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Minister issues statement on school subsidies

09 November 2010

Deputy James Reed, Education, Sport and Culture (ESC) Minister, has today issued the following statement in response to media coverage on 5 and 6 November on calls for the withdrawal of the proposed reduction in subsidies to fee paying schools.

"In 2009, following my appointment as Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, I instigated a series of policy reviews on key aspects of our education system with the aim of informing a major public consultation on the future of education in Jersey. The policy reviews are now either complete or nearing completion, and have not only provided information to bring forward proposals as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review but are designed to support the development of a green paper on the future of education which I intend to publish early next year.

"The subjects covered by the policy reviews have included the following:

  • vocational provision for 14 - 19 year olds
  • responding to the skills agenda
  • special needs
  • social inclusion
  • higher education: provision of funding
  • funding schools in the primary and secondary sector
  • secondary education - a review of options, including extending curriculum opportunities at sixth form level

"I believe that all ministers also support this approach, and that they recognise that time needs to be allowed for this to happen.

"Along with other ministers, I, have been asked by the Council of Ministers to identify a means of delivering 10% savings by 2013. In this connection a detailed and thorough analysis of all the main service areas has been carried out. My department has also been subject to a rigorous independent external review, undertaken by the UK consultants Tribal, and by an independent steering group and a peer group of ministers.

"Suggestions have been made that the proposal for a reduction in subsidy to fee paying schools should be postponed, and that savings should be found from other parts of the ESC budget. This would be very difficult to achieve without having a major impact on the services that my department provides.

"I do not believe that recent comments made in the media reflect the Council of Ministers’ position on the savings proposed for 2011 - 2013. I believe that the Council of Ministers:

  • still supports the principle of a reduction in grants to fee paying schools, and other ESC saving proposals put forward as a result of the CSR
  • supports the issuing a green paper on education which will set the scene for the future of education in Jersey, along with the timetable necessary to complete it
  • accepts that any changes to the savings currently  proposed are likely to impact on the ability of the department to deliver the proposed level of savings within the 2011 - 2013 period
  • accepts the need for some flexibility in the timing of the delivery of ESC savings

"I shall be seeking affirmation of this from the Council of Ministers."

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