Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 23 May 2012

Venue: The Senate Chamber

The meeting commenced at 10.33am in open session. 

Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

Chairpersons Business

The Chairperson reminded members about the joint committee meeting with Employment and Learning in relation to the Teacher Education Review which will take place on Tuesday 29 May at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson reminded members of the breakfast meeting with Barnardos in relation to a USA example of full service schools in disadvantaged areas which will take place on Wednesday 30 May at 9.30am in the Senate.

The Chairperson informed members that the Departmental briefing due to take place today in relation to the draft Regulation in relation to school admissions has been postponed to 6 June due to the availability of officials.

The Chairperson informed members, as it was agreed to amend the Terms of Reference for the Special Advisor role in Viability Audit/Area Planning, we have a closing date for interest of this Friday and suitable submissions received will be with us next week.

The Chairperson informed members that the Minister will return to the Committee on 13 June to discuss the Committee response in relation to the SEN review and the Minister is only available from noon.

Agreed – that the committee meeting on 12 June will start at the later time of 11.00am.

The Chairperson reminded members that the Committee had previously congratulated a year 10 pupil from Down High School in winning the National Science and Engineering competition and that he went on to be the first child in the UK to represent his country at an international science event in Pittsburgh and came second overall.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the pupil congratulating him on this fantastic achievement.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking if, and how, it congratulates such achievement from children in Northern Ireland who do well in national and international competitions where they are representing their country.

1.    Draft Minutes of 16 May 2012

The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 16 May 2012.

2.    Matters Arising

2.1.    The Committee noted correspondence of 10 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding pre-school places.

2.2.    The Committee noted copy correspondence of 11 May 2012 from the Department of Education to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety regarding the Business in the Community briefing paper.

2.3.    The Committee noted correspondence of 11 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the re-employment of retired teachers.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the individual who raised the issue.

2.4.    The Committee noted correspondence of 11 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding Programme for Government progress.

2.5.    The Committee noted correspondence of 11 May 2012 from the Children’s Law Centre regarding the impact of Mr Justice Treacy’s ruling in L’s Application.

2.6.    The Committee noted correspondence of 10 May from the SEELB regarding the Community Use of Schools.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Departmental working group on this issue and to David McNarry.

2.7.    The Committee noted correspondence of 15 May 2012 from the Committee for Justice regarding the PSNI’s participation in Operation Coachman.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the PSNI inviting the relevant officer to the informal event on health and safety on 19 June.

2.8.    The Committee noted correspondence of 16 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding school information regulations.

Agreed – the Committee would ask Research to collate information on the merits of how the data is collected on children, how it is used to assess not only the child but also their school and compare this with how it is done in the rest of the UK, Republic of Ireland and internationally.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for clarification on why the C2K digital system is not provided in the nursery sector as this falls within the category of grant-aided schools, for clarification on the meaning of ‘no flexibility, in relation to provide this service in the nursery sector and for an update on what work is being done and the progress of providing the nursery sector with this service.

2.9.    The Committee noted correspondence of 16 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding integrated services for children and young people.

2.10. The Committee noted correspondence of 17 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the review of budget allocations.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking if the Achieving Belfast and Achieving Derry projects are being re-branded or dissolved, and if so why? Members thought it appeared that the schemes were working and would question if this was a pilot scheme or not and the Committee also feel that such initiatives should not focus on the Belfast area alone as there is underachievement present elsewhere in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Hale joined the meeting at 10.46am.

2.11. The Committee noted correspondence of 17 May 2012 from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the Review of Teacher Education.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department asking for copies on the consultation with a summary of the responses received.

The Chair  raised the issue of the recent funding allocations to schools.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Education and Library Boards asking for their views on the recent funding allocations including any potential shortfall in the allocations.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for a further breakdown of the funding allocations, as referred to by the Minister in his speech to the House.

3.    Correspondence

3.1.    The Committee noted correspondence of 27 April 2012 from Dr O’Kane regarding pre-school provision.

Agreed – the Committee would forward this correspondence to the Department asking them to address this policy issue during the briefing on the proposed Regulation on 6 June and inform the individual that raised this issue about the action the Committee is taking.

3.2.    The Committee noted correspondence of 9 May 2012 from the Chairperson of Down District Council Education Committee, Councillor O’Boyle regarding nursery school provision.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for a copy of its response to Down District Council.

