Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 14 December 2011

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 10.30 am in open session. 

Chairperson’s Business

Agreed - The Committee would write to James McCullagh, from Loreto College, Coleraine, to congratulate him on his achievement in getting to the final of Young Apprentice.

Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

1. Draft Minutes of 7 December 2011

The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 7 December 2011.

The Chairperson noted his appreciation to the Deputy Chairperson for chairing the meeting on 7 December in his absence.

2.    Matters Arising

2.1. The Committee noted correspondence of 30 November 2011 from the Department of Education regarding Substitute Teachers’ training and support. 

2.2. The Committee noted copy correspondence of 6 December 2011 from the Department of Education regarding a supplement to the consultation on proposed changes to the NI Teachers’ Pension Scheme. 

2.3. The Committee noted correspondence of 18 November 2011 and 5 December 2011 from Mr J Nicholson on an error in the CCEA A Level mathematics paper; and 

2.4. The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Education of 5 December 2011 on an error in the CCEA A Level mathematics paper. The Committee noted that the Department of Education has now asked the Examinations/Qualifications Regulator to initiate an independent investigation into the appropriateness of the specific question under scrutiny and also into the systems which CCEA has in place for conducting GCE mathematics are compliant with the regulatory Code of Practice.

Agreed – the Committee would await the outcome of the investigation and request further detail on:

  • the investigator’s independent status;
  • who the investigator will be;
  • the process that will be followed;
  • the timetable for completing the investigation; and; 
  • a copy of the investigation report when it is completed.


2.5. The Committee noted correspondence of 5 December 2011 from the Minister of Education regarding the extension to public consultation on the Department of Education’s Equality Scheme and Audit of Inequalities.

2.6. The Committee noted correspondence of 5 December 2011 from the Minister of Education regarding the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee’s Creative Industry Inquiry.

2.7. The Committee noted correspondence of 6 December 2011 from the Department of Education responding to the Committee’s concern about Entitlement Framework funding.

2.8. The Committee noted correspondence of 7 December 2012 from the Department of Education on Budget 2011-15 the Aggregated School Budget.

2.9. The Committee noted the following correspondence on the procedures for dealing with unsatisfactory performance by principals and teachers:

  • 4 November 2011 from BELB;
  • 8 November 2011 from SELB;
  • 10 November 2011 from NEELB;
  • 30 November 2011 from CCMS;
  • 1 December 2011 from WELB; and
  • 24 October 2011 & 7 December 2011 from SEELB.


2.10. The Committee noted correspondence of 2 November 2011 from the Federation of Passenger Transport on school transport health and safety issues.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of this correspondence to the Department of Education asking them to address the issues raised.

2.11. The Committee noted correspondence of 8 December 2011 from the Department of Education on potential savings from shared education.

2.12. The Committee noted correspondence of 7 December 2011 from the Department of Education on Circular 1979/10 & the NI Youth Forum.

Agreed – individual members would request copies of the papers provided by the Department as the need arises.

2.13. The Committee noted correspondence of 9 December 2011 from C2K providing an update on the C2K contract.

2.14. The Committee noted correspondence of 12 December 2011 from Mr J Nicholson on an error in the CCEA A Level mathematics paper.

2.15. The Committee noted correspondence of 13 December 2011from the Department of Education on Post Project Evaluations.

3.  Correspondence

3.1. The Committee noted correspondence of 5 December 2011 from the Committee for Agriculture & Rural Development regarding the timetable for the Reservoirs Bill.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence the Department for comment.

3.2.  The Committee noted correspondence of 1 December 2011 from PlayBoard on its briefing paper Making Connections Through Play.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department for a response.

3.3. The Committee noted correspondence of 29 November 2011 from Healthy Cities Belfast enclosing briefing papers for its AGM.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department for comment.

3.4. The Committee noted correspondence of 9 December 2011 from Limavady Grammar School on the Department’s letter to Governors of 25 November 2011 regarding Aggregated Schools Budgets 2012/13 – 2014/15.

