Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:51 UK
Jersey Education Minister defends decision to cut grant
Education
Jersey's Education Minister is proposing cuts to the fee paying schools

If your child goes to a private primary or secondary school you could in future pay more of the costs.

States of Jersey plans could see parents pay more of the costs of their childs education as the government tries to save money.

In the States the minister declined to reconsider the policy after it was criticised by head teachers and parents

Deputy Reed said: "All aspects of my departments budget have been subject to rigorous and independent review."

The Education, Sport and Culture Minister went on to say: "Reducing the subsidy to fee paying schools is one of the measures being explored and to be delivered over the next three years to reach the 10% savings target.

Opportunities also exist to explore the provision of shared services such as site management and administration.
Deputy James Reed

"Which, with regards to my department totals £11.2 million, presently a sum of £9.8 million is provided in grants per annum to fee paying schools.

"I cannot set that aside and not consider it."

Every fee paying school - that's the two colleges, the Catholic schools, St Michaels and St George's primary schools - have been asked what the cuts will mean, and they're looking at other ways to save money rather than passing on costs to parents

Deputy Reed said: "Opportunities do exist to broaden the curriculum through increased collaboration.

"Opportunities also exist to explore the provision of shared services such as site management and administration.

"My department has already offered to support the schools as they explore these measures."

Deputy Kevin Lewis said parents are already paying school fees through their taxes and they have to pay yet again for private education.

He said: "Some parents are already struggling to pay school fees with both parents working just to pay the bills.

"I'm not talking about wealthy people, many people I have spoken to are just regular people trying to do the best for their children.

"Many parents do without holidays just to pay the fees.

"It would be heartbreaking, not to mention disruptive if children were forced to leave the school and their friends just because parents couldn't afford the school."

School
Deputy Reed says schools could make savings

Senator Paul Routier also felt for parents too, including those of pupils in the Catholic Schools.

Senator Routier said: "There are a lot of worried parents who really do struggle to send their parents to private schools, and in particular the catholic schools who are paying more than the colleges do in their fees.

"Would [the Minister] take the option of writing to the head masters and ask them to forward the letter on to the parents so they have a clear understanding of what's being proposed."

Senator James Perchard picked up on the contribution parents of children in fee paying schools make to the island.

He said: "Does the minister believe that the fee paying schools provide excellent value for money to the States, the parents and the Jersey tax payer?"

One politician spoke up for Jersey's States schools, Deputy Jeremy Macon worried their role risked being undermined during the discussions.

"Is the minister concerned that with the emotional language such as 'struggling to put their children through schools' for example, in some way reducing the perception of what the States schools provide.

"Does the minister agree that both states schools and fee paying schools provide a very high standard of education to the children of this island?"

The minister took the point, he said: "We should be extremely proud of the education we provide to all children under our care whether in private fee paying schools or in state schools.

"We have excellent schools and excellent teachers."

The question for the minister, schools and parents is how such excellence can be maintained in the face of the approaching cuts to the education budget.


Have your say
What are your thoughts on the proposed cuts to the education budget? Was the Education Minister right to cut the grant to fee paying schools or should it stay in place?

Name
Your E-mail address
Parish
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


YOUR COMMENTS

Victoria, St Ouen

In times of recession one of the most important areas to sustain is education. This way the new generations are able to adapt and improve society and allow the island to progress. By restricting our childrens education and making cuts and changes to the schools isn't going to benefit us in the long run. If anything it harms us and puts us behind the UK.

The states have spent so much time, effort and money making our island so 'accomodating' to UK firms. Why are they not requesting more tax from these companies? Instead I am hearing about employees bonuses twice a year. Perhaps we should just send the children from those families to the fee paying schools? They can obviously afford it! Meanwhile the rest of us will just suffer?

The other proposed cuts such as making teachers pay the same as in the UK is only going to put off more teachers applying for the jobs we are unable to fill here. Some schools are already using teachers trained in other subjects to teach things like Maths and Business Studies. Teaching in Jersey is no longer an attractive option. I'm sure in time our children will also enjoy school less as a result.

Andy

It is clearly my decision to send my kids to a 'private' school and I am happy to pay for this. To do this I have had to make significant sacrifices but surely that is my choice as I shouldn't be put down for this. I am certainly and I already qualify for other states benefits. I thought that I had carefully planned and budgeted for my childrens future. I have always paid my taxes and I am not asking for much in return, I am quite happy to save the States half the cost of my childrens education. But it seems that taking responsibility for your family is now to be penalised.

Perhaps I shouldn't have waited until I could afford my kids before I had them, perhaps I shouldn't have put money aside for my retirement and just rely on the states. Perhaps I should have simply put my kids into states schools and enjoyed a holiday every year and nice new cars!

Edwin

Fee paying schools, some people through religion or preference for single sex school can only go to fee paying schools in Jersey.

These fee payers both well off and not so well off pay taxes which goes to paying for education in general.

There is nothing wrong with cutting salaries of the 'over paid States employees', this is what Senator Ozouf is trying to do.

He said he realised that there were low paid states workers and he wanted to protect them.

If [you] wish to see the Status quo, then the 'poor will have to pay more.

Fee payers save no subsidise the education department.

Lynne, St Lawrence

I find it amazing that Education are trying to cut back the subsidies for fee paying schools.

I am not rich I am not a lawyer I have just been made unemployed for the first time in my life so this is an added concern but yes I have choices and I don't regret sending my son to De La Salle one little bit - yes everyone has choices and I have made mine but when I see in the JEP what the sTates are spending their money it makes me angry.

The people who are slatting us for sending our children to private schools why have they not spoken up before if it makes them so annoyed!

Paul, St Clement

Parents who say they are going to leave private / fee paying schools because of cost increases puzzle me.

Are they saying the only reason they go to that school is because they can afford it? - no other reasons, like it's better in some way.

To switch allegiance instantly doesn't say much about their support for the school at all.

Why don't parents pay 100% of fees?

I also don't want my taxes subsiding marine fuel.

Or the upkeep of the private moorings for large yachts.

Peter, St Helier

One item about the private school situation is that a lot of people send their children to these schools because other members of their family have been there retrospectively. Its a generation thing, you only have to look at the same surnames appearing decade after decade at Victoria College. These moans and groans are a nonsence, the children will be sent there no matter what.

Dave, St Lawrence

What I do not understand is why have people sent their children to private schools in the first place? They must think the States schools have less to offer but then again if they wanted to save money they could of just used the States schools in the first place. I dont swallow the outcry about a hike in subsidies, because they will find the money if its that important to them.




SEE ALSO
Funding cut in fee-paying schools
29 Jan 10 |  Jersey


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific