Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Venue: The Senate Chamber

The meeting commenced at 10.30 am in open session. 

Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Minister of Education plans to make an oral statement to the Assembly on Tuesday 17 January 2012 on the review of Pre-School Admissions Arrangements and that he and the Deputy Chairperson are to have a pre-brief at 9.30am that morning.

The Chairperson reminded the Members that the Minister is coming to Committee next week on the SEN Review and that he wishes to brief the Committee in closed session.

Agreed – the session with the Minister of Education on 18 January 2012 would be held in closed session.

The Chairperson outlined the planned visit to Bombardier scheduled for 28 March 2012.

Agreed – the Committee would not hold a formal meeting on the date of the visit but schedule a meeting on an alternative date if necessary.

Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

1. Draft Minutes of 14 December 2011 

The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 14 December 2011. 

2.    Matters Arising  

2.1. The Committee noted correspondence of 14 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the possible closure of Knockmore Primary School. 

2.2. The Committee noted copy correspondence of 14 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the Review of the Regulatory System for Qualifications in Northern Ireland. 

2.3. The Committee noted correspondence of 14 December 2011 from the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland regarding governor appointments to voluntary grammar schools. 

Mr D McNarry joined the meeting at 10.35 am 

2.4. The Committee noted correspondence of 15 December 2011 from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure enclosing correspondence from Sport NI regarding the dual usage of schools. 

Agreed – the Committee would write to the CAL Committee to thank it for keeping us informed, ask them to continue to do so and inform them of the Committee’s interest in this area;  

Agreed – the Committee would write to DE to request an update on its engagement with Sport NI and an update on the Minister’s response to the Report of the Working Group established by the Department to achieve greater community use of school premises. 

2.5. The Committee noted correspondence of 15 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the collective strategic planning of education provision on an area basis by the ELBs and CCMS. 

2.6. The Committee noted correspondence of 15 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding Early Years – School Starting Age including the adequacy of the data held in respect of pre-school age children.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to highlight the shortcomings referred to in the Department’s letter to the Committee dated 15 August 2011 regarding data held.

2.7. The Committee noted correspondence of 15 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding increases in pupil numbers. 

2.8. The Committee noted correspondence of 16 December 2011 from Mr J Nicholson regarding an unacknowledged error in the CCEA A Level mathematics paper.  

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the Department’s letter of 15 December 2011 (2.8 below) to Mr Nicholson. 

2.9. The Committee noted correspondence of 22 December 2011 from the Department of Education on an unacknowledged error in the CCEA A Level mathematics paper. 

Agreed – the Committee would await the outcome of the independent consultants’ investigations but would write to the Department to suggest that the investigations’ terms of reference should include the robustness of the procedures/processes as applied to this particular examination question. 

2.10. The Committee noted correspondence of 16 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the reconstitution of the SEELB. 

2.11. The Committee noted copy correspondence of 19 December 2011 from the Department of Education to the Chairperson of the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding Education Maintenance Allowance. 

2.12. The Committee noted correspondence of 19 December 2011from the Department of Education regarding Parent Teacher Associations.  

2.13. The Committee noted correspondence of 19 December 2011from the Minister for Education responding to issues raised by the UUP Foyle Constituency Association on area based planning and the entitlement framework. 

Agreed – Committee staff would check that the Committee had written to the Association for additional information. 

2.14. The Committee noted correspondence of 20 December 2011 regarding the unavailability of DE officials to brief the Committee for Employment and Learning. 

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of this letter to the Committee for Employment and Learning. 

2.15. The Committee noted correspondence of 20 December 2011 enclosing a copy of the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Activity Report for DE for December 2011. 

2.16. The Committee noted correspondence from the Minister for Education regarding his meeting with APTIS. 

2.17. The Committee noted correspondence of 20 December from the Department of Education regarding PEDU.

2.18. The Committee noted correspondence of 21 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding accommodation concerns.

2.19. The Committee noted correspondence of 20 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the Post 19 Lobby Group.

2.20. The Committee noted correspondence of 21 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the C2K System.

Agreed - the Committee would write to DE ask for its comments on C2K’s prices for hardware and software compared to market prices.