Agreed – the Committee would write to Down District Council informing them that we have raised the issue with the Department and will continue to do so.

3.3.    The Committee noted correspondence of 15 May 2012 from the Big Lottery Fund regarding the launch of a new initiative ‘Realising Ambition’.

3.4.    The Committee noted correspondence of 17 May 2012 from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the Children’s University initiative at South West College STEM Centre in Dungannon.

3.5.    The Committee noted correspondence of 17 May from the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group enclosing information on the key issues discussed and decisions taken at its meeting of 15 May 2012.

3.6.    The committee noted correspondence of 17 May 2012 from the Department of Education regarding the consultation on the provision of performance and other information about pupils and schools.

Agreed – that members would forward any comments they have to the Clerk who will collate a draft response for consideration.

3.7.    The Committee noted an invitation previously emailed to Members from Colleges Northern Ireland to attend the Business and Education Through Skills and Training Awards.

3.8.    The Committee noted an publication previously pigeonholed to Members from the GTCNI entitled ‘NQT Employment and Registration with the Council’.

3.9.    The Committee noted the following DE News Releases, previously emailed to Members;

  • O’Dowd announces further funding allocations;
  • O’Dowd approves nursery unit at Bronte Primary School;
  • Education Minister visits Roddensvale Special School in Larne;
  • O’Dowd highlights importance of early years.

4.     Association of School and College Lectures (ASCL), Association of Teachers and Lectures in Northern Ireland (ATL) and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) joint briefing on the Administration of Medication to Pupils.

Chris Peel, ASCL, Anne Millis, ATL and Raymond McFeeters, NAHT joined the meeting at 11.01am and provided the Committee with a briefing on the administration of medication to pupils in schools.

Mr Flannigan left the meeting at 11.26am.

Mr McKay left the meeting at 11.49am.

Ms McIlveen left the meeting at 11.52am.

Mr Kinahan left the meeting at 11.52am.

Mr Rodgers left the meeting at 11.52am.

Agreed – the Committee would forward the Departmental paper to the unions.

Agreed – the Committee would seek legal advice on the wording and content of the indemnity and seek clarification on whether the procedures that are to be followed are too complex and should they be simplified.

5.     Departmental briefing on the Administration of medication to Pupils in Schools.

Dorothy Angus, Head of Access, Inclusion and Well-being and Jonathan Boyd , Head of Special Education Team joined the meeting at 11.53am and provided the Committee with a briefing on the administration of medication to pupils in schools.

Mr Kinahan rejoined the meeting at 11.53am.

Ms McIlveen rejoined the meeting at 11.54am.

Mr Rodgers rejoined the meeting at 11.54am.

Mr McKay rejoined the meeting at 11.55am.

Mr McKay left the meeting at 12.11pm.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department asking for an update on the re-evaluation of classroom assistants, the total budget that has been spent on classroom assistants and the re-evaluation process and for a breakdown of the number of classroom assistants at each grade in each board.

6.     Forward Work Programme

The Chairperson informed members that the Department will brief the Committee on the Pre-School Education in Schools (Admissions Criteria) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 on 6 June.

Agreed – that the meeting on 6 June will start at 10.00am.

The Chairperson informed members that the Minister will brief the Committee on the Special Educational Needs Reviews on 13 June.

The Chairperson informed members that the briefing from the Primary School Governors in relation to the Common Funding Scheme has been postponed until further information on the review has been released by the Department.

Members considered and agreed the draft forward work programme.

7.    Any Other Business

One member raised the issue of the appointment of school governors.

Agreed – that previous correspondence in relation to this issue is forwarded to the member.

One member raised the issue of post 16 SEN pupil provision.

Agreed – the Committee would write to the Department of Education, the Department of Employment and Learning and the boards asking what provision is in place for post 16 SEN pupils and what collaboration there is between departments on this issue.            

8.    Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The Chairperson reminded Members of a joint meeting scheduled with the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the Teacher Education Review which is to take place on Tuesday 29 May 2012 at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson also reminded Members of a breakfast meeting with Barnardo’s regarding Full Service Community Schools which was scheduled for Wednesday 30 May 2012 at 9.30am in the Senate Chamber.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 30 May 2012 at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.24pm.

Mervyn Storey
Chairperson
Committee for Education
30 May 2012 

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