Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 22 June 2011

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 10.32 am in open session.

The Committee noted the tabled items.

Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson reported on his speech to the 15 th International Conference on Thinking at QUB.

Agreed: the Chairperson’s speaking notes would be circulated to Members.

Agreed: Additional invitees to the Stakeholder Event on 29 June 2011 were approved.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Draft Minutes of 15 June 2011

The Committee approved the minutes of the 15 June 2011.

3. Matters Arising

  1. The Committee noted a Research and Information Service Briefing Note of 17 June 2011 on EU issues in education.
  2. The Committee noted correspondence of 17 June 2011 from the Department of Education enclosing the reports of the reviews of procurement practice and management of contracts in the Education and Library Boards.

4. Correspondence

  1. The Committee noted correspondence of 20 June 2011 from the Belfast Education and Library Board regarding a proposal to cease education provision in Vere Foster Primary School. 
    Agreed: the Committee would write to the Department of Education and the BELB regarding their respective processes, how they interact with each other, their timelines and what is happening.
  2. The Committee noted correspondence of 14 June 2011 from Mr D Clarke, Principal, Sacred Heart College regarding the school budget.
  3. The Committee noted correspondence of 12 June 2011 from Ms G McTier regarding school admissions. 
    Agreed: the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Minister of Education, ask to be copied in on the Minister’s response and inform Ms McTier accordingly.
  4. Subject to the matters specifically agreed below, Members noted the following conferences, invitations and meeting requests:
    • Prince’s Trust NI – Request to meet with the Committee to provide a briefing on their programmes and the impact of these on disadvantaged young people, their families and communities; 
      Agreed: the Committee would write to the Prince’s Trust NI to inform them that they would be invited to the next stakeholder engagement event in the autumn
    • Sharing Education Programme – Request dated 14 June 2011to meet with the Committee to discuss the Sharing Education Programme; 
      Agreed: the Committee would write to commission a briefing on the Sharing Education Programme, on a date to be agreed and in the context of the Committee’s visit to St Mary’s Limavady.
    • Queens University – Invitation to Queen’s University showcase event on 27 June 2011.
  5. Members noted the following press releases previously emailed to Members:
    • Education Minister meets with Qualifications Regulator.
    • Education Minister commends St Paul’s Junior High School.

5. Assembly Research Briefing

An Assembly Researcher provided a briefing to Members on Public Procurement in Education.

Mr C McDevitt joined the meeting at 10.42 am.

Agreed: the Committee would request a supplementary paper on how procurement arrangements here compared with other UK education authorities’ procurement arrangements.

Agreed: the Committee would request a supplementary paper on any additional considerations or information specific to the procurement of school transport for pupils with SEN, including health and safety considerations.

The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 10.55am.

The meeting resumed at 11.05am.

6. Departmental Briefing – Spending Proposals, Saving Delivery Plans & Infrastructure Investment

Agreed: the Committee would write to the Department to request answers to those questions set out in the suggested line of questioning circulated to Members which are not addressed during today’s evidence sessions.

Mr John McGrath, Deputy Secretary, Mr Mark McNaughten, Director of Finance, and Mr Diarmuid McLean, Director of Infrastructure, provided an oral briefing on the Department’s Spending Proposals, Saving Delivery Plans and Infrastructure Investment and answered Members questions.

Mr C McDevitt left the meeting at noon.

Agreed: the Committee would request, in relation to s chools under the sustainable schools threshold, a breakdown by individual school of the number of pupils in each school and each school’s enrolment number.

Officials agreed to look into the delay in providing an answer to a Member’s Assembly Question.

Agreed: the Committee would defer the scheduled briefing on Procurement Modernisation until the Committee meeting on 29 June 2011 and a revised draft Forward Work Programme would be circulated to Members.

Mr J Craig left the meeting at 12.15 and re-joined it 12.25
Mrs B Hale left the meeting at 12.29 pm
Mr J Craig left the meeting at 12.32 pm
Mr T Lunn left the meeting at 12.32 pm
Mrs J Dobson left the meeting at 12.35

Officials agreed to provide the Committee with a detailed paper outlining what action the Department has taken, is taking and/or plans to take in relation to those areas investigated in the Stage One PEDU Report (DE and DFP Joint Efficiency Review Stage One Report March 2011) which are not the subject of Stage Two of PEDU’s work.

7. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 29 June 2011 at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

Mr D McNarry left the meeting at 12.50 pm

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.50 pm.

Mervyn Storey MLA 
Chairperson, Committee for Education
29 June 2011

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