Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 1999/2000

Date: 15 June 2000

Present: 
Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr T Gallagher
Mr O Gibson
Ms P Lewsley
Mr B McElduff
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson

Apologies: 
Mr T Benson
Mr J Fee

In Attendance: 
Mrs G Ardis Miss J Adair
Mrs C Darrah Ms C Angelone

The Committee met at 10.37 a.m. in private session.

Mr B McElduff joined the meeting at 10.39 a.m.

1. Minutes of Meeting of 8 June 2000

The members agreed that Mr Aaron Large, who as part of his work experience was shadowing Mr Wilson, in his capacity as Lord Mayor of Belfast, should observe the meeting.

The minutes of the meeting of 8 June were agreed with one spelling amendment.

2. Matters Arising

  1. The Chairman informed members that the Offices of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister would reply to his letter of 3 February 2000 on the North South Ministerial Conference meeting early next week. The reply will be circulated to members.
  2. The Clerk had received responses on the Capital Building Programme from the five Education and Library Boards and CCMS. A response from the Department of Education was however still outstanding and the overview would therefore not be available until the next meeting of the Committee.
  3. A programme for the visit to the South Eastern Education and Library Board Headquarters after this Committee meeting had been circulated to all members.
    Ms Patricia Lewsley joined the meeting at 10.45 a.m.
  4. A draft response from the Committee on the Department of Education's draft Equality Scheme had been circulated. The Chairman advised members that there would be an opportunity to discuss this and draft responses to the five Education and Library Boards and CCMS after the presentation.
  5. The Clerk had obtained, from CCEA, comments/views on the Curriculum Review proposals from the people (teachers etc.) who would have to implement any changes. Copies of the information had been distributed to Committee members.
  6. A response had not yet been received from the Minister for Education to the Chairman's letter of 30 May requesting an up-date on the key issues. A reminder will issue.
  7. The Chairman informed members that he, the Deputy Chairman and other Committee members had met on Tuesday 13 June with representatives of term-time staff who are seeking payment of a retainer fee during school holidays. A press release was issued following the meeting and copies had been circulated. Copies of a note of the meeting and the letters sent to the Education and Library Boards and the Department following the meeting seeking information on the issue had also been circulated. The Chairman briefly outlined the key points and it was agreed that the Clerk would ensure that the information requested included a detailed breakdown of the cost of funding the 50% retainer fee.
  8. Arrangements had been made for the Chairman and Deputy Chairman to meet representatives of the Primary Principals' Association on Tuesday 20 June at 3pm in Room 144. The Chairman invited other Committee members to join them at the meeting if available. The Clerk was asked to circulate further details of the representatives as soon as possible.

3. Presentation by Mr Tony Marken, Principal Assembly Researcher

Mrs Eileen Bell joined the meeting at 10.53 a.m.

The Chairman welcomed Mr Tony Marken, Principal Assembly Researcher, who gave a presentation to members on Underachievement in Primary and Secondary Education.

Ken Robinson joined the meeting at 10.55 a.m.

Mr Marken's presentation covered the extent of the problems, underlying issues, possible reasons and possible action. It was followed by a question and answer session. The main topics covered included: -

  1. How education and underachievement is defined.
  2. The differentiation between low achievement and under achievement and how they are measured.
  3. The impact of the transfer system and the common curriculum and assessment system.
  4. The social and moral development of children.
  5. Special Needs education and the policy of Mainstreaming.
  6. Teacher Training and Continuous Training.
  7. The role of parents and the family in children's education.
  8. The impact of summer transition schemes, homework clubs and early years intervention schemes.
  9. The Children (NI) Order.

The Chairman thanked Mr Marken for his most enjoyable and informative presentation and he left the meeting.

4. Draft Equality Schemes

The Chairman advised the meeting that draft Committee responses to the Department of Education, the five Education and Library Boards and CCMS had been circulated to members. The Chairman sought members' comments on the draft responses. Committee responses were agreed subject to the following amendments to the letter to the Department of Education.

  1. Resources - The sentence "The Committee feel the question of resourcing was not fully explained" should be amended by removing the word fully and the recommendation should refer to resources in terms of people, time and money.
  2. Linkages with other Education Providers - The last line of the first paragraph which reads "The Department should ensure that it includes teachers unionsand associations and the new Irish Language Council as part of any consultation/exercise", should be moved to the paragraph on Consultation.
  3. Equality Impact Assessments -This paragraph and recommendation should reflect the Committee's concerns about the effect that undertaking impact assessments will have on the length of time it will take to process legislation, policy changes etc.

The Chairman acknowledged that the time members had for consideration of the draft responses had been very limited due to the very tight deadlines imposed by this exercise.

5. Chairman's Business

  1. The Chairman advised members that the Clerk held information on the Minister for Education's diary. The information was received at the end of each week and any member who wished to see the details should contact the Clerk.
  2. The Chairman informed members that he and the Deputy Chairman had met with the Chief Executive of the CCEA, Mr Gavin Boyd, on Wednesday 14 June. They had discussed a number of issues including the NI Curriculum Review.
  3. The Chairman reminded members that they should submit any questions they intended to ask CCEA officials at the presentation on Thursday 22 June to the Clerk by 5pm on Monday 19 June 2000. A list giving the order of questions would then be circulated prior to the meeting.
  4. The Chairman informed members that Mr Molloy, Chairman of the Finance and Personnel Committee, had written to all Committee Chairpersons on 13 June regarding Public Expenditure 2000/01 and End Year Flexibility. Copies of the letter had been circulated to members. Mr Molloy had requested a response by Tuesday 20 June. The Clerk had obtained a briefing paper from the Department of Education on their position in relation to the matter and this was circulated. The Chairman asked members to submit any comments they had to the Clerk by close of play on Monday 19 June. He then hoped to discuss and agree a Committee response after the meeting with the Primary Principals' Association on Tuesday 20 June.

6. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 22 June 2000 and will be a presentation by officials from CCEA on the NI Curriculum Review proposals. The meeting will be public.

7. Any Other Business

The Chairman informed members that the Speaker had invited him to a meeting of Committee Chairpersons on Wednesday 21 June. The meeting was to discuss co-ordination, practical issues of interest to the various Committees and the possible need for a Liaison Committee. The Chairman agreed to raise the issue of Committee meetings clashing.

The meeting closed at 12.10 p.m.

MR DANNY KENNEDY
Committee Chairman

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