Economic dream needs better education, says director

John Sullivan and his successor standing outside the education office St Helena has a “huge need” for better education if it is to create a viable economy, says the man who is stepping down as head of schooling on the island.

In a farewell message, John Sullivan says everyone on the island needs to get behind efforts to improve standards – not just teachers and councillors.

“Education must develop hand in hand with the local economy,” he says. “It’s hard to see how one will develop fully without the other.”

Mr Sullivan leaves the island on 4 April 2012 after three stints on the island in the space of three years – in four different jobs.

He says education has “rightly come to the fore” as the island gears up for the completion of its first airport in 2015.

“Education is, in fact, everybody’s business,” he says. “Colleagues across the directorate appreciate the huge need to improve standards within our schools.

“What has been most encouraging and uplifting is the positive way that teachers and support staff are facing this challenge.

“It will continue to need support and encouragement from the whole island. We know that we need to raise our game but this is best done in collaboration with parents and the wider community.”

St Helena’s new director of education and employment is Colin Moore, who arrived this month on a three-year contract.

He was previously assistant director of children’s services in Plymouth, UK.

In a statement, he says: “John Sullivan has worked incredibly hard to secure a firm basis upon which I hope we can build a service that meets the needs and ambitions of all of the learners on the island, young and old.”

Governor Mark Capes thanked Mr Sullivan for his “outstanding and inspiring work,” adding: “His energy and enthusiasm have lifted those around him to work with renewed vigour to raise standards in our schools.”

John Sullivan first arrived on St Helena in 2010 as an adviser from the University of Wolverhampton; he returned in early 2011 as temporary head teacher at Prince Andrew School, then worked in a UK-funded role on primary school improvements. He returned late last year as temporary director of education and employment.

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