MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRTY FORTH MEETING OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS ON THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2001
Present: Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mr J Fee
Mr O Gibson
Mrs P Lewsley
Mr B McElduff
Apologies:Mrs E Bell
Mr T Gallagher
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson
In Attendance:Mrs C Darah
Mrs J McMurray
Miss J Adair
Ms C Angelone
The Committee met at 10.53 a.m. in private session.
1.Minutes of the Meeting of 18 January 2001
The minutes of the meeting of 18 January 2001 were agreed.
2.Matters Arising from the Minutes of proceedings
(i)The Committee agreed that the visit to Germany would take place from Tuesday 6 February to Friday 9 February and noted that the Clerk was preparing a draft programme. Travel plans and who will participate in the visit was discussed and the Clerk was instructed to clarify funding arrangements for party staff who accompanied members on visits.
(ii)The Committee requested a list of researchers and the specific research areas each covered.
3.Discussion with the Minister for Education on the Schools 2001/02 Capital Building Programme
Mr Wilson joined the meeting at 11.22 a.m.
The Chairman welcomed the Minister for Education and his officials, Mr Whitten, Mr McNally and Dr Livingstone, to the meeting. The Minister outlined the available funds for the Schools 2001/02 Capital Building Programme, the Capital Planning List and the contenders for the programme. A detailed discussion ensued covering the factors used to assess competing schemes, in particular, within Category 3; how these were considered; the role of the Education and Training Inspectorate; the priorities indicated by Education and Library Boards and CCMS; the need to have clear, quantifiable and transparent criteria; the link between the condition of school accommodation and pupil achievement and teacher morale; and the use of Private Finance Initiative Schemes in tackling the backlog of Capital Building projects.
The Chairman thanked the Minister and his officials for the detailed discussion and they left the meeting. The Committee agreed to submit views/comments to the Clerk for inclusion in a draft Committee response for consideration at the next meeting.
4.Matters Arising from the Minutes of Proceedings (continued)
(i)The Chairman had written to the Minister for Education seeking clarification on various matters regarding the review of the criteria for Irish-medium and Integrated schools.
(ii)The Chairman had written to the Management and Trade Union sides regarding the dispute involving term-time only staff.
(iii)The Chairman had written to the Minister for Education regarding the Review of School Performance Tables.
(iv)The Committee response to the Department of Education's revised proposals for the distribution of the additional money to schools had been circulated.
(v)A reconciliation of the Department of Education on the draft and final Education budget figures for 2001/02 had been circulated.
(vi)The Minister for Education had written seeking the Committee's views and comments on the Department of Education's draft Public Service Agreement. Members agreed to meet the Minister for Education and/or officials to discuss the issue.
(i)The Chairman advised members that arrangements had been made for him and the Deputy Chairman to meet with school principals from the Craigavon area to discuss the Dickson Plan system of post-primary education on Tuesday 30 January. He invited members to attend the meeting if available.
(ii)The Chairman reminded members that the closing date for tabling Oral Questions to the Minister for Education was Tuesday 30 January.
6.Committee Response on the Review of LMS Funding Formula
Members agreed that the Clerk would circulate the draft Committee response on the Review of LMS Funding Formula for comments/views.
7.Any other business
(i)The Clerk was asked to clarify the position with regard to party advisers/support staff attending closed meetings of the Committee.
8.Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Thursday 1 February 2001.
The meeting closed at 12.26 p.m.