MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIFTY THIRD MEETING OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS ON TUESDAY 28 JUNE 2001
Present:Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr O Gibson
Mr T Hamilton
Mrs P Lewsley
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson
Apologies:Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mr J Fee
Mr T Gallagher
Mr B McElduff
In Attendance:Mrs C Darrah
Mrs V Artt
Miss J Adair
Ms C Angelone
Ms A Montgomery (Assembly Research Directorate for item 6)
The Committee met at 10.30 a.m. in private session.
1. Minutes of the Meetings of 21 June 2001
The minutes of the meeting of 21 June 2001 were agreed.
2. Matters arising from the Minutes of Proceedings
(i) Copies of the Committee response on the proposed Review of School Information and Prospectuses had been circulated.
(ii)The Chairman reminded members to forward any views/comments on the 2002/03 Budget and Programme for Government to the Clerk by Monday 2 July for inclusion in the draft responses.
3. Chairman's Business
(ii) The Chairman informed the Committee that he and other members had met with representatives of the Northern Ireland Teachers' Council. The discussion had centred around their demand for an independent inquiry into pay levels for teachers and principals/vice-principals, salary structure, workload and conditions of service. Mr Gibson, Mr Hamilton and Mr Robinson declared an interest. Following a short discussion the Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Education expressing support for an independent inquiry.
(ii)The Chairman advised the Committee that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had indicated his approval of the technical aspects of Statutory Rule 236/2001: The Education (Pupil Records) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001.
(iii)The Chairman informed the Committee that it had come to light that the Department of Education had not yet issued the guidelines on Relationships and Sexuality Education to schools despite giving a commitment in a letter to the Committee that they would be issued after Easter. The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Education expressing concern and seeking clarification regarding the matter.
Mrs Lewsley joined the meeting at 10. 40 a.m.
(iv) The Chairman informed the Committee that the Minister of Education had replied confirming that primary legislation would be required to introduce a Common Funding Formula. Members noted that the Minister would provide a copy of the policy memorandum relating to the proposed Bill as soon as possible.
(v) The Committee noted that Mr Nigel Hamilton, Education Permanent Secretary, was due to move to the Department of Regional Development in July and agreed to invite him to the next meeting on 5 July.
(vi) The Chairman informed members that he had received an invitation from the Chief Executive and Chairman of Armagh City & District Council to hold a meeting of the Committee in Armagh. The Committee agreed that consideration of possible venues for meetings outside Parliament Buildings should be considered in conjunction with the work programme for the Autumn.
Mrs Bell joined the meeting at 11. 00 a.m.
4. Discussion of the 'Promoting Social Inclusion - Consultation on Future Priorities' document.
Research on links between education and social exclusion and the contribution of education to social inclusion was briefly discussed. The Committee agreed that further time was needed to consider the issues and resolved to provide an initial response to the consultation document emphasising that education issues must be a key future priority and seeking an extension to enable a more detailed response to be submitted in September.
5. Discussion of the Inquiry into Early Years Learning
The Committee agreed the terms of reference for the proposed inquiry into Early Years Learning. Arrangements for handling the inquiry and a timetable were also discussed and agreed.
5. Discussion with the Specialist Adviser on the Review of Post-Primary Education
The Chairman welcomed the Specialist Adviser on the Review of Post-Primary Education to the meeting. A lengthy and detailed discussion of the main issues for inclusion in the Committee response took place. The Committee agreed to continue the discussion at the next meeting when the Specialist Adviser would provide a summary position paper.
Mrs Lewsley left the meeting at 11. 55 a.m. and Mrs Bell left at 12. 40 p.m.
7. Date and time of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Thursday 5 July at 10.15. a.m.
The meeting closed at 1.05 p.m.