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

Mrs E Bell
Mr T Benson
Mr J Fee

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

The Committee met at 10.28 a.m. in private session.

1. Minutes of Meeting of Thursday 23 November

The minutes of the meeting of Thursday 23 November 2000 were agreed.


2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of Proceedings

(i) The Chairman had sent the Committee's comments to the Minister for Education on the Programme for Government and the Budget 2001/02 proposals.(ii)The agreed Committee response to the Department of Education's consultation paper on the use of the Private Finance Initiative in schools had been circulated.(iii)The Chairman had written to the Lisburn Borough Councillor as agreed at the previous meeting of the Committee.Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 10.30 a.m. (iv)The Chairman, Deputy Chairman and other Committee members had met with two school groups to discuss school buildings and accommodation. Notes of the meetings and information provided by the groups would be circulated in due course.

3. Chairman's Business

(i)The Chairman discussed the subject of Christmas cards with the members. (ii)The Chairman reminded members to submit views/comments on the review of the viability criteria for Irish-Medium and Integrated Schools to the Clerk by Monday 4 December for inclusion in a response to the Minister.

Mr McHugh joined the meeting at 10.35 a.m.

(iii)The Chairman informed members that the website for the Review Body on Post-Primary Education was due to be on-line by Friday 1 December. Members instructed the Clerk to write to the Secretary of the Review Body seeking clarification on the nature and format of submissions which would be placed on the website.(iv) Members agreed that officials from the Department of Education would attend the meeting of the Committee on 14 December to discuss the distribution of the additional £20m made available for schools. The Chairman reminded members that the Minister would also be attending the meeting to discuss the consultation exercise on School Performance Tables. (v)The Chairman informed members that the Committee Office would be organising a short training course on aspects of Government Finance. Members who wished to attend the course were asked to inform the Clerk. (vi)The Chairman advised members that a draft Work Programme for January/February would be circulated at the next meeting of the Committee for discussion.


4. Any Other Business

(i) Mr Robinson requested that, as part of the Work Programme, the recently appointed Chief Inspector of Schools should be invited to a Committee meeting to discuss the role and format of general and focused inspections. Members agreed and also instructed the Clerk to request background information from the Department of Education prior to the meeting. Top

5. Date of Next Meeting

Following a short discussion, it was agreed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Tuesday 5 December at 2.00 p.m. in Room 152.

Mr Gallagher left the meeting at 10.47 a.m.


6. Presentation by Assembly Researchers on Alternative Systems of Post-Primary Education: Current European Systems (Public Session)

As part of the Committee's programme of presentations, the Chairman welcomed Ms Alison Montgomery and Ms Sandra McElhinney, Assembly Researchers, to the meeting. Ms Montgomery gave an overview of the systems of post-primary education in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia and Ms McElhinney gave an overview of the systems in France and Italy. The overviews were followed by detailed question and answer sessions. Hansard recorded the evidence for publication in due course.

Mr Wilson joined the meeting at 10.58 a.m.
Mr McHugh left the meeting at 11.12 a.m. and returned at 11.25 a.m.
Mr Gibson left the meeting at 11.22 a.m. and returned at 11.29 a.m.
Mr McElduff left the meeting at 11.50 a.m. and returned at 11.52 a.m.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 12.02 p.m.

Following a short discussion, members instructed the Clerk to commission research on the finance costs involved in the various post-primary education systems. They also requested a brief overview of the public meetings attended by the Researchers.

Mr Wilson left the meeting at 12.13 p.m. and returned at 12.15 p.m.

The Chairman thanked Ms Montgomery and Ms McElhinney for an interesting and informative presentation and for answering members' questions and they left the meeting.

7. Discussion with Officials from the Department of Education regarding the October Monitoring Round (Private Session)

The Chairman welcomed Mr David Woods and Mr Brian Morrow, officials from the Department of Education, to the meeting. A detailed discussion on the October Monitoring Round ensued. Key issues discussed included an overview of the Monitoring Round arrangements and the frequency; reasons for room to manoeuvre and pressures; the Department of Education's bids and the allocations; monitoring arrangements within the Department; and additional funding made available under the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report for repairs to school buildings and the proposed distribution.

Mrs Lewsley left the meeting at 12.43 p.m.

The Chairman thanked Mr Woods and Mr Morrow for an informative and helpful discussion and they left the meeting.

The meeting closed at 12.46 p.m.

Committee Chairman

December 2000

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