Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 1999/2000

Date: 06 July 2000

Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr O Gibson
Ms P Lewsley
Mr B McElduff
Mr K Robinson

Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mr T Benson 
Mr T Gallagher
Mr J Fee
Mr G McHugh

In Attendance: 
Mrs G Ardis
Ms C Angelone 
Mrs C Darrah

The Committee met at 10.43 a.m.

1. Minutes of Meetings of 29 June 2000 and 3 July 2000

The minutes of the meetings of 29 June and 3 July 2000 were agreed.

2. Matters Arising

(i) A response had been received from the Minister for Education on key issues. The Chairman advised members that a draft forward work programme reflecting the various issues and timescales would be prepared for consideration at the first meeting in the Autumn session.

(ii) The Chairman had written to the Joint Negotiating Council and copies of the letter had been circulated. The Clerk had also written to the Department requesting further information and copies of the letter and the Department's response had been circulated. At the Chairman's request the Clerk briefed members on the current position regarding the negotiations on the payment of a retainer fee to term-time staff. The Committee agreed that:

a. Letters should be sent to both the Joint Negotiating Council and the trade union representatives expressing the Committee's continued support for a speedy and equitable conclusion to this very complex issue.

b. The Clerk will request further information regarding the timetable of the proposed job evaluation review, the grades involved in the review, the resource implications and who will provide the funding.

(iii) The Chairman reminded members to submit any research requests to the Clerk by 7 July to enable them to be actioned during the Assembly recess. Members identified a number of requests.

(iv) The Clerk had written, as instructed, to Mr Murtagh of St John's and Rosetta Avenue Resident's Association regarding Wellington College and copies of the letter had been circulated.

3. The Programme for Government

The Chairman advised members that a draft Committee response to the Minister for Education on the Programme for Government had been circulated. Members agreed the response, noting that it focused on the education principles and crosscutting issues and also expressed the Committee's concern at the very short timescale for consideration of such an important issue.

4. New Targeting Social Need (TSN) Draft Action Plan

A draft Committee response to the Department of Education's New Targeting Social Need draft Action Plan had been circulated. The Committee discussed and agreed the response.

5. Letters re: Funding

The Chairman informed members that copies of the note of the meeting between Committee members and Principals of small Secondary Schools and the information provided by the Principals had been circulated. Members agreed that the Chairman should write to the Minister for Education requesting a moratorium on funding cuts while a review of LMS Formulae was on going and that the Principals should be advised of the action taken by the Committee.

6. Chairman's Business

(i) A draft press release was discussed and agreed for issue after the meeting.

(ii) The Chairman informed members that the Chairman of the Regional Development Committee, Mr Alban Maginness, had written to him regarding the Regional Development Strategy (Draft Regional Strategic Framework). Mr Maginness was seeking the views of the Committee on those aspects of the Strategy that had implications for the work of the Department of Education. To assist members' consideration of the issues information had been obtained from the Department regarding it's response to the consultation process. Copies of all the papers had been circulated. The Committee agreed a short response for issue to the Chairman of the Regional Development Committee.

(iii) The Chairman advised members that in the event of both a Chairman and Deputy Chairman of a Committee failing to attend a pre-arranged Committee meeting it was permissible for the remaining members, assuming a quorum, to elect a member to conduct the business of that meeting only. Meetings should not, however, be arranged in the knowledge that neither the Chairman nor Deputy Chairman would be available to attend.

(iv) The Chairman informed members that the proposed visit to Boston College would not take place in September.

7. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Thursday 7 September 2000 at 10.30 a.m. in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

8. Any Other Business

(i) The Committee resolved that the Clerk should prepare a guidance note for members on attendance at education conferences, seminars etc.

(ii) The Committee agreed that the Clerk should undertake appropriate preparatory work on the priority issues during the recess.

(iii) The Committee resolved that the Clerk should obtain information on the issues raised by Mrs Di Maio with several members of the Committee and report back at the next meeting.

The meeting closed at 11.27 a.m.

Committee Chairman

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