We believe that all Jersey’s children have a right to a first class education, enabling them to progress in a supportive, understanding, safe and mutually respectful way regardless of whether their chosen path is vocational or academic.
We believe that there is a need on this Island for a special educational facility where the teaching of pupils displaying challenging behaviour may be addressed by professionals trained in dealing with such.
We believe that children who are brighter than average are often allowed to find their own level as they are perceived as not requiring assistance, thereby freeing up the teaching staff to help lesser able students. We believe that gifted and above average students should be identified at as early an age as possible and challenged. These children are frequently identified as having a precocious ability to think abstractly, an extreme need for constant mental stimulation; an ability to learn and process complex information very rapidly; and a need to explore subjects in depth. Students who demonstrate these characteristics learn differently. Therefore, they have unique academic needs and require different academic solutions.
We believe that under some circumstances it should be appropriate for gifted pupils to study with other students who are at the same developmental level, rather than with their age peers.
We believe that gifted children left unchallenged in such ways may become disruptive, unruly, un-cooperative and are less likely to achieve their true potential.
We believe there should be an extended use of e-learning, distance learning, Moodle’s, virtual classrooms and other technological aids to learning including the use of incentivising children and classes via the use of gamification.
We believe that children who display a vocational talent rather than a purely academic one should be encouraged to attend suitable vocational courses at Highlands College.
We believe that as most teachers, academics and administrators hail from an academic background themselves there is an inbuilt bias towards academia and ultimately University. We believe that there should be no such bias, that the academic and non-academic routes to success should be treated absolutely equally.
We believe that Jersey’s unique culture and History should be taught in schools, perhaps through a Jersey History month. We believe the recent addition of Mandarin Chinese into the curriculum as an optional language was the right thing to do as Chinese will become a more important language especially in world trade over the following decades. We also believe that there should be an optional Jersey French language class available to compliment Jersey culture and History, should pupils wish it.
We believe that each State school should hold an “Open Day” or similar, at or towards the end of the academic year. The “Open Day” should centre around a central event, such as a play, talent contest or similar which can be determined by collaboration between the student body and staff. This could also comprise of various satellite showcases for student talent, skills or achievements throughout the academic year. We believe that centring on such an event would give students the opportunity to use acquired skills in a practical way, from conceptualising and designing stage, lighting, sound, backdrops, flyers, posters and publicity materials to costumes and props to learning how to use AV equipment and editing software in the production of a DVD for parents.
We believe that whilst education for education’s sake may be a fine soundbite, we must never lose sight of the fact that outside of a tiny number of hobbyists and potential academics; the vast majority of pupils are educated, learn skills and are examined in preparation for the world of work, whatever career path that may lead to.
We believe that learning can be a lifelong pursuit. We commend the work of the Jersey International Business School (JIBS) and others for recognising the need for academic excellence in offshore financial services at the undergraduate and professional levels.
We believe that any skills gap Jersey may have can, (and should) be addressed within the Island, first and foremost. We believe that the tendency for employers (especially the States of Jersey) to hire from outside of the Island, often at great expense, without considering training existing staff into those positions needs to be rethought.
We believe that with the advent of distance learning, e-learning, part time, residential courses and other training solutions, the upskilling of local staff must be the number one priority. Non-resident hires must only be considered where there is a short term skills gap which cannot (for whatever reason) be filled from within the existing talent pool.
We believe that the work of organisations such as the Jersey Employment Trust, in training and helping disabled people into or back into work must be commended. We also believe that Jersey can and should learn a great deal from organisations such as the Foxes Academy, a specialist catering college and training facility for young adults with learning disabilities in the UK. With over 93% of its graduates in full time employment it truly is a success story worthy of emulation.
We agree with the remarks of the Education Minister in his report of April 2016. “Skilled people who can help businesses grow, innovate and improve productivity are in high demand in all sectors of the Island’s economy.” As the average cost of a three-year degree in the UK, (tuition fees plus living expenses) is now in the region of £60,000 pa (and a full student loan scheme of the kind running in the UK would be prohibitively expensive at c.£700 million) it makes sense to look in earnest at alternatives.
We believe that as studying on-island has become increasingly popular and there is now, “effectively a campus across Jersey of individual providers” there is indeed “scope to unify and expand this”. We believe that in light of a £700m cost for loans, the development of an expanded and broadly tasked University Campus Jersey (UCJ) must be a more viable option, particularly if the potential to appeal to overseas students is fully examined.
We believe it is right to continue the current policy of targeting specifically in “areas of direct relevance to the Jersey jobs market and in line with the aspirations of the States strategic plans, which have recognised the need for Jersey to develop high level skills within its workforce.”
We believe that greater co-operation between Jersey and Guernsey in the provision of further education could be highly beneficial to the people of both islands and the possibility of pooling resources should be explored.
We believe that Jersey has fantastic resources, some truly world class; the marine environment, in agriculture, Durrell, archeologically, geologically and throughout the legal and corporate spectrum. All of which can and should be utilised to provide the very best for Jersey’s students whether this is in IT, conservation, business, Law, agriculture/horticulture and other fields of study.