More money for students with special needs, equal funding for all students aged 16 to 18 and support for children with low grades and English as an additional language, are among the measures recommended as part of Jersey's new Education funding plans.
According to an independent review, the current funding model for schools is “out of date, underfunded and, in a range of areas, viewed as unfair by the majority of stakeholders."
The Independent School Funding Review, the first of its kind in almost 30 years, recommended the system be replaced with a 'fit-for-purpose' formula that would, “...fairly distributes school funding and provides for pupils with the highest needs."
Pictured: The Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, described the funding formula as “a huge piece of work that needs to be redone to focus on the needs of children."
£5.5 million will be spent next year on introducing a model based on the number and needs of students, alongside a core allocation for fixed costs.
The Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, described the project as “a huge piece of work that needs to be redone to focus on the needs of children."
An implementation team will be set up this quarter and they will be working during the first two terms next year so that the formula is ready by September.
According to the review, the new funding formula should ensure the 16-18 funding is levelled up between students on a technical education course at Highlands College and those educated on the academic route through Hautlieu, as the former currently receive £1,100 less per year.
Pictured: The new funding formula should be based on the number and needs of students an independent review recommended.
The review said the amount of funding available for Special Educational Needs (SEN) support should be increased by £656,000 a year as the current one “only meets a fraction of the cost of the provision these students need."
They also recommended additional funding for children with lower prior attainment or English as an additional language (EAL) so that schools can provide additional support to them at an annual cost of £1,396,000 a year.
Finally, they suggested the Jersey Premium matches the levels of the English one, representing an annual increase of just over a million.
In addition to a new funding model, the review suggested £1,727 of funding per teacher per year – totalling a budget of £1,34 million – for the Jersey Teaching Excellence Fund that would offer continuing professional development, ensure teachers have sufficient time out of the classroom to engage with professional learning and improve the offer for teachers coming to Jersey.
Pictured: The review also recommended to establish a Teaching Excellence Fund.
With mental health and wellbeing becoming an increasing issue, the review also recommended teachers be trained in delivering social and emotional resilience teaching to pupils.
In addition they recommended offering Mental Health First Aiders training to show staff how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
Based on 20% of teachers and 50% of teaching Assistants receiving the training and at least three teachers in each school delivering social and emotional resilience lessons, this would cost £249,000 a year.
Finally, it was recommended to increase the provision of Education Psychology by a third to meet the current demand which would cost £168,000.
Pictured: The investment will have to be approved by the States Assembly.
The introduction of a new funding model is part of a programme of reform which the government says will give Jersey a "world-class" system. Overall, the Independent School Funding Review recommended an extra £8.5 million be spent on the education system, with an additional £3.1 million required to plug deficit.
In order to address this underfunding, the Government Plan for 2021 proposes earmarking an additional £7.9m to fund education which will rise to £11.6m over the next four years.
The Government Plan will be debated in the States Assembly in December.
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