Category Archives: Education

Government neglects Schools and abandons Training

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Not one brick has been laid by the GSLP Government in relation to its glossy manifesto commitment to build 5 new schools and there is no sign that the Government has in any way progressed plans to put education at the top of the political agenda.

On training the position is even worse and the Future Job Strategy fails to deliver on every level and costs the community over £10Million a year.

The answers to questions in Parliament on both education and training have been lazy, evasive and demonstrate a real lack of commitment and vision on education and training of our Young People moving forward.

Commenting on the issue, Shadow Minister for Education, Elliott Phillips MP said:

“The Government is clearly putting the brakes on education and other important areas of domestic policy. Whilst challenges that face us are indeed significant, we cannot sit back and ignore the educational and training needs of our Young People.

Brexit must be seen as an opportunity to showcase Gibraltar by focusing our efforts on building a well educated and skilled workforce for the future.  We must develop better opportunities for our Young People so that they are encouraged and inspired in skilled trades and the new technologies. By placing our Young People in dead end jobs we are depriving them of opportunity, worse still we are condemning them to a life of dissatisfaction and little hope.

The failure to set out how the Government intends to build 5 new schools in 2 1/2 years is nothing short of astonishing. Where are the plans? What are the results of the consultation on the new schools and on co-education?  The Government has abandoned and neglected ordinary working families and now they are doing the same with the education and training of our Young People.”

Gibraltar Education

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Reforming education, moving beyond the classroom – Elliott Phillips MP

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It has long been said that our children are our future ambassadors and the provision of education is vitally important. We can all, I think, agree with that statement. At the opening of Parliament the Chief Minister reasserted the Government’s commitment to the education of our children and again we can all agree that education must rank very high on our community’s agenda. Recently the Minister for Education repeated the Government’s promise to build 5 new schools. No doubt the Government will soon announce how the Government will complete this undertaking over the next 3 years with as little disruption to our students and teachers as possible particularly at crucial learning and examination time.

Building new schools is important but it is not only about bricks and mortar- it’s about reforming education. We have long advocated the need for better opportunities for our young people and during the last General Election we put forward our vision for education which went beyond the building of new schools. We believe that we must have an honest and open debate and look at education and its provision from the ground up which puts educators, students, parents our employers at the heart of such reform. The GSD has been at the forefront of the debate on co-education and has led on the question of apprenticeship and the training of skills.

One critical reform must be how we provide for the many young people that do not relate and therefore fail to respond traditional class room teaching. Not everyone wants to go to University and to push our children who struggle to meet the grades to complete a course of higher education which employers don’t want and which does not improve our young people’s prospects is simply the wrong approach. We do not want to discourage people from pursuing higher education but we must focus on alternatives and getting the best out of young people and providing each of them with a sustainable job. We must also have a robust career development service that must start interacting with our students at a younger age.

We have argued that we must listen closely to what our educators, students and parents are saying about how education is delivered in our community. As someone who has gone through our education system I appreciate that we are all proud of the education that many thousands of Gibraltarians have been able to enjoy, an education which has been instrumental in the development of our young people into active and productive members of our community.

Results in public examinations are important as they are a gateway to higher education but they are not the be all and end all. My colleagues in the Opposition have advocated the need for an apprenticeship programme that goes beyond traditional skills and raises the opportunity for our young people to access an alternative gateway to sustainable career. We want to see the development of a gold standard in apprenticeship and training of technical skills. The Government do not agree with our proposals. A significant number of 14-19 year olds cannot relate to the traditional classroom learning environment and we will fail as a community if we cannot create better opportunities for them as well. We believe that we also need to explore the creation of a Studio School which was first introduced in Britain in 2010 and where there are now over 35 Studio Schools operating. Studio Schools work differently. Education is delivered outside the classroom environment through enterprise projects in schools and within the community.

Irrespective of whether there will be a hard or light Brexit, Gibraltar arguably faces its biggest challenge to date and although we must focus our efforts on securing and influencing Gibraltar’s position from outside the European Union, we also need to ensure that our people can meet the technical skills demanded of employers and new business. If we as a community are to re-invent our unique selling point or encourage big business to set up here we cannot and must not be complacent about education and the training of technical skills. The future maybe uncertain but it is ours to shape and we must secure our children’s future by ensuring that we create alternative pathways which are just as valuable as higher education.


Hon. Elliott Phillips MP Shadow Minister for Justice, Equality, Youth, Education, Employment Drugs and Rehabilitation of Offenders


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We’re calling for debate on co-education!

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Congratulation to all students and teachers on their magnificent GCSE results.  To have outperformed UK schools and obtained the best results in five years is a wonderful achievement. Everyone concerned has to be congratulated.

It is right, however, that when the dust settles we should have an informed debate about co-education in this community, whether it is desirable and if so, whether it should be limited to A’Level students or start earlier.

We’ve been advocating co-education for some time. We believe it is in the interests of students, teachers and the education system generally but we recognise this is a matter that has to be debated fully and that stakeholders have to be engaged.  In the meantime a look at the subjects on offer for both GCSE and A’Level at both Westside and Bayside shows the disparity of subjects offered to both boys and girls.

We believe there should be no such disparity and, whether we opt for co-education or not, we should be working to end it soonest. It is the intention of the GSD to file a motion for the end of September sitting of Parliament to debate this important issue.

Why should education opportunities be based on gender? Show your support for this issue by signing our petition today >


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Fantastic work by Children’s Gardening Clubs

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Trevor Hammond had the opportunity to visit and see for himself the great work being carried by the children’s gardening clubs in theBotanic Gardens. The clubs are now expanding into our schools and giving children of all ages an opportunity to work and understand gardening and grow fruits and vegetables.

Well done to the team of volunteers led by Chris Gilder, Lucy Hart and Keith Bensusan for making this initiative such a success.13178709_962707857178960_2798713990142513491_n13244784_962707847178961_2451838862965325537_n



Bayside Disruption Unacceptable

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We were shocked to hear that teachers were unable to continue their classes at Bayside school last Friday and that the school had to cancel lessons in the morning due to the unacceptable disruption being caused by nearby Government works at Glacis estate. Clearly no consideration is being given by developers to the needs of educators and the children that they are educating. We call on the caretaker Government to intervene and allow classes to continue in a normal manner. While some disruption might be acceptable, clearly things have become intolerable for these measures to have been necessary.

We further note the GSLP Manifesto plans for Bayside are to halve the existing footprint and create a tower block for the children and teachers to work in. Apart from the enormous disruption over a period of years that this will cause, indeed it is not clear how the school will function at all. It clearly demonstrates that education is certainly not a priority for the GSLP/Liberals as they would shun the ideal opportunity to provide state of the art facilities for comprehensive education at Rooke, a site with all the required space, and prefer to sell this for a developer to profit from while shoe-horning boys secondary education into a tower block so they can build a small field next to it!

Watch our video on education to learn more about our vision for a brand new secondary education facility at Rooke:

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