it needs to work harder to deliver plans to give more freedom to the Island's schools.

The update came as part of its review of the 2015 Business Plan which set out 42 action points for the Department. One of the key objectives from that plan was to "...empower head teachers to 'lead' rather than manage their schools."

But Justin Donovan, Chief Education Officer, said: "This is the area we have done the least progress on. We want consistency - we do not want each school to have their own term times, or for the teachers' pay to be different - so we had to set up a framework first."

"We want imaginative, bold schools with empowered head teachers than can makes decisions on how to operate. It will help schools to raise their standards and improve the quality of education."

Since 2015, the Department has put together what it describes as  'key principles,' which determine what freedoms will NOT be provided to schools - it says those have now been agreed with the teaching unions.

This year, the Department intends to set up a 'working group', which will  "...focus on providing greater freedoms to schools during 2018."

Headteachers have been more and more involved in the discussions with politicians and within the Department as well, in a bid to "blur the edges between us and them" said Mr Donovan. 

"The UK is our main competitor, this is where most of our students go to study, where people will go to work. We want to beat them and we want to be well ahead of them. In certain indicators we are ahead of them and we are not close to be ahead of our statistical neighbours, which are towns or countries with similar social and economic indicators."

One of the areas the Department plans to work on to get ahead is the development of good vocational education in key stage 4 to encourage students to enter technical level qualifications.

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