Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 01 September 2010

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 2.10 pm in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies as above.

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 30 June 2010

Agreed –the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 30 June 2010

3. Matters Arising

(a) The Committee noted correspondence of 1 July 2010 from the Department of Education on community relations funding cuts.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the Department’s letter to Mr P Smyth, Director of Public Achievement for information.

(b) The Committee noted correspondence of 1 July 2010 from the Department of Education confirming there were no briefing paper or notes from the ‘Full Service Community Network’ presentation to the North South Ministerial Council Education Sectoral meeting on 23 June 2010.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Principal of Belfast Model School for Girls requesting copy speaking notes of his and colleagues’ presentation to the North South Ministerial Council meeting on 23 June 2010.

(c) The Committee noted correspondence of 2 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the Special Olympics Ulster.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure for information.

(d) The Committee noted correspondence of 2 July 2010 from the Principal of Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College enclosing copy correspondence to the Department of Education requesting a temporary variation in intake numbers for September 2010.

Agreed –the Committee would write to the Department asking to be copied in on the response to Mr Hyndman.

(e) The Committee noted correspondence of 2 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the outcome of the Capital Review of Education.

(f) The Committee noted correspondence of 1 July 2010 from the Education and Training Inspectorate providing additional information on the Professional Qualification for Headship and commenting on the appointment of effective school leaders.

(g) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 July 2010 from the Department of Education briefing the Committee on the Foundation Stage of the Revised Curriculum.

(h) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 July 2010 from the Department of Education responding to a statement by UNISON on some E&LBs’ decision to reduce the funding for SEN Summer Scheme provision.

Agreed -the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to UNISON for information.

(i) The Committee noted correspondence of 7 July 2010 from the Department of Education responding to the Committee’s request for a briefing on poor attendance at school.

(j) The Committee noted correspondence of 7 July 2010 from the Department of Education on Achieving Belfast/Achieving Derry-Bright Futures, the Review of Alternative Education Provision and the number of young people staying on in education beyond the age of 16.

(k) The Committee noted correspondence of 8 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the expansion of reception provision in the town of Antrim.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to Mr G Campbell, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of St Joseph’s Primary School for information.

(l) The Committee noted correspondence of 8 July 2010 from the Department of Education on nursery provision in the Upper Bann area.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to Alderman Stephen Moutray, MLA for information.

(m) The Committee noted correspondence of 8 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the availability of nursery provision in Belfast.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to Ms M Crilly for information.

(n) The Committee noted correspondence of 8 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the availability of nursery places.

(o) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 7 July 2010 from the Deputy Chair of Board of Governors of Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin to the Minister of Education regarding a new school build.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking to be copied in on the Minister’s response.

(p) The Committee noted correspondence of 8 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the provision of school meals.

(q) The Committee noted correspondence of 9 July 2010 from the Department of Education regarding CCEA staff 2009 pay increases.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to NIPSA for information.

(r) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 7 July 2010 from the Minister of Education to Mr D Bradley, MLA on the proposed major capital scheme for Carrick Primary School.

(s) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 8 July 2010 from the Minister of Education to Mr D Bradley, MLA on earmarked funding for the Curriculum Advisory and Support Services within the Education and Library Boards.

(t) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 9 July 2010 from the Minister of Education to Ms B McDade, Chairperson of Youthlink on the Community Relations Budget.

(u) The Committee noted correspondence of 15 July 2010 from the Department of Education on inescapable pressures in the context of the Education Budget 2010.

(v) The Committee noted correspondence of 14 July 2010 from the Minister of Education on the Early Years (0-6) Strategy.

(w) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 July 2010 from the Department of Education on the Early Years (0-6) Strategy.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department advising them that it will decide in early autumn how it will proceed with its scrutiny of the Early Years (0-6) Strategy.

(x) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 23 June 2010 from the Minister of Education to Ms K McGoldrick on the funding of Preparatory Departments of Grammar Schools.

(y) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 24 June 2010 from the Minister of Education to Mr R Faloon on the funding of Preparatory Departments of Grammar Schools.

(w) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 24 June 2010 from the Minister of Education to Ms M Estler on the funding of Preparatory Departments of Grammar Schools.

