COMMUNITY School staff exit interviews from the last twelve months have illustrated “complex issues” according to Director of Education Marie Horton.

Recently two Community School teachers alleged in public statements that they had been bullied during their time at the school. Both have now left the Islands, one very recently and one approximately a year ago.

Spanish teacher Jannine Golder described “endemic” bullying. English teacher Andrew White said he decided not to stay in the Falklands because, “the bullying and victimisation from above was relentless.”

In a reply to questions from Penguin News about the teachers’ comments, Director of Education Marie Horton acknowledged that not all teachers had “enjoyed” their time at the school.

Her full answer was as follows: “The Education Directorate acknowledge that there are some concerns about staff turnover at FICS. Some of this staffing churn is due to the ending of contract terms. The Executive Headteacher reports a number of FICS staff have recently chosen to extend their contracts. This is very welcome.

“The Education Director and Executive Headteacher have reviewed the Directorate exit interviews from the last twelve months. Many staff have enjoyed working at FICS and being part of the Falkland Islands community. However, some have not. The review of the exit interviews illustrate a number of complex issues which the Education Directorate are actively working to address.”

Retention and recruitment

MLA Stacy Bragger stated in a social media post this week that the Falkland Islands Government Director of Education and Executive Head were carrying out a review of retention and recruitment of Falkland Islands Community School staff.

He responded to a concerned member of the public who said, “We have had an unusually large number of teachers cut their contracts short for personal reasons. This is no doubt having a massive impact on the students and the teaching they receive.”

He added: “The number of staff changes we’ve had at FICS this term is clearly a problem and not good for students… staff have worked extremely hard and we’ve been fortunate that the school have been able to call upon some experienced teachers to step in. The last review of FICS was very positive about the progress the school has made in the last couple of years but the long-running instability in staffing is not what anyone wants so we need to improve it for the benefit of students.”