Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 09 February 2011

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 2.15 pm in public session.

1. Apologies

As above.

2. Minutes of the Meetings of 2 February 2011

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meetings of 2 February 2011.

3. Matters Arising

The Committee noted correspondence of 2 February 2011 from the Department of Education on issues raised by NAHT (NI) on the potential impact of the Budget 2010 exercise on school frontline services.
Agreed – the Committee would forward the response to Mr N Newman, President NAHT (NI) for information.

The Committee noted correspondence of 3 February 2011 from the Department of Education on the ‘NI Executive Economic Strategy, Consultation on Priorities for Sustainable Growth and Prosperity’ document.
Agreed – the Committee would forward the correspondence to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and express the Committee for Education’s support for the emphasis on STEM in the consultation document.

The Committee noted correspondence of 2 February 2011 from the Minister of Education on the exceptional closures of schools due to the recent snow and ice.

The Committee noted copy correspondence of 3 February 2011 from the Department of Education to Mr S Keys on the re-employment of retired teachers.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Education on 2010-11 February Monitoring.

The Committee noted correspondence of 4 February 2011 from the Public Accounts Committee acknowledging the Committee’s correspondence of 27 January 2011 regarding anonymous correspondence on alleged discrepancies and improprieties.

The Committee noted correspondence of 7 February 2011 from the Department of Education on Rural Education Issues.
Agreed – the Committee would forward the Department’s correspondence to Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development for information.

The Committee noted correspondence of 7 February 2011 from the Minister of Education on her decision not to reconstitute the SEELB.

4. Correspondence

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 2 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister opens Village Sure Start Centre’.

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 2 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister launches strategic forum’.

The Committee noted correspondence of 26 January 2011 from Business in the Community inclosing an Executive Summary on ‘An Independent Evaluation of Business in the Community’s Time to Read Pupil Mentoring Programme’.

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 3 February 2011 entitled ‘Transfer without testing is the future for children – Ruane’.

The Committee for Education noted the minutes of the Chairperson’s Liaison Group of 18 January 2011.

The Committee noted an invitation from the Community Relation Council and Heritage Fund to attend a seminar entitled ‘Remembering the Future’ on 21 March 2011 in Belfast City Hall.

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 4 February 2011 entitled ‘Minister approves changes to nursery provision’.

The Committee noted correspondence from Queens University, Belfast and Economic and Social Research Council enclosing their response to the Northern Ireland Draft Budget.

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 8 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister encourages young people to protect the environment’.

The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 8 February 2011 entitled ‘Ruane approves new nursery unit in Craigavon’.

5. Any Other Business

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee meet at 10.00am on Tuesday 15 February to consider a draft final response to the DFP Committee on the Draft Education Budget and that the Clerk update the Committee’s Interim Response to reflect Stakeholders’ views and Members questions/comments at the Draft Education Budget Stakeholder Event later in the meeting.

Agreed – The Committee would meet at 10.00am on Tuesday 15 February 2011 in Room 21 and the Clerk would circulate a draft Committee final response to Members for discussion at that meeting.

The Chairperson referred Members to the draft Committee response on the Department of Education’s Draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy previously circulated to Members. A Member expressed concern regarding the draft response.

Agreed – Members would forward to the Clerk any suggestions for amendments or additions to the draft Committee response and the Clerk would circulate these to all Members in advance of the Committee meeting on Tuesday 15 February 2011 at which the Committee would agree its response.

Mrs M O’Neill joined the meeting at 2.37 pm

6. Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered and agreed an amended forward work programme, including a proposed Inquiry evidence sessions with the Association of Chief Officers E&LBs and CCMS on 23 February 2011.

The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 2.39 pm to resume in the Long Gallery at 3.00 pm.

The meeting resumed at 3.04 pm in the Long Gallery.

Mr D Bradley, Mrs M Bradley, Mr J Craig and Mr B McCrea joined the meeting at 3.04 pm.

7. Key Education Stakeholder Evidence on Draft Education Budget 2011-2015

Representatives of the following organisations:

Association of Chief Executives of the Education and Library Boards
Council for Catholic Maintained Schools
Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education
Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta
General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland
Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment 
Governing Bodies Association 
Northern Ireland Voluntary Grammar Schools Bursars’ Association 
Association of School and College Leaders 
Northern Ireland Specialist Schools Principals’ Forum 
Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ Education Trade Union Group 
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action

made a series of short presentations to the Committee summarising their respective organisation’s views, issues and concerns on the Draft Education Budget 2011-2015 and answered Members questions on a number of issues, including: possible changes to the current arrangements for Local Management of Schools; arrangements for handling Special Educational Needs and Statements of SEN, the current Code of Practice and the Review of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion; changes to End Year Flexibility surpluses; impact of savings in School Transport budget; the costs of ESA; education staff pay cuts versus redundancies; the current Voluntary Severance Programme, estimated take up, costs, and impact on services and savings; proposed removal of DE reimbursement of substitute cover for Transfer Interviews with parents of P7 pupils; and alternative procurement options for new school buildings.

Mr T Lunn left the meeting at 5.00 pm

8. Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next Committee meeting will be on Tuesday 15 February 2011 at 10.00 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 5.27 pm.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
16 February 2011

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