Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 22 February 2012

Venue: The Senate Chamber

The meeting commenced at 10.30am in open session. 

Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

Chairpersons Business

The Chairperson informed members that the NAHT will be having a discussion on the administration of medication to pupils during their annual conference on Friday 2 March, at 2pm, La Mon House Hotel and encouraged members to attend.

Mrs Dobson joined the meeting at 10.33am.

The Chairperson informed members that the Clerk has been in touch with the Clerk of the Oireachtas Education and Skills Committee with a view to arranging an informal meeting.

1. Draft Minutes of 15 February 2012 

The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 15 February 2012 subject to a minor amendment. 

2. Matters Arising  

2.1. The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the following Regulations: 

  • The Education (Pupil Records and Reporting) Regulations (NI) 2012; 
  • The Education (School Information and Prospectuses) Regulations (NI) 2012; and 
  • The Education (Target-Setting in Schools) Regulations (NI) 2012.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for a copy of DE’s Levels of Progression Charts.

2.2. The Committee noted correspondence of 13 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding procurement in education.

Agreed – the Committee would be provided with a copy of the Welsh report entitled ‘opening doors’ in relation to procurement.

2.3. The Committee noted correspondence of 10 February 2012 from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding Rugby coaching for juniors

Agreed – the correspondence is sent to the All Party Working Group on this issue as previously agreed.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for comment in relation to providing rugby coach/coordinators for schools.

2.4. The Committee noted correspondence of 14 February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the Sandy Row Homework Project.

2.5. The Committee noted correspondence of 14February 2012 from the Department of Education regarding literacy and numeracy.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department stating that it finds it less than satisfactory that the Department takes no responsibility for the standardisation of acceptable qualifications for teachers who deliver literacy and feels the Department should have a more proactive role in this area rather than leaving it to Boards of Governors.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for its officials to comment on the link between poor quality teaching highlighted in ETI reports, how this will be addressed by the Teacher Training Review and the commitment in PfG to deliver increased literacy and numeracy within schools at their briefing to the Committee on 21 March.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department noting the paragraph in its correspondence that states the qualification requirements of those teaching essential skills in further education colleges is under review and asking if the same type of review could be carried out in relation to those that teach literacy and numeracy in the Primary and Post-Primary sectors.

Agreed – the Committee would ask research to provide information on the qualification requirements for those teaching literacy and numeracy in other jurisdictions.

3. Correspondence

3.1. The Committee noted the following invitations  previously emailed to Members:

  • Mencap – Working Together for Change Conference on 23 & 24 March 2012;
  • Joint Consultative Forum – Education Sector meeting on 29 February 2012.

3.2.    The Committee noted the following publications previously emailed or pigeonholed  to Members:

  • SEELB – Annual Reports & Accounts 2010-11;
  • SELB- Annual Reports & Accounts 2010-11;
  • NICCE – Post-Primary Review Regional Report 2012;
  • Belfast Healthy Cities – Children & Young Peoples Partnership Mapping Exercise.

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

  • O’Dowd Attends Official opening of New Building for Belfast School – Our Lady’s and St Patricks Knock;
  • O’Dowd comments following publication of Post-Primary Review;
  • Decision on nursery unit for Cranmore Integrated Primary School;
  • O’Dowd approves nursery units at Drumadonnell Primary School’ Banbridge and St Patrick’s Primary School, Mayobridge.

Mr McDevitt left the meeting at 10.45am.

4. Departmental briefing on Proposals to Deliver Pre-School Education

John McGrath, Deputy Secretary, Linda Wilson, Director of Parents, families and Communities and Marie Abbot, Head of Early Years Team joined the Committee at 10.45am and provided the Committee with a briefing on proposals to deliver pre-school education and answered Members’ questions.

Mr McDevitt joined the meeting at 11.00am.

Mr Nesbitt left the meeting at 11.20am.

Mr Nesbitt rejoined the meeting at 11.27am.

Mrs Dobson left the meeting at 11.40am.

Mrs Dobson rejoined the meeting at 11.50am.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for information and statistics on the following:

  • The percentage of families who obtain their first choice nursery place, broken down between the Boards and sectors;
  • The percentage of full time and part time places broken down by sector;
  • Analysis of units available in socially deprived areas and areas marked for neighbourhood renewal;
  • A copy of the survey report in relation to children who had not been to pre-school and any reason given by parents for this;
  • Statistics extracted from the from the ETI report 2010/2011 by officials and how they compare to those of previous reports;
  • Reasons families provided for not progressing to stage 2 of the application process;
  • Whether or not those working in the early years sector will be required to undertake training as part of the SEN review, and if so who will fund this.

Agreed – the Committee would request information on any previous research conducted which compared development of children who did /did not attend pre-school education.

5. Departmental Briefing on Budget 2012-13 Allocation Plans and the Aggregated School Budget

Mr McDevitt left the meeting at 12.20pm.

Mr Nesbitt left the meeting at 12.30pm.

Mr Nesbitt rejoined the meeting at 12.37pm.

John McGrath, Deputy Secretary, Trevor Connolly, Director of Finance and La’Verne Montgomery, Director of Education Workforce Development joined the Committee at 11.50am and provided the Committee with a briefing on Budget 2012-13 Allocation Plans and the aggregated School Budget and answered Members’ questions.

6. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the forward work programme.

Agreed – the Department would brief the Committee next week on the Teachers’ Pension (Amendment) Regulation 2012.

7. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 29 February 2012 at 10.30 am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.50pm.

Mervyn Storey MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Education

29 February 2012

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