Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Friday, 25 May 2007

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.31am in public session.

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.32am

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 18 May 2007

Agreed - the minutes of the meeting of 18 May 2007 should be amended to show when the Department had agreed to provide additional information or respond to queries raised during their discussion at the meeting.

3. Matters Arising

The Committee noted the additional declarations of interest provided in the meeting papers. Mr McCrea advised the Committee of an amendment to one of the interests he had previously declared.

4. Chairperson’s Business

(i) The Committee noted the Departmental Press Release ‘Revised Curriculum Will Raise School Standards – Ruane’. The Committee also noted the paper outlining the reassurances provided by the Minister in relation to the implementation of the revised curriculum and assessment arrangements at the Primary Principals Conference on 24 May 2007.

(ii) The Deputy Chairperson agreed to attend an event for senior education specialists from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday 30 May 2007.

(iii) The Committee noted the invitation to an informal lunch with the Minister and senior officials from the Department on Monday 25 June 2007 in the Long Gallery. The Chairperson asked Members to notify the Clerk if they are unable to attend this event.

(iv) The Chairperson referred Members to the Statutory Rule 2007 No. 288 Education (Prohibition from Teaching and Working with Children) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007. The Chairperson advised that the Rule had been made and would come into operation on 15 June 2006. The Committee expressed concern that the proposal to make the Rule had not been received in advance of the Rule being made, and therefore did not allow for meaningful policy scrutiny or consultation on this important issue. The Committee raised these concerns with the Minister when she joined the meeting.

Agreed - Officials from the Department should be invited to the meeting of 1 June 2007 to discuss the Rule in more detail.

5. Departmental Briefing

The Minister and her officials joined the meeting at 10.46am.

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister for Education, Catríona Ruane, Mr Will Haire, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, and Dr Eddie Rooney, Deputy Secretary, to the meeting.

The Minister made a statement on the implications of the Review of Public Administration (RPA) for education and the Transfer to Post-Primary Education. With regard to the Transfer test, the Minister confirmed that she is continuing to consult with a number of different bodies and considering the options available. The Minister advised the Committee that the decision on the way forward will not be rushed.

The Minister answered questions regarding the RPA, including the timescale for the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority, the continuing independence of the Education and Training Inspectorate, school autonomy at local levels and the predicted savings as a result of the implementation of RPA. The Minister undertook to provide the Committee with details of up-to-date estimated savings when the information is available. The Minister agreed that her officials provide the Committee with a synopsis of the responses to the consultation on RPA undertaken by the Department in November 2006.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister for her attendance at the meeting.

Mr Storey joined the meeting at 11.05am.
The Minister left the meeting at 11.15am.
Mr Chris Stewart, from the Department of Education, joined the meeting at 11.15am.

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Stewart to the meeting. Mr Haire, Dr Rooney and Mr Stewart gave a more in-depth presentation on the implications of RPA for education. The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including the initial budget deficit, the timing of the introduction of the necessary legislation, the 14 – 19 curriculum, the funding for each sector, the flexibility of budgets for schools, the role of school governors and the schools estate, local area planning and potential conflicts of interest. The Committee advised the officials that it was important that any policy proposals, options or decisions regarding these issues – particularly on the last item – are forwarded to the Committee at the earliest opportunity.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Rooney and Mr Stewart for their attendance at the meeting.

Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.43am.
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 11.57am.
Mr Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12.00pm.
Dr Rooney and Mr Stewart left the meeting at 12.12pm.
Dr Davison, Mrs Angus and Mr Price, from the Department of Education, joined the meeting at 12.12pm.

The Chairperson welcomed Dr Davison, Mrs Angus and Mr Price to the meeting. The officials gave a presentation on the Transfer to Post-Primary Education, following which they answered questions on timing constraints and pressures, the possibility of interim or transitional arrangements, the practical implications of transfer at age 14, unregulated testing and the possibility of local arrangements. The Department agreed to provide geographic data regarding pupils who do not sit the present 11-plus test.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance at the meeting.

The officials left the meeting at 12.46pm.

6. Correspondence.

The Committee considered a number of items of correspondence:

a) The Committee noted the letter from the Centre for Global Education outlining its remit and current activities.

b) The Committee noted the request for a meeting with representatives from Ballysally Primary School.

Agreed – The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

Agreed – The Committee will forward a copy of the letter to the Department for comment.

c) The Committee noted the letter from The Armstrong Primary School.

Agreed – The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

Agreed – The Committee will forward a copy of the letter to the Department for comment.

d) The Committee noted the invitation to the Belfast Education and Library Board’s annual conference. The Chairperson asked that Members wishing to attend the conference notify the Clerk.

e) The Committee noted the request for a meeting from the Chief Executive Officer of NIPPA.

Agreed – The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

f) The Committee noted the request for a meeting from the Chairperson of YouthNet.

Agreed – The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

g) The Committee noted the letter from Autism NI (PAPA) registering interest in making a presentation to the Committee for Education and the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. The Committee also noted the invitation to the Northern Ireland Launch of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership on 19 June 2007 in Parliament Buildings. The Chairperson asked Members wishing to attend to notify the Clerk.

h) The Committee noted the request to visit Tullycarnet Primary School.

Agreed – The Committee will consider visiting the school at a later date.

i) The Committee noted the request for a meeting from the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland and a recent report on a Survey of Teachers 2006.

Agreed- The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

j) The Committee noted the request for a meeting from Children in Northern Ireland.

Agreed – The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

k) The Committee noted the paper ‘The MLAs and The Education System’ by Education Reform 21.

l) The Committee noted the request for a meeting from Young Enterprise Northern Ireland.

Agreed – The Committee will consider inviting the group to attend an informal lunchtime meeting at a later date.

7. Any Other Business.

The Chairperson advised Members that a motion on Literacy and Numeracy is scheduled for debate in the Assembly on Tuesday 29 May 2007 from 12.10 – 1.00 pm and 2.00 – 2.40pm (indicative timings).

8. Date, time and place of next meeting.

The next meeting will be held on Friday, 1 June 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.51pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson MP
Chairperson, Committee for Education.
1 June 2007

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more

Subscribe

Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up