Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 20 June 2008
Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.04am in public session.
There were no apologies.
2. Minutes of the Meeting of 13 June 2008
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 13 June 2008.
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.06am.
3. Matters Arising
The Chairperson briefed the Committee on his first meeting with the Minister of Education as Chairperson of the Committee on 17 June 2008.
The following items under Matters Arising were considered:
(a) The Committee noted the responses from the Minister and the Education and Training Inspectorate regarding Bees Nees Early Years Centre.
(b)The Committee noted the response from CCMS regarding Clea Primary School
(c)The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding St Comgall’s College, Larne.
Agreed – The Committee will forward the letter to Mr O’Shea, Secretary of St Comgall’s College Support Group.
(d) The Committee noted correspondence from Mr & Mrs Tomlinson.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
(e)The Committee noted the copy correspondence from the North Eastern Education and Library Board to Ms K McAuley.
(f) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding schools transforming to integrated status.
Agreed – the Committee will write to the Department for clarification of a number of points regarding the process of transformation.
(g) The Committee noted the offer by Department of Education officials to give a presentation to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety (HSSPS) on the Review of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion and the Policy Proposals Consultation Document.
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Committee for HSSPS.
(h) The Committee noted the correspondence from the Irish News requesting a list of educational stakeholders who responded to the Committee’s request for submissions on the Minister’s updated transfer proposals.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 10.10am.
(a) The Committee noted the correspondence regarding the Primary Capital Action Conference 2008 to be held in London on 9 October 2008.
(b) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding the uptake of Free School Meals and Clothing Allowance. The Committee also noted correspondence from Ms L Grimley regarding the costs of school meals and uniforms.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response to the Department.
(c) The Committee noted the copy correspondence from the Chairperson of the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) to the Minister regarding the Extended Schools Programme.
Agreed – the Committee will request a copy of the response from the Minister and a response from the Permanent Secretary to the Joint SELB and WELB Education Committee on the same subject area.
(d) The Committee noted three Departmental Press Releases: ‘Minister Opens Bunscoil An Traonaigh in Fermanagh’; ‘ Trillick Primary School to Close’; and ‘New Learning Support Classes for Lisneal College and Lisnagelvin Primary School.’ The Committee also noted the media invite to the Launch of the Consultation on ‘Every School a Good School: A Strategy for Raising Achievement in Literacy and Numeracy.’
5. Departmental Briefing on Area Based Planning for Post-Primary Provision
Dr Robson Davison, Deputy Secretary; Eugene Rooney, Head of Development and Infrastructure; and Lorraine Finlay, Curriculum and Qualifications Division, Department of Education, joined the meeting at 10.14am. The officials gave a presentation on the Terms of Reference and timescales for Area Based Planning Groups to report etc, and answered questions on a number of issues, including: the time taken to establish the Groups and publish their Terms of Reference; the lack of engagement with the Committee in this process; the absence of a Sustainable Schools policy and a legislative framework; sensitivities for schools and school sectors; the compatibility of open enrolment with area based planning; the implementation of the Entitlement Framework; and interim arrangements within existing legislation.
Ms O’Neill joined the meeting at 10.32am.
Mr O’Dowd left the meeting at 10.33am.
Mr O’Dowd rejoined the meeting at 10.37am.
Mr McCausland left the meeting at 11.07am.
Mr McCausland rejoined the meeting at 11.08am.
The Chairperson left the meeting at 11.14am.
The Deputy Chairperson took the Chair at 11.14am.
The Deputy Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing and they left the meeting at 11.35am.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 11.35am.
The meeting moved to closed session at 11.36am.
6. Committee Discussion on Transfer to Post-primary Education
Mr Robinson rejoined the meeting at 11.39am.
Members noted and discussed the papers outlining each Party’s current position on transfer to post-primary education.
Miss McIlveen left the meeting at 12.18pm.
Miss McIlveen rejoined the meeting at 12.28pm.
Agreed – the Clerk will draft a paper detailing any areas of common understanding for a continuation discussion in closed session at the Committee’s meeting on Friday 27 June 2008.
Agreed – Members will submit comments they may wish to make on the submissions received from education stakeholders to the Clerk by Wednesday 25 June 2008 for circulation to all Members.
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 1.01pm.
Mr McCausland left the meeting at 1.10pm.
7. Forward Work Programme
Members confirmed 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 associated draft press release. The Committee also agreed the suggested Member groupings for the event.
8. Committee Motion
The Committee noted that the Committee motion on ‘Primary School Funding’ has been selected for debate in the Assembly on Tuesday 1 July 2008 from 11.30am (indicative) for up to 2 ½ hours.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft letter from the Chairperson for issue to all MLAs together with the ‘Committee Information Brief’ on the motion, which will be published on the Committee’s website and placed in the Assembly Library on 26 June 2008.
Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Friday 27 June 2008 at 10.00am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.
The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.20pm.