Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 February 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 10.32am in open session. 

Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

Chairpersons Business

The Chairperson thanked Caroline for her work in relation to the research briefings prepared for the Committee.

Agreed – the Committee would write to Assembly Research and Information Service highlighting our thanks.

1.    Draft Minutes of 8 February 2012 

The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 8 February 2012. 

2.    Matters Arising

Mr Flannigan joined the meeting at 10.36am.

2.1.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from Mr Houston regarding prompt payments.

The Committee also noted a tabled paper from the Committee for Finance and Personnel dated 13 February 2012 in relation to Post Project Evaluations.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for an explanation for the delay in payment of invoices, why the Department has the worst performance rate in relation to PPEs and for detail on what measures are in place to monitor the payment of invoices by Arm’s Length Bodies and how the Department intend to improve performance of this and PPEs in the future.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department outlining one members concern that CPD states it has no remit in respect of the application of payment terms and that this was not in the spirit of joint up government.

2.2.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding progress on the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee review of unsatisfactory teachers.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the teacher’s side of the TNC stating that the Committee was advised by the Department that the procedures have not been finalised yet as the teachers have not been able to agree a position and asking for details of their concerns surrounding this issue.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for a copy of the revised procedures.

Mr McKay joined the meeting at 10.45am.

2.3.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from the Department of Education commenting on the Playboard briefing paper – ‘Making Connections through Play’.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking if it plans to make financial support available in relation to the community use of schools.

Mr McDevitt joined the meeting at 10.55am.

2.4.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from the Association of School and College Leaders Northern Ireland regarding education commitments in the draft programme for government.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the correspondence to the Department for comment on the issues raised, in particular the suggestion of a further area based curriculum review of vocational/general provision at GCSE and A level with a view to identifying areas of curriculum overlap and duplication across the school and Further Education sectors and also in relation to the standardisation of data.

2.5.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the Public Education Strategy.

2.6.    The Committee noted correspondence of 9 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding comments made by the Deputy Secretary.

2.7.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding additional monies.

2.8.    The Committee noted correspondence of 24 January 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the Aggregated Schools Budget.

3.    Correspondence

3.1.    The Committee noted correspondence of 6 February 2012 from Family Group Conference Forum regarding the work of the Family Group Conference Services.

3.2.    The Committee noted correspondence of 31 January 2012 from the Full Service Community Network (FSCN) regarding the work that they do and inviting the Committee to visit the FSCN.

Agreed – the Committee would consider making a visit as part of its new forward work programme to commence after Easter recess and write to the FSCN making them aware of the Committee decision.

3.3.    The Committee noted correspondence of 9 February 2012 from Colleges NI regarding the dissolution of the Department of Employment and Learning.

3.4.    The Committee noted correspondence of 31 January 2012 from an individual regarding proposed changes to GCSEs.

Mr Flannigan left the meeting at 11.12am.

3.5.    The Committee noted an invitation previously emailed to Members from PTA-NI to a conference on 25 February 2012.

3.6.    The Committee noted an invitation previously emailed to Members from the STEM Implementation Steering Group to the ‘One Year On’ Event on 29 March 2012.

3.7.    The Committee noted an invitation previously emailed to Members from Belfast Healthy Cities to attend a seminar entitled ‘Belfast, A Child Friendly City’ on 28 February 2012

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

  •          Education Minister announces issue of school budgets for next year;
  •          Ministers welcome commencement of work at South Belfast Youth Centre;
  •          O’Dowd: Businesses can help prepare young people for the world of work;
  •          Education Minister visits Millburn Primary School, Coleraine;
  •          O’Dowd: St Mary’s is an exemplar in sharing and collaboration;
  •          O’Dowd Visits TV Studio at Lurgan Junior High School.

 

The Chairperson raised the NI Commission for Catholic Education report on its Post Primary School review.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the commission asking for clarification on how this report takes into account education in other sectors.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the commission asking them to brief the Committee on their report.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking how this report works with the viability audits and area plans.

4.     Assembly Research briefing on Demand for and Provision of Pre-School Places

Assembly Research provided an oral briefing on the paper entitled ‘Demand for and Provision of Pre-School Places

The Committee noted this paper.

Mr Craig left the meeting at 11.28am.

5.     Assembly Research briefing on Models of School Ownership and Management

Assembly Research provided an oral briefing on the paper entitled ‘Models of school ownership and management’

The Committee noted this paper

6.     Assembly Research briefing on the Committee Inquiry into School Councils paper

Assembly Research provided an oral briefing on the next stage of the Committee Inquiry into School Councils.

Agreed – the relevant changes would be made to the questionnaires to be used in the focus groups and that Committee staff would explore the possibility of inviting an Irish language school to participate in the focus groups.

7.     Committee Consideration of SEN Issues Paper

Members noted a SEN Issues Paper.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for details on the costs associated with changing from statements to the new system of Coordinated Support Plans (CSPs), for a timescale of the implementation of the policy proposals generated from the SEN review, how the review of statements will be assessed, what help teachers will be able to give to those children SEN when they do not qualify for a CSP and detail on when information will be available to the public in relation to the proposals.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Strategic Alliance for SEN inviting them to brief the Committee at a future meeting.

8.     Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the forward work programme.

9.    Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 22 February 2012 at 10.30 am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.12pm.

Mervyn Storey MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Education
22 February 2012

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