(aa) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 24 June 2010 from the Minister of Education to Mr M Forde on the funding of Preparatory Departments of Grammar Schools.

(bb) Thee Committee noted correspondence of 22 July 2010 from the Department of Education on funding for Summer Schemes for children with Special Educational Needs.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s letter to Mr S Hughes for information.

(cc) The Committee noted correspondence of 19 July 2010 from the Minister of Education to the Speaker of the House regarding the Public petition on the removal of funding for Summer Schemes for children with learning difficulties.

(dd) The Committee noted correspondence of 23 July 2010 regarding the closure of the ICAN Early Years Centre at Ballynahinch Primary School.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety for information.

(ee) The Committee noted correspondence of 22 July 2010 from the Department of Education on redundancy procedures in the education sector.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to the Rev B Kerr for information.

(ff) The Committee noted correspondence of 29 July 2010 from the Department of Education on Relationship and Sexuality Education.

Agreed – The Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to Love for Life.

(gg) The Committee noted correspondence of 29 July 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister enclosing a copy of the Integrated Education Fund Position paper entitled ‘‘There’s nothing progressive about spending money on segregated education’.

(hh) The Committee noted correspondence of 4 August 2010 from the Department of Education on the INTO and UTU campaign to reduce the average size of classes in our schools.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to INTO and UTU for information.

(ii) The Committee noted correspondence of 9 August 2010 from the Department of Education enclosing a copy of the Minister of Education’s response of 22 July 2010 to the Principal of Dromintee Primary School regarding a new school build.

Agreed – the Committee would write to Mrs McMahon advising her that the Committee had noted the Minister’s response of 22 July 2010 to her.

(jj) The Committee noted correspondence of 8 August 2010 from the Minister of Education regarding engagement on the Budget 2010 process over the summer period.

(kk) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 8 August 2010 from the Minister of Education to the Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Governors regarding Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin’s new school build.

(ll) The Committee for Education noted correspondence of 9 July 2010 from the Department of Education to the Principal of Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College regarding a temporary variation in intake numbers for September 2010.

(mm) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 6 July 2010 from the SEELB to St Patrick’s Academy regarding charging policy for pupils attending Ardmore Special School for assessment diagnosis.

(nn) The Committee noted correspondence of 16 August 2010 from the Department of Education enclosing a copy of a Report from the Working Group on the InCAS errors of October 2009, DE Action Plan and new arrangements for INCAS assessments in autumn 2010.

(oo) The Committee noted correspondence of 18 August 2010 from the Department of Education on the Transport Bill.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to the Committee for Regional Development for information.

(pp) The Committee noted correspondence of 19 August 2010 from the Department of Education regarding St Peters Primary School, Collegelands, minor works scheme.

(qq) The Committee noted correspondence of 19 and 20 August 2010 from the Minister of Education to Lady Sylvia Hermon, MP and Mr Peter Robinson, MLA on funding of Preparatory Departments of Grammar Schools.

(rr) The Committee noted correspondence of 23 August 2010 from the Department of Education regarding Love for Life funding from the SELB.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s response to Love for Life for information.

(ss) The Committee noted correspondence of 23 August 2010 from the Department of Education on the consultation on the draft Government STEM Strategy.

(tt) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 August 2010 from the Principal of Belfast Model School for Girls enclosing a copy of speaking notes from the presentation to the North South Ministerial Council on 23 June 2010.

(uu) The Committee noted correspondence of 5 July 2010 from Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council (NITC) and the note of the Chairperson’s meeting with representatives of NITC on 19 August 2010.

Agreed – the Committee would forward to NITC a copy of the Department’s Budget Briefing paper for the Committee’s meeting of 30 June 2010.

(vv) The Committee noted correspondence of 25 August 2010 from the Department of Education on the consultation response report on the proposed Autism Bill (NI).

Agreed – the Committee would forward this response to the All Party Assembly Group on Autism for information.

(ww) The Committee noted correspondence of 25 August 2010 from the Department of Education responding to the Integrated Education Fund’s (IEF) Position paper entitled ‘There’s nothing progressive about spending money on segregated education’

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s letter to IEF for information.

