La Section de la langue Jèrriaise

Jèrriais: provision in Jersey Schools

Presented to the States on 9th August 2005
by the Education, Sport and Culture Committee


1.         Introduction

            The following report advises the States on the progress of the Jèrriais programme.


2.         Student numbers (primary/secondary)



170 students

20 classes pw



191(47 of them left during the year)

33 classes pw



142 continuing*, 99 new started

34 classes pw



236 students* at start of year, 155 at end

30 classes pw


autumn term

163 students

30 classes pw


spring term

180 students

35 classes pw


summer term

178 students

35 classes pw


* N.B. Start-of-year figures in 2002 and 2003 were estimates based on the previous year's intake – in practice many of those who might have continued did not do so.


            At the start of the spring term 2005, a teachers' meeting was held at which we tried to assess the level of achievement for individual pupils; however the format was deemed to be too subjective. More time is needed to design an accurate means of assessment which provides meaningful statistics.


3.         Teaching team

            There are 2.8 full-time workers (Tony Scott Warren, Geraint Jennings (0.8) and Colin Ireson), and 7 native-speaker teachers (Enid de Gruchy, Irene Syvret, Don Dolbel, Ralph Nichols, Ted Syvret, François Le Maistre and Ursula Taylor) with two assistants (Joy Fox and Audrey Falle).


4.         GCSE progress

            The framework for GCSE has been drawn up with 4 modules; further work on this had been postponed pending the decision by the U.K. government on the future of GCSE.


            Tony Scott Warren has made preliminary contact with ACCAC (Wales) for validation, and they have suggested making further enquiries with QCA. A step forward in GCSE resources has been made with publication of the Dictionnaithe Jèrriais-Angliais which was a prerequisite for the programme.


5.         Conference participation in 2004

            Geraint Jennings delivered a paper at a Langues Collaterales conference in Brittany. Colin Ireson and Geraint Jennings attended the CAER (Education Society of the European Regions) conference in Caernarfon, and as a result L'Office is participating in a multi-region multi-lingual history project. Geraint Jennings and Tony Scott Warren participated in Herririk Herri (Building Bridges) conference organised by the Basque Regional Government near Bilbao.


6.         Student activities

            During 2004, Jèrriais students took part in the Fête de Noué, La Fête Nouormande in Bayeux 2004 was attended by 11 children and around 20 took part in Jersey's Fête Nouormande in May 2005. We saw over 60 at the Jersey Eisteddfod in November and a smaller number at the Jersey Revels 1204-2004. Some children took part in the Sérvice Annuel of L'Assembliée d'Jèrriais, while others sang in town at Christmas.

            One student took Jèrriais as her personal development subject for Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.


7.         Adult classes

            An intensive weekend course was held in summer 2003, which provided a lead-in to a new beginners' course. In autumn 2004, L'Office du Jèrriais took over routine administration of Jèrriais evening classes from Adult Education (who continue to assist with room bookings etc.). Since then, beginners, intermediate and advanced classes have been provided.


            L'Office took part in the Speak in a Week programme for adult beginners in co-operation with the Arts Centre in September 2004, and will be providing all the content for one of the Jersey Heritage Trust's Flash Days at the Jersey Archive in July.


8.         Publicity

            Several interviews have been given on French TV, BBC (both locally and nationally), Channel TV, and most recently for an Irish Food and Culture programme. We have also been the subject of articles in "The Linguist" magazine and a number of French and Belgian regional magazines.

            L'Office helped with the naming of a new estate for developers, and had participated in the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation Challenge at JCG, as well as Liberation recordings for Hautlieu.


            We continue to edit and produce the quarterly magazine "Les Nouvelles Chroniques du Don Balleine", which is distributed to all schools and has subscribers in Jersey, Guernsey, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the U.K.


9.         British-Irish Council

            Tony Scott Warren has replaced Tom McKeon as representative for Jersey at the British-Irish Council, and participated in a meeting of the Council in April; the next meeting is expected to take place in late June in Dublin. These meetings are of great value as they provide a forum for new ideas and useful contacts with other languages – the contact with ACCAC Wales resulted from the last meeting. A translation of part of a speech for the Ministerial-level conference and coaching in Jèrriais pronunciation was provided for Senator Frank Walker.


10.       Regional co-operation

            The Office has assisted many other minority-language areas – among them, Norfolk Island (Australian administered territory), Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Enquiries about Jèrriais from around the world have been answered.


            The Office has participated in a pan-European history project, organised by CAER (Education Society for the European Regions). This project requires each participating area to provide in English a brief history of their region during the sixteenth century, which each then translates into their own regional language, ranging from Jèrriais to Latvian.


11.       Future plans

            GCSE progress has been delayed because of uncertainty about the future of GCSEs in the U.K.; since the decision appeared to have been made that they are to continue in their present format, further detailed work will now be undertaken. We have yet to draw up a time-frame for introducing the examination syllabus, and will attempt to give an estimate of the man-hour requirements for programme design and development.


12.       Resources

            New resources need to be produced – among the first will be La P'tite Sente Book 2 (which is now in draft form) and a CD-Rom Vocabulary Builder.

            Some resources already exist which have been designed to be used in the GCSE programme – Lé Neu C'mîn Books 3 and 4, La P'tite Sente Book 1, the Learn Jèrriais CD-Rom and the Dictionnaithe Jèrriais-Angliais.


13.       Validation costs

            We need to examine the question of validation and associated costs, to estimate the potential uptake and to discuss funding and teaching time requirements with ESC.


14.       Pre-school initiative

            As well as GCSE for more advanced learners, there is also a need to target younger learners – an aim should be to introduce Jèrriais from birth, with the long-term possibility of re-establishing inter-generational transfer, so work is under way on a "Jèrriais for parents and grandparents" book as well as material to encourage early-years bilingualism. Some preparatory work on "First Readers" has also been completed.


15.       Future Jèrriais Centre

            While the Office at Highlands College is of great value to us, a Jèrriais centre is highly desirable, where our materials could be developed and trialled, and which could in due course be used for lessons and evening classes – this could even become a Jèrriais-medium school in the longer-term.


16.       European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages

            L'Office du Jèrriais has been active in promoting the concept of protecting Jèrriais under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. The Charter has been ratified by the U.K. in respect of Welsh, Gaelic and Scots, Ulster Scots and Cornish and it has also been extended to cover Manx. We continue to believe that there is a need for Jersey to ratify Part 2 of the charter for Jèrriais – this part of the Charter does not require the translation of States or Court proceedings into Jèrriais, and signing it would help to raise the status of the language.



prepared by L'Office du Jèrriais 2005



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