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FOCUS: Herm... The most expensive school in the British Isles?

FOCUS: Herm... The most expensive school in the British Isles?

Thursday 07 September 2023

FOCUS: Herm... The most expensive school in the British Isles?

Thursday 07 September 2023


As the Guernsey Education department begins a year-long trial to ferry Herm students to the island to be educated, the fight for the future of Herm's school is just around the corner – and whatever the decision may be, it’s going to be an expensive one...

Herm's last academic year cost the States of Guernsey £109,000 and it's understood that this cost will have to increase to make sure provision of education in Herm meets various safeguarding and health and safety requirements.

Education’s trial will see students from Herm travel to Guernsey to be educated instead. Taking into account the cost of ferries, taxis and an employee to accompany the students, this will reduce the cost to Guernsey's government down to roughly £80-£85k per year. 

Requête led by Deputy David de Lisle is seeking to reverse the decision and force ESC to continue providing education on-island, citing concerns that people working in Herm may choose to leave if the school is closed forever. 

Herm.jpeg

Pictured: Herm primary school was closed in July after a fall in the number of pupils.

Two amendments have been lodged since. The first from the President of the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture, who is seeking to alleviate concerns about the pilot closure.  

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen has offered three options to the assembly, with their preferred one being the current course of action but with a newly established working group to oversee the pilot. Additionally, the Committee is asking that Policy and Resources work with it to identify any additional costs that could be shared beyond the Committee. 

Two further options will be to continue offering education in Herm in various guises.  

Deputy De Lisle recently dropped a second amendment that seeks to force ESC to stomach any future cost of Education provision in Herm if everything is "put back the way it was", cutting out any involvement from P&R. 

The costs 

ESC’s first proposal in its amendment will be the current plan, sending students to Guernsey, and as stated before, this’ll cost the States up to £85k per year. 

The cost of splitting education provision – ESC’s second proposal - with infants in Herm and primary in Guernsey will cost the States £186k to £202k per year. 

The final proposal would be to offer both key stage 1 and key stage 2 level education – ESC's least preferred option – and it would cost the States £201-£217k per year. 

The cost per student has been laid out below: 

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In 2025, ESC predicts there’ll be a total of two students at Herm school. If the Committee is forced to maintain the status quo, while making sure education provision in Herm remains at an appropriate standard, this would make the cost of educating a single student in Herm £100k for the year. 

In comparison, it cost the States of Guernsey £4.9k to educate a primary school aged pupil in 2021.

The average cost for a pupil in mainstream schools in the UK is just over £7k per pupil. 

For further comparison, in the private sector, Eton College is known as one of the most expensive schools in the UK. It costs just over £35k a year to send a pupil there. 

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