Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Friday, 21 September 2007
Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened at 10.35am in public session.
One apology was received as above.
2. Minutes of the Meeting of 14 September 2007
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 14 September 2007.
Mr Butler joined the meeting at 10.36am.
3. Matters Arising from the Minutes
(A) The Committee noted the information provided regarding the Informal Lunchtime Presentations scheduled for Tuesday 25 September 2007. Members indicated their availability to attend the event.
(B) The Committee noted the letter to the Minister of Education regarding the current difficulties with fumes at Anahorish Primary School in Toomebridge.
(C) The Committee noted the Department’s Briefing Paper, ‘Classroom Assistants’ Dispute’. The Committee also noted the letter from the Teachers from Kilronan School and the request from NIPSA for an opportunity to address the Committee.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response to the Teachers from Kilronan School.
Agreed – the Committee will invite NIPSA to give a presentation at its meeting on 28 September.
(A) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Currie Primary School.
(B) The Committee noted the contents of the letter to the Minister from J & C Cosgrove.
(C) The Committee noted the invitation from Tides Training to a conference on ‘Sharing the Future as an Inter-Cultural Society’ on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 October 2007.
(D) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from Girlguiding Ulster.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(E) The Committee noted the letter from Love for Life requesting an opportunity to meet with the Committee.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(F) The Committee noted the letter from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister regarding the Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy & Implementation Plan.
Agreed – the Committee will consider this issue with regard to the Department of Education’s role with sustainable action plans as part of its Forward Work Programme.
(G) The Committee noted a paper on the advance notification of the consultation on the Northern Ireland Network for Youth.
(H) The Committee noted three Departmental Press Releases: ‘Chief Inspector Calls for Increased Collaboration in Education’; ‘Ruane Tells Student Teachers They Can Shape the Lives of Young People’; and the ‘Media Invitation – Girls Model Full Service School’.
5. Draft Timetable and Outline Work Programme
The Committee agreed an outline draft work programme for the next three Committee meetings.
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.46am.
6. Departmental Briefing on the Review of Public Administration (RPA)
Dr Eddie Rooney, Deputy Secretary; and Chris Stewart, Head of RPA Division, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 11.46am. The officials gave a presentation outlining the proposed scope of the two forthcoming Education Reform Bills. The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: the timescale for the introduction of the first Bill; ownership of controlled schools; and school sectoral interests, including representation for the controlled schools’ sector.
Louise Warde Hunter, Head of Policy Research and Youth; and Cathy Galway, Youth and Community Relations, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 11.01am. The officials gave a presentation on the priorities for the provision of youth services within the ESA. The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: the link between youth services and formal education; partnership arrangements between the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) and providers of youth services at sub-regional and local levels; prioritisation of and funding for youth services within the Education Budget; how ESA will allocate funds to organisations at both regional and local levels; disaffected youth; the establishment of a sub-committee for youth work within ESA; and the administration post-RPA of the Lottery funding contributing to youth work.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Warde Hunter and Ms Galway and they left the meeting at 11.33am.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.23am.
Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 11.29am.
Rt Hon J Donaldson joined the meeting at 11.31am.
Katrina Godfrey, Head of Resource Allocation, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 11.34am and gave a presentation on school improvement and the duty on the Department to raise standards in schools. Ms Godfrey highlighted that a full briefing to the Committee on a draft policy paper on this area was planned for late October or early November 2007, and answered questions on a number of issues on school improvement, including: the increased responsibility for Boards of Governors; the ESA as a ‘friendly challenger’ of schools and the respective roles of the Department, the ESA and school Boards of Governors; the need to reward success; the level of ongoing support and training necessary to reflect the needs of individual schools, including special funding; performance measurement, the clarity of data and benchmarking; child protection; and the relationship between Targeting Social Needs (TSN) initiatives and schools, and society needs alongside pupil interests.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Godfrey and she left the meeting at 12.13pm.
Mr Butler left the meeting at 11.47am.
Mr Lunn left the meeting at 11.47am.
Mr Lunn rejoined the meeting at 11.54am.
Eugene Rooney, Head of Development and Infrastructure; and Tom Flynn, Programme Support, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 12.14pm. The officials gave a presentation on the planning and procurement of the schools’ estate within the RPA programme. The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: the role of ESA in area-based planning and the role of school sectoral interests; the use of the Club Bank by the integrated school sector, plans to extend the scheme to the Irish-Medium school sector, and the inclusion of Departmental funding in the Club Bank; the distribution and use of surplus funds and proceeds from the disposal of assets; and procurement issues, including framework agreements, and maintenance of the schools’ estate.
The Chairperson thanked Dr Rooney, Mr Stewart, Mr Rooney and Mr Flynn and they left the meeting at 1.10pm.
Mrs Bradley left the meeting at 12.35pm.
Mrs Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12.40pm.
7. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Friday 28 September 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.11pm.
Mr Sammy Wilson MP
Chairperson, Committee for Education
8 September 2007