Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Friday, 25 January 2008
Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.40am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Minutes of the Meeting of 18 January 2008
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 18 January 2008.
3. Matters Arising from the Minutes
(a) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the level of realised savings under RPA in Education.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
(b) The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr C Doyle regarding the classroom assistants’ dispute.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response. The Committee will also write to the Department to request an update on payments to classroom assistants following the collective agreement.
(c) The Committee noted the response from the Minister regarding speed limits and traffic management at schools.
Agreed - the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Committee for Regional Development.
(d) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the regulatory powers of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
(e) The Committee noted the copy of the letter issued to the Western Education and Library Board (WELB), the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and copied to the Minister regarding the pre-consultations of post-primary education in Fermanagh.
(f) The Committee noted the letter from the Chairman of the WELB regarding the Controlled Schools Working Group’s role in the review of controlled/voluntary post-primary education in Fermanagh.
(g) The Committee noted the copy of the response from WELB to the Collegiate Grammar School, Enniskillen.
Agreed – the Committee will write to the Minster to request a timescale for the publication of the Department’s area-based planning policy.
(h) The Committee noted the correspondence from G Morrow (Gault).
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(i) The Committee noted the letter from IMPACT (Incensed Moat Parents Against Closure Threats).
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(a) The Committee noted the additional correspondence from Portstewart Vision.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.
(b) The Committee noted the letter to the Minister from the Chairperson of the Committee for Social Development.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department.
(c) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from the Principal of Creggan Primary School.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment on the points raised.
(d) The Committee noted the letter from Mr P Cupples regarding the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
Agreed – the Committee will request a copy of the response to the correspondence to the Minister and request clarification on a number of points.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 10.53am.
Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 10.54am.
(e) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) Implementation Team (ESAIT) advising of updates on the EASIT website.
Agreed – the Committee will write to the Chief Executive of the ESA to express concern at the level of work being progressed despite the absence of relevant legislation regarding the creation of the ESA.
(f) The Committee noted Mencap’s response to the draft Programme for Government 2008 – 11 and the draft Budget 2008 – 11.
(g) The Committee noted the Department’s consultation, ‘Every School a Good School – Policy Paper for Consultation.’
Agreed – To enable the Committee to provide an interim response to the consultation, Members will discuss the policy proposals with their respective parties for discussion in Committee on 29 February 2008.
(h) The Committee noted the correspondence and policy screening documents from the Youth Council for Northern Ireland.
Agreed – Members who wish to comment on the documents will contact the Clerk.
(i) The Committee noted correspondence from the Chairperson of the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding essential skills.
Agreed – the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson will meet with the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Committee for Employment and Learning to discuss matters that may be of interest to both Committees.
(j) The Committee noted the correspondence from Autism NI (PAPA) regarding the launch of the Autism Awareness Month and the launch of the All Party Assembly Group on Autism on 1 April 2008 in Parliament Buildings.
(k) The Committee noted three Departmental Press Releases: ‘ Ruane Congratulates Newry School on Reaching Milestone’; ‘Minister Launches New School Improvement Policy’; and ‘Minister Welcomes Launch of Irish Language Healthy Eating Resource’.
5. Presentation on the Voluntary and Statutory Youth Service
Barry Mulholland, Chief Executive, WELB; Mary Field, Assistant Director, Youthnet; David Guilfoyle, Chief Executive, Youth Council for Northern Ireland; and Sara McCartan, Chairperson, Northern Ireland Youth Forum, joined the meeting at 11.19am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the role of voluntary and statutory youth services, highlighting that the sector should remain within education and concerns with funding levels.
Miss McIlveen joined the meeting at 11.21am.
The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues, including: funding for youth services and the Budget 2008 – 2011; the need to enhance youth sector publicity and to seek alternative sources of funding; service delivery at local levels and support at a regional level; relationship between education and youth services and the future of youth services within the proposed ESA; and whether the responsibility for youth services should remain with education or be transferred to local councils.
Rt Hon J Donaldson joined the meeting at 11.34am
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.04pm.
Rt Hon J Donaldson left the meeting at 12.12pm.
Mr Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12.32pm.
The witnesses agreed to provide a written response outlining how they consider youth services should be structured within the ESA and how links can be maintained to ensure the delivery of services at local levels.
The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.35pm.
6. Draft Work Programme
The Committee noted the meeting with the Minister on Thursday 31 January 2008 to discuss transfer to post-primary education.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft press release for its visit to St Mary’s College, Creggan, on 8 February 2008.
Agreed – the Committee agreed the revised Work Programme up to and including 22 February 2008.
7. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 31 January 2008 at 10.00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.37pm.
Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education
1 February 2008