Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 1999/2000

Date: 20 January 2000

Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr T Benson
Mr T Gallagher
Mr O Gibson
Ms P Lewsley
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson

Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mr J Fee
Mr B McElduff

In Attendance: 
Mr J Torney
Mrs D Williams
Mrs C Darrah
Miss S Massey
Mrs S Murphy

1. Introduction of the New Committee Clerk

The Chairman introduced the new Committee Clerk, Mrs Gillian Ardis, to the members and welcomed her to the meeting. The Chairman also thanked Mr John Torney, the outgoing Committee Clerk, for his work and assistance and wished him well with his new responsibilities.

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.

3. Matters Arising.

(i). The Chairman advised members that research material on the transfer systems operating in Craigavon and Scotland was available and would be circulated as soon as possible.

Agreed: The Clerk will request information on the various transfer systems operating in England and Wales.

(ii). The Chairman confirmed that the Minister would attend the Committee meeting on Friday 21 January to discuss his proposals for the current year's Capital Building Programme. The Minister would be accompanied by Mr Tom Shaw, Chief Inspector of Schools, Mr Stephen Peover, Deputy Secretary, Mr Alan McVeigh, Head of School Planning and Provision and Mr Aidan McAteer, Special Adviser to the Minister.

The members noted the officials' positions but were unsure of the Special Advisers' educational background and interests.

Agreed: The Clerk will enquire if there is a CV available for Mr McAteer.

4. Discussion of the Department of Education's Outline Proposals for the Capital Building Programme

The Chairman reminded members that the relevant papers were circulated at the Committee meeting on 13 January for consideration. He provided members with a brief analysis of the Department's outline proposals. The Committee then had a wide-ranging and detailed discussion of the information with particular emphasis on the allocation criteria.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the following:

(i) The Clerk will request further information from the Department of Education on the contenders for new Capital starts for the last five years and the % population represented in each sector.

(ii) The Chairman will raise general questions covering the following issues with the Minister:

  • The appraisal process both at Board and Departmental level;
  • Whether the programme is a rolling one or if the appraisal process takes place annually;
  • The amount available for next year's Capital Building Programme;
  • The average length of time a contender takes to go through the appraisal process;
  • What effect the Minister's recent announcement regarding Ulidia Integrated College and the Millennium Primary School will have on the Capital Building Programme;
  • The use of PPP/PFI and it's relationship with the Capital Building Programme; and
  • The appraisal process used for Special Schools.

(iii) The Clerk will draw up the list of general questions and circulate it to members prior to the meeting.

(iv) There will be an opportunity for a general discussion and for members to raise specific questions with the Minister.

(v) The Chairman will seek a commitment from the Minister to consult further with the Committee before making any public announcement.

5. Chairman's Business

(i) The Chairman informed Committee members that copies of the Robson Report on Relative Deprivation in Northern Ireland were available and had been circulated. This report would be relevant to any scrutiny the Committee undertakes in relation to Targeting Social Need.

Agreed: The Clerk will make enquiries regarding the current review of the Robson Report.

(ii) The Chairman advised members that he had visited several schools in the Lisburn area on 14 January and had lunch with Headmasters from Secondary Schools and Grammar Schools in the Lagan Valley area. The Chairman informed members that he had undertaken the visits at the invitation of public representatives from the area and he had not attended in his capacity of Chairman of the Education Committee.

Agreed: Committee members will be advised in advance of any visits the Chairman undertakes.

  • The Chairman informed members that representatives from the Secondary Heads Association and the Transferor Representatives' Council would make short presentations to the Committee on Thursday 27 January 2000. There would be an opportunity for members to put questions after each presentation.

Agreed: Short presentations were very useful and enabled both the organisations and Committee members to focus on the main issues and priorities. On a regular basis the Chairman will invite appropriate organisations to make presentations to the Committee.

(iv) The Chairman advised members that he was considering a forward work programme for the Committee. He intended to circulate the work programme at the Committee meeting on 27 January for members' views.

6. Date of Next Meeting

The Committee will meet on Friday 21 January 2000 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.


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