Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Friday, 08 February 2008

Venue: ST MARY'S COLLEGE, CREGGAN

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.38am in public session.

1.    Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2.    Minutes of the Meetings of 31 January 2008 and 1 February 2008

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meetings of 31 January 2008 and 1 February 2008.

3.    Matters Arising from the Minutes

(a) The Committee noted the response from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools regarding Crossroads Primary School, Kilrea.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation.

(b) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from the Western Education & Library Board (WELB) regarding the Pre-consultation on the Review of Controlled/Voluntary Post-Primary Education in Fermanagh.

(c) The Committee noted letter from Collegiate Grammar School regarding the Pre-consultation on the Review of Controlled/Voluntary Post-Primary Education in Fermanagh.

Agreed - the Committee will ask WELB for a copy of its response.

(d) Agreed - the Committee considered and approved the draft letter to the Speaker regarding its concerns about the Minister’s working relationship with the Committee. The Chairperson read Mr Butler and Ms O’Neill’s objections to the letter into the record.

(e) Agreed – the Committee approved the draft letter to the Minister together with the points for clarification regarding both her statement on Transfer and admissions criteria to the Committee on at its meeting on 31 January 2008 and the answers to the Committee’s December 2007 list of questions.

Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.56am.

4.    Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted the letter from the Principal of Ballymoney Model Primary School regarding primary school funding for Year 2 Classroom Assistants.

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

(b) The Committee noted the correspondence from Capita Conferences regarding the Northern Ireland Governance Conference in Belfast on 12 March 2008.

(c) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment regarding the Regional Innovation Strategy Draft Action Plan 2008 – 11.

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

(d) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from the Healthy Living Centres Regional Alliance.

Agreed - the Committee will invite representatives from the Healthy Living Centres Regional Alliance to an Informal Committee Reception in the Long Gallery on 18 February 2008.

(e) The Committee noted the letter from the Principal of Currie Primary School regarding the withdrawal of Interface Funding.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the letter to the Department for comment on the points raised and generic issues regarding funding schemes for schools.

(f) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from A Nicholson regarding the classroom assistants’ dispute.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the letter to the Department for comment and issue a reminder regarding an earlier request on the position regarding payments to classroom assistants. The Committee will also request an update on the Ministerial Review of the school workforce from the Department.

(g) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from Mr R Farrell regarding the Pre-consultation on the Review of Controlled/Voluntary Post-Primary Education in Fermanagh.

Agreed – the Committee will consider the points raised by Mr Farrell on receipt of WELB’s response to the Committee’s letter of 21 January 2008.

(h) The Committee noted the following Departmental Press Releases: ‘New Autism Centres for Western Board Primary Schools’; ‘Advice for Parents Following Transfer Procedure Test Results’; Chief Inspector Reports on the Arrangements for the Implementation of Revised Curriculum’; ‘Ruane Disappointed at Lost Opportunity’; ‘Education Minister Updates Teachers on Post-Primary Arrangements’; and ‘Our Education System Must Be Modernised – Ruane’.

5.    Presentation by the Western Education and Library Board (WELB)

Paddy Mackey, Senior Education Officer, WELB/SELB; Marian Boyle, Head of Curriculum Advisory Support Service; and Alison Smyth, Advisor, E2S Entitlement Framework, WELB, joined the meeting at 11.14am. The witnesses gave a presentation on education Learning Communities and collaboration within WELB area and answered questions on a number of issues, including: the level of participation of schools and the structure of learning communities; transport costs and health and safety implications; careers guidance in schools; and the co-ordination of support for principals and schools.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.56am.

6.    Presentation by the Roe Valley Learning Community (RVLC)

Glenn Reilly, Principal, Limavady High School and RVLC Secretary; Celine McKenna, Principal, St Mary’s Secondary School and Past RVLC Chairperson; Dr Sam McGuinness, Principal, Limavady Grammar and Past RVLC Chairperson; and Ann Sands, Principal, St Patrick’s College, Dungiven, joined the meeting at 11.56am. A short video, ‘The Student Voice’, was played to communicate the views on collaborative working of a cross section of young people within the RVLC. The witnesses then gave a presentation on collaboration in the RVLC and answered questions on a number of issues, including: allocation of funding for pupils doing courses at different schools; transport issues and costs; movement of teachers between schools; provision of a joint prospectus to prevent duplication; barriers to collaboration and the need for cross community support.

Mr Storey left the meeting at 12.39pm. 
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 12.40pm.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.41pm.

7.    Presentation by the Foyle Learning Community (FLC)

Ward Devine, Vice-Principal, St Cecelia’s College and FLC Vice Chair; Marie Lindsay, Principal, St Mary’s College; David Funston, Principal, Lisneal College; and Sharon Cassidy, Head of Key Stage 4, Belmont House School, joined the meeting at 12.42pm.

Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 12.42pm.

The witnesses gave a presentation on the development of and collaboration in the FLC and answered questions on a number of issues, including: the impact of transfer/transport time on the teaching and learning timetable; potential for the use of video conferencing technology; the need to engage the wider community; barriers to participation and timetabling arrangements; and the variation in standards and cultures at different schools.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 1.10pm.

8.    Forward Work Programme

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft Work Programme up to and including 7 March 2008.

9.    Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday 15 February 2008 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.11pm.

Mr Dominic Bradley
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for Education
15 February 2008

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