The Committee noted correspondence of 14 December 20111 from the Department of Education regarding the C2K System.

Agreed – the Committee would write to DE to ask for details of how broadband for all schools is to be enhanced.

The Committee noted correspondence of 13 December 2011 from NAHT regarding the clarification of information relating to the C2K filtering policy.

2.21. The Committee noted correspondence of 22 December 2011from the Department of Education enclosing a copy of the draft terms of reference for the Common Funding Scheme and copy correspondence to E&LBs and others requesting comments by 4 January 2012.

The Committee noted copy correspondence from INTO to the Department of Education requesting an extension of the deadline for comments on the draft terms of reference.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to ask whether it has received any other requests to extend the deadline, express concern in relation to the timing of this correspondence and request that the Department extend the deadline for comments by four weeks and, in due course, provide a summary and analysis of the comments which the Department receives.

Agreed – the Committee would inform INTO that it was writing to the Department in the terms outlined above.

2.22. The Committee noted correspondence of 22 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the sharing of information across the Education and Library Boards.

2.23. The Committee noted copy correspondence of 22 December 2011 from the Department of Education to the GBA regarding comments made by the deputy Permanent Secretary.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to ask whether the Deputy Secretary’s comments, as highlighted by the GBA, are consistent with the Department’s policy framework and the Minister’s Statement to the Assembly on 26 September 2012, and if so, to request that they be cross-referenced to the policy framework and Statement for the Committee.

2.24. The Committee noted correspondence of 16 December 2011 from Mrs M Moore in response to the Chairperson’s letter of congratulations on the award of a MBE.

2.25. The Committee noted correspondence of 15 December 2011 from the Chairman of the SEELB Commissioners regarding the timing of a decision on proposed school rationalisation.

3.    Correspondence

3.1. The Committee noted correspondence of 7 December 2011 from Basil McCrea, MLA regarding children that are too young for their year group.

Agreed – the Committee would forward copies of recent relevant correspondence with the Department on this issue to Mr McCrea.

3.2. The Committee noted copy correspondence of 14 December 2011 from St Mary’s, Limavady to the deputy Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education regarding the Aggregated School Budget.

3.3. The Committee noted correspondence of 22 December 2011 from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment regarding the draft NI Economic Strategy Comprehensive Action Plan.

Agreed – the Committee would provide the ETI Committee with a copy of the Committee’s response on the Draft Programme for Government.

3.4. The Committee noted correspondence of 2 January 2012 from Sandy Row Homework Project regarding funding.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department of Education and request that it or BELB evaluate the project as an option for DE in taking forward its response to Dawn Purvis’ Report and that DE or BELB liaise directly with the Homework Project in that regard.

Agreed – Members interested in visiting the Homework Project should let the Clerk know and a visit would be arranged for a non-Committee meeting day.

3.5. The Committee noted an invitation previously emailed to Members from the Children’s Law Centre to the ‘Road to Rights’ campaign launch in the Long Gallery on 20 March 2012.

3.6. The Committee noted the following Department of Employment and Learning News Releases previously emailed to Members:

  • Steps to Work Statistical Bulletin published;
  • Essential Skills enrolments statistical factsheet published;
  • Minister announces extension to the appointment of the Chair of the Governing Body of Stranmillis University College
  • Minister announces extension to the Board of Ulster Supported Employment Limited.

3.7. The Committee noted the following Department of Education News Releases previously emailed to Members:

Lisanelly Campus can represent shared education provision;

  • Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to ask what implications the Court of Appeal decision in the Loreto Convent case might have for any capital projects.
  • O’Dowd hails achievement of pupils at St Michaels’s;
  • St Vincent Centre development proposal turned down;
  • Area planning terms of reference published;
  • Entitlement Framework requirements signed into law;
  • Education Minister visits Derry schools;
  • Education Minister approves new part-time nursery unit at Orchard County Primary School, Portadown;
    The Committee welcomed this announcement.
  • Initiative brings sport to more primary school kids than ever.
    Agreed
    – the Committee would write to the Department of Education, in relation to its Department’s Curriculum Sports Programme, which funds sports coaches to work with children in local primary schools, to ask that consideration be given to providing funding for rugby coaching.
    Agreed
    – the Committee would write to the Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure requesting that it consider engaging with DCAL in support for funding for rugby coaching.

