MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRD MEETING OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN ROOM 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS ON TUESDAY 18 JUNE 2002
Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mr T Gallagher
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson
Mrs E Bell
Mr J Fee
Mr O Gibson
Mr T Hamilton
Mr A Maginness
Mr B McElduff
Ms S McClelland (Committee Clerk)
Mrs V Artt (Assistant Committee Clerk)
Ms M Austin (Assistant Committee Clerk)
Mr D Stevenson (Clerical Supervisor)
Miss N Finlay (Clerical Assistant)
Mr C Henderson (Clerical Assistant)
The Committee met at 12.55 p.m. in private session.
The Chairman informed the Committee of the death of the mother of Mrs Christine Darragh, Committee Clerk. Members agreed that a letter should be sent to Christine to offer their sincere condolences and agreed that, as a mark of respect, the meeting scheduled for Thursday 20 June 2002 in Rathgael House should be postponed until after the summer recess to allow members and staff to attend the funeral if they wished.
The Chairman welcomed Mrs S McClelland as Acting Clerk.
1. Minutes of the Meetings of 11 June and 13 June 2002
The minutes of the meeting of 11 June 2002 and 13 June 2002 were agreed.
2. Matters Arising
(i) A copy of a draft letter to the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment thanking them for attending the meeting on 11 June to discuss the proposals for the Review of the Curriculum and setting out a number of questions in relation to the Review had been circulated. The Committee agreed the content of the letter for issue.
3. Chairman's Business
(i) A copy of a response from the Minister of Education to the Committee's comments on the Household Response Form had been circulated for information. The Chairman informed members that households in certain postcode areas had not received their Household Response Form. The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to seek assurance that those households that had not already received the Household Response Form would do so in the very near future.
(ii) The Chairman advised members that a letter requesting a meeting with the Committee had been received from the Chest Heart and Stroke Association. The Committee agreed that arrangements should be made for an informal meeting with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman and any other members available to attend.
(iii) The Chairman informed members that a copy of a Public Petition regarding the reduction of funding to Hollybank School which was laid in the Assembly on 10 June by Mr Ken Robinson had been received. The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Education to ask for the reasons for the reduction in funding and to reinforce the need to increase core funding for schools.
4. Briefing by Representatives of the Youth Council for Northern Ireland - Public Session
The Chairman welcomed Ms Marie Young, Chairperson, Mr David Guilfoyle, Chief Executive, Mr Frank Murphy, Director of Finance, Policy and Research and Ms Clare Bradley, Administrator, Girl Guides Association, to the meeting to brief the Committee on the Youth Council's current financial situation.
The representatives outlined the main aims of the presentation, the role of the Youth Council and the core needs for Regional Voluntary Youth Organisations. A question and answer session covered a number of points including:
- the key factors impacting on children and young people at local level;
- the percentage of funding for the uniformed sector;
- the problems associated with performance measurement; and
- the need for infrastructure investment.
The Chairman thanked the representatives for a very informative and useful discussion and they left the meeting.
5. Briefing by Departmental officials on the Capital Allocation Process - Private Session
The Chairman welcomed Mr Nigel McCormick, Mr Paddy McNally, Mr Roy Newell and Mr Brian Miller to the meeting to brief the Committee on the Capital Allocation Process. The officials outlined the purpose of the Capital Programme - Process of Determining Allocations Guide and the roles and responsibilities of schools and the Minister of Education. A question and answer session covered the following areas:
- the assessment of schemes for inclusion on the Schools Capital Priorities Planning List;
- the prioritisation of schemes for inclusion on the next contenders list;
- the reasons for the clustering of PPP schemes;
- economic appraisals and relevant planning stages; and
- the possibility of bids under the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative: Short Term Actions becoming a third route to Capital Funding.
The Chairman thanked the representatives for a very informative briefing and advised them that the Committee would consider the Capital Programme - Process of Determining Allocations Guide and forward comments to the Department of Education in due course. The representatives informed the Committee that an earlier draft of the Guide had been sent to relevant bodies for comment and agreed to provide the Committee with copies of the responses.
6. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Committee was scheduled for Tuesday 25 June 2002 at 12.30 p.m. in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Committee was adjourned at 14.00 p.m.