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Category: Education/Training  Scrutiny

Lack of Clarity on School Funding Implementation

Feb 16, 2022

The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel’s final public hearing during this term of office with the Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, has raised further concerns about the lack of clarity in relation to the implementation of the new school funding formula.

During the hearing, the Minister confirmed the position, indicated at a previous hearing, that the new funding formula would take a phased-in approach, with gradual implementation over the next two or three years. The Panel maintains, however, that a lack of clarity and detail to date has led to avoidable confusion as to whether the funding formula would start to be implemented from 1 January 2022, and if so to what extent. The Panel was also informed that the new formula would better target schools in need of funding, however, the inconsistency of information provided again underlines the Panel’s concerns about an ongoing lack of clarity on this matter. Given the phased approach with both formulas running at the same time, the Panel also has concerns about how the new funding formula will be distinguished from the existing formula and the challenges this may present.

During the hearing, the Panel heard that there is further work to done to address how cases of bullying and harassment are reported in schools, namely, to close the gap between how these instances are dealt with by the Education department and schools and making the current process easier to navigate for the public.

When questioned about its response to Covid-19, the Education department said that more CO2 filters would be introduced across schools to increase ventilation, but the specific date for introducing these is uncertain. The Panel was pleased to hear about the work to improve future job opportunities for over 16s. The paid internship with the Government of Jersey will continue using departmental budgets, two new apprenticeship pathways have launched, and a Higher Education development role will seek to ensure more graduates return to the Island to become part of the Island’s future workforce.

Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, Deputy Rob Ward, commented: “Our final public hearing with the Minister for Children and Education has reinforced our previous concerns about the new school funding formula. It is important that the Government does not provide contradictory information in relation to how it plans to implement this budget, and clearly communicates how this new formula will work to improve the education system for children and young people in Jersey. We are, however, pleased to hear that progress is being made to enhance the opportunities for young people leaving education and entering the job market to ensure that Jersey maintains a skilled workforce.”

Scrutiny Press Release.

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