(xx) The Committee noted correspondence of 25 August 2010 from the Department of Education enclosing a response from the Minister of Education to the Chairperson of the Committee for Employment and Learning on Bus Passes.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Minister’s letter to the Committee for Employment and Learning.

(yy) The Committee noted correspondence of 26 August 2010 from the Chairperson of the Committee for Education to the Minister of Education on the marking of the A level Chemistry A2 paper.

(zz) The Committee noted correspondence of 31 August 2010 from the Department of Education on the Chemistry A level investigation.

(aaa) The Committee noted correspondence of 27 August 2010 from the Clerk to the Department of Education on the Education Budget 2010 – Spending Proposals.

4. Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 1 July 2010 entitled ‘Have your say on Lisanelly Shared Campus – Ruane’.

(b) The Committee noted a copy of the Staff Commission for Education and Library Boards’ Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010.

(c) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 30 June 2010 from Mencap to the SELB regarding cuts in its Summer Scheme provision.

(d) The Committee noted correspondence of 5 July 2010 from Ms K Magill, Chief Executive of the Federation of Passenger Transport NI Ltd regarding non-compliant transport operators carrying school children.

(e) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 30 June 2010 from the Principal of St Patrick’s Academy, Lisburn to the SEELB on the charges imposed for diagnostic assessment placements at Ardmore Special School.

Agreed –the Committee would write to SEELB asking to be copied in on its response to St Patrick’s Academy.

(f) The Committee noted correspondence of 5 July 2010 from Breathe Easy Causeway regarding the British Lung Foundation campaign to ban smoking in cars where children under the age of 18 are present.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the correspondence to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to ask if it is aware of any policy initiatives in this area.

(g) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 5 July 2010 entitled ‘Department of Education publishes new Transfer guidance’.

(h) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 July 2010 from the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) enclosing a copy of their position paper entitled ‘There’s nothing progressive about spending money on segregated education’.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the IEF Position paper to the Department for comment on the proposals.

(i) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 July 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for Regional Development regarding the Committee Stage of the Transport Bill.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Committee for Regional Development’s correspondence to the Department of Education for any views it may have on elements relating to education.

(j) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 8 July 2010 entitled ‘SureStart programmes support development of children’.

(k) The Committee noted a copy of the Participation Network Newsletter dated July 2010.

(l) The Committee noted a copy of the Children in Northern Ireland Newsletter dated July 2010.

(m) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 July 2010 from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) requesting a meeting with the Committee to discuss the findings of the NICCY consultation with P7 pupils on their experiences and views of the transfer process.

Agreed –the Committee would write to Ms Lewsley advising her that the Committee would consider this request at its meeting on the 1 or 8 September 2010.

(n) The Committee noted an invitation of 8 July 2010 to the Committee Chairperson from the Education and Training Inspectorate to attend the launch of the Chief Inspectors Report 2008-10 at the W5 Centre, Belfast on 13 October 2010.

(o) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 15 July 2010 entitled ‘Inspectors can be a very powerful catalyst for improvement’.

(p) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 July 2010 from Love for Life regarding the decision by the SELB to withdraw its funding to Love for Life.

Agreed – the Committee would forward Love for Life’s correspondence to the Department of Education for comment.

(q) The Committee noted correspondence of 2 July 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for Employment and Learning enclosing correspondence from his Chairperson to the Minister of Education on School Bus Passes.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the DEL Committee’s Chairperson’s correspondence to the Minister of Education.

(r) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 22 July 2010 entitled ‘International Psychology Conference welcomed to Stormont’.

(s) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 26 July 2010 entitled ‘Ruane approves amalgamation of two Downpatrick schools’.

(t) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 28 July 2010 entitled ‘Education Minister approves four new Irish-medium schools’.

(u) The Committee noted correspondence of 28 July 2010 from the Clerk to the OFMDFM Committee enclosing a copy of the Sustainable Development Implementation Plan consultation document.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the consultation document to the Department of Education for comment on the issues relating to education and where education may be providing an input in the future.

