08 November 2023
The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, has visited schools this week which suffered damage by Storm Ciarán, and has praised the swift measures put in place to ensure children and young people continue learning while essential repairs are carried out.
Deputy Inna Gardiner visited Samarès School on Monday afternoon and Hautlieu School on Tuesday morning. At both schools, she spoke with the headteachers about the provision made for students both around lessons and their welfare.
She also received updates about the affected areas of the schools, which require repair.
Three schools were initially closed due to storm damage, with Victoria College able to reopen on Tuesday this week.
At Hautlieu School, all 800 students have been supported with learning through a blended approach of live Teams classes, assigned tasks, coursework, and revision. This week's scheduled exams have taken place, as Highlands College gave access to their examination hall.
At Samarès School, teaching provision has taken place at locations near the school. Home learning is being provided alongside face-to-face learning.
On Monday, around 120 families from the school attended a drop-in event at the Youth Centre. Teachers talked with families and activities were on offer.
Hot lunches have continued to be provided for children who usually receive school meals. The school has made arrangements to see every child face to face every day this week and prepared home packs, as well as checking in with children and families who weren't able to join sessions.
Deputy Gardiner said: "For the schools affected by the storm damage, this remains a complex, ongoing situation to manage and rectify. I am very impressed by all that has been done in such a short timeframe to ensure that not only is learning continuing for the school communities at Samarès School and Hautlieu School, but also, importantly, exams have been able to take place for Hautlieu students with the kind support of Highlands College who gave access to their examination hall.
"The fantastic work of so many people means that, as far as possible, students and pupils have been able to carry on learning and have that continued stability of school following the events of last week.
"The buildings may not look very different from the outside, but there is internal damage which needs to be repaired, and we must ensure the environment is safe for all students and staff.
"I found my tours of both Samarès School and Hautlieu insightful and reassuring. Everyone has worked together – not just across Government but across the community in Jersey – to ensure that schools were swiftly checked and that the majority were opened on Monday morning.
"There has been great work between Jersey Property Holdings, their approved contractors and the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department to survey and start to repair the buildings. I thank everyone involved, but particularly the headteachers and their teams who have worked so hard to ensure learning can continue."