Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Friday, 22 June 2007

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.36am in public session.

1.    Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2.    Minutes of the Meeting of 15 June 2007

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 15 June 2007.

3.    Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

(a) The Committee noted letters from the following schools regarding primary school funding: 
Ballycarry Primary School
Towerview Primary School
Ashgrove Primary School
All Children’s Integrated Primary School
Whitehead Primary and Nursery Unit
Greenisland Primary School
Woodlawn Primary School

The Committee also noted the invitations for representatives from each school to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

(b) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health and the invitation for representatives to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

(c) The Committee noted the contents of the letter regarding Movilla High School, Newtownards.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the letter to the Department for comment.

(d) The Committee noted the letter from A J Stewart regarding primary school funding.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(e) The Committee noted the letter from Mr James H Allister QC MEP.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(f) The Committee noted the letter from Down High School regarding facilities at the school and the invitation for representatives from the school to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

(g) The Committee noted the letter regarding Maghaberry Primary School and the invitation for representatives from the school to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

(h) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from Suffolk Community Forum regarding Suffolk Primary School. The Committee also noted the invitation for representatives to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

(i) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Ballysally Primary School and the invitation for representatives to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

(j) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding The Armstrong Primary School and the invitation for representatives from the school to attend its Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

4.    Presentation by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO)

Ms Mary Cahillane, Chairperson; and Mr Frank Bunting, Northern Secretary, INTO, joined the meeting at 10.39am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for INTO with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: intermediate bodies between the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) and schools; the Scottish model of school management and funding, the McCrone Report and the Curran Report; schools rationalisations and redeployment of teachers across school sectors, including the role of CCMS; and the discrepancy in funding for primary and post-primary schools.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.09am.

Mr Lunn joined the meeting at 10.41am.
Mrs Bradley left the meeting at 11.09am.

5.    Presentation by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)

Mr Seamus Searson, Northern Ireland Organiser; Mr Arthur McGarrigle, Honorary Secretary; and Mr Willy Carville, National Executive Member, NASUWT, joined the meeting at 11.09am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for the NASUWT with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: alternatives to academic selection and the use of a ‘lottery’ admissions system for over-subscribed schools; the level of budgetary delegation to schools; the Social Partnership Model; the discrepancy in funding for primary and post-primary schools; the need to increase the number of primary school support staff to allow teachers to teach; and the possibility of strike action by both NASUWT and ATL members within the next 6 – 8 months.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.39am.

Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.24am.
Mrs Bradley rejoined the meeting at 11.31am.

6.    Presentation by the Ulster Teachers’ Union (UTU)

Mr Stanley Poots, President; Mrs Avril Hall-Callaghan, General Secretary; and Mrs Audrey Stewart, Central Executive Member, UTU, joined the meeting at 11.39am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for UTU with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: the costs of providing equitable funding to both primary and post-primary schools; the benefits of delegating a greater percentage of budgets to schools; the impact of smaller classes on the schools estate; and UTU’s position with regard to academic selection.

The witnesses agreed to write to the Committee regarding the impact the revised curriculum will have in practical financial terms, and the provisions made for this.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.10pm.

Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 11.57am.
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 11.59am.

7.    Presentation by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (NI) (ATL)

Mr Mark Langhammer, Director ATL NI; Mr Andy Brown, Incoming President; and Mrs Julie Thomas, Northern Ireland Branch Committee, ATL, joined the meeting at 12.11pm. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for ATL with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: school amalgamations and the need for an up-to-date building handbook; involvement of local government and communities in school estate area-based planning; transfer at age 14 and educational pathways; and the difference in funding for primary and post-primary schools.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.39pm.

8.    Presentation by the Transferors Representatives’ Council (TRC)

Rev Dr Lee Glenny, Methodist Church; Rev Ian Ellis, Church of Ireland; and Ref Robert Herron, Presbyterian Church, TRC, joined the meeting at 12.41pm. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for the TRC with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: representation for the controlled sector within ESA; discussions between the TRC and other school sectors regarding the future structure and provision of education; lack of direction regarding spiritual and moral needs within educational policies; representation of the TRC on the Boards of Governors for non-transferred schools in the controlled sector; and the delegation of budgets and schools autonomy.

The witnesses agreed to write to the Committee outlining how the TRC envisages the controlled sectors’ interest being represented within the ESA.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 1.14pm.

Ms O’Neill rejoined the meeting at 12.42pm.
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 1.14pm.

9.    Any Other Business

The Committee noted the Draft Updated Timetable of Meetings and Outline Work Programme for the remainder of this session. Members confirmed their availability to attend the Informal Reception in the Long Gallery on 2 July.

Agreed – that the Committee should consider convening a meeting in August. The Chairperson asked Members to indicate their availability to the Committee Office.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday, 29 June 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.16pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson MP
Chairperson, Committee for Education

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