Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 January 2008

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

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

1. Apologies

There was one apology as detailed above.

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 11 January 2008

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 11 January 2008.

3. Matters Arising from the Minutes

(A) The Committee noted the information on London Challenge and City Challenge provided by the Department.

Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.39am.

(B) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding cycling to school. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(C) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the extension of the powers of the Qualifications Curriculum Authority. 
Agreed - the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department.

(D)The Committee noted the letter from Aghadrumsee Primary School regarding the Western Education & Library Board’s (WELB) presentation to the Committee on 14 December 2007 on the pre-consultation on the Review of post-primary education in Fermanagh. 
Agreed – the Committee will write to WELB and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) on some key issues and approved the draft responses.

(E) The Committee noted the invitation from the WELB to the Information Evenings on the ‘Pre-consultation on the Future of Controlled/Voluntary Post-Primary Education in Fermanagh’ on 28 and 29 January 2008.

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

4. Correspondence

(A) The Committee noted the correspondence and newsletter from Advice NI.

(B) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from C & J Kelly. 
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the North Eastern Education & Library Board for urgent comment.

(C) The Committee noted the correspondence from Dr I Hickey regarding ‘The Leonardo Effect’.
Agreed – the Committee will invite Dr Hickey to an Informal Committee Reception in the Long Gallery on 18 February 2008.

(D) The Committee noted the letter to the Minister from the Chairperson of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development regarding that Committee’s Inquiry into Renewable Energy/Alternative Land Use. 
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department.

(E) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from Mr Best, Director and Founder of ‘Tree of Knowledge’. 
Agreed – the Committee will invite Mr Best to an Informal Committee Reception in the Long Gallery on 18 February 2008.

(F) The Committee noted the correspondence Mr D Crookshanks regarding Priory College in Holywood. 
Agreed – the Committee will request an update on the progress of the school’s capital scheme from the Department.

(G) The Committee noted the Royal College of Psychiatrists briefing paper ‘Building a Better Future 2008/2011 – Mental Health and Learning Disability’ in response to the draft Programme for Government.

(H) The Committee noted the letter from the Executive Director of Lifestart Foundation. 
Agreed – the Committee will invite representatives from Lifestart Foundation to an Informal Committee Reception in the Long Gallery on 18 February 2008.

(I) The Committee noted the letter to the Minister of Education from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment regarding the Draft Action Plan 2008-2011 for the Regional Innovation Strategy. 
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence.

(J) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Headmaster of Rainey Endowed School.

(K) The Committee noted two Departmental Press Releases: ‘Media Invitation – DE Minister to Launch New School Improvement Policy’; and ‘New Learning Support Centres for Coleraine Primary Schools’.

5. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee noted the letter from the Department advising that no responses were received to its consultation on the Teachers’ Pensions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (NI) 2008.
Agreed – the Committee had no objection to the proposal to make the Rule.

6. Departmental Briefing on December Monitoring 2007 and the Education and Library Boards’ (ELBs) Maintenance Budgets 2007 - 08

Dr Eddie Rooney, Deputy Secretary, Department of Education; Catherine Daly, Head of Finance; Brian Morrow, Financial Planning; and Eugene Rooney, Head of Development and Infrastructure, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 10.46am.

Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.52am. 
Rt Hon J Donaldson joined the meeting at 11.06am 
Rt Hon J Donaldson declared an interest as a Member of the Board of Governors for Parkview Special School.

The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: budgetary controls with regard to reduced requirements and the reduced level of access to End-Year Flexibility; level of underspend at ELB and Departmental levels; bids for additional maintenance requirements from ELBs and communication between the Department and the ELBs. .

Officials agreed to provide the Committee with further information on a number of points raised during the discussion.

Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.47am.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Daly and Mr Morrow and they left the meeting at 11.51am.

7. Departmental Briefing on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Procurement Process

The Chairperson invited Dr Rooney and Mr Rooney to remain to discuss the PPP Procurement Process. The officials outlined the main steps involved in the procurement process.

Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 11.53am. 
Mr Storey declared an interest as a member of the Board of Governors of Ballymoney High School.

The officials answered questions on a number of issues, including: major time delays to progress specific capital projects; the appropriateness of the use of PPP in the building of schools; support and guidance available to schools; issues arising from the backlog within the school building programme and the absence of area-based planning and sustainable schools policies; and the need for flexibility in the design and construction of schools

Officials agreed to provide the Committee with further information on a number of points raised during the discussion.

Rt Hon J Donaldson left the meeting at 12.40pm. 
Mr Storey left the meeting at 12.42pm. 
Mr Storey rejoined the meeting at 12.45pm. 
Rt Hon J Donaldson rejoined the meeting at 12.45pm.

The Chairperson thanked the officials and they left the meeting at 12.58pm..

8. Draft Work Programme

Mr McCrea left the meeting at 12.58pm.

The Committee discussed the revised draft Work Programme. The Committee noted with serious concern that the Minister had not yet agreed a date to meet with the Committee to discuss transfer to post-primary education and that the Committee’s questions to the Minister remain unanswered.

Mr McCrea rejoined the meeting at 1.08pm.

The meeting moved to closed session at 1.12pm.

Agreed – the Committee will re-consider this issue at its meeting on 25 January 2008.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday 25 January 2008 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.20pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education
25 January 2008

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