Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 10 September 2009
Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 9.13am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Matters Arising
(a) The Committee noted a copy of the Chairperson’s letter to the Minister of Education on the Education Bill which was agreed by the Committee at the Committee’s meeting of 9 September 2009.
(b) The Committee noted copies of correspondence between the Minster of Education and Mr Basil McCrea MLA regarding admissions to a primary school.
Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education to request that officials brief the Committee on the Department’s policy on open enrolment in October 2009.
The Chairperson raised the subject of changing the timing of future meetings of the Committee for Education to take place on Wednesday afternoons, primarily to facilitate the attendance of Members following recent changes in the membership of Committees. The Chairperson advised the Committee that he would be putting a formal proposal to the Committee at next week’s meeting on this.
3. Education Bill – Clause by Clause Scrutiny
Department of Education officials, Chris Stewart and Eve Stewart joined the Committee to assist with its clause-by-clause scrutiny of the Bill. The Committee agreed at the outset that its clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill at this stage was not the final view, – as the Committee will undertake formal clause-by-clause scrutiny decision making at a forthcoming meeting.
The Committee considered Clause 24.
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 9.26 am
The Committee agreed it is content with this Clause as drafted.
Officials agreed to forward the DEL amendments relating to Clause 24 to the Committee later that day.
The Committee considered Clause 25. The Committee agreed it is content with this Clause as drafted.
Mr McCrea rejoined the meeting at 9.29am
The Committee considered Clause 26 and the Department’s proposed amendment in relation to this Clause.
Mr McCallister joined the meeting at 9.30am
Some Members raised concerns regarding one sector being treated more favourable than others. The Committee agreed to return to this Clause as some Members were not content with the Clause as drafted and a Member with a particular interest in this Clause was not present for the discussion.
The Committee considered Clause 27 and the Department’s proposed amendment in relation to this Clause.
Officials agreed to provide the Committee with the background information regarding the inclusion of this amendment and confirmation that the amendment was not made to facilitate an intended policy change to provide for ‘joint qualifications’.
The Committee agreed to return to this Clause as some Members were not content with the Clause as drafted.
The Committee considered Clause 28.
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 9.54am
Following discussion, the Committee agreed it is content with this Clause drafted.
The Committee considered Clause 29. The Committee agreed it is content with this Clause.
The Committee considered Clauses 30 – 33 and the Department’s proposed amendment to Clause 31(7).
Mr McCrea rejoined the meeting at 9.58am
The Committee discussed: schemes of management and the absence of draft or model schemes of management and/or guidance being produced by the Department to date; and concerns regarding the impact of these requirements on Boards of Governors.
Ms McIlveen joined the meeting at 10.15am
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 10.32am
The Committee agreed to return to these Clauses as some Members were not content with these Clauses as drafted.
The Committee considered Clauses 34 – 36.
Officials confirmed that the Minister is still considering CnaG’s proposed amendment regarding governors of Irish Medium Schools.
The Committee agreed to return to these Clauses as a Member raised concerns regarding the definition of ‘community governors’.
The Committee considered Clauses 37 – 42 and the Department’s proposed amendments to Clauses 37(5) and 42(6). The Committee agreed it is content with these Clauses and the Department’s proposed amendments as drafted.
Mr McCallister left the meeting at 10.56am
The Committee considered Clause 43. The Committee agreed it is content with this Clause as drafted.
The Committee considered Clauses 44 – 48.
Officials confirmed that the Minister is still considering NSPCC’s proposed amendment to Clause 47.
The Chairperson thanked the officials for their assistance and they left the meeting at 11.02pm.
Agreed – The Committee would write to the Department of Education to remind them of any actions agreed during the course of discussions.
Agreed – the Committee would extend its next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 16 September at 10.00am into the afternoon to assist with the Committee’s deliberations on the Education Bill.
7. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The Committee noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Wednesday 16 September 2009 at 10.00am, Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.03pm.