Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 11 February 2009

Venue: Room 144, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10.06am in public session. He welcomed students from Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry and Portadown College viewing the meeting from the Public Gallery.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

Miss McIlveen joined the meeting at 10.07am

2. Minutes of the Meeting of 4 February 2009

Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 4 February 2009.

Mr O’Dowd left the meeting at 10.08am

3. Matters Arising

(a) The Committee noted correspondence of 31 January 2009 from St Comgall’s College Support Group.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the CCMS briefing paper for the Committee on 8 October 2008 to St Comgall’s College Support Group.

(b) The Committee noted a response of 3 February 2009 from the Minister of Education to the Chairperson of the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister on ‘the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Employment in Construction Industry’.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Minister’s response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister as requested.

(c) The Committee noted a response of 29 January 2009 from the Minister of Education to the Chairperson of the Committee for Employment and Learning on the‘Downturn in the Construction Industry’.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Minister’s response to the Committee for Employment and Learning as requested.

(d) The Committee noted a response of 9 February 2009 from the Minister of Education to the Chairperson of the Committee for Social Development on ‘Neighbourhood Renewal’.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Minister’s response to the Committee for Social Development as requested.

(e) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2009 from the Department of Education regarding attendance at a STEM event on 18 February 2009.

Mr O’Dowd rejoined the meeting at 10.11am

4. Correspondence

(a) The Committee noted correspondence of 30 January 2009 from the Clerk to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Executive’s Response to the Barosso Taskforce Report.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education seeking its views on the draft actions applicable to the Department, and in particular, those actions relating to Peer Learning Clusters and Youth Programmes.

(b) The Committee noted correspondence of 30 January 2009 from the Clerk to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Executive’s Response to the Committee’s Report into Child Poverty.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education asking what plans it has to respond to the recommendations of the Report applicable to the Department.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 10.13am

(c) The Committee noted correspondence of 2 February 2009 from the Independent Panel set up to review the economic policy of the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment and Invest NI calling for evidence to inform the Review.

(d) The Committee noted correspondence of 30 January 2009 from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure providing information about the Big Lottery Fund Consultation and enclosing a research paper on the issues involved.

(e) The Committee noted the Annual Report and Accounts for 2007-2008 from the Belfast Education and Library Board.

(f) The Committee noted an invitation from the Special Educational Needs Advice Centre to an address by Professor Roy McConkey, University of Ulster on 19 February 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(g) The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure inviting the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to attend an informal meeting arranged with the Creative Youth Partnership on 12 February 2009.

Agreed – the Committee agreed that any member wishing to attend would advise the Clerk.

(h) The Committee noted correspondence received on 5 February 2009 from St Paul’s Primary School, Derry enclosing 66 letters forwarded to the Minister of Education by parents of children attending the school, expressing dissatisfaction with transfer arrangements from primary to post-primary school .

(i) The Committee noted three press releases of 6 February 2009 from the Department of Education entitled ‘Education Minister Calls for End to Violence Against Women’, ‘Department of Education Issues Advice for Parents Following Transfer Procedure Test Results’ and ‘Ruane Marks the Beginning of New Era for Post-Primary Transfer’.

(j) The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2009 from Anamar Primary School regarding the proposed closure or amalgamation of the school.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department of Education and CCMS asking for their responses to the issues raised.

(k) The Committee noted the winter edition of ‘Education Legal Update’ from Carson McDowell.

(l) The Committee noted an invitation from BBC Irish Language Unit to the launch of their new websites on 3 March 2009.

(m) The Committee noted two press releases of 10 February 2009 from the Department of Education entitled ‘Good News for Classroom Assistants’ and ‘Schools Chief Inspector’s Report Shows Hard Decisions are Needed’.

(n) The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2009 from the Department of Education enclosing the policy document ‘Every School a Good School – Supporting Newcomer Pupils’.

Agreed – the Committee would invite officials from the Department of Education to brief the Committee on this policy document and schedule this into the Committee’s Forward Work Programme.

5. Assembly Research & Library Services Paper on Comparisons of Education Attainment

An Assembly Senior Researcher joined the meeting at 10.16am and gave a presentation to the Committee on a Research Briefing Note ‘Comparisons of Educational Attainment’ and answered questions from members on a number of issues including: a recent PWC Report for the Department of Education; the reliability of the PISA data; the range and depth of pupil achievement information in the Department’s database for example by E&LB/school/Dickson Plan.

The Chairperson thanked the Senior Researcher for a very informative briefing and he left the meeting at 10.42pm.

Agreed – that the Clerk would draft a letter seeking a briefing from the Department on a PWC Report on Literacy and Numeracy, focusing on issues raised by the Committee.

6. Education Bill – Area Based Planning

John McGrath, Deputy Secretary, Chris Stewart, Head of Review of Public Administration, Eugene Rooney, Head of Development & Infrastructure and Tom Flynn, Programme Development Support joined the meeting at 10.43am.

The officials gave a presentation on Area Based Planning and answered questions from members on a number of issues including: the timescale for final area plans to be in place and any interim arrangements; what area plan boundaries will be used; the key revisions/additions being considered for the revised policy paper following consultation;

Mr Poots joined the meeting at 10.56am 
Mrs Bradley left the meeting at 10.58am

the need for clarity and role definition of the different bodies involved in the Area Based Planning process; the need for the revised policy to make references to the Sustainable Schools Policy; treatment of small rural schools particularly in relation to decisions based on pupil numbers; operating area based planning within an unregulated transfer system; ownership of a school affecting decision making on development proposals; representation of, and engagement with, the pre-school and youth sectors;

Mrs Bradley rejoined the meeting at 11.26am

perceived irregularities regarding the controlled sector; the terms of reference for the Area Planning Groups post primary schools exercise; capital investment; club bank arrangements and new Integrated and Irish Medium schools; concern that area based planning could be used to promote other education policies on issues on which consensus has not been reached.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for an informative briefing and the officials left the meeting at 12.00 noon.

Agreed – that the Committee would write to the Department of Education requesting that the revised policy paper is brought to Committee by the end of March 2009.

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.01pm

7. Forward Work Programme

(a) The Committee noted that the Minister had not yet confirmed her availability to brief the Committee on the ‘Transfer 2010 Guidance’ and ‘Sustainable Schools Policy’.

(b) The Chairperson reminded Members that the Committee STEM event on Wednesday 18 February would commence at 12 noon.

8. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The Committee agreed that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday 18 February 2009 at 10.00am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.06pm.

Mr Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
18 February 2009

Find Your MLA

tools-map.png

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

tools-media.png

Read press releases, watch live and archived video

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

tools-social.png

Keep up to date with what’s happening at the Assem

Find out more

Contact information

tools-newsletter.png

Contact us for further information about our work.

Contact us