Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Friday, 18 April 2008
Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.37am in public session.
There was one apology.
2. Minutes of the Meeting of 11 April 2008
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 11 April 2008.
3. Matters Arising
- The Committee noted the correspondence from the Association of Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards regarding services currently being delivered and procured jointly by the Education and Library Boards (ELBs).
- The Committee noted the Transferor Representatives’ Council’s (TRC) briefing paper, ‘TRC Concerns Regarding RPA Proposals for Governance of Controlled Schools.’
- The Committee noted the letter and attachments from Mrs Iris Robinson MP regarding the removal of TRC nomination rights to controlled schools Boards of Governors.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
- The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Whiteabbey Primary School.
- The Committee noted the response from the Southern Education and Library Board regarding the implementation of the job evaluation for classroom assistants.
- The Committee noted the response from the North Eastern Education and Library Board regarding Maghera High School.
Agreed – the Committee will write to the Department to ask for clarification on the position of school Development Proposals following the Minister’s announcement on 4 March 2008 on area-based planning arrangements; also to request the Terms of Reference for and membership of the area-based groups announced in the Assembly on 4 March 2008.
- The Committee noted the response from the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding Lisanelly Barracks, Omagh.
- The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the entitlement of ELB employees, who are also part-time emergency service personnel, to time off for essential training.
- The Committee noted the correspondence from the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.40am.
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 10.43am.
Mr McCrea rejoined the meeting at 10.44am.
- The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr B Hagan regarding Alta Systems.
- The Committee noted the correspondence from Ms M McCafferty regarding the Newstart Education Centre.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.
- The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety regarding the proposed Statutory Rule – The Care Tribunal (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008.
- The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Share My PC.
Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to Share My PC.
- The Committee noted the correspondence regarding Kylemore Nursery School regarding funding for the 2008-09 financial year.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment and ask when nursery schools will receive notification regarding their 2008-09 budgets.
- The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding training for teachers of the deaf.
Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to Ms N Murray.
- The Committee noted the response from the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding Musical Traditions in Ireland.
Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the response to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure.
- The Committee noted the correspondence from the Belfast Education and Library Board regarding the Tree of Knowledge.
- The Committee noted the invitation to the event, ‘North/South Co-operation in Education: What’s the Point?’ to be held in Armagh on 23 April 2008.
- The Committee noted five Departmental press releases: ‘ Shanmullagh Primary School to Close’; ‘Autism Professionals Gather in Dublin for Special North/South Conference’; ‘Good Governance Essential to Schools’; ‘Report Shows Benefits of Funding Package’; and ‘Decision on Future Status of Knockbreda Primary School.’
5. Presentation by the CCEA
Neil Anderson, Acting Chief Executive; and Anne Marie Duffy, Director of Operations, CCEA, joined the meeting at 10.49am.
The Chairperson declared an interest as a past-employee of CCEA.
The officials gave a presentation on the Enquiries about Results service and re-mark applications for the summer 2007 GCSE and A Level examinations, and answered questions on a number of issues, including: CCEA standards compared to other qualification bodies in the UK; the gradual increase in the number of enquiries over recent years; and the process of re-marking and costs involved.
The Chairperson thanked the officials for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.06am.
Ms O’Neill joined the meeting at 11.06am.
6. Presentation by Schrader Electronics Ltd
Stephen McClelland, Managing Director; Ailsa McNeill, Head of Human Resources; Michael Dawson, HR Development Manager; and Michael Quinn, Company Process Engineering Manager, Schrader Electronics Ltd, joined the meeting at 11.07am. The witnesses gave a presentation on recruitment issues and the decline in applicants with suitable engineering or technical skills. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues, including: the need to encourage pupils to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects; outreach work undertaken by Schrader Electronics Ltd with primary and post-primary schools, colleges and universities; the resources required for outreach programmes; the role of careers teachers and Schrader’s participation at careers events; the gender gap and the need to improve communication/raise awareness of the opportunities available in the fields of engineering and technology.
Agreed – the Committee noted that other Departments and agencies have a role in this matter, and will forward the submission from Schrader Electronics Ltd to the Committee for Employment and Learning for its consideration.
Mr Lunn left the meeting at 11.41am.
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 11.41am.
Mr McCrea rejoined the meeting at 11.44am.
Mr Lunn rejoined the meeting at 11.45am.
The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for a very interesting and informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.45am.
7. Presentation by the Education Task Force (ETF)
Dr Sam McGuinness, Principal, Limavady Grammar School; Dr Gordon Millington, Past President, Engineers Ireland; Professor Alistair Fee, Faulty Fellow, Stanford California (Visiting Professor, Marketing and Innovation, QUB); and Professor Emeritus Sir Bernard Crossland, Former Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, QUB, joined the meeting at 11.46am. The witnesses gave a presentation outlining the recommendations of the ETF report and answered questions on a number of issues, including: the need for education strategies to be structured to meet the needs of the economy, and reviewed regularly to respond to changing economic circumstances; the value of local learning partnerships; the importance of Further Education and the need to strengthen technical colleges; and the need to enthuse and excite children in primary and post-primary schools, with particular regard to STEM subjects.
Mr Lunn left the meeting at 12.08pm.
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 12.10pm.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 12.23pm.
The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for a very informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.23pm.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to table a motion on education and the needs of the economy for debate in the Assembly. The Committee asked the Clerk to draft a motion for consideration at its meeting on 25 April 2008.
8. Forward Work Programme
The Committee noted the request from the Governing Bodies Association (GBA) to give a presentation to the Committee on the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority.
Agreed – the Committee will invite the GBA to give a presentation at its meeting on 2 May 2008.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft work programme up to and including 23 May 2008, with one amendment.
9. Any Other Business
Agreed – the Committee will ask the Department to clarify when funding allocations for youth service and schools community relations support will be notified to the ELBs.
Agreed – the Committee will ask the ELBs to confirm when the outcome of the Equality Impact Assessment on Registration and Grant Aid Schemes for Local Voluntary Youth Groups will be made available to Boards, even in draft form, to assist in decision-making for youth service funding allocations.
10. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Friday 25 April 2008 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12 .31pm.
Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education
25 April 2008