Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Venue: Room 144, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.05am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 11 February 2009

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 11 February 2009.

Miss McIlveen joined the meeting at 10.07am

3. Matters Arising

(a) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2009 from the BE&LB requesting an extension to the deadline for submitting written evidence on the Education Bill.

Agreed – the Committee agreed the extension requested.

(b) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2009 from the Association of NIELB requesting an extension to the deadline for submitting written evidence on the Education Bill.

Agreed – the Committee agreed the extension requested.

(c) The Committee noted correspondence of 5 February 2009 from the Minister of Education responding to the Committee’s letter of 16 January 2009 on the timing of the announcement on Sustainable Schools Policy and receipt of late briefing papers.

(d) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2009 from St Comgall’s College Support Group.

(e) The Committee noted an invitation reminder from South Armagh Childcare Consortium to the launch of their research report on 19 February 2009.

Mr McCausland joined the meeting at 10.11am

(f) The Committee noted correspondence of 11 February 2009 from the Department of Education on the Outcomes of Autumn 2008 Consultation with Schools – Proposed Changes to the Common Funding Formula.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education to request officials provide a briefing on this.

(g) The Committee noted correspondence of 12 February 2009 from the Department of Education on the Completion of Post Project Evaluations.

(h) The Committee noted papers from the Committee Clerk on a meeting with Creative Youth Partnerships (CYP) hosted by the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure on 12 February 2009.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education to request a briefing note on the Department’s position regarding short-term or long-term financial support to CYP.

(i) The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister of Education confirming agreement to attend a Committee meeting to discuss the Sustainable Schools Policy.

Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.16am

(j) The Committee noted correspondence of 17 February 2009 from Mr Dominic Bradley MLA on Classroom Assistants in Grant Maintained Integrated and Voluntary Grammar Schools.

Agreed – The Committee would write to the Department of Education to request clarification regarding the position of these Classroom Assistants on a number of issues relating to the implementation of the job evaluation scheme.

Agreed – The Committee would write to the Department to request clarification on the position regarding additional funding for Classroom Assistants in Special Schools.

(k) The Committee noted correspondence of 17 February 2009 from the Department of Education on the position of the STEM Review.

(l) The Committee noted an Assembly Press Release entitled Assembly Committees Back Science and Technology for the Committee’s STEM event on 18 February 2009.

(m) The Committee considered draft correspondence to the Department of Education requesting a briefing from officials on pupil performance and attainment, particularly with respect to literacy and numeracy outcomes in Northern Ireland Schools.

Agreed - The Committee approved the draft and would write to the Department of Education accordingly.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 10.22 am

4. Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted an invitation from ‘Inside Government’ to attend a forum entitled ICT in Education: Shaping a New Generation in Learning on 18 June 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(b) The Committee noted an invitation to attend a conference entitled Education ‘09 – Building a Smarter Future on 21 May 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(c) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2009 from Autism NI requesting an informal meeting on behalf of Ms Wendy Lawson an advocate of people with ASD.

Agreed – the Committee agreed to meet informally with Autism NI and Ms Lawson after an All Party Autism Group meeting on 28 April 2009.

(d) The Committee noted a copy of correspondence of 7 February 2009 from a parent of a Primary 6 pupil to the Minister of Education on the transfer test.

(e) The Committee noted an invitation from Roe Valley Learning Community to attend a workshop entitled Every Child an Equal Child on 9 March 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(f) The Committee noted an invitation to attend a conference on ‘Tacking Alcohol Related Anti Social Behaviour’ on 23 April 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(g) The Committee discussed correspondence from ‘School Transfer Options for Pupils’ (STOP) provided at a meeting with the Chairperson of the Committee for Education on 16 February 2009, and of 5 February 2009 from the Principal of Dromara Primary School and former UTU President on transfer.

Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Education as reflected in summary below and to forward both items of correspondence to the Minister. The letter would request the Minister to reconsider the use of the CCEA test as an interim compromise arrangement – as clearly there is consensus across the board that an unregulated system of transfer is not the preferred option.

(h) The Committee noted a copy of correspondence from parents of pupils at Bunscoil Cholmcille, Derry to the Minister of Education regarding the unregulated transfer from primary to post primary school.

(i) The Committee noted an invitation from CCEA to the annual Score Concert by GCSE and GCE AS Level students at the Waterfront Hall on 27 February 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(j) The Committee noted the Winter 2008/2009 Quarterly Newssheet from Advice NI.

5. Subordinate Legislation

(a) The Committee considered The Special Educational Needs and Disability (General Qualifications Bodies) (Relevant Qualifications, Reasonable Steps and Physical Features) (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009.

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Education has considered The Special Educational Needs and Disability (General Qualifications Bodies) (Relevant Qualifications, Reasonable Steps and Physical Features) (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009 and has no objection to the rule.’

(b) The Committee considered The Education (1998 Order) (Commencement No. 6) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008 and raised a number of questions on this with officials.

Agreed - the Committee had no further issues to raise in relation to the Commencement Order.

6. Education Bill – legislation, secondary legislation powers & commencement provisions

Chris Stewart, Head of Review of Public Administration, Jeff Brown, Review of Public Administration and Eve Stewart, Review of Public Administration joined the meeting at 10.47am.

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 10.56am

The officials gave a presentation on commencement arrangements, powers to make subordinate legislation, and links to existing primary legislation on the Education Bil and answered questions from members on a number of issues including: the provisions of clause 50; whether the Department will consult with the Committee on the timing of the other provisions set out in clause 54(2); whether Orders subjects to negative resolution could be changed to be made subject to affirmative resolution; the areas of the Bill subject to amendment; which Orders are not subject to Assembly control procedures; explanation of the powers set out in clause 12; how similar the provisions are to those implementing RPA in, for example, Health & Social Care; the rationale for the power to ‘direct’ in the proposed clause 18A to be inserted in the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 2003 and the duties of Boards of Governors generally; whether other legislation affected by the Bill could be consolidated in the Bill and options for consolidation generally; the effect of the Bill on home schooling and independent schools.

Mr Bradley rejoined the meeting at 11.28am

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and the officials left the meeting at 11.43am.

7. Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered and agreed - the additions to the forward work programme for the Committee.

Agreed - to review the forward work programme in order to structure the consideration of the clauses of the Education Bill, including submissions from stakeholders.

8. Any Other Business

A Member raised concerns regarding the provision of speech and language services at Taughmonagh Primary School.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education to request clarification on their position on the provision of these services and in the context of SEN Review.

9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The Committee agreed that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday 25 February 2009 at 10.00am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.48am.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
25 February 2009

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