Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 01 June 2011

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 10.33 am in open session.

The Committee noted the tabled items.

Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson noted the tabled press clippings relating to CCEA expenses and reported that had met the Deputy Secretary who had agreed to provide a paper to the Committee on this subject.

Miss M McIlveen joined the meeting at 10.35 am

Agreed – the Committee would request that Gavin Boyd, Acting Chief Executive of CCEA, come to Committee on this issue and also on the issue of duplication of services across E&LBs raised by the Committee at its meeting on 25 May 2011.

The Chairperson informed the Committee that he and Phil Flanagan planned to attend the Sentinus Young Innovators event at the Odyssey arena on 14 June 2011; any other Members wishing to attend should contact the Committee office.

The Clerk updated the Committee on alternative room availability and steps to improve audibility in the Senate Chamber, and would keep the Committee informed of developments.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of 25 May 2011

The Committee approved the minutes of the 25 May 2011.

3. Matter Arising

a. The Committee noted correspondence from the previous Committee for Education to the Education and Library Boards regarding school starting age.

Agreed: the Committee would write to the relevant E&LBs and remind them that the Committee was awaiting their response.

b. The Committee noted the Clerk’s options paper for a Stakeholder event.

Agreed: The Committee would hold this event on 29 June 2011, from 5-7pm, in the format set out in the options paper.

Agreed: The Committee would invite representatives from the organisations listed at Annex A to the paper, subject to any amendments received from Members by close of business on 3 June 2011.

4. Correspondence

a. The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for OFMdFM dated 23 March 2011 enclosing the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Report for Department of Education, dated May 2011.

b. The Committee noted correspondence from Mr P Hewitt and Ms M Marken dated 24 May 2011 regarding the Education Advisory Panel.

Agreed: The Committee would request access to the previous Committee’s papers on the Panel’s Portfolio of Advice and the Minister of Education’s response to it, and advise Mr Hewitt and Ms Marken accordingly.

c. The Committee noted correspondence from Business in the Community dated 20 May 2011 requesting the opportunity to make a presentation to the Committee on the Time to Read business mentoring programme.

d. Members noted the following conferences and invitations:

  • The Big Ideas Swop Shop;
  • NICCY : Meeting with Chairperson to discuss educational issues

Agreed: the Chairperson would report back to Committee as and when a meeting was arranged;

  • Chairperson of Committee for OFMdFM to the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson & Clerk: EU Issues Discussion Forum;
  • Playboard: Conference to Address issues of Inclusion, Equity, Diversity & Interdependence; and
  • Early Years Organisation invitation, dated 31 May 2011, to a seminar on 8 June 2011.

e. The Co mmittee noted, and was appalled by, the damage to school transport buses and premises in the North Eastern Board.

f. Members noted the following publications:

  • Business in the Community: Time to Read Executive Summary Booklet;
  • Youth Council NI: Consultation re Revised Equality Scheme; and
  • Horizon updates regarding European issues affecting education.

Agreed: the Committee would request a research paper from RaISe on European issues affecting Education.

g. Members noted the following press releases previously emailed to Members:

  • Qualifications & Destination of Northern Ireland School Leavers 2009/10.
  • O’Dowd signals focus on addressing educational disparities.
5. Departmental Briefing – Raising standards

Mrs Katrina Godfrey, Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, and Dr Chris Hughes, Head of Standards and Improvement Team, provided an oral briefing on raising standards and answered Members’ questions.

Agreed: the Department would provide the Committee with complete sets of the Department’s current policies and other key documents in development or at consultation, including reports such as ‘Together Towards Entitlement’;

Agreed: the Department would provide the Committee with a more detailed briefing paper on the areas of Raising Standards and the Entitlement Framework;

Agreed: the Department would come back to the Committee on the Department’s position on Nurture Units and their funding:

Agreed: the Committee would request a briefing on the Department’s revised literacy and numeracy strategy, ‘Count, Read, Succeed’ post the summer recess.

6. Departmental Briefing – Entitlement Framework

Mrs Katrina Godfrey, Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, provided an oral briefing on the Entitlement Framework and answered Members’ questions.

Agreed: Departmental officials were requested to provide a more detailed breakdown of the progress made towards achieving the Entitlement Framework targets and agreed to do so.

7. June Monitoring 2011

The Committee noted the tabled summary of in-year monitoring proposals from the Department of Education.

Agreed: The Committee would write to inform the Department of its support for the Department’s resource and capital bids;

Agreed: The Committee would inform the Department that the Committee wished to explore these issues in greater detail, and receive updates on the replacement for EYF and the school maintenance backlog, during the budget sessions scheduled for the Committee meeting on 22 June 2011;

8. Consideration of the 2007-11 Education Committee Legacy Report

The Committee considered the issues commended to its attention by the previous Committee for Education on pages 4-6 of its Legacy Report.

Agreed: the Committee would request the Department’s response to the previous Committee’s Inquiry Report into “Successful Post Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Communities” and the Report of the former independent Member Dawn Purvis’ group entitled “Educational Disadvantage and the Protestant Working Class: A Call to Action”.

Agreed: the Committee’s request for a briefing on Literacy and Numeracy in September 2011 should include a request for briefing on the new assessment arrangements;

Agreed: the Committee’s scrutiny of the Department’s Literacy and Numeracy Strategy would incorporate a number of visits to schools to see the practical outworking of the Strategy

The Committee noted the Motion on Nursery Provision scheduled for debate in the Assembly on 7 June 2011.

Agreed: the Chairperson would speak on behalf of the Committee indicating:

  • that the Committee is aware of the importance of Nursery provision in the early years education of our young children;
  • that the Committee is looking forward to receiving the Department’s analysis of the consultation responses to its draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy and the response to the previous Committee for Education’s response to the Department on the draft Strategy;
  • that Early Years will be one of a number of priority issues in this Committee’s work programme;
9. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the forward work programme agreed by the Committee on 25 May 2011, the attendance of the Minister of Education at Committee on 8 June 2011 and the informal meeting with officials also on 8 June 2011.

Agreed: the Clerk would liaise with Departmental officials regarding a Committee photograph with the Minister.

10. Any other business

A Member raised the issue of funding for early years and nursery education, with a view to asking the Minister to address this matter during his briefing to the Committee next week.

Agreed: the Clerk would advise the Department that a Member wished to raise this issue.

There was no further business.

11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 8 June 2011 at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.35 pm.

Mervyn Storey MLA 
Chairperson, Committee for Education
8 June 2011

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