Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 23 February 2011
Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 2.02 pm in closed session.
1. Legal Advice
The Committee received legal advice from Assembly Legal Services regarding consultation by the Department of Education on changes to the arrangements for, and proposed removal of, Departmental funding for teacher substitute cover in primary schools in respect of interviews with parents regarding the transfer of their children to post-primary schools.
Mr D Hilditch joined the meeting at 2.04 pm
Agreed – the Committee would write to the Minister of Education for clarification of this issue in relation to transfer interviews held on or after 4 February 2011.
The meeting moved into public session at 2.10pm.
Mr J O’Dowd joined the meeting at 2.10pm
3. Minutes of the Meetings of 16 February 2011
Agreed – the Committee approved the draft minutes of the meeting of 16 February 2011.
Mr D Hilditch left the meeting at 2.12 pm
4. Matters Arising
The Chairperson informed the Committee that he intended to speak as Chairperson in the Consideration Stage debate on the Autism Bill later that day (23 February 2011) to inform the Assembly about the unresolved issue of the ‘significantoutworkings’ from the Bill for SEN legislation referred to in the Department of Education’s letter of 1 February 2011.
Agreed – In the absence of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, Miss M McIlveen would speak on behalf of the Committee in the debate and inform the Assembly regarding this issue.
Ageed – the Committee would write to the Minister of Education to request a definitive response, as soon as possible, providing the necessary clarity regarding the Minister’s concerns in the above context about either the Bill as drafted, or the Bill in light of the amendments proposed and now approved.
The Committee noted correspondence of 11 February 2011 from the GTCNI enclosing a slide-show presentation about an alternative model for addressing SEN Statementing, together with a copy of GTCNI’s response on the DE Draft Education Budget 2011-2015.
Agreed – The Committee would forward a copy of the slide-show presentation to the Department for its comments on the alternative model.
Mr D Hiltitch rejoined the meeting at 2.19 pm
The Committee noted correspondence of 11 February 2011 from CCMS enclosing its response to the DE Draft Budget 2011-2015.
The Committee noted correspondence of 17 February 2011 from the Department for Education on the appointment of DE governors to the Boards of Governors of voluntary grammar schools.
Agreed – The Committee would write to the Department of Education asking why there was a need to advertise again for candidates and if this was because of the need to have at least two candidates for each vacancy.
The Committee noted confirmation of the details of the students from Wheelock College, Boston visit to Parliament Buildings on 8 March 2011.
The Committee noted correspondence of 18 February from the Clerk of the Committee to the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council and the Department of Education on Classroom Observation by Principals/School Leaders.
The Committee noted correspondence of 16 February 2011 from NAHT (NI) on Classroom Observation.
The Committee noted correspondence of 18 February 2011 from the Department of Education regarding the Internal Audit Report on Security of Data in ALB’s and their Beneficiaries.
Agreed - the Committee would forward the correspondence to Mrs L Saunders for information.
Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to request that an update be provided on the March Quarterly Assurance Statement.
The Committee noted correspondence of 21 February 2011 from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Monitoring of Departmental Post Project Evaluations.
Agreed – the Committee would forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.
The Committee noted correspondence of 15 February 2011 from the Committee for the Environment on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Action Plan.
Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department for comment specifically in relation to the areas relevant to DE.
The Committee noted an invitation from NICIE to attend the launch of Integrated Education Week 2011 in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings on 4 March 2011.
The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 17 February 2011 entitled ‘Publication of statistical Information on School Enrolments’.
The Committee noted correspondence of 17 February 2011 from the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister on European Engagement.
Agreed – the Committee would forward the correspondence to the Department for comment specifically in relation to areas relevant to DE.
The Committee noted correspondence of 17 February 2011 from the Chairperson of the OFMDFM Committee on Non Regulated Appointments in relation to the Commissioners of the SEELB
Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Minister of Education.
Agreed – the Committee would forward copies of its correspondence with the Department of Education on this subject to the OFMDFM Committee.
The Committee noted correspondence of 17 February 2011 from the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister on the Public Bodies Bill: Legislative Consent Motion (LCM).
Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department noting the correspondence and to request that the Committee be kept informed on the handling of any future LCMs.
The Committee noted correspondence of 14 February from the House of Lords European Union Committee enclosing a copy of its newsletter.
The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 21 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister Launches Videoconference Week’.
The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 21 February 2011 entitled ‘Education Minister reports to Assembly on procurement investigations’.
The Committee noted correspondence from Colleges Northern Ireland enclosing its response to the DE Draft Budget 2011-2015.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Regeneration Strategy Board for Derry-Londonderry enclosing its response to the DE Draft Budget 2011-2015.
The Committee noted correspondence of 15 February 2011 from Employers for Childcare enclosing its response to the DE Draft Budget 2011-2015.
The Committee noted a Department of Education News Release of 22 February 2011 entitled ‘New start for St Colman’s Primary School, Lisburn’.
The Committee noted a Eurochild Press Release of 18 February 2011 entitled ‘Eurochild welcomes Commission focus on early childhood education and care’.
Mr J O’Dowd left the meeting at 2.26pm
6. Presentation from the Association of Chief Executives of the E&LBs on the Committee Inquiry – ‘Successful Post-Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Communities’.
David Cargo, CEO, BELB, Barry Mulholland, CEO, WELB, Stanton Sloan, CEO, SEELB, Tony Murphy, CEO, SELB, and Shane McCurdy, CEO, NEELB, joined the meeting at 2.27 pm.
The witnesses provided a briefing on their submission to the Committee’s Inquiry and answered questions on a number of issues including: the challenges of reflecting the needs of pupils, as opposed to schools, in the funding formula; the contrasting performance of schools serving similarly disadvantaged communities; better measures for assessing disadvantage and value added; links with the voluntary/community sector and co-ordinated services approach adopted in Belfast; the ‘joined up’ management of Preschool Expansion Programme; teacher selection including assessment of candidates’ classroom teaching; the importance of selecting suitable entrants for teacher training courses; different career pathways for management and teaching expertise; the need for an effective mechanism to deal with failing school leaders and the role of DE governors on boards of governors; the need for health and education services to work together effectively and shortages of speech therapy and educational psychology support; what should be measured when measuring ‘standard value added’ for all schools; whether systems such as the e-Schools Warehouse could provide a management information system to facilitate more effective targetting of resources; the transferability of school improvement initiatives/measures across different types of social and economic disadvantage; the importance in disadvantaged areas of schools working with community groups and research on this; the need to incentivise schools by reference to the correct measures; the sterile nature of the years of debate on Transfer and structure of education administration; and the benefits of a ‘Department for Children’ which would encompass the relevant elements of the Department of Health, Social Development etc, in contrast to the current ‘Department for Schools’.
Agreed – the witnesses would provide further information on measures of disadvantage, including Looked After Children, and on the contribution which electronic data management could make to effective management of pupil attainment and progress.
Miss M McIlveen left the meeting at 3.10 pm.
Mrs M O’Neill joined the meeting at 3.17 pm
Mr B McCrea joined the meeting at 3.30 pm
Mr J Craig left the meeting at 3.35 pm
Mrs M O’Neill left the meeting at 3.53 pm
Mr D Hilditch left the meeting at 3.57pm
The witnesses left the meeting at 4.15 pm.
7. Forward Work Programme
The Committee considered and agreed the Forward Work Programme.
8. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next Committee meeting will be held in the Room 21, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 2 March 2011 commencing at 2.00 pm.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.16 pm.