(v) The Committee noted correspondence of 28 July 2010 from the Clerk to the OFMDFM Committee enclosing a copy of the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration consultation document.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the consultation document to the Department of Education for comment on the issues relating to education and where education may be providing an input in the future.

(w) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 30 July 2010 entitled ‘Ruane welcomes Lesotho exchange students to South Down’.

(x) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 4 August 2010 entitled ‘Good quality youth work can have a significant impact on the lives of young people – Ruane’.

(y) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 4 August 2010 entitled ‘Minister views progress of sports hall’.

(z) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 4 August 2010 entitled ‘Appointment of members to the Education and Library Boards’.

(aa) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 5 August 2010 entitled ‘Millennium Volunteers’ Short Stories a hit with Education Minister’.

(bb) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 5 August 2010 entitled ‘Ruane announces £23million for schools’.

(cc) The Committee noted copy correspondence of 4 August 2010 from Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) to the Minister of Education regarding the Early Years (0-6) Strategy.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of CiNI’s correspondence to the Department of Education asking to be copied in on the Minister’s response.

(dd) The Committee noted an invitation of 5 August 2010 from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to attend a Chairman’s Reception at the Academy, University of Ulster, Belfast on 10 September 2010.

(ee) The Committee noted correspondence of 3 August 2010 enclosing a copy of the Youth Council for Northern Ireland Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010.

(ff) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 10 August 2010 entitled ‘Ministers urge students to act now for scholarship opportunities’.

(gg) The Committee noted an invitation of 10 August 2010 from Volunteer Now to attend the launch of a Research Report entitled ‘Youth Volunteering Making a Difference to Community Relations’ at Queens University on 16 September 2010.

(hh) The Committee noted a Department of Employment and Learning News Release of 12 August 2010 entitled ‘Higher education statistics published by Department of Employment and Learning’.

(ii) The Committee noted an invitation from the School of Law and the School of Education, Queens University to a Seminar on the findings of the project ‘Opting Out of Religious Education: The Views of Young People from Minority Belief Backgrounds’at Queens University on 17 September 2010.

(jj) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 19 August 2010 entitled ‘Ruane and Empey congratulate A and AS level students’.

(kk) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 August 2010 from NICVA requesting an opportunity to present to Committee on the Government’s current round of Comprehensive Spending Review 2011-15.

Agreed – the Committee would write to NICVA to advise that the Committee would consider this request further when the budget position becomes clearer.

(ll) The Committee noted correspondence of 23 August 2010 from CBI enclosing a copy of their Education and Skills Survey 2010.

(mm) The Committee noted correspondence of 23 August 2010 from the Department of Education enclosing a copy of the Minister of Education’s press statement entitled ‘Ruane orders Chemistry A level investigation’.

(nn) The Committee noted correspondence of 12 August 2010 from the Department of Justice enclosing a copy of the EQIA on proposals for a Justice Bill (NI).

Agreed –the Committee would forward the Department of Justice’s correspondence to the Department of Education for any views it may have on elements which may relate to education.

(oo) The Committee noted an invitation from the Federation of Small Business to a Silver Jubilee Dinner at the City Hall, Belfast on 7 October 2010.

(pp) The Committee noted an invitation of 25 August 2010 from NICCY to the launch of ‘Talking Transfer: Pupils’ perspectives of the Transfer process in 2010’ at Millennium House, Belfast on 28 September 2010.

(qq) The Committee noted an invitation from Mr Stanley Goudie, Chief Inspector of ETI to the launch of the Chief Inspector’s Report (2008-2010) at W5, the Odyssey on 13 October 2010.

(rr) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 31 August 2010 entitled ‘Schools Inspectors promote self-evaluation to raise standards’.

(ss) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 31 August 2010 entitled ‘Ofqual appointed to investigate Chemistry A level result’.

(tt) The Committee noted correspondence of 31 August 2010 from OFMDFM regarding its consultation on its Sustainable Development Implementation Plan and related ‘roadshows’.

5. Departmental Briefing on Budget 2010

John McGrath, Deputy Secretary, Mark McNaughten, newly appointed Director of Finance, Catherine Daly, outgoing Director of Finance, and Diarmuid McClean, Head of Investment and Infrastructure, joined the meeting at 2.48 pm.

