MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FORTY SIXTH MEETING OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS ON THURSDAY 3 MAY 2001
Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr T Gallagher
Mr O Gibson
Mrs P Lewsley
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson
Mr J Fee
Mr B McElduff
Mrs C Darrah
Mrs J McMurray
Miss J Adair
Ms C Angelone
The Committee met at 10.25 a.m. in private session.
1. Minutes of the Meeting of 26 April 2001
The minutes of the meeting of 26 April 2001 were agreed.
2. Matters arising from the Minutes of Proceedings
(i) Committee members noted the programme for the visit to Scotland on 9 - 11 May which had been circulated.
(ii) The Committee noted the draft Terms of Contract for a Specialist Adviser on the Review of Post-Primary Education and agreed arrangements for interviewing the potential candidates.
(iii) The Committee noted two responses from the Minister of Education regarding the Review of LMS Funding Formulae and agreed to write back seeking further clarification on a number of points. The Committee also resolvedto appoint a Specialist Adviser and instructed the Clerk to initiate the procedures.
(iv) The Committee noted that the Chairman had written to the Chairman of the Committee of the Centre regarding the Inquiry into the Appointment of a Children's Commissioner and the Minister of Education regarding the funding of Afterschools projects. The Committee instructed the Clerk to prepare a draft response on educational issues relevant to a Children's Commissioner for consideration at the meeting on 17 May.
(v) Members noted that the Minister of Education had indicated that consultation on the Review of School Information and Prospectuses would take place early in the new school year.
3. Discussion with officials from the Department of Education on a draft Strategic Plan for the Education Services (Public)
The Chairman welcomed Mr Jackson and Mrs Cunningham of the Corporate Services Division to discuss the draft of "Learning for Tomorrow's World: A Strategy for the Education and Development of Children and Young People". Mr Jackson briefed the Committee on the consultation exercise on the draft Strategic Plan. This was followed by a question and answer session. Key issues discussed included the background and purpose of the draft Strategic Plan, the issues covered in the responses from consultees, the need to set priorities which are measurable and can be evaluated, the identification of customers and key players and the evaluation of the previous Strategic Plan.
The Chairman thanked the officials for a useful discussion and they left the meeting. Members agreed to submit their views/comments on the proposals to the Clerk by Monday 14 May for inclusion in a draft Committee response.
4. Discussion with the Minister of Education on the Capital Building Programme 2001/02
The Chairman welcomed the Minister of Education and his officials Mr McCormick, Mr Whitten and Dr Livingstone to the meeting to discuss the Capital Building Programme 2001/02. Key issues covered included the decisions reached regarding schools to be funded by conventional means, the 3 projects due to receive funding from the Infrastructure Fund, the proposed PPP projects and the likely timescale and other possible methods which would reduce the backlog of Capital Building projects.
The Chairman thanked Mr McCormick, Mr Whitten and Dr Livingstone for a useful discussion and they left the meeting.
5. Discussion with the Minister of Education on the proposed Statutory Rule on General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Constitution) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001
Mrs Bell left the meeting at 12.30 p.m.
Mrs Lewsley left at 12.35 p.m.
The Minister was joined by Mrs Ingram and Mr McGuigan of the Teachers and School Policy and Improvement Division to discuss the proposed Statutory Rule on General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Constitution) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 with the Committee. The Committee highlighted its concerns regarding the composition of the appointed members under Regulation 7(b). Other issues raised included the overall size of the Council, the need for it to be representative of a broad range of interests and the procedure for appointing the Registrar.
The Chairman thanked the Minister and his officials and they left the meeting.
The Committee went into private session.
Following a discussion, Mr Wilson proposed that the Committee should write to the Department of Education indicating that it did not believe its concerns had been addressed and therefore could not support the proposed Statutory Rule on the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Constitution) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001. The proposal was seconded by Mr Gibson.
Mr Robinson proposed an amendment that the Committee should write to the Department of Education suggesting that, to address members' concerns, Regulation 7(b) should be amended to enable 2 representatives to be appointed by the Association of Education and Library Boards and 2 by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools. To ensure teachers and principals continue to constitute the largest single group Regulation 5 should be amended to enable 2 additional teachers to be appointed. Mr Gallagher seconded the amendment. A vote was taken by the Committee on the amendment.
For the Amendment
Mr Kennedy (Chairman)
Against the Amendment
Mr Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
The amendment was adopted and became the proposal. The outcome of the vote on the proposal was:
For the Proposal
Mr Kennedy (Chairman)
Against the Proposal
Mr Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
6. Discussion of the Committee response on the Proposals for Standards for Pre-school Settings
The Committee discussed a draft response on the Proposals for Standards for Pre-school Settings and agreed that specific suggestions indicators and standards should be included for consideration at the next meeting.
7. Chairman's Business
(i) The Chairman informed members that the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment had invited members of the Committee to attend a presentation on the Social Economy to be held on Tuesday 15 May in the Long Gallery.
(ii) The Chairman advised members that the Committee of the Centre had copied information regarding a proposed Statutory Rule on the Departments (Transfer of Functions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2001 which would transfer a number of functions between different departments. The Committee noted the Statutory Rule and had no comments to make.
(iii) The Chairman reminded members that the closing date for oral questions to the Minister of Education was Tuesday 8 May.
8. Date of Next Meeting
The Committee will hold an evidence session on Thursday 10 May at 4.15 p.m. in Committee Room 1, the Scottish Parliament Buildings during the visit to Scotland. The next meeting of the Committee will be held in Parliament Buildings will be on Thursday 17 May at 10.15 a.m.
The meeting closed at 1.04 p.m.