Catherine Hall is the GDA’s Education expert and has provided an update on what has been happening recently.
Education has reported that social and emotional difficulties in children appeared to have increased after the first lockdown but the overall impact of COVID on children’s education isn’t known.
Qualifications this year will be largely based on teacher assessment which may benefit some children with SEND who find exams stressful or difficult to access.
Major Education Projects
The Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) Review
The SEND review has been delayed by COVID. The reviewers have not been able to carry out school visits, which would usually be a requirement before they could finalise their reports. However, the ongoing difficulties mean that it might not be feasible to visit schools at all this year so NASEN have agreed to provide their report and recommendations without visits.
We understand the Committee for Education Sports and Culture (ESC) will be publishing the report in April 2021. We will then arrange a meeting for all GDA members, who are interested, to go through the report. (Since writing the SEND review has now been published see here.)
The Committee for ESC requested the States rescind previous resolutions around the transformation of secondary education and have said their preferred model is for three 11 to 16 schools with a sixth form centre co located with the Guernsey Institute on the Ozouets campus.
There was an unsuccessful amendment to this asking that the two school model should still be used for comparison, with all the reviews being published.
ESC have assured GDA that the SEND review will inform decisions made about secondary provision and that the special schools will be included in the overall planning. ESC has also said to the GDA that it will publish all the research undertaken and this was reiterated in the States debate.
The updating of the Education Law will be delayed but remains part of the overall plans for education. Again ESC have assured GDA that the SEND review and recommendations will inform proposals for changes to the Education Law and that these will be aligned with the equality legislation. Again it was noted in the States that the timeframe for ESC to bring the Law back with drafting instructions for consideration by the States is 18 months.
At this stage the assurance remains very broad with no detail. Hopefully there will be further consultation on all 3 major work streams following the release of the SEND review.