Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 13 June 2008
Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.15am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Minutes of the Meeting of 6 June 2008
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 6 June 2008.
3. Matters Arising
(a) The Committee noted the responses from the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) and the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) regarding Alternative Education Provision in their Board areas.
(b) The Committee noted a number of additional items of correspondence regarding Towerview Primary School from concerned parents and individuals.
(c) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Departmental Monitoring Round Submissions.
(d) The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr Terry Laverty regarding the North Belfast Principals Group (maintained schools) presentation at the Committee’s meeting on 6 June 2008.
(e) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Minister of Education regarding the Terms of Reference for the Central and Area Groups on area-based planning.
Agreed – senior Departmental officials will brief the Committee on this important matter at its meeting on 20 June 2008.
(f) The Committee welcomed the response from the Department confirming that Department of Education officials, with colleagues from the Department of Finance and Personnel and Education and Library Boards, will investigate the scope for shortening current procedures for implementing the NJC National Agreements.
(a) The Committee noted the invitation from Anna Lo MLA to the launch of ‘Sectarianism and Segregation in Urban Northern Ireland: Northern Irish Youth Post-Agreement’, to be held in the Long Gallery on 25 June 2008.
(b) The Committee noted the correspondence from the British Association for Early Childhood Education (Early Education).
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.
(c) The Committee noted the new edition of the Participation Network Newsletter.
(d) The Committee noted the correspondence from WYG International Ltd regarding the Progress Programme.
(e)The Committee noted the correspondence from Global Dimension for Schools NI requesting an opportunity to attend the Informal Committee Reception on 26 June 2008.
Agreed – the Committee approved the invitation to the Informal Reception.
(f) The Committee noted the NEELB publication, ‘Education News May 2008.’
(g) The Committee noted the copy correspondence from the Buddy Bear Trust to the Minister of Education.
(h) The Committee noted the correspondence from Language Direct regarding interpreting, translation and transcription services.
(i) The Committee noted the correspondence regarding Northern Ireland 2008 – Transforming the Service of Public Delivery to be held in Belfast on 11 November 2008.
(j) The Committee noted two items of correspondence regarding the allocation of post-primary school places in the SEELB and Belfast Education and Library Board areas.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment, proposed actions and timescale. The Committee will also request clarification of the position in relation to the three other Education and Library Boards.
(k) The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr R Edwards regarding Academy Primary School, Saintfield.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(l) The Committee noted invitation from the Southern Education and Library Board to the opening of the new extension to Shannagh-More Outdoor Education Centre, Newcastle, on 2 July 2008.
(m) The Committee noted five Departmental press releases: ‘Ruane Launches Review of Youth Service’; ‘Ruane Commends Commitment of Irish Medium Sector’; ‘Future of Armagh Integrated College Under Review’; ‘Ruane Officially Opens Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach’; and ‘Specialist Schools Help Education Reform – Ruane.’
Mr Bradley joined the meeting at 10.20am.
5. Presentation by the Southern and Western Education and Library Boards (SELB and WELB) on Collaboration
Marie Donnell, Chairperson, SELB; Peter Duffy, Vice-Chairperson, WELB; Plunkett Campbell, SELB Member and Chairperson of the Joint Education Committee; and Councillor Robert Irvine, WELB Member and Member of the Joint Education Committee and Joint Children and Young People’s Services Committee, joined the meeting at 10.24am.
Mrs Bradley joined the meeting at 10.25am.
The witnesses gave a presentation on collaboration between the SELB and the WELB and the establishment of three joint committees, and answered questions on a number of issues, including: additional joint working with the three other Education and Library Boards; financial savings realised as a result of collaboration; evaluation of the benefits to the delivery of frontline services; provision of services and accessibility at local level; and uncertainty for staff of Education and Library Boards regarding their future and the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority.
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 10.45am.
Ms O’Neill rejoined the meeting at 10.48am.
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 10.02am.
The witnesses agreed to provide the Committee with a paper quantifying savings realised and service delivery improvements as a result of collaborative working arrangements.
The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for a useful and informative briefing and they left the meeting at 11.25am.
Miss McIlveen left the meeting at 11.26am.
6. Forward Work Programme
Members indicated their availability to attend the third Informal Committee Reception, which will be held in the Long Gallery on Thursday 26 June 2008 from 9.30am to 12.00noon.
Agreed –the Committee approved the revised draft Forward Work Programme up to and including 4 July 2008.
Miss McIlveen rejoined the meeting at 11.31am.
7. Committee Motion
The Committee noted that the Committee motion, ‘Primary School Funding’, is likely to be selected for debate in the Assembly on either Monday 30 June or Tuesday 1 July 2008.
The Committee noted the letter to the Department requesting follow up information from the Departmental briefing on Primary School Funding at the Committee’s meeting on 6 June 2008.
8. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Friday 20 June 2008 at 10.00am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The meeting moved to closed session at 11.39am.
9. Committee Discussion on Transfer to Post-primary Education
The Committee noted that 18 responses from education stakeholders had been received to its request for submissions on the Minister’s updated proposals for transfer to post-primary education.
Agreed – Members will provide a paper outlining their Party positions on transfer to the Committee Secretariat on Wednesday 18 June 2008, for issue to and consideration by Members in advance of the Committee’s meeting on 20 June 2008. Members will continue their consideration of responses from education stakeholders at the 20 June meeting.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.15pm.