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Post-16 Education A report by the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel

We are the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel. It's our role to scrutinise Jersey's government on matters of public importance, policy and legislation which falls within these remits.

Post-16 education relates to the opportunities for learning available to young people once they have finished compulsory education at 16. We set out to find out what is available in Jersey, and whether it meets the needs of children and young people in terms of accessing employment and higher education and helping them to lead fulfilled lives. We also wanted to find out if it assists the local business community by giving young people the appropriate skills to do the jobs that are required.

Most post-16 education courses are Level 3 courses. This includes A Levels, the International Baccalaureate, BTECs and a whole range of other academic and vocational qualifications. The following link tells you what sort of qualifications can be achieved at the different levels:

EVIDENCE CONSIDERED

We wrote to all the post-16 providers, local business representatives (like Jersey Finance and Digital Jersey) and held a public call for evidence to gather information for this review.

We held public hearings with the Heads of the post-16 providers, local industry groups, Skills Jersey and the Minister for Education

We conducted a survey of local students who are already studying post-16 courses, and those who are looking ahead to study them. You can find out more about the results of this survey by following the link below:

We also researched what post-16 education looks like in other countries in order to compare it to what is on offer in Jersey.

The following section gives an overview of the post-16 education opportunities on offer in Jersey and the views of local students about post-16 education. We also found out what some of the key issues were for local business and industry.

What's available for young people post-16 in Jersey?

We found that over 90% of young people go on to study some form of post-16 qualification, which they can do at six providers. Four of these charge fees (Victoria College, Jersey College for Girls, Beaulieu and De La Salle) and two are non-fee paying (Hautlieu and Highlands). Five of these providers offer academic qualifications (A Levels) and Hautlieu also offers the International Baccalaureate. De La Salle and Beaulieu also offer some vocational courses (BTECS) while Highlands College offers mainly vocational courses as well as the Jersey Progression Qualification which is designed to help students progress from Level 2 (GCSE) standard up to Level 3.

Students who study at the four fee-paying schools are able to access courses at the other fee paying schools due to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the schools. Highlands and Hautlieu are not involved in this, and don't share any courses between themselves.

The fee-paying schools offer some bursaries to students to assist them if they cannot afford the fees.

There are a wide range of extracurricular and personal development opportunities available at the six providers. Some of the examples we found out about include; Sport, Music, Public Speaking, Life skills, visits abroad, Young Enterprise and work experience schemes.

What do young people think?

We received responses from 2,000 students to our survey to find out what they thought about post-16 education in Jersey. This included students currently studying post-16 courses, and students in Year 10 and 11 that may be looking to study post-16 courses.

What was good?

We found that the young people surveyed had a generally positive view of the post-16 opportunities available to them in the Island. Most of the students surveyed in both groups were either studying or looking to study post-16 in order to access university or employment. 87% of the Year 12 and 13 students surveyed felt they were studying the course they wanted to. General views on the information available, choice of where to study and courses available were also positive.

What was not so good?

Half of the students surveyed in both age groups felt that having sufficient finances to access post-16 education was a barrier for young people. The students also felt that transport issues were a problem, especially as all the post-16 providers are within St. Helier/St. Saviour. Although most students felt the information available on post-16 education opportunities was adequate, some did feel this could be improved.

The Panel has recommended that the Minster for Education reviews the current bus service for students, and promotes its use to ease traffic congestion.

It has also recommended that the Minister for Education reviews how students are given information about post-16 education to make sure it is consistent.

The views of the students have been used to help inform other recommendations later on in this report.

What does local industry think?

We found that some local business and industry representatives think students going straight into employment at 18 need better digital skills as well as some inter-personal skills. We also found out about a "Digital Skills Partnership" which is working together to promote and develop people's skills in this area.

We also heard about a new initiative at Beaulieu Convent School called the Beaulieu Institute of Technology (BIT) which gives students the chance to access a Level 3 qualification focusing on digital and creative skills. This is free to access and open to all students, not just those attending Beaulieu.

Generally, employers expect to invest in some way in students coming straight out of school (and even those coming from University), especially in the finance industry.

We recommend that the Minister for Education looks at making Information Technology a required subject for students studying at GCSE. We also recommend that the Minister for Education reviews the current IT set up for education to enable students (and schools) to access innovative ways of developing digital skills.

This evidence we collected pointed us towards the following key themes about post-16 education in Jersey

Funding for schools

One of the biggest themes we came across during the review, was that funding for schools was nowhere near as much as it should be. That being said, the work that is done by teachers is fantastic within these limitations.

