Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 03 November 2010

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 2.03pm in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies as above.

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 20 October 2010

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 20 October 2010

Mr B McCrea joined the meeting at 2.05pm

3. Matters Arising

(a) The Committee noted correspondence from Ms R McAuley regarding a school transfer issue..

(b) The Committee noted correspondence of 19 October 2010 from the Department of Education regarding information on non-permanent teaching and non-teaching staff.

(c) The Committee noted correspondence of 19 October 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for Finance and Personnel on monitoring of Departmental Post Project Evaluations.

Agreed – The Committee would write to the Department of Education to request an explanation for the delay in completing PPE’s.

(d) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 October 2010 from Strategic Planning inviting the Committee for a tour of the former Lisanelly Military Barracks regarding the proposed Lisanelly Shared Education Campus.

Agreed – The Committee would take a briefing in Parliament Buildings on the proposed Shared Education Campus.

(e) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 October 2010 from the Department of Education on the OFMDFM consultation on the Sustainable Development Strategy Implementation Plan.

(f) The Committee noted correspondence of 20 October 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for the OFMdFMenclosing a copy of the Report on the Commissioner for Older People Bill.

(g) The Committee noted correspondence of 26 October 2010 from the Department of Education on Rathbone – the Committee for Employment and Learning’s NEETs Inquiry.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to the Committee for Employment and Learning..

(h) The Committee noted correspondence of 26 October 2010 from the Department of Education on the forthcoming PEDU Review.

Agreed – The Committee would forward this correspondence to the Committee for Finance and Personnel and request that it seek the views of the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding the reasons for the delay the PEDU Review and when actual progress might be expected.

(i) The Committee noted correspondence of 28 June 2010 from Ms L Fawcett requesting an opportunity to brief the Committee on the primary school starting age.

Agreed – The Committee agreed to receive this briefing in November if possible.

(j) The Committee noted correspondence of 26 October 2010 from the Department of Education on Transfer 2011 Booklets.

(k) The Committee noted correspondence of 27 October 2010 from the Department of Education on Full Service Schools – Belfast Boys’ Model School.

(l) The Committee noted correspondence of 27 October from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding the Minister of Education’s correspondence of 4 October 2010 to the Chairperson of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Agreed – the Committee would inform the Department of Education that the Minister of Education’s letter of 4 October 2010 had been forwarded to the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure by the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

(m) The Committee noted correspondence of the 26 October 2010 from the Minister of Education confirming the availability of senior officials to participate in the Committee’s Early Years Event on 17 November 2010.

(n) The Committee noted correspondence of 27 October 2010 from the Department of Education on the Sure Start Programme.

(o) The Committee noted correspondence of 28 October 2010 from the Department of Education on criteria for determining capital projects to proceed in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

(p) The Committee noted correspondence of 21 October 2010 from the Western Education and Library Board on Minor Works 2010/11.

(q) The Committee noted correspondence of 25 October 2010 from the Belfast Education and Library Board on Minor Works 2010/11.

(r) The Committee noted correspondence of 1 November 2010 from Mrs L Saunders thanking the Committee for all the time and effort in relation to the queries she has raised on Data Security.

Agreed – The Committee would consider this correspondence again - in the context of its attachments - at its meeting on 10 November 2010.

(s) The Committee noted correspondence of 27 October 2010 from the Community Relations Council enclosing a copy of its response to OFMDFM’s Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration consultation.

(t) The Committee noted correspondence of 26 October 2010 from the Belfast Education and Library Board regarding a school transfer issue..

Mr J O’Dowd joined the meeting at 2.11pm

4. Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted an invitation from Sesame Tree to the launch of the second series of Sesame Tree at Queen’s Film Theatre on 9 November 2010.

(b) The Committee noted an invitation from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Association for Infant Mental Health (NI) to attend the Second Knockbracken Infant Mental Health Conference at Knockbracken Hall on 18 November 2010.

(c) The Committee noted correspondence from Barnardo’s Northern Ireland enclosing a paper entitled ‘How and Why to Conduct a Review of Services Affecting Vulnerable Children in Northern Ireland’.

(d) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 21 October 2010 entitled ‘Minister launches Traveller Toy box Project DVD’.

(e) The Committee noted correspondence of 21 October 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for the OFMdFMon the Armed Forces and Veterans Bill.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the correspondence to the Department of Education for any comment it may have on the Bill.

(f) The Committee noted an invitation of 25 October 2010 from Participation Network to attend workshops entitled ‘Do you need to engage with children and young people’ in November and December 2010.

(g) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 26 October 2010 entitled ‘Educational underachievement has many causes – Ruane’.

(h)The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 26 October 2010 entitled ‘Education Minister welcomes pre-school research’.

(i) The Committee noted correspondence from Employers for Childcare on its Survey of childcare provision for children with disabilities or special needs.

(j) The Committee noted correspondence of 19 October 2010 from Mrs H Cole, Principle of Bready Jubilee Primary School on the WELB’s policy on concessionary transport and correspondence on the same subject from WELB to Mr B McCrea dated 1 November 2010.

