Scrutiny Panel find lack of clarity within Education budget in Government Plan
3rd November 2021
Following a public hearing on Monday 1 November with the Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel (CEHA) has raised concerns about the funding and delivery plans for education services, laid out in the Government Plan 2022-25.
The Panel learnt that:
Following last week's scrutiny hearing with the Haute Vallée Board of Governors:
- The Minister for Children and Education refutes claims that he made a statement about putting roads before education when asked about how he would address the budget deficit raised by the Board of Governors of Haute Vallée.
- The Minister will have meetings with other Ministers and continue evidence-based research to form future funding models for education.
2022 funding formula for all schools
- The Minister could not confirm that there would not be any deficits within schools' 2022 budgets due to various pressures, including Covid
- The Minister confirmed that it has been accepted and approved that there is a current budget overspend within the education system
- Officers from Children, Young People, Education and Skills confirmed that a new evidence-based funding formula for schools is being developed and will be brought forward in December 2021 to be implemented from 2022
- The Panel has concerns that the new budget allocations for 2022 and onwards will not be sufficient for schools and that there is a lack of clarity over the education budget within the Government Plan
School sites review
- A review of St Helier school sites is ongoing, and the report will be available soon, however, the Minister did not confirm a timeline for its completion
- The Minster confirmed that it is unlikely that any building work will commence prior to 2023
- The Panel noted during the hearing that they have received comments that schools are in desperate need to fix ongoing maintenance issues
Education Demographic pressures
- The CYPES department confirmed that additional funding was required to enable some local schools to have sufficient budgets due to growth in pupil numbers and the associated funding per pupil
- The Panel is concerned that the budget to tackle education demographic pressures may be inadequate and that non–inflation related staff costs are a legacy problem
Teacher training and development
- CYPES Officers referred to recruitment challenges for certain secondary school specialist subjects, however primary schools are currently fully staffed
- The Minister agreed with the Panel that the recruitment process for teachers is slow and part of the legacy systems improvement plan
- There is no additional funding to implement the findings and recommendations of the Early Years Policy Development Board report
- Funding in the Government Plan for 2022 will cover the 30 hours per week of the Nursery Education Fund which was recently increased
Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, commented: "There is a significant lack of clarity with the education budget within the Government Plan 2022-25. There are several important issues affecting children and young people and we remain concerned about the long-term effect of the budgets for education in Jersey as well as the future funding model for the Island. We would also like to know further detail on how the Government intend on putting children first in response to the concerns raised to the Panel by the Haute Vallée Board of Governors."
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