Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 20 June 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 10.32 am in public session. 

Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

10.33 am Jonathan Craig left the meeting.

Chairpersons Business

The Chairperson conveyed an invitation to lunch with a delegation of Senators from the Parliament of the Czech Republic who will be visiting the Assembly on 3 July 2012.  Three members indicated their intention to attend this event.

10.34 am Michelle McIlveen joined the meeting.

The Chairperson asked members how they wished to proceed with the meeting scheduled for the day of the Diamond Jubilee Garden Party at Stormont.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to re-schedule the meeting for 10.00 am on Tuesday, 26 June 2012.

The Chairperson drew members’ attention to the recipients of awards for services to education under the Birthday Honours 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to congratulate each of these recipients.

The Chairperson referred to his attendance at the Sentinus Young Innovators 2012 Award ceremony at the Odyssey Arena on 19 June 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that a list of prize-winners should be circulated to members.

Agreed: The Committee would write to the prize-winners congratulating them on their achievement.

10.39 am Jo-Anne Dobson joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Sentinus to express their support for the event.

1. Draft Minutes of 13 June 2012

Agreed:  The draft minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2012 were agreed by the Committee.

2. Matters Arising

10.44 am Jonathan Craig rejoined the meeting

2.1. The Committee noted correspondence dated 7 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the Achieving Belfast/Derry Programmes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write both the Western Education and Library Board and Belfast Education and Library Board for an update on these Programmes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for detailed information on funding allocated in the Budget to a new Belfast Project, and, in particular, information on the correlation between this new project and the existing  Achieving Belfast/Derry Programmes.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to query if examples of good practice and learning from these initiatives shared with other areas.

2.2. The Committee noted correspondence dated 7 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the curriculum sports programme.

2.3. The Committee noted correspondence of 8 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding post 16 SEN provision.

2.4. The Committee noted an Assembly Research and Information Service briefing paper entitled ‘Free school meals in other jurisdictions’.

2.5. The Committee noted correspondence dated 11 June 2012 from the Department of Education and correspondence dated 13 June from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the Bytes Project.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning to the Department, and to request an update on the funding decision when appropriate.

2.6. The Committee noted correspondence dated 11 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the British Heart Foundation.

2.7. The Committee noted correspondence dated 11 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the achievements of individual pupils in national or international competitions, and expressed its disappointment that a centralised system for recording these achievements had not been put in place.

2.8. The Committee noted correspondence of 6 June 2012 from Asthma UK regarding access to inhalers in schools for emergencies.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Department for comment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety raise this issue with its Department.

2.9. The Committee noted correspondence of 13 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding intakes to Initial Teacher Education for 2012/13.

2.10. The Committee noted correspondence of 11 June 2012 from the Minister for Education regarding the issue of letters to parents of P7 children informing them of the outcome of the transfer procedure.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for information on what arrangements the Department proposes to put in place for 2012/2013, once discussion has taken place with the ELBs.

2.11. The Committee noted correspondence of 13 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding concerns over C2K.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response from the Department to the original correspondent for information.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to explore the possibility of a bulk purchase through C2k to minimise the cost to schools of installing security software.

2.12. The Committee noted correspondence of 14 June 2012 from the Department of Education regarding St Aidan’s High School, Derrylin.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to explore the possibility of involving St Aidan’s in its forthcoming visit to Fermanagh in October.

2.13. The Committee noted correspondence of 8 June 2012 from the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety regarding the use of Threshold in the SEN assessment process.

2.14. The Committee discussed the recent launch of a new project by the Minister to boost primary school literacy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for further information on this project.

2.15. The Committee discussed issues raised by school principals on reports from the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI), which do not acknowledge the context of social deprivation on school results.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ensure that these issues are addressed by ETI officials when they brief the Committee in October.

3. Correspondence

3.1. The Committee noted correspondence from the principal and pupils of Desertmartin and Knocknagin Primary Schools regarding the Primary Integrating Enriching Education Project, and inviting members to attend a joint musical event.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to thank the schools for their invitation and congratulating them on the success of their work, but explaining that it is not possible to facilitate a visit at this time.

3.2. The Committee noted correspondence of 12 June 2012 from Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin regarding a new school build.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Minister for comment.

3.3. The committee noted correspondence of 12 June from the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) regarding the discontinuance of the SEN annual review and correspondence of 13 June 2012 from a concerned parent regarding changes to the SEN statementing process.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Department for consideration as part of its on-going review of SEN.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to forward this correspondence to the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety for comment on placing a statutory duty on his Department for the provision of services to statemented children, as well as commenting on provision for post 16 children in mainstream education.

11.21 am Michaela Boyle left the meeting.

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

  • O’Dowd announces decisions on proposals for nursery provision in Portadown;
  • Independent panel to review schools funding scheme;
  • O’Dowd officially opens £500,000 refurbishment at Ballyoran Primary School;
  • O’Dowd launches new project to boost primary school literacy.

3.5. The Committee noted correspondence of 7 June 2012 from the Public Accounts Committee enclosing a copy of the ‘NIAO School Design and Delivery Report’.

11.24 am Daithí McKay joined the meeting.

11.24 am Brenda Hale left the meeting.

4.  Briefing on the Outline Plan from Special Adviser.

Professor Tony Gallagher joined the meeting at 11.25 am and provided the Committee with a briefing on his outline plan for the scoping inquiry on the Viability Audit/Area Planning.

11.32 am Michaela Boyle rejoined the meeting

11.47 am Danny Kinahan left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department, requesting that Professor Gallagher be given access to officials working on key policy framework, as well as officials within the Education and Library Boards and Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).  The Committee also agreed to request that any documentation requested by Professor Gallagher should be supplied to him on a timely basis.

Professor Gallagher left the meeting at 11.59 am.

11.59 am Michelle McIlveen left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for an update on its performance against the targets specified in the Programme for Government.

5. Joint Response on the Review of Teacher Education

The Committee considered a response to the Review of Teacher Education, drafted jointly with the Committee for Employment and Learning, and agreed that minor amendments should be made before submission to the Department of Education.

12.01 pm Daithí McKay left the meeting

6.  Committee’s consideration of a draft report on its School Councils Inquiry.

The Committee considered a draft of the Executive Summary, the Introduction and the Key Conclusions and Recommendations of the Report on its School Councils Inquiry.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft and ordered that it should be published in September 2012.

12.06 pm Jo-Anne Dobson left the meeting.

7. Departmental briefing on proposed changes to the Common Funding Formula.

Trevor Connolly, Director of Finance, and Roisin Lilley, Head of School Finance Team, joined the meeting at 12.07pm and provided the Committee with a briefing the proposed changes to the Common Funding Formula.

12.07 pm Michelle McIlveen rejoined the meeting.

12.35 pm Danny Kinahan rejoined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Sir Robert Salisbury to ask how best the Committee might engage with the Panel.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 12.50 pm.

8. Forward Work Programme

Agreed:  Members noted the draft forward work programme.

9. Any Other Business

There was no other business.                                                                                                       

 

10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 26 June 2012 at 10.00am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.51 pm.

Mervyn Storey
Chairperson, Committee for Education
26 June 2012

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