Minutes of Proceedings - 28 September 2000

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

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

The Committee met at 12.16 p.m.

1. Minutes of Meeting of 21 September 2000

The minutes of the meeting of 21 September 2000 were agreed.

Mr Wilson joined the meeting at 12.21 p.m.

2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of Proceedings

Mr McHugh and Mr Gallagher joined the meeting at 12.24 p.m.

1. The Chairman advised the Committee that a meeting between the Joint Negotiating Council and the Trade Union side to discuss payment of a retainer fee to term-time staff had taken place on 22 September. At the meeting management side had confirmed the offer made on 31 July. The trade union side had indicated that it was not yet in a position to respond, as some of the unions concerned had not completed their consultation with their members. The Committee noted that a further meeting would be held on 3 November.

Members expressed their continued support for a speedy and equitable solution to this matter. The Committee instructed the Clerk to keep members updated on the issue.

The Committee agreed that a meeting would be held to discuss the Department of Education's Comprehensive Spending Review proposals at 10.00 a.m. on Tuesday 3 October. The Chairman reminded members to submit any views /comments on the proposals to the Clerk prior to the meeting.

The Chairman advised members that the North/South Ministerial Council Education Sectoral meeting arrangements would be placed on the agenda for the meeting on 3 October.

The Chairman had instructed the Clerk to request information on the relationship between the Department and its Non Departmental Public Bodies. The issue will be placed on the agenda of a future meeting for discussion.

3. Discussion of the Committee's response to the Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee's inquiry into Residential and Secure Accommodation for Children in Northern Ireland.

A draft Committee response to the Health Committee's inquiry into residential and secure accommodation for children in Northern Ireland had been circulated. Members agreed the response noting that it focused on the issues discussed at last week's presentation.

4. Discussion of the Committee's response to the CCEA Curriculum Review Proposals

The Chairman advised members that a final draft Committee response on the CCEA Curriculum Review proposals, incorporating members' comments, had been circulated. Following a short discussion, the Committee agreed the response noting it would now be published with the memorandum from the CCEA and the minutes of evidence.

5. Chairman's Business

  1. The Chairman advised the Committee that the Minister for Education had written regarding the future of the published School Performance Tables and copies of the paper had been circulated. The Minister was seeking the Committee's initial views on the format and content of the consultation paper as soon as possible. The consultation exercise would then proceed during October/November and the Minister had requested the Committee's substantive views on this issue by early December. The Chairman advised members that the Clerk had commissioned research on the matter and the issue would be placed on the agenda for initial consideration on Thursday 5 October.
  2. Mrs Bell informed the Committee that a representative of the New Opportunities Fund had asked to make a presentation. Members agreed that the Chairman and Deputy Chairman should meet with the organisation in the first instance.

    Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 12.40 p.m.
    Mrs Lewsley left the meeting at 12.45 p.m.

    The meeting adjourned at 12.45 p.m. and reconvened at 1.00 p.m.

6. Presentation on the Gallagher Report

The Chairman welcomed Mr Tony Marken and Ms Alison Montgomery to the meeting. Mr Marken and Ms Montgomery gave an overview of the main findings contained in the Gallagher Report, including the impact of the selection procedure on pupils, teachers, schools and the curriculum and the perceptions of wider society.

The Chairman thanked Mr Marken and Ms Montgomery for a very informative presentation.

Following the presentation the Committee agreed the format for the public meeting later in the day and discussed questions. The Chairman informed members that, in his press statement, the Minister had indicated that he wished to consult with the Committee before finalising the membership of the independent Review body that he was establishing to examine the arrangements for post-primary education. The Committee agreed that the Chairman would write to the Minister requesting an early meeting to discuss the details of the consultation process.

7. Date of Next Meeting

The Committee was meeting in public session at 2.15 p.m. in the Senate Chamber. Following this, the next meeting of the Committee will be held on Tuesday 3 October at 10.00 a.m. in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting closed at 1.40 p.m.

Committee Chairman

October 2000

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