Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Venue: The Senate Chamber
The meeting commenced at 10.31am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Members noted that the launch of the Schools Council Inquiry report, scheduled for June, is not an ideal time to invite pupils to attend events outside of school.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to postpone the event to launch the report until September 2012.
1. Ministerial briefing on the Special Educational Needs Review
Mr John O’Dowd, Minister for Education, Mrs Dorothy Angus, Director of Access, Inclusion and Wellbeing, and Mrs Irene Murphy, Head of the Special Education and Inclusion Review Team, joined the meeting at 10.34am and briefed the Committee on the Special Educational Needs Review.
Ms McIlveen joined the meeting at 10.35am
Mr Craig declared an interest in the issue as a member of the Board of Governors of Laurelhill Community College, Harmony Hill Primary School and Killowen Primary School.
Mr Storey declared an interest in the issue as a member of the Board of Governors of Model Primary School and Ballymoney High School.
The Minister agreed to make the proposals available on the Department’s website.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider the policy memorandum for the Review prior to summer recess and to revise the Committee’s Forward Work Programme to accommodate a further briefing from the Minister. The Committee also agreed that the Minister’s briefing paper to the Committee be circulated to stakeholder organisations, currently engaged with the Committee, for comment.
The Minister and officials left the meeting at 11.48am
Chairpersons Business (continued)
Members noted a proposed joint informal meeting with the Employment and Learning Committee, scheduled for Tuesday 29 May, 10.30am, on the Teacher Education Review.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to the meeting and that all relevant papers would be circulated to the members of both committees.
Members noted the round table event on 16 May at 2.00pm in Parliament Buildings. The Committee will meet with Asthma UK N.I., Diabetes UK and INTO to discuss the administration of medication to pupils in schools. Members also noted that Mr Conall McDevitt MLA will attend the event.
Agreed: In the absence of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, it was agreed that Mr Lunn chair the event on behalf of the Committee.
2. Departmental briefing on Early Years Strategy and update on the new directive from OFMDFM on the Sub-Committee for Children and Young People
Mr John McGrath, Deputy Secretary, Dr Marleen Collins, Education and Training Inspectorate, Mrs Cathy Galway, Head of Early Years Strategy Team, and Mr Bryan Laverty, Early Years Strategy Team, joined the meeting at 11.51am and briefed the Committee on the Early Years Strategy and provided an update on the new directive from OFMDFM on the Sub-Committee for Children and Young People.
Agreed: Officials to provide the Committee with a paper which explains the alignment between the issues raised in the ETI report 2008/10 (also include the most recent report) against the extra funding made available; how this will be used to address the problems highlighted.
Mr McKay left the meeting at 12.07pm.
Mr Kinahan left the meeting at 12.10pm.
Mr McKay returned to the meeting at 12.16pm.
Ms Boyle left the meeting at 12.20pm.
Mr Craig left the meeting at 12.21pm.
Ms Boyle re-joined the meeting at 12.24pm.
Mr Craig re-joined the meeting at 12.33pm.
Officials left the meeting at 12.34pm
3. Draft Minutes of 9 May 2012
The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 9 May 2012, subject to an agreed amendment.
4. Matters Arising
4.1 The Committee noted correspondence of 13 May 2012 from the Department of Education on the Equality of Funding Provision for Inset Training.
Agreed: Members agreed that the issue of funding of the CCEA and its overall expenditure needs further consideration by the Committee and noted that it is scheduled to receive a briefing on this matter 4 July 2012.
4.2 The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Education and Skills on border schools.
4.3 The Committee noted correspondence of 8 May 2012 from the Department of Education on the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee Review of Unsatisfactory Teaching Procedures.
4.4 The Committee noted correspondence of 8 May 2012 from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Review of 2013-14 and 2014-15 Budget Allocations.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department of Education requesting a copy of its forecast outturn information on a monthly basis, as provided to the Department of Finance and Personnel, and to request further information on the contingency fund referred to by the Minister. The Committee also agreed to request information on the provisional outturn as part of the Department’s briefing on 30 May 2012.
4.5 The Committee noted correspondence of 9 May 2012 from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure on briefings in relation to the Creative Industries.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department requesting that officials liaise directly with the CAL Committee on these briefings.
4.6 Members noted correspondence of 10 May 2012 from the Department of Education confirming the attendance of Mr Paul Sweeney at the briefing to the Committee on Health and Safety on School Transport, scheduled for 27 June 2012.
4.7 Members noted correspondence of 10 May 2012 from the Department of Education providing additional information requested during the Departmental briefing to the Committee on the Viability Audit.
4.8 Members noted correspondence of 10 May 2012 from the Department of Education on the Community use of schools.
Agreed: Members agreed to forward the correspondence to Mr David McNarry MLA for information.
4.9 The Committee noted correspondence of 11 May 2012 from the OFMdFM Committee on proposals to legislate to reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Minister for Education to respond and to request a copy of his response.
5.1 The Committee noted correspondence from the Bytes Project, dated 4 May 2012, and the Simon Community, dated 8 May 2012, requesting to meet with the Committee.
Agreed: Members agreed to inform the Clerk, following the meeting, of their intention to meet informally with the Simon Community. Members agreed to write to the Simon Community suggesting that they contact the Committee for Employment and Learning requesting to meet with them. Members also agreed to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Employment and Learning.
5.2 Members noted correspondence of 4 May 2012 from Strategic Planning inviting the Committee to a tour of Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus.
Agreed: Members agreed to write to Strategic Planning accepting the offer to tour the campus and to schedule the tour alongside the planned visit to Fermanagh Trust.
5.3 Members noted correspondence of 8 May 2012 from the Clerk to the Committee for the Environment in relation to an invitation to the Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill stakeholder event.
5.4 The Committee noted correspondence of 8 May 2012 from the Ulster Farmers Union to Jo-Anne Dobson MLA requesting the opportunity to meet with the Committee.
Agreed: Members agreed that a number of members may wish to meet informally with the UFU and also agreed that the UFU forms part of the Viability Audit event.
6. The Pre-School Education in Schools (Admissions Criteria) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012
The Committee considered an SL1 in relation to the Pre-School Education in Schools (Admissions Criteria) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012
Agreed: Members agreed to request a briefing from Departmental Officials on the proposed legislation at the meeting on 23 May 2012.
7. Forward Work Programme
Members considered and agreed the amended draft forward work programme.
8. Any Other Business
Member noted the process and draft terms of reference for a Special Adviser on the Viability Audit and agreed the terms of reference, remit and personal specification for the adviser, subject to an agreed amendment to include reference to border schools. Members also noted that Assembly Research and Information Service will provide information on suitable advisers at the meeting on 23 May 2012.
9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
Members noted that the event on the Administration of Medication in Schools will take place at 2.00pm on 16 May 2012.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 23 May 2012 at 10.30 am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.51pm.
Mervyn Storey MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Education
23 May 2012