Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Friday, 26 October 2007

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.35am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 12 October 2007

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 12 October 2007.

Mr Storey joined the meeting at 10.37am.
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.37am.

3. Matters Arising from the Minutes

(a) The Committee noted the note of the informal meeting with representatives from Blackwater Integrated College on 12 October 2007.

(b) The Committee noted the note of the informal meeting with representatives from the Prince’s Trust on 12 October 2007.

(c) The Committee noted the note of the informal meeting with Departmental officials to discuss key RPA policy issues on 19 October 2007.

Agreed – Members will discuss key RPA policy issues with their respective parties by 9 November 2007.

(d) The Committee noted the response from the Principal of Sydenham Primary School.

Agreed – the Committee agreed to forward the letter to the Department for comment.

(e) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the cost implications over the next three school years of (1) the amalgamation of St Joseph’s Primary School, Aghohill, and St Patrick’s Primary School, Aughtercloney and (2) the approval of funding for 3 new Irish-Medium Primary Schools.

(f) The Committee noted that the negotiations in the Classroom Assistants dispute are scheduled to conclude on 30 October 2007.

Agreed – the Committee will write to the Minister regarding its concerns that proper contingency plans are in place in the event of strike action resuming, to allow children with special needs to attend their school and as necessary receive therapy.

The Committee expressed concern about the apparent level of misunderstanding regarding the offer that was available prior to the start of the recent negotiations.

Agreed – the Committee will invite the Minister and senior officials to an urgent informal closed meeting to discuss the dispute.

(g) The Committee noted the transcript of a radio interview by the Minister of Education on 23 October 2007 and recent press articles reflecting the Minister’s views on the future of the transfer system.

Agreed – the Committee will write to the Minister to express its disappointment at not receiving responses to previous Committee correspondence regarding the transfer issue and that it had not heard the Minister’s views directly. .

Agreed – the Committee will invite the Minister and senior officials to brief the Committee on this issue at its meeting on 16 November 2007.

The Committee held a discussion on the need to engage with the Minister on a more regular basis.

Agreed – the Committee will invite the Minister to attend a regular meeting on a 4 – 6 week basis. The Committee agreed that these meetings may be held on an alternative day that would suit the Minister, possibly Thursday afternoons.

The matter of holding the Committee meeting on a Friday was raised. The Committee may return to this issue at a later date.

4. Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted invitation from Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education to a public lecture, ‘The Role of Education in Promoting Equality and Social Cohesion’ by Trevor Phillips, in the Odyssey Pavilion on 21 November 2007.

(b) The Committee noted the Water Service Annual Report and Accounts 2006 – 07.

(c) The Committee noted the letter from the Forum of Nursery Teachers requesting an opportunity to meet with the Chairperson.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(d) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from the Principal of Carr’s Glen Primary School.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(e) The Committee noted the letter from Alderman David Simpson MP MLA requesting a meeting with concerned parents regarding Asperger’s Syndrome.

(f) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from the Headmaster of Rainey Endowed School.

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

(g) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from Mrs L Saunders.

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

(h) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from the Principal of Ballysillan Primary School.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(i) The Committee noted the Departmental Press Release, ‘Education Minister Approves Merger of Strabane Schools’. The Committee also noted the response from the Department on this matter.

(j) Agreed – the Committee approved a draft response to Mr Logan, Northern Ireland Association of Mental Health.

(k) Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to Anne Hegarty to congratulate her on attaining the Teaching Assistant of the Year award at the National Teaching Awards 2007.

(l) The Committee noted the invitation to the Northern Ireland International Horse Show in the Odyssey Arena on Friday 26 October 2007.

Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 10.58am. 
Mr Storey left the meeting at 10.59am.

5. Briefing by East Belfast Primary and Nursery School Principals’ Group

David Hutchinson, Elmgrove Primary School; Christine Harper, Greenwood Primary School; David Todd, Nettlefield Primary School; and Joe McGuinness, St Matthew’s Primary School, joined the meeting at 11.13am. The witnesses advise they were representing 16 East Belfast Primary and Nursery schools and provided the Committee with a detailed submission of their concerns – focusing primarily on inadequate funding of the Primary Sector. The witnesses outlined the main concerns of and issues for Primary and Nursery schools, after which they answered questions on a number of matters, including: the level of core funding; funding provided for numerous initiatives; planning, preparation and assessment time for teachers, particularly for Vice-Principals and Principals; the probability of increased delegation of budgets following the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority; funding for special educational needs and the revised curriculum; and the need for improved planning, particularly budget planning, at strategic levels.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.37pm.

Agreed – the Committee will forward the submission by the East Belfast Primary and Nursery Principals’ Group to the Department for comment.

Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 11.39am.
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 11.43am.
Ms O’Neill rejoined the meeting at 11.55am.
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.03pm.
Mr Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12.24pm.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 12.25pm.

6. Draft Work Programme

The Committee agreed its work programme up to and including Friday 23 November 2007.

7. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday 9 November 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.37pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more

Subscribe

Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up