A Member drew the Committee’s attention to an OFMDFM News Release of 10 January 2012 in relation to the additional monies for schools.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education to request an urgent update (by 13 January 2012 if possible) on how the Department of Education, and other departments, proposed to engage with and inform the Education Committee and the Assembly on the detail and substance of this additional money for Education as well as the timing of any Ministerial Statement and to ask where the additional money has been found.

Agreed – the Committee would request that the Minister brief the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson on this development at their meeting on Tuesday 17 January 2012 or brief the Committee when he comes on 18 January 2012 if a written briefing is not available before then.

4. Committee consideration of information on the Inquiry into School Councils

The Chairperson updated the Committee on the Inquiry and the on-line survey sent to school principals on 9 January 2012.

Mr D McNarry left the meeting at 11.15 am

5. Committee consideration of Draft Programme Response to the Committee for OFMdFM

The Committee noted the following responses on the draft Programme from Government from the following stakeholders: Shared Education Learning Forum. NICCY, Integrated Education Fund, Stranmillis University College, University of Ulster – School of Education, Association of Teachers and Lectures, GTCNI, National Deaf Children’s’ Society, Education and Library Boards, Alternative Education Providers Forum, CCMS, Association of School and College Leaders, NIPSA, NICIE, NAHT and the TRC.

The Chairperson and the Clerk updated the Committee on the timetable and draft response and a Member proposed amendments.

Agreed – Committee Members would let the Clerk have comments and proposed amendments to the draft response by close of play Friday 13 January and the Clerk would circulate a revised draft (with amendments discussed during the meeting, and submitted  by Members, tracked) for discussion and approval at the meeting on 18 January 2012.

6. Full Service Community Schools – Briefing from Barnardo’s

Lynda Wilson, Director and Anne Dawson, Media and Communication manager joined the Committee at 11.18 am and provided the Committee with a briefing on full services schools and answered Members’ questions.

Mr D McNarry rejoined the meeting at 11.20 am

Agreed – Barnardo’s would provide the Committee with statistical evidence supporting the full service school model in the USA and elsewhere;

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Barnardo’s briefing paper to the Department for its comment on the issues raised;

Agreed – the Committee would request Assembly Research to provide a paper on similar initiatives and models in other jurisdictions, as well as examples of cross departmental funding initiatives and models which might be appropriate in this area.

A Member offered her congratulations to Margaret Kelly, who has left Barnardo’s to work for the Fostering Network, on her contribution to the Barnardo’s work.

Mrs J-A Dobson left the meeting at 11.55 am and rejoined it at 12.00 noon.

Mr T Lunn left the meeting at 12.00 noon

7. Literacy and Numeracy Taskforce Briefing on Report

Sir Robert Salisbury, Chairperson, along with Taskforce Members, Maire McGinn, Maureen Smyth and Andy McMorran, joined the Committee at 12.00 noon, provided the Committee with an oral briefing on the Taskforce’s Report 2010/11 and answered Members’ questions.

Mr D McNarry left the meeting at 12.02 pm and rejoined it at 12.10 pm

Miss M McIlveen left the meeting at 12.15 pm and rejoined it at 12.35 pm

Mr D McKay left the meeting at 12.52 pm

Mrs J-A Dobson left the meeting at 1.00 pm

8. Departmental response to the Literacy and Numeracy Taskforce Report

The Committee noted the Department’s written briefing paper and response to the Taskforce’s Report and apologised to officials present that there was not time to take the planned oral briefing on the Department’s response.

Agreed – the Committee Clerk would prepare an issues paper arising out of the Taskforce’s Report, the issues discussed by the Taskforce with Committee today and the Department’s written response to the Taskforce Report, circulate a draft of this paper to Members for comment and forward an agreed issues paper to the Department in due course for its response.

9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 18 January 2012 at 10.30 am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.10 pm.

Mervyn Storey MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Education

18 January 2012

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more

Subscribe

Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up