Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Venue: The Senate Chamber

The meeting commenced at 11.05am in open session. 

Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

Chairpersons Business

Committee input on FOI matters during summer recess 

The Chairperson informed Members that it is normal practice for committees to delegate authority to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson during periods of recess to submit views on the releasing or withholding of information in any non-routine/contentious FoI requests received.  Members would be advised of any such requests, the views expressed by the Chairperson and/or Deputy Chairperson and the response issued by the FoI unit at the first meeting of the Committee in September.  In the previous mandate the Committee agreed to this delegation of authority. 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to continue this practice. 

Joint response from Committee for Education and the Committee for Employment and Learning to the Teacher Education Review 

Members noted the draft joint response from the Committee and the Employment and Learning Committee together with a letter from the Department of Education in relation to clarification the Committee sought on the evidence base for the Review. 

Agreed: The Committee considered the draft joint response and agreed to forward any comments to the Clerk by 15 June. A final draft, incorporating any amendments by the Employment and Learning Committee, would be placed before the Committee at its next meeting for approval.  

1. Draft Minutes of 6 June 2012 

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2012 were agreed by the Committee. 

2. Matters Arising  

2.1. The Committee noted correspondence dated 29 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the Protect Life Strategy.  

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Committee for Health as requested. 

2.2. The Committee noted correspondence dated 29 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding C2K provision to the nursery sector. 

Agreed: Following discussion the Committee agreed that the Clerk should request a copy of the presentation on IT Systems which was delivered at the CCEA conference held on Tuesday, 12 June 2012, for distribution to Members. 

Agreed: Following discussion the Committee agreed to write to the Department of Education seeking clarification as to which Departmental policy C2K is devised within.  

Agreed: The Committee agreed that a visit should be arranged to the Oliver Plunkett School to look at their use of Ipads in the future forward work plan. 

2.3. The Committee noted correspondence dated 30 May 2012 from the Department of Education, 22 May 2012 from Carrickfergus Borough Council, 21 May 2012 from BELB, 21 May 2012 from the SELB and 18 May 2012 from the WELB regarding the Viability Audit.   

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the Department of Education’s response to Carrickfergus College and Carrickfergus Borough Council as they originally raised the issue with the Committee concerning the leaking of information on the Viability Audit. 

11.13pm  Jonathan Craig joined the meeting 

Agreed: Following Discussion the Committee agreed to write to the NEELB asking for a response to the Committee’s original letter, and for comment on the correspondence received from the Department of Education. 

11.17pm  Brenda Hale joined the meeting 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to arrange a meeting with the Advisor (when appointed) to discuss this issue. 

2.4. The Committee noted correspondence dated 30 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the An Droichead funding dispute. 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) who had originally raised the matter with the Committee. 

2.5. The Committee noted correspondence dated 30 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the 2012-15 Education Budget and 8 June 2012 regarding ELB budget allocations. 

2.6. The Committee noted correspondence dated 6 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding Glenveagh School funding issues. 

3. Consideration of the Committee’s draft School Councils Inquiry Report

The Committee considered the draft Report section by section.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the papers included in the appendices should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Executive Summary, as drafted, should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Background, as drafted, should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Inquiry Aims, as drafted, should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Committee Approach, as drafted, should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Key Conclusions, as drafted, should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the recommendation on ‘Departmental Guidance’ should be amended to include reference to areas where there is an existing learning community.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the recommendation on ‘The Role of the School Governors’ should be amended to include ‘or appropriate mechanism put in place’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Recommendations, as amended, will be considered again next week.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that a text box should be added to the first page to explain what the pictures are.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the amendments made today should be incorporated into the final version of the draft Report and included in next week’s pack for agreement and sign off.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to launch the Report at an event on 12th September 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Speaker inviting him to attend the launch and address the audience.

4. Committee’s consideration of the draft response to the discussion paper on the Assembly’s contribution to the Northern Ireland Budget Process

Agreed: Following discussion, the Committee agreed to forward the response, as amended, to the discussion paper on the Assembly’s contribution to the Northern Ireland Budget Process to the Committee for Finance and Personnel.

5. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: Members noted the draft forward work programme and agreed to give further consideration to the meeting scheduled for 27 June 2012 at the next meeting of the Committee.

11.59pm  The Chairperson welcomed pupils from Coleraine Grammar School to the public gallery.

6. Ministerial briefing on SEN and Inclusion Review

The Minister for Education, Dorothy Angus, Director of Access, Inclusion and Well-being and Irene Murphy, Head of Special Education and Inclusion Review Team joined the meeting at 12 noon and provided the Committee with a briefing on the SEN and Inclusion Review.

The Minister addressed the issues which had been raised by the Committee.

The Chairperson expressed the Committee’s appreciation for the quality of the work carried out by Departmental Officials.

12.25pm Phil Flanagan left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to DEL enquiring if they had considered the possibility of extending a statement into a child’s higher education.

12.26pm The Minister and officials left the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Press Release be amended, circulated to Members for approval, then issued.

7. Any Other Business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a copy of the DEL Minister’s speech on NEETS and forward to DE for comment.

8. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 20 June 2012 at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.41pm.

Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
20 June 2012

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