Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Thursday, 31 January 2008
Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.04am in public session.
There were no apologies.
2. Discussion with the Minister of Education on Transfer to Post-Primary Education
The Minister of Education, Caitríona Ruane; Will Haire, Permanent Secretary; Dorothy Angus, Head of Equality, Inclusion & Pupil Support; and Paul Price, Head of Open Enrolment and Transfer Procedure Branch, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 10.04am. The Minister gave a statement seeking to explore with the Committee some of the questions being covered in the Minister’s discussions with stakeholders on the immediate question of transfer and admissions criteria for 2010, and the nature of the system in the long term.
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.18am.
Rt Hon J Donaldson joined the meeting at 10.20am.
The Minister was questioned on a range of matters including: how the Minister will proceed in the absence of consensus; the timescale for implementing the proposals; the cost of restructuring the schools estate; the use of the pupil profile in transfer at age 11 or age 14; funding for independent common entrance exams; and careers guidance in schools and early years policies.
The Minister and officials left the meeting at 11.04am.
Several Members expressed concern about a number of issues, including: the length of time afforded to the Committee for questions by the Minister, particularly following the Minister’s lengthy opening statement; the delay in responding to the Committee’s questions of 17 December 2007; and the working relationship of the Minister with the Committee.
Agreed - the Committee will consider how to proceed with its scrutiny of this matter at its meeting on 1 February 2008.
3. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Friday 1 February 2008 in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.24am.
Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education
8 February 2008