Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Friday, 04 July 2008

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.03am in public session.

1.    Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2.    Minutes of the Meeting of 27 June 2008

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 27 June 2008.

Mr Bradley joined the meeting at 10.04am.

3.    Matters Arising

(a) The Chairperson informed the Committee that he had met with met with a delegation representing the South African Education Board on Friday 27 June 2008 during their visit to Parliament Buildings. The discussion with the delegation centred on curriculum assessment.

(b) Agreed – the Committee approved the draft letter to the Minister regarding follow-up actions arising from the debate in the Assembly on 1 July 2008 on the Committee’s motion, ‘Primary School Funding’.

Mr Poots joined the meeting at 10.06am.

(c) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarded Extended Schools funding for Moat Primary School, Lisnaskea.

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to the Moat Primary School.

(d) The Committee noted the response from CCMS regarding correspondence from St Patrick’s Primary School, Armagh.

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to the Principal of St Patrick’s Primary School, Armagh.

(e) The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr Alan O’Shea, Secretary to the St Comgall’s College Support Group.

(f) The Committee noted the copy correspondence from the Minister of Education to Ms L Grimley regarding free school meals and school uniforms.

(g) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Reading Recovery Funding.

(h) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding correspondence from the British Association for Early Childhood Education.

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to the British Association for Early Childhood Education.

(i) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the Committee’s request that a representative for Ulster Scots was included in the membership of the Review of Community Relations Working Group.

Mr McCausland expressed concern that an Ulster Scots representative will not be included in the Group, and that this may be a breach of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

(j) The Committee noted the correspondence from Together 4 All regarding The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Agreed – the Committee will ask the Department for a response to its previous correspondence of 20 May 2008, together with any additional comments the Department may wish to make on the most recent correspondence.

(k) The Committee noted a number of items of correspondence from parents of children in Ballywalter Primary School regarding underfunding in the Primary Sector

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the letter to the Minister (agreed at (b) above) to the correspondents.

(l) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding a forthcoming meeting between Departmental officials and the Principal of Towerview Primary School.

(m) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding correspondence from Kylemore Nursery School on Extended Schools funding.

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to the Principal of Kylemore Nursery School, together with Departmental correspondence of 18 & 25 June regarding Extended School funding.

(n) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the implementation of the Job Evaluation for classroom assistants in the Integrated sector.

4.    Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted the correspondence from Rascals Playstation regarding services for children and young people.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment on the issues raised.

(b) The Committee noted correspondence regarding the Primary Capital Action 08 Conference.

(c) The Committee noted the copy correspondence from WYG International regarding the Progress Programme.

(d) The Committee noted the invitation to the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group Summer Reception 2008.

(e) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Clerk to the Central Committee Office regarding Freedom of Information (FoI) delegated authority procedures.

Agreed – the Committee approved the arrangements for handling FoI requests during recess periods.

(f) The Committee noted the Equality Commission for NI’s Newsletter, Equality Focus for MLAs June/July 2008.

(g) The Committee noted the correspondence from Priory Integrated College, Holywood.

Agreed – the Committee will write to the Principal of Priory Integrated College regarding its Autumn Work Programme.

(h) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister regarding the Sustainable Development Strategy.

Agreed – the Committee will invite Department of Education officials to give a briefing on this subject at a later date.

(i) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Chairperson to the Committee for Employment and Learning to the Minister of Education regarding the University of the Third Age.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Minister.

(j) The Committee noted the copy correspondence from Newcastle Primary School to the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB).

Agreed – the Committee will ask the SEELB for a copy of its response to Newcastle Primary School. The Committee will also copy the correspondence to the Department for any comments on the points raised.

(k) The Committee noted the correspondence from T Bassett regarding annual pupil profile reports.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment on the general issues raised.

(l) The Committee noted four Departmental Press Releases: ‘Ruane Commends Schools Collaboration on Sports Facilities’; ‘St Frances de Salles Special School to Close and Special Unit to Open at St Teresa’s Primary School’; ‘Minister Turns Down Integrated Status for Donaghadee High School’; and ‘Irish-Medium Primary School to Close.’

5.    Departmental Briefing on RPA Policy Paper 22 – Area-Based Planning of the Education Estate

Eugene Rooney, Head of Development and Infrastructure Division; Chris Stewart, Head of Review of Public Administration Division; and Tom Flynn, Programme Delivery Support Unit, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 10.12am. The officials gave a presentation on the proposed future roles and responsibilities for the Department, the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) and the educational sectoral interests in area-based planning of the education estate.

Mr McCausland left the meeting at 10.15am. 
Mr McCausland rejoined the meeting at 10.16am.

The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: powers available under existing legislation to implement area-based planning; the need for formal structures to input at sub-regional levels; the role of local groups; Development Proposals and DE approval; consideration of community, cultural and social factors; learning communities and collaboration between schools and sectors; the establishment of a sectoral body to represent controlled schools’ interests; the continued ability of schools to transform to integrated status within the process; and the relationship between area-based planning and the Sustainable Schools policy.

Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 10.24am. 
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.32am. 
Mr McCausland left the meeting at 10.35am. 
Mr McCausland rejoined the meeting at 10.36am.

The Chairperson thanked the officials and they left the meeting at 11.22am.

6.    Forward Work Programme

Members discussed the issue of holding the Committee meeting on an alternative day following the Summer Recess.

Agreed – the Committee will meet on Wednesday mornings following the Summer Recess. This will be reviewed at the end of the Autumn Session if necessary.

Members considered the draft Work Programme for the Autumn Session.

Agreed – The Committee approved the draft Work Programme with amendments. Members will notify the Clerk of any additional proposed items of business for inclusion in the Committee’s Work Programme.

The meeting moved to closed session at 11.33am.

7.    Presentation by the Assembly Research & Library Service

The Committee’s Senior Researcher, Assembly Research & Library Service, joined the meeting at 11.34am.

Mr Poots left the meeting at 11.34am.

The Senior Researcher outlined the key points from the Research Paper, ‘Definition of Vocational Education and Training’ and answered members’ questions on the Paper.

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the Research Paper to the Committee for Employment and Learning.

Agreed – the Committee will consider the classification of ‘vocational’ and ‘academic’ education in more detail following the Summer Recess. The Senior Researcher will provide a more detailed paper focussing on the Entitlement Framework for discussion by the Committee.

The Chairperson thanked the Senior Researcher for an informative briefing which ended at 11.46am.

Mrs Bradley left the meeting at 11.39am.

8.    Committee Discussion on Transfer to Post-Primary Education

Members considered the draft note of the Committee’s discussions on transfer to post-primary education at its meetings on 20 and 27 June 2008 and the covering draft letter to the Minister.

Mrs Bradley rejoined the meeting at 11.48am. 
Mr McCausland left the meeting at 11.48am. 
Mr McCausland rejoined the meeting at 11.50am. 
Mr McCausland left the meeting at 12.05pm.

Agreed – the Committee agreed the draft note of the discussions and the draft letter to the Minister, with amendments.

Agreed - the Committee agreed to publish its letter on transfer to post-primary education to the Minister together with the notes of the discussions, the Party Papers and the submissions from Educational Stakeholders, on the Committee’s page of the Assembly website.

Agreed - the Committee will also publish its previous responses on a number of issues on the Assembly website.

9.    Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 10 September 2008 at 10.00am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.17pm.

Mr M Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education

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