The Chairperson thanked Catherine Daly for her assistance to the Committee over the years and wished her well for the future.

The officials provided a briefing on the Department’s Budget 2010 spending proposals and answered Members questions on a number of issues, including: the lack of prioritisation of the Department’s spending proposals in light of the Minister of Finance’s request that spending proposals be prioritised; how the Department defines ‘front line services’; the effect of the ‘two year public sector pay-freeze’; the period covered by the current teachers’ pay settlement; whether Resource Allocation Plans have been agreed with E&LBs; whether ‘ear-marked’ funding for literacy and numeracy support had been allocated to E&LBs; how the spending proposal entitled ‘reducing inequalities for children with SEN’ related to the spend on SEN & Inclusion capacity building; how the Department was working with PEDU; progress on the Convergence Delivery Plan and the ’vacancy control’policy within education, the ‘democratic deficit’ on E&LBs and why the SEELB was not reconstituted to allow democratic representatives to play a role in its governance once again; the effectiveness of various procurement mechanisms for capital works projects and how this affects categorisation as ‘resource’ or ‘capital’; the inclusion of resource and capital expenditure within PPP charges; flexibility in school building design to adapt to demographic changes; the relative cost of bespoke and standardised school design; the extension of free school meals eligibility criteria and whether there was a legal requirement to extend it; the number of and categories of employee redundancies upon which the Department’s redundancy spending proposals were premised; the impact of a 9% cut in capital in the NI Block capital expenditure on the Education capital budget in light of the Minister of Finance’s comment that approximately 80% of the available spend over the Budget 2010 period was already contractually committed; the criteria for selecting the 13/14 capital projects to be funded as announced by the Minister during the summer and the degree of angst which the lack of a clear explanation had caused among stakeholders; how DE will deal with schools which are in an extremely bad physical condition but which are not on the Investment Delivery Plan;

Miss McIlveen joined the meeting at 3.00 pm
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 3.35 pm
Mr McCallister left the meeting at 3.48 pm
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 3.50 pm
Mr Lunn left the meeting at 4.35 pm
Mr McCallister rejoined the meeting at 5.05 pm

Agreed – officials would provide the Committee with up to date baseline for 2010/11 across all spending streams (to include the spend via RAPs omitted from the briefing paper for the 30 June meeting and now agreed) so that the Committee could see clearly the foundation which the Budget 2010 ‘additional’ resource and ‘full amount’ capital spending proposals were building on.

Agreed – officials would provide the Committee with a briefing paper on the current and future status of pay settlements affecting teachers and the other main categories of education sector employees, in the context of the pay freeze.

Agreed– officials would provide the Committee with an update on the review stocktake/review being carried out in respect of the Middletown Centre for Autism.

Agreed– officials to provide the Committee with more information on the costs of the extension of free school meals eligibility and Departmental Administration ‘additional’ spending proposals.

Agreed– officials will provide the Committee with an update on the Convergence Delivery Plan savings.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and they left the meeting at 5.25 pm.

The Committee considered a draft letter to the Minister of Education regarding Budget 2010 and agreed that the Clerk would provide an amended draft for the Chairperson and Members approval.

6. Assembly Research – Paper on appointment of Specialist Budgetary Advisor

The Committee considered an Assembly Research Paper entitled ‘Specialist budgetary advice to the Committee for Education’ and received a short oral presentation on the paper. The Committee discussed the paper and the way forward.

The Committee considered a proposal from the Chairperson:

That the Committee proceed with the process to appoint a specialist budgetary advisor as outlined in the briefing paper subject to each Party represented on Committee having the opportunity to have one representative on the sub-group to make recommendations, for approval by Committee, on who should be appointed.

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 1;

AYES

NOES

Mervyn Storey

John O’Dowd

John McCallister

Basis McCrea

Michelle McIlveen

 
   
   
   
7. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted and agreedthe amended Forward Work Programme.

8. Date of the next meeting

The next Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday 8 September 2010 at 2.00pm in Room 21, Parliament Building

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 6.00 pm.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
8 September 2010

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