Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 02 July 2001
Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr T Benson
Mr J Fee
Mr T Gallagher
Mr O Gibson
Ms P Lewsley
Mr B McElduff
Mr K Robinson
Mr G McHugh
Mrs G Ardis
Ms C Angelone
Mrs C Darrah
The Committee met at 11.38 a.m.
1. Presentation by Department of Education Officials
The Chairman welcomed Mr R Buchanan, Mr A Elliott, Mr L Ashe and Mr I Johnston from the Department of Education to the Committee meeting. They gave a presentation on the Department's draft New Targeting Social Need (TSN) Action Plan.
Mr B McElduff joined the meeting at 11.52 a.m.
The presentation was followed by a detailed question and answer session. The main issues covered included: -
(i) Concerns that the plan was targeting need on a geographic basis rather than on a people basis.
(ii) The linkage between the TSN Action Plan, the Department's Business/Strategic Plan and its Equality Scheme and the need to highlight these.
(iii) The lack of differentiation in the document between 'Old TSN' and 'New TSN'.
Mrs P Lewsley left the meeting at 11.58 a.m.
(iv) The continued use of 'Free School Meals' and Robson as indicators of social need.
Mrs E Bell left the meeting at 12.04 p.m.
(v) Resource issues including the level of funding required to implement the action plan and the "short termism"of some of the funding.
(vi) The need to define terms used in the document e.g. underachieving schools and low achieving schools.
At 12.13 p.m. Mr J Fee joined the meeting.
(vii) How the action plan will be implemented and how it will be monitored and evaluated.
(viii) The fact that Special Needs was not specifically covered in the Plan.
(ix) The welcome inclusion of the Youth Service in the Plan.
(x) Teacher training in literacy and numeracy and the provision of quality teachers should not just be an issue for low and under achieving schools.
(xi) The possibility of introducing a new TSN element into the criteria for Capital Building priorities.
At 12.33 p.m. Mr T Gallagher left the meeting, rejoining it at 12.35 p.m.
The Chairman thanked the officials for the presentation and they left the meeting.
Mr B McElduff left the meeting at 12.35 p.m.
The Chairman reminded members of the timescale for handling the Committee's response on this matter:
(i) Members will submit written views/comments on the draft New TSN Action Plan to the Committee Clerk by 12 noon on Wednesday 5 July.
(ii) The Clerk will provide a draft response by close of play on Wednesday 5 July.
(iii) Members will discuss the draft Committee response at the meeting on Thursday 6 July.
2. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 6 July 2000 at 10.30 a.m. in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
3. Any Other Business
(i) Copies of the Belfast Telegraph article concerning the public meeting on Thursday 22 June had been circulated. Following a short discussion the Committee agreed that no action should be taken.
(ii) The Chairman advised members that the Department of Education had provided copies of it's interim Business Plan and these had been circulated. The Department was preparing its Strategic Plan and would be consulting with the Committee on it in due course.
(iii) The Chairman informed members that representatives of the Campaign Against Selection (CAS) would be in the Great Hall at 1.30 p.m. to lobby for an end to the eleven plus and selection in education.
The meeting closed at 12.40 p.m.
MR DANNY KENNEDY