Agreed – the Committee would forward both items of correspondence to the Department of Education and request a written briefing on school transport policy generally, in the context of the issues raised in this correspondence.

(k) The Committee noted correspondence of 26 October 2010 from the National Children’s Bureau requesting an invitation to the Committee’s Early Years Event on 17 November 2010.

Agreed – the Committee would invite a representative from the organisation to the Early Years Event.

(l) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 28 October 2010 entitled ‘Major North-South teacher conference opened in Belfast’

(m) The Committee noted a department of Education News Release of 1 November 2010 entitled ‘Keeping young people at the centre of our thinking – Ruane’.

(n) The Committee noted correspondence of 21 October 2010 from the Clerk to the Committee for the OFMdFMenclosing a copy of the draft Play and Leisure Implementation Plan.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department of Education for comment.

(o) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 2 November 2010 entitled ‘Education Minister hails new Belfast Model School for Girls’.

(p) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 3 November 2010 entitled ‘Community Relations, Equality and Diversity in Education’.

5. Any Other Business

The Chairperson raised the draft Terms of Reference for the Committee’s proposed Inquiry into ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Communities’ which had been tabled for Members’ consideration and comment and Members made a number of suggested amendments.

Agreed – The Clerk would bring back a revised draft Terms of Reference to the Committee meeting on 10 November 2010.

6. Departmental briefing on the Draft Statutory Rule - The Education (School Development Plans) Regulations (NI) 2010

Katrina Godfrey, Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards and Lisa Boal, Standards and Improvement Team joined the meeting at 2.32pm.

The witnesses provided a briefing on the draft Statutory Rule – The Education (School Development Plans) Regulations (NI) 2010 and answered Members’ questions on a number of issues including: the relationship between the four year appointment cycle for school governors and the School Development Plan cycle; whether Education and Library Boards and CCMS were adequately resourced to provide support to School Governors in development planning and whether the ETI Report commented on the level of support available to schools; whether the focus on the Department’s policy priorities left room for local school development priorities; whether sustainable development was a requirement in comparable arrangements in GB; the difficulties surrounding performance data ‘value added’ measures; the extent of the obligation on schools to publish and make accessible their School Development Plans and to address in Development Plans the monitoring of Equality, Community Relations and Diversity and community use of schools; whether school development planning would distract senior management teams in schools from more important duties; the adequacy of the training provided to School Governors in this area; the oversight of maintained schools development planning by both CCMS and the E&LBs and of other sectors by E&LBs.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education confirming a number of issues raised by Members that officials agreed they would consider in the DE Guidance on school development planning and report back to the Committee in due course.

Agreed – subject to the above, the Committee would notify the Department of Education that it had no comment on this proposed Statutory Rule.

7. Presentation on the Proposed Autism Bill

Dominic Bradley, MLA and Arlene Cassidy, All Party Group on Autism Secretariat joined the meeting at 3.20pm.

The witnesses provided a presentation on the proposed Autism Bill and answered members questions on a number of issues including; the consultation undertaken with the Department of Education, CCMS and other key education stakeholders; whether the proposed amendment to the DDA to include ‘social’ impairment would allow someone who was shy to raise a complaint of disability discrimination; whether the ASD ‘public servant’ awareness training required by the proposed Bill had been costed; whether legislation was required in the context of the DHSSPS and DE exsisiting Autism strategies, ETI’s positive Inspection Report on E&LB’s services and the non-legislative approach adopted in Wales; whether the Bill would give those with ASD and another condition an unfair advantage in terms of access to support over those who had the other condition but not ASD; the responses of DHSSPS and DE to the Bill; the All Party Group support for the Bill; when the first reading of the Bill would take place and which Committee would take the Committee Stage; whether the Bill had been discussed with Disability Action; how you deal with a condition which comprises a ‘spectrum’ of disabilities; whether the Bill should address the removal of obstacles (such as Data Protection) to the sharing of information between DHSSPS and DE.

Agreed – the Chairperson would speak on behalf of the Committee at the Bill’s Second Stage reading, but without prejudice to party spokespersons reflecting their party positions on the Bill.

Mr D Bradley left the meeting at 4.13pm

8. End of Session Report

The Committee considered a draft of the Committee’s End of Session Report for September 2009 - August 2010.

Agreed – the Committee agreed the draft of the End of Session Report and that it should be placed on the Committee’s wed page.

9. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted and the Forward Work Programme agreed on 20 October 2010.

The Clerk outlined the arrangements made, and to be made, in terms of invitees and panellists, for the Committee’s Early Years Event in the Great Hall on 17 November 2010 and would provide further detail at the Committee meeting on 10 November 2010.

Agreed – the Committee approved the arrangements outlined by the Clerk and that a brief speaking opportunity would be provided to each of the Parties’ Education Spokespersons.

10. Date of the next meeting

The next Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday 10 November 2010 at 2.00pm in Room 21, Parliament Building.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.19pm.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
10 November 2010

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