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Seat on Board of Education filled 11 January 2008

THE Board of Education has elected a new member to represent the constituency of Douglas West.

Gill Skinner, of Berkeley Street, Douglas, is the mother of two teenagers and has experience of working in education.

While a constable with the Metropolitan Police, Mrs Skinner was involved in youth projects and forged links with schools.

As a Bereavement Counsellor for Cruse Bereavement Care, she is involved in a ground-breaking project to deliver bereavement awareness education across the Island’s five high schools. She has carried out similar work with the Department of Education’s Youth Service and recently organised a residential weekend for young people who had suffered a significant bereavement.

Mrs Skinner has been an examination invigilator at Ballakermeen High School for three years, a role she must surrender following her appointment to the Board of Education, and she said this had given her a ‘real insight into the day-to-day workings of a large school and the commitment and dedication of our young people’.

Gill Skinner
GIll Skinner

She said:

‘I firmly believe that the education system is the foundation on which the future of our Island depends and to this end I believe that the work of the schools and the Department, with the support of the Board of Education, is vital.’

Mrs Skinner fills the seat on the Board of Education left vacant following the death of Geoff Cannell in September.

Under the Representation of the People Act, nominations were invited after no candidates emerged for a by-election scheduled for 13 December. The Board of Education met today (Friday) to select the candidate.

Board constituencies are the same as those for House of Keys’ elections. However, just one member is elected to represent each constituency.

Elections to the Board of Education are normally held every five years and a general election had been due last autumn. However, the Department has the support of Tynwald to extend the life of the current Board for a period up to June 2009, during which time it will introduce a new Education Bill.

Included in it will be a proposal to replace the Board with a non-elected body of lay members who will continue to support the Education Minister, Members and officers.

The successful candidate for Douglas West will, along with the existing 14 members, serve until no later than June 2009, by which time it is hoped the new body will be in place. Members will be eligible for appointment to the new body.

Board members’ main role at present is to sit on schools’ governing bodies and advise the Department on matters relating to policy.

The present Board meets as a whole twice a year, while there are area meetings in the spring term.

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