MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIFTY FIFTH MEETING OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS ON THURSDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2001
Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr T Gallagher
Mr O Gibson
Mr T Hamilton
Mrs P Lewsley
Mr B McElduff
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson
Mr J Fee
Mrs C Darrah
Mrs V Artt
Ms J Adair
Mrs S Young
Ms J Massey
The Committee met at 10.20 a.m. in private session.
1. Minutes of the Meeting of 5 July 2001
The minutes of the meeting of 5 July 2001 were agreed.
2. Matters arising from the Minutes of Proceedings
(i) Copies of Committee responses agreed at the last meeting before the summer recess and papers received in the Committee office during July had been circulated to members for information.
(ii) Consultation documents on the Review of School Information and Prospectuses, recently published by the Department of Education had been circulated. The Committee would consider the matter in due course.
(iii) Copies of the reply from the Minister to the Committee's views on the draft Strategy document Learning for Tomorrow's World, and the Chairman's response had been circulated.
(iv) Copies of the Minister of Education's response to the Committee's initial views on the 2002/03 Budget Position had been circulated. Members noted that a briefing on further detailed budgetary information, provided by the Department, would take place on 27 September 2001.
3. Holy Cross Girl's Primary School, Belfast
The Chairman discussed the situation at Holy Cross Girl's Primary School, Belfast with the Committee. All members expressed their profound concern at the on-going impasse. The need for the school experience and environment for children to be a safe, secure and stable one and the right of every child to travel to and from school free from interference, abuse or obstruction were highlighted. The Committee unanimously agreed a press statement to be issued.
4. Chairman's Business
(i) The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, congratulated Mrs Eileen Bell on her appointment as Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party.
(ii) The Chairman advised members that he had received requests for meetings with Youthnet and the One World Centre for Northern Ireland. A request for a meeting from the 'Love for Life' project was also outstanding from June 2001. The Committee agreed that arrangements should be made for the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman to meet with the groups and other available members would attend.
(iii) The Chairman advised members that invitations to a Human Rights in Education conference and a Racial Equality in Education conference in October had been received from the Department of Education. The Committee agreed that those members who wished to take up the allocated places should inform the Clerk to enable the necessary arrangements to be made.
(iv) The Chairman informed members that, given the time required for the public session, he proposed to postpone the Agenda item on the Review of Post Primary Education. The Committee agreed that an extra meeting should be arranged for Tuesday 11 February 2001 to consider this item.
The meeting went into public session
Mrs Eileen Bell left the meeting at 11.45 a.m. and Mr Sammy Wilson joined the meeting at 11.50 a.m.
5. Discussion with the Council the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
Mr Sammy Wilson, Deputy Chairman, declared an interest, registering that he is a part-time employee of the CCEA.
The Chairman welcomed Dr A Lennon, Chairman, and Mr Gavin Boyd, Chief Executive of the CCEA to the meeting and thanked them for agreeing to attend to review the situation with regard to the mistakes in the results for the GCSE Home Economics Higher Tier. Mr Boyd tabled and spoke to an interim report outlining the results of the CCEA investigation to date. The following issues were covered in detail:
- The CCEA's Accountability.
- The process taken to investigate the issue of the incorrect grades.
- The Key Decisions taken by the Management Team on 21 August.
- Communications with schools, candidates, CCEA staff and the media.
- The volume of Assessments and Examinations handled by CCEA in 2001.
- The wider context.
- The main findings of the investigation
This was followed by a question and answer session during which Committee members voiced their concerns about various aspects of the issue.
The Chairman reiterated, on behalf of Committee members, their sympathy to the pupils and all others involved and thanked the CCEA representatives for the discussion. It was agreed that the investigation should be concluded expeditiously and copies of the final report would be sent to the Committee as soon as possible.
The meeting returned to private session.
The Chairman left the meeting at 12.15 p.m. and the Deputy Chairman took the Chair.
6. Discussion of the Draft Committee Work Programme
The Committee discussed and agreed a work programme for the Autumn session. Committee members also agreed that additional meetings should be arranged, when necessary, on Tuesday mornings to discuss and finalise the Committee report on the Review of Post Primary Education. Members noted the interest to date in the Committee Inquiry into Early Years Learning
Mr T Gallagher and Mr B McElduff left the meeting at 12.25 p.m.
7. Date and time of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Tuesday 11 September at 11. 00 a.m. in Room 152, Parliament Buildings. A meeting of the Committee will also take place on Thursday 13 September at 10.15 a.m. in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The meeting closed at 12.35 p.m.