Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Venue: DRUMRAGH INTEGRATED COLLEGE OMAGH

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.50 am in public session.

1. Apologies

As above.

2. Presentation from Drumragh Integrated College on the Committee’s Inquiry – ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools in Disadvantaged Areas’.

Nigel Frith, Principal, Nicola Gormley, Learning Mentor, Geraldine McKenna, SENCO and Eric Bullick, Board of Governors joined the meeting at 10.52 am.

The witnesses provided a briefing on their school’s submission to the Committee’s Inquiry and answered questions on a number of issues including: the School’s ‘reward system’ and staff recruitment/selection procedure; classroom observation by the Principal, the dispute with NASUWT and the need for resolution; the nature and extent of disadvantage in the area; the extent of the benefits of schools collaborating to deliver the Entitlement Framework versus the benefits of more resources to deliver the Revised Curriculum; appropriate target setting and the need for an agreed tool to measure the value added by schools in broad terms; the value of a grade D at GCSE and the need educate public about its value; how the school engages with ‘hard to reach’ families, supports pupils from those familes and joined-up working between social services and education is in this area; how the school encourages pupils to become involved extra-curricular activities; the need for different sorts of intelligence, including emotional intelligence; pupils preferred learning methods in terms of inter- and intra-personal learning and how data on this assists in planning learning strategies.

Mr J O’Dowd joined the meeting at 11.06 am

The witnesses left the meeting at 11.52 am.

3. Minutes of the Meetings of 9 February 2011

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meetingof 9 February 2011.

4. Matters Arising

(a) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2011 from the Chairperson of the Committee for the Culture, Arts and Leisure on its Inquiry into particaption in sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Minister of Education.

5. Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 9 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister agrees closure of Bloomfield Collegiate Preparatory School’.

(b) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 10 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister attends opening of new Lisnagelvin Primary School’.

(c) The Committee noted correspondence from the NEELB on its Primary Integrating/Enriching Education Project.

(d) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2011 from the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister on the Sustainable Development Commission.

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

(e) The Committee noted correspondence of 9 February 2011 on behalf of Wheelock College, Boston requesting to visit Parliament Buildings and to meet informally with the Committee.

Agreed – the Committee agreed to facilitate this visit.

(f) The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 11 February 2011 entitled ‘Ruane – Children’s rights need to be recognised’.

(g) The Committee noted the Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus Newsletter of 1 June 2010.

6. Presentation from Castlederg High School on the Committee Inquiry – ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools in Disadvantaged Areas’.

Anne Moore, Acting Principal, Simon Mowbray, Acting Vice-Principal, Daphne Watt, Pastoral Coordinator and Sandra Cashel, SENCO joined the meeting at 11.57 am.

The witnesses provided a briefing on their school’s submission to the Committee’s Inquiry and answered questions on a number of issues including: whether, in light of the experience gained in developing the school since 1999, they would to do anything differently; the strategies used to address the issue of boys’ learning such as clearly defined success criteria, more active learning techniques, well-organised lessons, clear boundaries, systems of rewards and offering more vocational curriculum; evaluating the benefits of collaboration; mentoring; the weight and value attached to achievement at Grade D at GCSE and the need to educate the public/pupils as to its worth; competition between post-primary schools for pupils; how the school engages with pupils and their families; school leavers’ qualifications; key intervention/action to address boys’ underachievement, including changes in leadership and core values, changing staff attitudes, increasing expectations of pupil achievement; and the importance of an effective careers programme.

The witnesses left the meeting at 12.14 pm.

7. Presentation from Dean Maguirc College on the Committee’s Inquiry – ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools in Disadvantaged Areas’.

James Warnock, Principal, Marie Quinn, Vice-Principal, Adrain McGuckin, Curriculum Coordinator and Seamus Sheilds, Board of Governors joined the meeting at 12.15 pm.

The witnesses provided a briefing on their school’s submission to the Committee’s Inquiry and answered questions on a number of issues including; the profiling of pupils transferring from primary schools and the identification of their needs including cognitive ability testing; consistency of primary school Key Stage 2 assessments; tracking and whether individualised learning was the way forward; differences between the sexes in levels of achievement; the role of formal education in terms of desired outcomes; how the school engages the parents/guardians of underachieving pupils through EWOs and the school’s own Learning Guidance Team; and the School links with the community through sport.

The witnesses left the meeting at 1.28 pm.

8. Forward Work Programme

The Committee deferred consideration of the forward work programme.

9. Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 23 February 2011 commencing at 2.00 pm in the Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.30 pm.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
23 February 2011

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