Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Friday, 05 October 2007
Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened at 10.39am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Minutes of the Meeting of 28 September 2007
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 28 September 2007.
3. Matters Arising from the Minutes
(a) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Mr B Haughan’s correspondence.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft letter to Mr Haughan.
(b) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the Prince’s Trust.
(c) The Committee noted the Department’s background note on Magilligan Field Centre.
(d) The Committee noted the response from CCMS regarding Mr G Strong’s correspondence.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft letter to the Department.
(e) The Committee noted the letter to Blackwater Integrated College.
(f) The Committee noted the report and associate correspondence on the ‘Northern Ireland Assembly Delegation to Washington – Autism’ by the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee.
(a) The Committee noted the invitation for the Chairperson to attend the Launch of the Northern Ireland Archaeology Forum and the related response.
(b) The Committee noted the invitation to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (NI) Seminar, ‘Training Teachers for the Dole’ on 7 November 2007 in Belfast.
Agreed – Members wishing to attend the seminar to notify the Clerk.
(c) The Committee noted the letter from the Principal of Arvalee School and Resource Centre regarding Lisanelly Barracks.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(d) The Committee noted the correspondence received regarding the ongoing Classroom Assistants’ Dispute and agreed a draft response.
Agreed – the Committee will write immediately to the Minister to urge that she uses her influence to ensure the dispute comes to an end as soon as possible.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to issue an associated press release.
(e) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from Wellness NI.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.
(f) The Committee noted the invitation from Tides Training to a conference on ‘Sharing the Future as an Inter-Cultural Society’ on 23 and 24 October 2007.
(g) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Headmaster of Strabane Grammar School.
Agreed – the Committee approved a letter to the Department for urgent comment.
(h) The Committee noted the information from the Education and Library Boards regarding a consultation event on the ‘Equality Impact Assessment – Registration and Grant Aid Scheme for Local Voluntary Youth Groups’.
(i) The Committee noted the Education and Library Board’s ‘Supplementary Report on the Screening of Policies April 2006 – March 2007’.
(j) The Committee noted the invitation to the meeting of the Joint Consultative Forum on 18 October 2007.
5. Subordinate Legislation
The Committee considered Statutory Rule 2007/402 The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Approval of Qualifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Question put and agreed:
That the Committee for Education has considered The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Approval of Qualifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 and has no objection to the rule.
6. Presentation by the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI)
The Deputy Chairperson declared an interest in that he is included on the Register of Teachers maintained by GTCNI. .
Sally McKee, Council Chairperson; Eddie McArdle, Registrar; Barney Ball, Registration Policy Manager; and Gerry Devlin, Senior Education Officer, GTCNI, joined the meeting at 10.54am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the role and functions of the organisation. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues, including: unqualified teachers; the number of teachers not in full time employment; a guaranteed teaching induction year; recognition of qualifications obtained from and time spent teaching outside Northern Ireland; and gender imbalance issues.
The witnesses agreed to provide the Committee with further information regarding gender issues, particularly: the potential impact of the lack of male role models in primary schools; and the discrepancy between the high proportion of female teachers and the under-representation of females at Principal and Vice-Principal level.
The Deputy Chairperson thanked the witnesses for a useful discussion and they left the meeting at 11.39am.
7. Departmental Briefing on Primary School Funding
Louise Warde Hunter, Head of Early Years, Youth and School Finance Division; Katrina Godfrey, Head of Raising Standards Division; Catherine Daly, Head of Finance Division; and Alastair McIlroy, Head of Schools Finance Branch, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 11.40am. The officials gave a presentation on Primary School Funding, after which they answered questions on a number of issues including: efficient targeting of resources; the need for a strategic vision for Primary School education; Pupil Teacher Ratios; the number of initiatives and source of additional monies provided alongside delegated budgets; and the need to reward success and share models of good practice.
The Committee noted the Department’s response to the Ulster Teachers’ Union’s letter of 1 August 2007.
The Deputy Chairperson thanked the officials for a useful discussion and they left the meeting at 12.26pm.
8. Departmental Briefing on the October Monitoring Round
Catherine Daly, Head of Finance Division; and Brian Morrow, Financial Planning Branch, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 12.27pm. The officials gave a short presentation on the overall budget position 2007 - 08 and the Department’s bids in the October Monitoring Round. The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: additional funds required for the settlement of the Classroom Assistants’ dispute; access to End Year Flexibility; and capital build projects and procurement.
The Deputy Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance and they left the meeting at 12.50pm.
9. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Friday 12 October 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.51pm.
Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education