Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 02 March 2011

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 2.12pm in public session.

1. Apologies

As above.

Mr O’Dowd joined the meeting at 2.14pm.

2. Minutes of the Meetings of 23 February 2011

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 23 February 2011.

3. Matters Arising

The Chairperson noted correspondence dated 21, 22 and 24 February 2011 from Lisa Saunders on C2K Review, presentation by DENI/C2K officials, ICT and education budget and data security. 
Agreed –the Committee would write to the Department, highlighting some of the issues raised.
Agreed – the Committee would write to Mrs Saunders on some issues and include a copy of its letter to the Department of Education for information.

The Committee noted correspondence of 25 February 2011 from the Department of Education acknowledging the Committee’s correspondence of 31 January 2011 on the Education Advisory Panel – Portfolio of Advice.

The Committee noted correspondence of 23 February 2011 from Mrs A Moore, Acting Principal, Castlederg High School on ‘differentiated’ teaching.

The Committee noted correspondence of 28 February 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the approach to provision for children with special educational needs adopted in Oxfordshire.

The Committee noted correspondence of 28 February 2011 from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the consultation on the Executive’s Draft Budget 2011-15.

The Committee noted correspondence of 24 February 2011 from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on its co-ordinated Report on the Executive’s Draft Budget 2011-15.

The Committee noted correspondence of 28 February 2011 from the Department of Education enclosing a copy of the final response from the Information Commissioners Office to the Department regarding a number of data protection/security issues.

The Committee noted correspondence of 2 March 2011 from Drumragh Integrated College regarding issues relating to the Committee’s Inquiry ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Communities’.

4. Correspondence

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 23 February 2011 entitled ‘Support your local school’.

The Committee noted correspondence of 21 February 2011 from Young Enterprise Northern Ireland commending the Committee for its Draft Education Budget 2011-15 Event held on 9 February 2011 and raising issues around funding.

The Committee noted correspondence of 25 February 2011 from the Joint Education Working Group of five Councils operating in SEELB area requesting to meet with the Committee regarding the lack of democratically elected representation on the SEELB and Convergence Programme Management Board.
Agreed – the Committee would forward copies of previous correspondence received by the Committee regarding the lack of democratically elected representation on the SEELB from the Department of Education and the Committee for OFMdFM to the Working Group for information.

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 25 February 2011 entitled ‘Young people can excel in IT – Ruane’.

The Committee noted correspondence of 27 February 2011 from Mr D Bradley, MLA on school transport issues.
Agreed – the Committee would forward the correspondence to the Department for comment on the specific issues raised.

The Committee noted correspondence of 1 March 2011 from Mr D Bradley, MLA regarding St Peter’s Primary School, Collegelands.

The Committee noted correspondence of 1 March 2011 from the Assembly’s Central Committee Office regarding the publication of Members’ attendance at Committee meetings for the current Assembly session.

5. Presentation from Assembly and Library Service on ‘Value Added Measure’ Paper.

A representative of Assembly Research and Library Services provided a briefing on ‘Value Added Measures’ and answered Members questions on some issues.

Agreed – Assembly Research would attempt to establish the number of schools in Northern Ireland currently using different systems of measuring value added.

Agreed – The Committee would forward the Research Paper to the Department of Education.

Ms M O’Neill joined the meeting at 2.21pm.

6. Departmental Briefing on the 2009 PISA Results.

Katrina Godfrey, Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, Chris Hughes, Head of Standards and Improvement Team and Karen McCullough, Head of Stastics and Research Team, joined the meeting at 2.24pm.

The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues relating to value added measures of pupil outcome including; an analysis of take up by Northern Ireland schools of these assessment tools; contextual value added measures and OECD has yet to agree a standard; links with InCAS; complexities of some commercial tests and the costs involved; the usefulness of tests for predicating examination outcomes. The Members were also provided with a detailed example of the MidYIS assessment tool.

The witness provided a briefing on the 2009 PISA results and answered questions on a number of issues including: PISA assessment not measuring pupils attainment in terms of participant nations’ individual curriculum; issues with PISA results, interpretation and usefulness; the level of individualised learning in Finland and, in particular, far eastern countries; PISA results and the value which some societies place on education; investment in early years; Scotland’s education system; how ‘added value’ is measured in Finland; non-selective education system’s performance.

7. Departmental Briefing on GCSE Results Grade D,etc

Katrina Godfrey, Chris Hughes and Karen McCullough were joined by Rodger McCune, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment at 3.40pm.

Miss M McIlveen left the meeting at 3.42pm.

The witnesses provided a briefing on GCSE grades and in particular how Grade D compares with A* to C, and answered questions on a number of issues including: the introduction of A* at GCSE; grade boundaries and the difference between ‘level 1’ and ‘level 2’ standards; difference in attainment at the grade C/D boundary; grade descriptors; local universities and the A* Grade at A level; Department of Employment and Learning input on qualifications.

The witnesses left the meeting at 4.18 pm

Ms M O’Neill left the meeting at 4.18pm.

Presentation from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) on the Committee Inquiry – ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Communities’.

Jim Clarke, Deputy Chief Executive, Terry Murphy, Senior Education Advisor (SEA), Paul O’Doherty, SEA and Sean Rafferty, EA, joined the meeting at 4.19 pm.

The witnesses provided a briefing on their submission to the Committee’s Inquiry and answered questions on a range of issues including: the principle of ‘proportionate universalism’; strong leadership within the school and links with the local community; the school to be the focal point within the community; the Entitlement Framework, grammar schools and take up of ‘applied’ subjects and parents’ wishes; the centrality of ‘Every School a Good School; A policy for school improvement’; policy disconnect between the Schools’ sector and Further Education sector; early intervention; the need to create high aspirations for pupils, parents views; CCMS view on unviable small sixth forms and small schools; issues from the NICCE Post-Primary Review; the need to review the LMS formula; the need to change the Sustainable Schools Strategy and whether school enrolment limits should be removed; the benefits of the Catholic Maintained schools links with local parishes and issues around larger schools; the need for stronger communication and collaboration with other education and business sectors; the impact on other school Sectors of the Maintained Sector Post-Primary Review and moving ahead independently.

Mr J O’Dowd left the meeting at 5.40pm.

The witnesses left the meeting at 5.45 pm.

8. Forward Work Programme

The Chairperson referred to the possible Executive Budget Statement on Friday 4 March and whether or not the Committee should request a Departmental briefing on the Draft Education Budget 2011-15 in light of this.

9. Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next Committee meeting will be held in the Room 21, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 9 March 2011 commencing at 2.00 pm.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 5.46 pm.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
9 March 2011

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