05 October 2010
The Education Minister has announced a reduction in subsidies for fee-paying schools, following the completion of a review into primary and secondary school funding. Deputy James Reed says discussions are now underway with school governors and head teachers to reduce the level of States subsidy currently provided.
This is one of a range of measures being taken by Education, Sport and Culture over the next 3 years to reduce costs and meet savings targets agreed by the Council of Ministers.
Reductions in the current level of subsidy will be phased in gradually from September 2011 to allow schools and parents time to adjust. Deputy Reed has offered to support governors and head teachers as they try to minimise the impact on parents.
The Minister said “I am committed to maintaining access to fee-paying education and I want to use the resources available to provide the best learning experience for our young people, supported by an education system that we can all be proud of.
“This is one of a number of measures being taken to close the projected deficit so we can safeguard Jersey’s future and secure the long term viability of the economy. We need to ensure value for money for taxpayers and provide essential services as efficiently as possible.”
Fee paying primary and secondary schools currently receive a subsidy from the States, which equates to half the cost of educating a child in a States secondary school and a quarter of the cost of educating a child in a States primary school.
The proposal plans to reduce the support provided to secondary schools to the same level as that provided to primary schools. This will result in the total subsidy being reduced over time from £9.8m to £5.5m per year, reducing the department’s annual costs by approximately £4.3m.
All subsidies to the private preparatory schools, St George’s and St Michael’s, will be phased out by 2013.
The Minister explained “There is no doubt that the fee-paying sector contributes to the Island’s education system, but we face difficult times and we need to strike an appropriate balance between the contributions made by parents and the States.”
The Minister hopes schools will make every effort to avoid parents picking up the full cost of any reduction in subsidy “It is likely that some increase in fees will be necessary. However, I would hope that, just like other States-funded organisations and local businesses, fee-paying schools will seek ways to reduce costs, and keep fee increases to a minimum.
“One area where costs can be reduced is through increased collaboration between schools. This can also lead to a broader range of choices for students. I am aware that some of the fee paying schools are actively pursuing this option and I applaud their efforts.”