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Anniversary of unique union partnership

19 January 2017

The national president of Jersey’s biggest teaching union will be in Jersey on 20 January 2017 to mark the second anniversary of the Education Partnership, which is being hailed by both sides as a successful initiative that has helped education move forward positively in the Island.

Kathy Wallis, President of the NASUWT, will attend the latest meeting of the Partnership, which was set up in late 2014 to ensure the teaching workforce and Education Department work closely together on the development of policies.

Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said "One of the main drivers for creating the Education Partnership was to avoid the confrontational approach we’ve sometimes seen in the UK and to put children and teachers at the heart of our decision-making. This collaboration has enabled us to do just that. It has been a forum for well-informed, constructive discussions about the challenges we face."

Ms Wallis added "The Education Partnership is based on the principle that raising standards and providing teachers and school leaders with positive working conditions are two sides of the same coin and that one cannot be achieved without the other. As the Partnership enters its second full year, it is clear that it is having a beneficial impact on the development of Jersey’s education system."

Jersey’s Chief Education Officer said "The Education Partnership has proved an immensely valuable sounding board in several key areas over the past two years. As we have moved forward with our plan to improve standards for all our children, we have particularly valued the input of our national colleagues. Their experience and the lessons they learnt have been taken into account during the creation of the Jersey Premium and the new assessment frameworks."

The Jersey Premium is a scheme designed to provide extra help for those students who are most at risk of underachieving in their studies and it has been broadly based on the Pupil Premium in England but customised for the Island.

The Education Partnership has discussed a range of issues that affect teachers and teaching in Jersey. It recognises that the well-being of the school workforce is a key factor in the success of children in our classrooms.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said "One of the first issues addressed by the Partnership was the need to gather evidence about challenges that teachers and head teachers face and the barriers they encounter in trying to meet the needs of young people. This led to the first all-island teacher survey in summer last year and the Partnership will shortly publish information about how the key findings can be addressed."

The Education Partnership is also contributing to the States of Jersey workforce modernisation project as well as the ongoing discussion on school accountability and autonomy.

Ms Keates added "The partners have agreed that it is important to strike a balance between the flexibilities given to schools to take the decisions themselves and the responsibility of the Education department to ensure consistency and coherence across the education system. We will continue to focus on these issues in future meetings."

Jersey’s Education Minister added "I would like to thank all parties who have taken part in the Education Partnership and approached it in a spirit of co-operation. Ultimately, we are all working for the benefit of our children so this is an important body and I am delighted to say it is not only been genuinely useful but is also a great success." 

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