Agreed – the Committee would request to be copied in on the Department’s response to Limavady Grammar School.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to ask what policies could be implemented in relation to workforce planning and a proactive approach to voluntary redundancies and early retirement.

3.5.  The Committee noted correspondence of 12 December 2011 from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on proposals to legislate to reform the Office of the NI Ombudsman.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the letter to the Department and request to be copied in on the Minister’s response.

3.6. The Committee noted correspondence of 14 December 2011 from Dolores Kelly on payment of Outstanding Invoices by the Department of Education.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of this correspondence to the Department and ask that DE look into the matter and report back to Mrs. Kelly directly.

3.7.  The Committee noted an invitation previously emailed to Members from DHSSPS and DE to the launce of Personal Education Plans in the Long Gallery on 19 January 2011.

3.8.  The Committee noted the following Department of Education News Releases previously emailed to Members:

  • Education Minister Guest of Honour at St Joseph’s College
  • O’Dowd launches report on Traveller Education
  • Education Minister congratulates young science students
  • Education Minister congratulates St Patrick’s College
  • Opportunities available to become a school governor
  • Education Minister reports on outcome of post-primary test investigation
  • Enrolments at Grant-Aided Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2011/12: Basic Statistics

 

At 10.55 am the Chairperson welcomed pupils and staff from Carrickfergus College in the gallery, who were there to observe the Committee meeting.

Mr. McNarry left the meeting at 10.57 am

4.  Departmental Budget Briefing – January Monitoring Round

John McGrath, Deputy Secretary and Trevor Connolly, Director of Finance, joined the meeting at 10.57 am and provided the Committee with an oral briefing on the January Monitoring Round and answered Members’ questions.

5.  Departmental Briefing on its Response to the 2007-11 Education Committee’s Inquiry Report - Successful Post-Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Areas; and Dawn Purvis Report ‘Educational Disadvantage and the Protestant working class - A Call to Action’

John McGrath, Deputy Secretary was joined by Adrian Arbuthnot, Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, and Dr Chris Hughes, Head of Standards and Improvement Team at 11.20 am and provided the Committee with an oral briefing on the Department’s response to these two reports and answered Members’ questions.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department to request progress reports on the following:

  • School Workforce Review;
  • Teachers’ Negotiating Committee Review (unsatisfactory performance);
  • New programme development – support teachers etc. in meeting needs of children with speech & language difficulties at an early stage;
  • Improving the transition of young people with SEN;
  • Update on ‘Full Service Programmes’ pilots in N & W Belfast;
  • Progress on updating ‘Pupil Records Regulations’ and ‘Good Practice Guidance’;
  • Procurement timetable & progress report for replacement of InCAS;
  • Update on research study into attendance;
  • Details and timeframe for ‘Public Education Strategy’.

 

Mr. McKay joined the meeting at 11.24 am

6.  Dawn Purvis Briefing on her report ‘A Call to Action’

Dawn Purvis, accompanied by Dr Peter Shirlow, Queen’s University Belfast, and Jim Keith, Principal of the Boys Model School, joined the Committee at 12.00 pm and provided the Committee with a briefing on “A Call to Action”, the Department of Education’s Response to it and answered Members questions.

Agreed – the Committee would revisit the issues raised in the two Reports above at a later date, in order to monitor the Department’s progress.

Agreed – the Committee would forward a copy of the Department’s paper to Dawn Purvis.

Mrs. Dobson left the meeting at 12.00 pm
Mrs. Dobson rejoined the meeting at 12.03 pm
Mr. McNarry rejoined the meeting at 12.29 pm
Mr. Flanagan left the meeting at 12.32 pm

7.  Full Service Community Schools – Briefing from Barnardo’s

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses from Barnardo’s; Lynda Wilson, Director of Barnardo’s; Anne Dawson, Media & Communications Manager; and Julie Healy, Programme Manager, and apologised that the Committee was not able to hear the briefing.

Agreed - The Committee would postpone this briefing due to time constraints. The witnesses will return to brief the Committee in January 2012.

8.  Any other business

There was no other business.

9.  Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 11 January 2012 at 10.30 am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 13.00 pm.

Mervyn Storey MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Education
11 January 2012

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