Panel publishes review of post-16 education in Jersey

26th April 2019

The Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, has completed a review of post-16 education in the Island and has today published its report.

Post-16 education relates to the courses and opportunities available to students once they have finished compulsory education at 16 years of age. Traditionally this involves studying either academic qualifications (i.e. A Levels or the International Baccalaureate) or vocational based qualifications such as BTECs in industry specific courses. The Panel set out to review the current post-16 education arrangements in the Island in order to find out whether they are meeting the needs of students as well as the needs of local business and industry by giving young people the skills to access employment and lead fulfilled lives.

In order to conduct its review, the Panel gathered evidence from the post-16 providers, the Minister for Education, local business and industry representative groups and most importantly students both studying and looking to study post-16. The Panel surveyed close to 2,000 students across the Island (both studying post-16 and looking to study post-16) to gather their views on the current system and whether it met their needs, the full findings of which are appended to the report. It also conducted an analysis of post-16 education systems in other jurisdictions and looked at the proposed development of T Levels (a planned vocational equivalent to A Levels) in the United Kingdom.

The Panel's report gives an overview of what is currently available in each of the post-16 providers and identifies some of the issues and barriers that exist in relation to post-16 education in Jersey in general. Some of the key Panel findings include:  

  • There is a general view that the funding of the education system in general is sub-optimal and needs addressing urgently. The Panel has, however, seen evidence of the fantastic work being carried out by the providers and teachers in spite of the funding issues.
  • The students surveyed were generally satisfied with the current post-16 education opportunities available to them, however, 50% of those surveyed felt having insufficient finances was a barrier to accessing it. Whilst students were mostly satisfied with all aspects assessed, they did highlight traffic and transport issues and access to information about post-16 options as areas of concern.
  • Local business and industry felt that the digital skills of school leavers could improve as well as some of their soft/interpersonal skills. There was, however, an expectation among local employers to have to invest in young people's skills as well.
  • Whilst there is collaboration between the fee-paying schools and students can share courses, there are barriers to collaboration between Highlands and Hautlieu.

The Panel has made recommendations to the Minister for Education arising from the evidence received during the review that include:

  • Reviewing the current Education Information Technology Infrastructure to ensure it allows school to be flexible in the teaching of digital subjects and increasing digital skills among students;
  • Reviewing the way in which young people are given information about post-16 education and the current bus service arrangements for students travelling to and from the schools and College;  
  • Identify funding in the Government Plan to extend the Jersey Premium (a targeted funding scheme for schools) to assist students studying post-16;
  • Create a suitable mechanism in the Government Plan to allow schools to operate on a three to five year budgetary cycle in order to allow for long-term planning;
  • Review the current 14+ transfer arrangement at Hautlieu to ensure it is not creating barriers to post-16 collaboration between Highlands and Hautlieu; 
  • Investigate the merits, value and implications of removing the financial barriers to accessing post-16 education; and
  • Prioritising the development of a purpose built, further education campus within the Government Plan, to be completed by 2023 in order to replace the ageing facilities at Highlands College.

Deputy Rob Ward commented:

''It is vital that the education system in our Island gives young people the skills and knowledge that will help them to become active and valued members of our society and post-16 education is a crucial part of this system. We've received a lot of evidence to highlight the great work being done in the Island by the Government, post-16 providers and teachers, but also some areas that require attention, especially how it is funded. We have made recommendations based on evidence, including a survey of 2,000 local students. We would like to thank all everyone who contributed to the review and hope this is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue that has the future of our young people, the education they can access, and the quality of their lives at the heart of its agenda."  

Read the Panel's full report here and read the interactive summary report here

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