Minutes of Proceedings - 14 September 2000

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

Apologies: Mrs E Bell
Mr T Benson

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

The Committee met at 10.33 a.m.

1. Minutes of Meeting of 7 September 2000

The minutes of the meeting of 7 September 2000 were agreed.

Mr Gallagher joined the meeting at 10.38 a.m.

2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of Proceedings

Mr Fee joined the meeting at 10.45 a.m.

(i) The Chairman had written to the Joint Negotiating Council and the Trade Union representatives expressing the Committee's concerns regarding the payment of a retainer fee to term-time staff.

Following a short discussion the Committee agreed that the Chairman would write to the Minister for Education requesting his direct involvement in achieving a satisfactory outcome.

A discussion also took place regarding further correspondence received by Committee members regarding the payment of term-time staff. It was agreed that the Clerk would reply on behalf of the Committee

(ii) A draft reply to the Minister for Education regarding the Department of Education's draft New TSN Action Plan had been circulated. After further discussion, the Committee resolved to issue the letter to the Minister.

Mr McHugh wished it to be noted that he was content with the use of Free School Meal Entitlement (FSME) as a social need indicator in the allocation of funding for schools. Mr McHugh did not, therefore, agree with the wording of the Committee's letter to the Minister, which highlighted its concerns over the use of this social need indicator.

Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 11.00 a.m.

(iii) A draft letter that may be used in response to correspondence received by the Committee on individual cases had been circulated. It was agreed that the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and the Clerk would further consider this issue.

(iv) The Committee noted that a copy of the Chairman's letter to the Principals of small Secondary Schools had been circulated.

(v) Information relating to the allocation of additional funding for schools under the Chancellor's Initiative was distributed at the meeting. The Committee agreed to consider the information at the next Committee meeting on 21 September 2000.

(vi) The Chairman advised the Committee that the final draft of the Regional Development Strategy would be circulated in October. Members agreed to give further consideration to the issues raised and submit any additional comments at that time.

3. Discussion of the Committee response to the Assembly Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee's Inquiry into residential and secure accommodation for children in Northern Ireland

The Education Committee had been asked to make a written submission to the Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee on its inquiry into residential and secure accommodation for children in Northern Ireland. To assist the Committee's consideration information had been obtained from the Department of Education and research had been commissioned on the issues.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed that the Clerk would obtain further information for consideration at the next meeting of the Committee. The Committee instructed the Clerk would seek an extension to the deadline for reply.

4. Chairman's Business

Mrs Lewsley left the meeting at 11.35 a.m.

(i) The Committee discussed the issues surrounding public Committee meetings. It was agreed that meetings would normally be held in open session.

(ii) It was agreed that Mr Robinson and Mr Gallagher would represent the Committee at the Association of Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards Annual Conference.

(iii) Copies of a letter to the Chairman from the NASUWT regarding the employment of newly qualified teachers and an article in the Belfast Telegraph on the subject were circulated at the meeting. Members agreed that the Chairman would issue a holding reply to the NASUWT and that the Clerk would commission research on the matter.

(iv) The Chairman advised the meeting that copies of guidance on the powers and operation of Statutory Departmental and Standing and Ad Hoc Committees had been circulated for information.

Mr Fee left the meeting at 11.45 a.m.

(v) The Chairman advised members that the Committee had received information from the Department of Education regarding the various Working Groups established as part of the North/South Ministerial Council arrangements. The Committee agreed to consider the matter at the next Committee meeting.

5. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Thursday 21 September 2000 at 10.30 a.m. in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting closed at 11.50 a.m.

Committee Chairman
September 2000

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