Site Expansion – Key Questions

Elizabeth College has a once in a lifetime opportunity to expand the College’s site and facilities by purchasing the adjacent building, Canada Court. The Elizabeth College Main Building was built to accommodate 150 students almost two hundred years ago, with other buildings on the campus even older.  Modern teaching methods and the increased emphasis on individual and independent study, combined with a wider and more sophisticated curriculum, mean that the College has been struggling to accommodate an ever increasing demand for space for some years. The opportunity to acquire land and buildings adjacent to the College site, with direct access by pupils to enlarged facilities, is just too good to miss.

What is the College trying to achieve?

  • To deliver the best possible educational experience for our pupils now and in the future we need the best possible facilities.
  • This expansion allows us to use the space we will have in the most effective way and for the greatest benefit to our pupils.

Why is it important?

  • The demands of a 21st century curriculum require ever more, and more specialist, facilities.
  • The College has been constrained for space for some years. This will allow us to create big, open indoor spaces which we just don’t have in our existing historic buildings.
  • The opportunity to expand into the building next door – with the potential for direct access – is too good to miss and makes our restricted Town site far more future-proof.

Why now?

  • In some ways this is the wrong time for us, with the changes ongoing in Education in Guernsey, reductions in our States funding and the loss of 23 States sponsored places per year.
  • But the opportunity arose and we can’t afford to miss it, so we have carefully assessed it and are doing everything we can to make it work.

How will the College pay for it?

  • This has been looked at very carefully. We will use a judicious mix of:
    • Existing – but modest – funds available including some reserves;
    • Funds we are able to raise from our alumni, parents and other supporters; and
    • Borrowing as necessary.

When is all this going to happen?

  • We are about to submit a joint planning application and so nothing will happen until we know the outcome from that application.
  • If all goes to plan we hope to start occupying the site in late 2019.
  • Moves into the new building will be phased as we seek to optimise the usage of both Canada Court and the areas freed-up in our existing buildings. It is likely to take 5 years or more to complete all of the redevelopment and relocation.

What is happening with States funding?

  • After this September’s intake, the States of Guernsey will no longer fund 23 special places each year although existing special place holders will be paid for until they complete their education
  • The recent States resolution on funding of the Independent Colleges means States funding received by Elizabeth College will reduce by 50% over the next 7 years

Does this mean pupil numbers will increase?

  • Elizabeth College has no plans to increase the capacity of the school: that would mean adding an additional tutor group on intake and a corresponding cohort of additional teaching staff for all relevant subjects. The College cannot undertake such an increased financial burden at a time when there is already a need to recruit fee-paying pupils in place of the 23 States-funded Special Place Holders in each year.

Are School fees going to have to rise to pay for it all?

  • Our fees are 30% lower than the average for an Independent School in the UK and it is important to the College that it remains inclusive and affordable to as many Guernsey families as possible.
  • We believe the expansion is affordable through a combination of existing funds, fund-raising and borrowing. The ongoing (but reduced) States funding will assist in development of the current site.