We found that the Jersey Premium (a targeted funding programme for schools) doesn't get extended to schools offering post-16 courses, even though a pilot scheme was run at Highlands College and in Year 12 and 13 at Hautlieu. It was agreed that this was an important initiative and should be continued for post-16 students.

We recommend that the Minister for Education finds funding within the Government Plan to extend the Jersey Premium to cover students studying post-16.

Funding in general for schools was highlighted a lot as one of the main issues affecting the education system as a whole (not just post-16 education). This was acknowledged and agreed by the Ministerial Team for Education. We also heard that schools do not feel able to plan ahead in to the future due to the current annual Government budget cycle. A working group is currently reviewing the required funding levels of secondary schools and the findings should be implemented by the Minister for Education.

We recommend that the Government of Jersey also investigates a suitable mechanism within its own budgets to allow schools to operate on a three to five year budget cycle.

Barriers to post-16 education

The Panel found that there are barriers to post-16 education in the Island. Some of the barriers were physical, and the others were related to money and finances.

Financial access to post-16 education

Half of the students surveyed felt that having sufficient finances was a real barrier to accessing post-16 education. We also found that nearly two-thirds of the students studying post-16 courses in Jersey were doing so in non-fee paying providers (Hautlieu and Highlands). This suggests that having enough money may be a real barrier to students studying.

The Panel has recommended that the Minister for Education investigates the value and implications of removing the financial barriers to accessing all the post-16 providers. This should also include reviewing the bursaries available and identify a future funding model for post-16 education.

Collaboration between providers

We found that there is an agreement between the four fee-paying schools (Victoria College, JCG, De La Salle and Beaulieu) where students can access courses that may not be able to in their own school. We also found that this isn't shared with Hautlieu and Highlands (as parents may not want to pay for a course their child could access for free anyway), and there are some issues that prevent them from collaborating together as well. We received evidence which suggested it was not possible for the two places to collaborate more due to timetabling and younger students at Hautlieu (Year 10 and 11) potentially having to share spaces with older students at Highlands (creating safeguarding concerns).

The Panel has recommended that the Minister for Education investigates the current 14+ transfer arrangement to Hautlieu to see whether this does indeed create barriers to greater collaboration.

Highlands College facilities

We received evidence to suggest that the facilities at Highlands College are not fit for purpose to provide the learning environment its students need and deserve. We also found that a perception exists that Highlands offers lesser qualifications than other places, even though it offers Level 3 courses at the same level as the other establishments. 48% of all students that study post-16 education do so at Highlands College.

We've recommended that the Minister for Education prioritizes the development of a purpose built, further education campus by 2023. This should also include integrating some of the provision available at both Highlands College and Hautlieu School to increase the choice for students.

School Participation Age

We found that over 90% of students in Jersey generally tend to go on to study post-16 education. At the same time, compulsory education by Law ends at 16 years of age (although the Minister for Education has to provide opportunities under the Education (Jersey) Law 1999).

While not all students study post-16 and some go direct into employment or training elsewhere, it is important that support is in place for young people at 16. Whether this is support accessing education or employment this should be covered in Law. This would also help prevent young people becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training)

We've recommended that the Minister for Education investigates the implications and definition of raising the school participation age to 18 to better support young people whether they are in education, training or employment.

What happens in other countries?

We did some research into what post-16 education opportunities are available in other countries. Some of the places we looked at include; Finland, Germany, USA, Australia and Singapore. We found that Jersey's system is closely linked to the UK system in relation to the academic qualifications (A-Levels, IB etc.) and also vocational qualifications (BTEC etc.) on offer

There are a wide range of academic qualifications and educational setups throughout the world, and each has its own unique way of operating.

Vocational qualifications are on offer in every country we looked at, but some countries prefer these over more traditional academic routes.

We found out about a new initiative in the UK called T Levels which are being piloted as an equivalent vocational qualification to A Levels. Find out more with this video:

Find out more about other countries in the following link:

CONCLUSIONS

The Panel has found that there are a wide range of post-16 opportunities available in Jersey and some fantastic work going on to support them.

We also found that there are a number of areas of concern, and we have made recommendations to help try and solve some of these issues.

We would like to thank everyone that contributed to our review, especially the post-16 providers and all the students that completed our survey. We would also like to thank Island ARK for developing the survey, the Ministerial Team and Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills for assisting us in this process

PANEL MEMBERSHIP

Left to right: Deputy Robert Ward (Chairman), Deputy Rowland Huelin (Vice-chairman), Constable Simon Crowcroft, Deputy Trevor Pointon
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Andrew Harris
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