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APPENDIX II to the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 10 March 1998 (Article 4(b) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Wednesday, 11 February 1998 at 3.30 pm.

Present:      Authority Representatives

Councillors BRIAN MILNE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, Mr JIM ANDERSON (Director of Education) Mr NEIL LOGUE (Head of Educational Services).

Teachers' Representatives

Ms LESLEY ANDERSON, Mr JIM FALCONER, Ms DONNA HAYES, Ms ANN TRUESDALE, Mr PETER ANDREWS , Mr BRIAN McHARDY and Mr ARTHUR PRITCHARD.

In the absence of Mr DRYSDALE, Councillor MILNE, Vice Convener, took the Chair.

 

1. APPOINTMENT OF CONVENER

It was noted that under the previous constitution Mr David Drysdale had been appointed as Convener from May 1997 until May 1998. The new constitution required that the Convenership rotate on an annual basis but did not stipulate from which date. Accordingly, it was suggested that the current practice continue and that the Convenership change annually at the May meeting of the Committee.

The Committee approved the proposal and agreed that Mr Drysdale should continue as Convener until the meeting on 27 May 1998.

2. REVISED CONSTITUTION

There was submitted (a) the revised constitution of the JCC (Teachers) and (b) the constitution of the Central Consultative Committee.

The Committee noted the terms of the constitutions and, in particular, in relation to the constitution of the Central Consultative Committee, that the phrase "or greater part thereof" had been omitted after "300" in paragraph 2(a)(i).

3. PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS

The Committee approved the following dates for its in 1998:-

27 May 1998

15 September 1998

3 December 1998

4. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of the JCC (Teachers) of 4 November 1997, was submitted and approved as a correct record.

5. BEST VALUE

Jim Anderson reminded the Committee that the Labour Government had decided to end the CCT regime and replace it with a "Best Value" regime. Angus Council’s submission to the Scottish Office for inclusion in the Best Value scheme had been accepted. Whilst the CCT regime had affected catering and cleaning within schools and had been due to affect "white collar" staff, it had not directly affected the provision of learning and teaching.

However, Best Value included all services and functions of the Council, and the Council was required, over a five year period, to review critically every aspect of its work. Mr Anderson said that only a limited amount of information regarding the impact of the Best Value scheme was available at present, but he would make sure that such information as was available, and any information received in the future, was shared with teachers.

Peter Andrews welcomed the Director’s offer to engage in consultation.

6. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION TO STAFF

There was submitted a report by the Director of Education relating to nine incidents involving violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period from 26 August 1997 to 28 January 1998.

Having heard details from Jim Anderson, the Committee agreed to note the nature of the incidents.

7. EDUCATION DEPARTMENT BUDGET 1998/99

Brian McHardy asked that Council take account of the following points when preparing the 1998/99 budget for the Education Department:-

(i) Grant Aided Expenditure

He stated that during the last two years Angus Council had not spent its GAE allocation for education and asked that the Council seek to achieve this in the budget for 1998/99;

(ii) Extra Funding

He referred to the extra funding that had been made available by the new Government for education purposes during the current and next financial year and expressed the hope that this money would be fully taken up;

(iii) Staffing Standards

He asked that the cuts in staffing standards made during the previous year be restored in the 1998/99 budget.

(iv) Expressive Arts & Support for Learning

He asked that the cuts made in expressive arts and support for learning be restored in the 1998/99 budget.

(v) Early Intervention

He asked that the Council continue to make early intervention a priority.

Peter Andrews said that "New Deal for Schools" money would be available in the new financial year and asked for assurance that all this money be spent on education. He also asked that full account should be taken of reimbursements in lieu of the scrapping of the nursery vouchers scheme.

Councillor Milne expressed the hope that expenditure on education would be as close to GAE as possible in 1998/99. He also indicated that all specific additional allocations for education would be spent on education.

The Committee agreed to refer the teachers’ views to the special meeting of the Education Committee which would consider the budget for 1998/99 on 23 February.

8. REPORTING TO PARENTS 5 -14

Peter Andrews indicated his view that the current format for Reporting to Parents 5 - 14 resulted in an unnecessarily excessive workload for teachers, and that many parents were neither understanding nor appreciative of the kind of information given.

He enquired if the Council would look at giving schools the option, during the current session, to adopt the new simplified format which had been developed in conjunction with the Educational Developments Advisory Group and had been endorsed by the Headteachers’ Association.

Jim Anderson indicated that, although the existing format had been agreed with teachers, he would have no problem with a new format being introduced. He did, however, have some reservations about two systems being in operation at the same time. He therefore proposed that the new format should be introduced to all schools during the 1998/99 session.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

9. PREMATURE RETIREMENT

Brian McHardy enquired:-

(i) if the Director of Education could give an estimate of the numbers of teachers likely to be seeking early retirement during the current session; and

(ii) if maximum enhancements were still awarded.

In response, Jim Anderson indicated that the new policy for premature retirement had resulted from changes in legislation and consequently a significant number of teachers had retired just prior to September 1997. Since then, no one had sought early retirement although four requests had been received from teachers seeking to retire in summer/autumn 1998.

The new policy meant that any teacher granted premature retirement with enhancement would have a maximum entitlement equivalent to the entitlement they would have received had they worked up to the age of 58.

The Committee agreed to note the current position and ask the Director to report further to the next meeting.

10. SUPPORT FOR LEARNING - PROVISION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

Arthur Pritchard inquired if a paper could be prepared setting out the nature and range of special needs provision in Angus used by the Council, since no recent updates had been issued.

Jim Anderson indicated that a position statement would be made available to all schools.

11. EARLY INTERVENTION

Arthur Pritchard indicated that the Early Intervention initiative had been welcomed by all schools participating. He enquired if plans for Year 2 of the initiative could be issued prior to the May in-service days, so that schools were aware of the resources required and could plan their in-service training programmes accordingly.

Neil Logue indicated that this request was not likely to create a problem and he anticipated that the Department would be in a position to offer briefings to phase 2 schools prior to May.

The Committee welcomed Neil Logue’s statement.

12. ALTERNATIVES TO EXCLUSION

It was agreed that consideration of this matter be deferred until the next meeting of this Committee.

13. HIGHER STILL

Brian McHardy indicated that the EIS position on Higher Still was that the cascade models of staff development were ineffective and suggested that possible modifications be examined. Little information was available to be passed on by those attending the seminars, resulting in a lack of enthusiasm amongst staff.

Lesley Anderson indicated that not enough information was being giving to principal teachers to disseminate,

Neil Logue agreed with the observations made but said that little information was available to pass on beyond the level of principal teachers. However, in his view, the Higher Still Strategy Implementation Group was working effectively and audits had been obtained from every school, summaries of which were being issued.

Mr McHardy pointed out that The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department would be consulting with all authorities on the next round of Higher Still in May. School Development Plans would require to be examined to see what could realistically be delivered and the audits which had been carried out should be of some assistance in this regard.

The Committee agreed to note the position.