St Helena Education System Under Review: Exploring Options For A Sustainable Future

The Education, Skills and Employment (ESE) Portfolio is undertaking a comprehensive review of the island’s primary education system. This review aims to identify the most effective and sustainable path forward, considering the current challenges and future needs of St Helena’s children.

Declining Population and Staff Shortages Drive Review

The current school structure faces difficulties due to a declining primary school-age population (302 in June 2024 compared to 391 in the 2017 census). Staff shortages within the ESE further complicate these challenges.

Exploring Options for a Sustainable Future

The review will consider various options, including:

  • Maintaining the existing school structure
  • Consolidating into a single school
  • Creating a primary two-school system

Focus on Future-Proofing Education

The review’s primary goal is to “future-proof” St Helena’s education system, factoring in the island’s economic development, current resources, and Immigration Policy. This includes:

  • Enhancing educational attainment and learning outcomes for all students, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
  • Reviewing the curriculum and delivery methods to ensure sustainability, resilience, and the ability to accommodate future growth.
  • Improving teaching and learning standards.

Your Voice Matters: Public Consultation

We understand the importance of a strong education system for our children and the island’s future. We will be holding public consultations to ensure everyone has the opportunity to share their thoughts and perspectives on the future of primary education in St Helena. We will consider these valuable contributions as we develop our recommendations.

Working Together for a Sustainable Future

A working group has been established to analyse various options and provide this analysis to stakeholders. Their recommendations, including priority areas and potential actions regarding primary education provision for September 2025, will be presented to Executive Council later this year.

Our Commitment: Growth and Stability

The primary aim is to ensure a solution that meets the educational needs of children, promotes stability, allows for efficient resource utilization, and accommodates potential growth in future years, considering St Helena’s Immigration Policy and initiatives to retain existing staff and attract new residents, including St Helenians returning to the island.

Note to Editors

St Helena’s primary school-age population has seen a significant decrease and is set to further decline in future years. Relating this to a global scale, the number of children in primary classrooms has been dropping from a peak of 4.7 million five years ago. EPI forecasts show it will drop to 4.06 million in 2028-29.  Steps are being taken to encourage the growth of our population, but we do not foresee this being rapid; therefore a steady growth is being considered in our steps in future-proofing Education. 

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St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470