Present: Mr D Kennedy (Chairman)
Mr S Wilson (Deputy Chairman)
Mrs E Bell
Mr J Fee
Mr O Gibson
Mr B McElduff

Apologies:Mr T Gallagher
Ms P Lewsley
Mr G McHugh
Mr K Robinson

In Attendance:Mrs C Darrah
Mrs V Artt
Miss J Adair
Ms C Angelone

The Committee met at 11.27 a.m. in private session.

1.Minutes of the Meetings of 17 May 2001

The minutes of the meeting of 17 May 2001 were agreed.

2. Matters arising from the Minutes of Proceedings

    1. The Committee noted that the Chairman had written to the Minister of Education expressing concern regarding the errors made in the Illustrative Outcomes, which were part of the LMS consultation document.

The Chairman advised members that he had received a joint letter from NICIE, the GBA(NI) and CCMS seeking a meeting with the Committee to discuss the Review of LMS funding Formulae. Members agreed that the Clerk should arrange a meeting with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, which other members would attend if available.

  1. The Committee discussed and agreed the proposals for the appointment of a Specialist Adviser for the Review of LMS Funding Formulae.
  2. Copies of the Committee response to the Proposals for Standards for Pre- School Settings had been circulated.
  3. The Chairman advised members of the appointment of a Specialist Adviser to the Committee on the Review of Post-Primary Education.

3. Discussion of Committee Response on the Appointment of a Children's Commissioner

Following discussion, members agreed the response to the Committee of the Centre on the Inquiry into the Appointment of a Children's Commissioner

4. Chairman's Business

    1. The Chairman advised the Committee that the Heads of Preparatory Schools had agreed to submit a written submission on the Review of Post-Primary Education.
    2. Information on proposed changes to the financial procedures for 2002/03 and a draft timetable were noted. The Committee agreed that consideration of the Department of Education's budget proposals for 2002/03 should be scheduled into the Committee work in June.

The Chairman informed members that an International Conference on Regulation Reform Management and Scrutiny of Legislation, hosted by the New South Wales State Parliament, was to take place in July. The Committee agreed to endorse the Chairman's attendance at the conference, accompanied by the Committee Clerk, in preparation for the Committee's consideration of primary legislation. It was also agreed that details of the current travel budget available to the Committee should be requested from the Clerk of Committees.

  1. The Committee agreed that Assembly Researchers should attend closed meetings of the Committee, by arrangement with the Clerk, where it was relevant to work they were undertaking on behalf of the Committee.
  2. The Chairman proposed that the Committee Inquiry into Underachievement should focus on Early Years Learning. The Committee agreed that the Clerk should prepare draft Terms of Reference and a list of organisations to be contacted in order to allow this matter to be taken forward in Autumn 2001.
  3. The next meeting of the Committee will be held in Room 135, Parliament Buildings on Thursday 14 June 2001 at 10.15 a.m. The Chairman advised members that the main agenda item for that meeting, which would be closed, would be a presentation by the Specialist Adviser on the Review of Post-Primary Education followed by discussion.

The meeting was opened to the public at 11.45 a.m.

5. Evidence Session with the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (Public)

As part of the Committee's consideration of the Review of Post-Primary Education, the Chairman welcomed Mr Wardlow, Mr Mullan and Mr McMackin to the meeting. They gave oral evidence on NICIE's submission to the Committee on post-primary education and this was followed by a detailed question and answer session. Areas discussed included:

  • The benefits and deficits of the current system of post-primary education
  • The benefits of all-ability integrated schools
  • Mixed ability classes
  • The use of streaming/setting/banding
  • How to achieve parity of esteem for vocational subjects
  • The use of academic selection criteria and alternative methods for transferring from primary to post-primary education
  • The need for an evolutionary approach

Hansard recorded the evidence for publication in due course.

Mrs Bell joined the meeting at 12.15 p.m.
Mr Fee left the meeting at 12.25 p.m.

The Committee went into private session.

6. Discussion with Department of Education officials on the Review of School Information and Prospectuses

The Chairman welcomed Mrs Jendoubi, Mr Lowry and Mr Leonard to the meeting to discuss the proposed Review of School Information and Prospectuses. Mrs Jendoubi briefed the Committee on the background to the proposed Review and highlighted the information, which it was proposed would no longer have to be included in school prospectuses and additional information that would be required, under the proposals. It was agreed that a further discussion of the matter would take place in June 2001.

The meeting closed at 12.55 p.m.

Committee Chairman
June 2001

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