Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 23 November 2007

Venue: Room 135, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.35am in public session.

1.    Apologies

There were no apologies.

2.    Minutes of the Meetings of 16 November and 20 November 2007

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meetings of 16 November and 20 November 2007.

3.    Matters Arising from the Minutes

(A) The Committee noted the response from the Minister of Education regarding the arrangements for transfer from primary to post-primary education from 2010.
Agreed – the Committee will write to the Department to highlight the Committee’s scrutiny role.

(B) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Sydenham Primary School.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(C) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding equality impact assessments for minima enrolment levels.

(D) The Committee noted the Prince’s Trust paper, ‘The xl Programme – A proposal for DENI’.

(E) The Committee noted the papers from the informal presentation on the Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Strategy consultation on Friday 16 November 2007 by officials from the Department of Employment and Learning and Department of Education.

(F) The Committee noted correspondence from a classroom assistant and the associated response.

(G) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Mr G Strong.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft responses.

4.    Correspondence

(A) The Committee noted two items of correspondence from classroom assistants.
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft responses.

(B) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from Dr J Higgins. 
Agreed – the Committee will forward the correspondence to the Department for comment and approved the draft response.

(C) The Committee noted the contents of the correspondence from Mr W Graham. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response.

(D) The Committee noted the correspondence from the ESA Implementation Team (ESAIT) advising of updates on the EASIT website.

(E) The Committee noted the Annual Report and Accounts 2006/07 for the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment.

(F) The Committee noted the request from Professor B Osborne to attend a meeting of the Committee together with a number of students from the University of Ulster. The Chairperson advised Members that Professor Osborne and a number of students were present in the public gallery and welcomed them to the meeting.

(G) The Committee noted the response from the Department regarding Strabane Controlled Primary School and that the response has been forwarded to Strabane Controlled Primary School.

(H) The Committee noted two Departmental Press Releases: “Ruane Launches Anti-Bullying Mural” and “Ruane Welcomes Progress on ‘Catering for Healthier Lifestyles’ in Schools”.

Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 10.44am.

5.    Departmental Briefing on School Improvement/Literacy and Numeracy

Katrina Godfrey, Head of Raising Standards; John Caldwell, School Improvement Branch; and Wilma Weise, Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI), Department of Education, joined the meeting at 10.45am. The officials gave a presentation on both policies, after which they answered questions on a number of issues, including: the need to recognise and reward good practice; the use of inspections to support schools; the link between the School Improvement and Literacy and Numeracy strategies; the reading recovery programme – costs and dissemination; potential risks posed by proposed RPA organisational changes; the current role and statutory authority of the Education & Library Boards; consultation with teachers and pupils in the formulation of the school improvement strategy; self-assessments, school action plans and the need for strong leadership in schools; the review of the Local Management of Schools funding formula to ensure underachievement is not rewarded; the teacher/pupil ratio; and implications of the Draft Budget 2008 – 11 on the funding for School Improvement and Literacy and Numeracy strategies.

Mr Lunn joined the meeting at 10.54am. 
Rt Hon J Donaldson joined the meeting at 11.19am. 
Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.20am. 
Ms O’Neill left the meeting at 11.21am. 
Ms O’Neill rejoined the meeting at 11.50am. 
Mrs Bradley left the meeting at 12.01pm.

Officials drew the Committee’s attention to ‘Celebrating Success’ (on ETI’s website) and agreed to provide the Committee with information from recent meetings they have attended regarding ‘London Challenge’.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for an informative briefing and it was agreed they would return to Committee after the views expressed in the Consultations are known. The officials left the meeting at 12.06pm.

Mr Butler left the meeting at 12.05pm. 
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 12.06pm.

The meeting moved into closed session at 12.07pm.

Mr Butler rejoined the meeting at 12.07pm.

6.    Consideration of Committee Responses to the Draft Budget 2008 – 11, the Draft Programme for Government (PfG) 2008 – 11 and the Draft Investment Strategy 2008 – 18.

The Committee considered its draft response to the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Draft Budget 2008 – 11 and a draft to the Committee of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) on the Draft PfG and Draft Investment Strategy. 
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft response on the Draft Budget, with one amendment. 
Agreed – the Committee will consider further its response to the Committee of the OFMDFM on the Draft PfG 2008 – 11 and the Draft Investment Strategy 2008 – 18 at its meeting on Friday 30 November 2007. Members were asked to forward comments for consideration by the Committee to the Clerk by Tuesday 27 November 2007.

7.    Key RPA Policy Issues and Concerns

Members discussed overall key concerns with regard to RPA policy proposals. 
Agreed – the Committee will discuss its concerns with senior Departmental officials at its meeting on 30 November 2007.

8.    Draft Work Programme

The Committee agreed its work programme up to and including Friday 30 November 2007. 
Agreed – the Committee will consider accepting an invitation to hold a Committee meeting at a school in the North West.

9.    Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday 30 November 2007 at 10.30am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.59pm.

Mr Sammy Wilson
Chairperson, Committee for Education
30 November 2007

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