Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 07 December 2007

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.37am in public session.

1.    Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2.    Minutes of the Meeting of 30 November 2007

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 30 November 2007.

3.    Matters Arising from the Minutes

(A) The Committee noted papers provided by the Education and Library Boards in response to questions raised and information requested at the Committee’s meeting of 8 June 2007.

(B) The Committee noted the final response to the Committee of Finance and Personnel on the Draft Budget and the final response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on the Draft Programme for Government and the Draft Investment Strategy.

4.    Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted the invitation from the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation to its Northern Conference on 29 February 2008. 
Agreed – Members who propose to attend the event will notify the Clerk. 
(b) The Committee noted the letter from the Payments Council regarding the Consultation on National Payments Plan. 
(c) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Youth Justice Agency. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response. 
(d) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from Mrs S Shannon. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response. 
(e) The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr Rooney of ShareMyPC – Clever Computing Concepts. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response. 
(f) The Committee noted the Youth Council for Northern Ireland’s ‘Management Commentary and Financial Statements to 31 March 2006’. 
(g) The Committee noted the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland’s November 2007 e-newsletter, ‘Equality Focus for MLAs’. 
(h) The Committee noted the letter from the Minister for Employment and Learning regarding the extension of the regulatory powers of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in Northern Ireland. 
Agreed – the Committee will forward the letter to the Department for comment. 
(i) The Committee noted the letter from the Department of Employment and Learning advising that the consultation period for the Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Strategy had been extended to 28 December 2007. 
(j) The Committee noted the update on the Review of Public Administration Progress from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. 
(k) The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr C Doyle regarding the classroom assistants’ dispute. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response. 
(l) The Committee noted two Departmental Press Releases: ‘Minister Ruane Outlines Education Reforms’; and ‘Education has a Role in Raising Homelessness Awareness – Ruane’.

5.    Presentation by the Transferors’ Representatives Council (TRC)

Revd Dr Lee Glenny, Chairperson; Revd Robert Herron, Vice-Chairperson; Revd Ian Ellis, Secretary; and Beverley Jones, solicitor, TRC joined the meeting at 10.40am.

Mrs Bradley joined the meeting at 10.40am. 
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 10.42am.

The witnesses gave a presentation on school governance and accountability post-RPA reforms and answered questions on a number of issues, including: the removal of TRC nomination rights to school Boards of Governors; ownership of/funding of schools and related legal issues linked to equality and human rights issues; ethos/objective of TRC; the movement of teachers within and across sectors; and ownership of controlled schools and school sectoral support.

Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 11.01am.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses and they left the meeting at 11.54am.

The meeting was suspended at 11.54am. 
The meeting resumed at 11.56am.

6.    Discussion with a Senior Departmental Official on Key RPA Policy Issues

Chris Stewart, Head of Review of Public Administration, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 11.56am. Mr Stewart responded to a number of the concerns raised by the Transferors’ Representatives Council regarding school governance and accountability and school sectoral support.

Ms O’Neill rejoined the meeting at 12.13pm.

Mr Stewart also outlined how the Committee’s concerns regarding local accountability and the role for councils might be addressed within the forthcoming education reform legislation. The Chairperson advised Mr Stewart that the Committee would wish to consider the option outlined in more detail and other options mentioned before offering further comment.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Stewart and he left the meeting at 12.52pm.

7.    Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday 14 December 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.53pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education
14 December 2007

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