Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 1999/2000

Date: 27 January 2000

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

In Attendance:
Mrs G Ardis
Mrs D Williams
Mrs C Darrah
Miss L Tracey
Mrs S Murphy

1. Minutes of the Meetings of 20 January and 21 January 2000

The minutes of the meetings of 20 and 21 January were agreed.

2. Matters Arising

(i)The Chairman advised members that research material on the transfer systems operating in England and Wales had been requested and would be circulated in due course.

(ii)The Chairman informed members that the Clerk had obtained information on the current review of the Robson report and details had been circulated. The Minister of Finance and Personnel had provided a written answer on the subject on 17 January and this had also been circulated. He advised that the Clerk would keep a watching brief on this issue.

(iii)The Chairman informed members that a press release had been issued following the meeting with the Minister on 21 January.<

(iv)Agreed: The Clerk will request information on the allocated cost per pupil in schools.

3. Presentation by the Secondary Heads Association

The Chairman welcomed Mr Jim McBain, President, Mr John Stuart, Vice-President, Mr William Calvert, Past President and Mr Robert Matier, Field Officer. They gave a presentation outlining the role of the Association and it's key priorities. This was followed by a question and answer session. The issues covered included teachers' salaries, funding issues including the financing of Capital Development, PFI and Funding Formulae and the Transfer Process.

4. Presentation by the Transferor Representatives Council

Mr George Orr, Vice-Chairman, the Reverend Canon Houston McKelvey, Hon. Secretary and the Reverend James McAllister, Member of Council, were welcomed to the meeting by the Chairman. They gave a presentation outlining the background and role of the Council and it's main concerns. A question and answer session followed. The areas covered included parental choice and the possible fragmentation of the education system, the policy on integrated schools, representation on statutory/consultative educational bodies, new TSN and underachievement.

5. Discussion of the Additional Information provided by the Department of Education on the Capital Building Programme

The Chairman informed members that the Department of Education had provided the additional information on the past Capital Building Contenders; it had been circulated at the start of the meeting. He emphasised the confidentiality of the information which was not in the public domain.

Agreed: (i) Members will consider the further information and submit any comments/views on the proposals for the 2000/2001 Capital Building Programme to the Clerk by 5pm on Monday 31 January 2000.

(ii) The Chairman will then send a written response, outlining the views of members, to the Minister. The Chairman will also highlight the Committee's intention to consider the appraisal process and the criteria used with regard to proposals for the Capital Building Programme in greater detail in the coming months.

6. Chairman's Business

(i) The Chairman asked for members' views on the invitation from Boston College for the Committee to attend an education programme at the end of March 2000. Members agreed that the visit would be beneficial both in considering educational issues and in observing a committee system in operation. However, given the number of important issues that the Committee will have to consider in the near future and the wish of members to undertake a wide range of visits and meetings with local representatives, it was felt that it would be very difficult to undertake such a visit in March.

Agreed: The Chairman would explain the position to Boston College and explore the possibility of deferring the visit until early autumn.

(ii) The Chairman circulated a forward work programme for February for consideration:

Agreed: Members were content with the proposed programme.

Agreed: The visit to primary schools on 10 February should be a morning visit and transport was not required for members. The Clerk will arrange a suitable programme to include a meeting with representatives to discuss key issues followed by short tour at each school. As a local representative of the area Mr K Robinson declared an interest.

Agreed: The suggested topics for Committee enquiries were agreed. The Clerk will draw up a programme and terms of reference for consideration.

Agreed: Priority should be given to visits relevant to the transfer process in the future work programme.

Agreed: The Ulster Teachers' Union will be invited to give a presentation to the Committee in the future.

(iii) The Chairman informed members that the Department of Education had provided further information on the additional resources allocated to the Department in 1999/2000. The information had been circulated to members.

7. Date of Next Meeting

The Committee will meet on Thursday 3 February 2000 at 10.30 am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.


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