Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 June 2007

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.35am in public session.

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 8 June 2007

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 8 June 2007.

3. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

(a) The Committee noted the letter from Mitchell House School.

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response to the School Principal.

Agreed – the Committee will forward a copy of the letter to the Department for comment.

(b) The Chairperson reminded Members that the Northern Ireland Launch of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership will be held in the Long Gallery on Tuesday 19 June 2007. Members indicated their availability to attend.

(c) The Committee noted the contents of the letter from NIPPA and Save the Children regarding the evaluation of the Toybox project.

(d) The Chairperson reminded Members of the invitation to an informal lunch with the Minister and senior officials from the Department on Monday 25 June 2007 in the Long Gallery. Members indicated their availability to attend.

(e) The Chairperson reminded Members that the Committee will host an informal reception in the Long Gallery from 4.00pm to 6.00pm on Monday 2 July 2007. Members indicated their availability to attend the event.

Agreed – The Committee approved the draft invitation.

4. Presentation by the Governing Bodies Association (NI) Ltd

Rev Father Patrick Delargy, Chairman; Mr Finbar McCallion, Honorary Secretary; and Dr Wilfred Mulryne, Committee Member, from the Governing Bodies Association (GBA) joined the meeting at 10.41am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for the GBA with regard to the Review of Public Administration (RPA), the transfer procedure and the implementation of the recommendations from the Bain Report. The witnesses then answered questions on a range of issues including: the devolution of responsibility and budgets to schools and the impact on Boards of Governors; the role of the Education and Skills Authority (ESA); the use of the pupil profile for transfer to post-primary education and access to the pupil profile for the receiving school; the rational for the Entitlement Framework; the impact of local comprehensives on social mobility; and the impact of rationalisation and the maintenance of grammar school ethos. 
The witnesses agreed to write to the Committee outlining the GBA’s concerns regarding the number of subjects schools will be obliged to offer under the Entitlement Framework.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.24am.

Rt. Hon. J Donaldson joined the meeting at 11.00am.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.00am.
Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 11.10am.
Mrs Bradley left the meeting at 11.15am.
Mrs Bradley rejoined the meeting at 11.23am.

5. Presentation by the Association for Quality Education (AQE)

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Chairman, AQE; Mr William Young, Principal of Belfast Royal Academy; Mrs Annika Nestuis-Brown, Down Parents’ Group; and Mr Marcas Patterson, Concerned Parents for Education, joined the meeting at 11.26am. The witnesses gave a presentation on the issues for AQE with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a range of issues including: the devolution of power to schools and school sectoral interests; economies of scale in services provided by ESA; area-based planning; representation for the controlled sector in ESA; the use of Computer Adaptive Testing; the need for an urgent decision on the way forward with the transfer procedure and the importance of rigorous testing for a new system of transfer.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 12.12pm.

Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.59am.
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.08pm.
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 12.10pm.
Mr Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12.11pm.

6. Presentation by Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG)

Séan Ó Coinn, Chief Executive Officer; Pádraig Mac an tSaoir, Senior Education Officer; and Dr Micheál Ó Duibh, Senior Development Officer, CnaG, joined the meeting at 12.14pm. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for CnaG with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: teacher shortage in the Irish-medium sector and curriculum support; the sector’s impact on Department of Education policies; Irish-medium schools set-up threshold, collaborating with other schools and the impact of the Entitlement Framework; sharing premises with other schools; the review of Irish-medium education as recommended in the Bain report; and the impact that an Irish Language Act might have on Irish-medium education.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the useful discussion and they left the meeting at 12.53pm.

Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 12.20pm.
Rt. Hon. J Donaldson left the meeting at 12.30pm.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 12.46pm.
Mr Butler left the meeting at 12.53pm.

7. Presentation by Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE)

Mr Michael Wardlow, Chief Executive; Ms Roisin Marshal, Director of Integrating Education Project; Dr David Russell, Policy Officer; and Mrs Frances Donnelly, Senior Development Officer, NICIE, joined the meeting at 12.54pm. The witnesses gave a presentation on the key issues for NICIE with regard to RPA, the transfer procedure and the Bain Report. The witnesses answered questions on a number of issues including: area-based planning, community audits and informed parental choice; the ownership of schools and sectoral interests; and collaboration between different faith schools and integrated status philosophy. 
The witnesses also agreed to provide written responses on a number of issues, including: ‘A kite mark for sharing – a shared future accreditation scheme’ and teacher training; whether NICIE consider that schools are collaborating out of necessity or desire; and how area-based planning will impact on or influence existing integrated schools.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for the informative briefing and they left the meeting at 1.30pm.

Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 12.57pm.
Miss McIlveen left the meeting at 1.14pm.
Mr Lunn left the meeting at 1.15pm.
Miss McIlveen rejoined the meeting at 1.16pm.

8. Equality Impact Assessment – Registration and Grant Aid Scheme for Local Voluntary Youth Groups

The Committee noted the five Education and Library Boards’ consultation on the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment on the Registration and Grant Aid Scheme for Local Voluntary Youth Groups. The Chairperson asked that Members notify the Committee Office of any comments they may wish to make with regard to either this consultation, or the consultation on the Department of Education’s Draft Disability Action Plan referred to at the Committee’s meeting of 8 June 2007.

9. Any Other Business

Agreed – The Committee approved the Draft Updated Timetable of Meetings and Outline Work Programme.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday, 22 June 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.32pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson MP
Chairperson, Committee for Education

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