The Isle of Man education minister has apologised for the breakdown in the relationship between his department and teachers.

An independent review published in September described the relationship as “fractured” and criticised the culture that had developed on both sides.

Alex Allinson told Tynwald everyone involved “must do better” for children and their parents on the island.

Dr Allinson said the document would be a “catalyst for change”.

The independent report recommended changes to the governance of schools and a separation of policy making.
Supporting the review, Lawrie Hooper MHK said it should “absolutely be the catalyst for change, but it must be positive change”.

Jason Moorhouse MHK, who previously worked as a teacher, added that while the proposed interim changes at the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) were “realistic”, they should “not simply be imposed” on schools.

Several teaching unions on the island remain in dispute with the DESC over issues including pay, conditions and workload.

Chris Robertshaw MHK said the current industrial action being taken by some teachers was “probably a measure of the depth of the hurt that was imparted upon the education service that’s difficult to let go”.

Dr Allison said he was “holding an open hand” but the “only way forward is for all areas of the education service to work together”.

“I apologise that a culture has developed which has distracted from common values, disrupted effective communication and destroyed much positive collaboration,” he said.

He added that an update on the progress of the changes would be reported back to Tynwald in January 2021.

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