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APPENDIX II to the minute of the meeting of the Education Committee of 19 October 1999 (Article 1(c) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on 20 September 1999 at 3.30 pm.

Present: Authority Representatives

Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE and SHEENA WELSH, JIM ANDERSON (Director of Education), NEIL LOGUE (Head of Education Services) and JAN NOWAK (Head of Education Services).

Teacher’s Representatives

GRAEME KIDDIE, BRIAN McHARDY, ARTHUR PRITCHARD, LESLEY ANDERSON, JIM FALCONER, ELIZABETH ANDERSON (substitute for Alice McLeod), PETER ANDREWS (substitute for Ann Truesdale) and ANN TRUESDALE (substitute for Philip Jackson, Joint Secretary).

Officer Representative

JANICE TORBET (Director of Personnel)

Mr GRAEME KIDDIE in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

There was submitted and approved as a correct record, the minute of meeting of the JCC (Teachers) of 31 May 1999.

2. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEWS

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of previous meeting, there was submitted by the Director of Education Best Value Service Review Improvement Plans for (a) Pre-fives, (b) Special Educational Needs, (c) Janitorial Services and (d) School Lets. The Service Review Documents and Improvement Plans had been approved by the Education Committee on 24 August 1999 (Article 2 refers).

Jim Anderson expressed his thanks to those who had been involved in the preparation of the Plans and indicated that the Service Review documents were available from his office. Progress reports would be submitted to the Education Committee in due course.

The Committee agreed to note the Best Value Service Improvement Plans for Pre-Fives Education, Special Educational Needs, Janitorial Services and School Lets.

3. THE EXCELLENCE FUND - STUDY SUPPORT

With reference to Article 4(b) of the minute of previous meeting, there was submitted a final Draft Report by the Director of Education on study support in secondary schools. Jim Anderson summarised the Draft Report. He indicated that study support was one of the nine strands in the Core Programme of the Excellence Fund described in SOEID Circular 4/98. The Circular set out a national objective to ensure that study support (out of school learning) activities were available in all secondary schools. A fixed sum of Excellence Fund money had been allocated by the Government to ensure that this objective would be met. A short life working group had been established by Angus Council to recommend how best to implement the Excellence Fund. Guidelines and performance indicators produced by the short life working group had been issued to all secondary head teachers. All eight secondary schools in Angus had submitted proposals for study support projects. The proposals varied to meet individual school needs.

The Draft Report concluded that study support schemes should be tailored to meet the individual circumstances of each school in terms of the guidelines and performance indicators appended to the Report.

Brian McHardy welcomed the Draft Report but indicated that staff development would be required. He indicated that other Councils in Scotland had experience in this regard and that he would report to this Committee on effective study support schemes which had been introduced in other Councils in Scotland in due course.

The Committee agreed to note the terms of the final Draft Report and that implementation of study support projects in secondary schools would be monitored.

4. MILLENNIUM BANK HOLIDAY - 31 DECEMBER 1999

There was submitted a draft Report by the Director of Education on the Millennium Bank Holiday proposed for 31 December 1999. Jim Anderson advised that he had been asked by the Council's Central Consultative Committee to prepare the Draft Report.

The Draft Report set out the issues to be addressed should an additional "Millennium Day" holiday be granted for schools in Angus for 1999/2000 and detailed the options available. One option was that a day could be added to the already agreed Christmas holiday period, namely Thursday 23 December 1999. Any authority wishing to seek a reduction of one day in the 1999/2000 school year of 190 pupil days would be required to request the approval of the Scottish Executive for such a modification. However, the draft Report concluded that it would not be in the best interests of children to award an additional day's holiday.

Brian McHardy suggested that advice from the Scottish Office had been contradictory as the "additional" holiday to be granted on 31 December 1999 was only for those who required to work on that day. He proposed that another day should be identified as an additional public holiday for everyone. He advised that 23 December, or alternatively, the last day of the summer term would be acceptable options as they would cause minimum disruption to pupils and staff. Neighbouring Councils had agreed to seek approval for an additional public holiday. Peter Andrews confirmed that it was likely that the Scottish Executive would concede to a reduction in the working year by one day to allow the holiday to take place.

Janice Torbet advised that there would be implications for other staff should an additional holiday be granted.

The Committee agreed that its observations should be referred to the Education Committee at its next meeting on 19 October 1999.

5. EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE SURVEY

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of previous meeting, there was submitted by the Director of Education a draft article on the results of the Employee Attitude Survey to be submitted to the Departmental Newsletter "VIEW". The article highlighted three major issues to be addressed, namely staff development, resources and workload.

Arthur Pritchard requested that mechanisms be put in place to monitor the issues highlighted. Jim indicated Vector Communications had completed a survey on communications within Angus Council. A range of feedback sessions would be held on the outcome of the survey and it was expected that this would lead to monitoring mechanisms being put in place.

Janice Torbet confirmed that details of the action to be carried out by the Council were on the Internet and indicated that Rob Womack (of Vector) was to brief Trade Unions on the outcome of the survey.

The Committee agreed to note the article by the Director of Education to be placed in "VIEW" and that the Council would continue to action the points raised by the employee attitude survey.

6. TOWARDS A SHARED VISION

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of previous meeting, the Director of Education and Teacher representatives updated the Committee on the position. Jim Anderson advised that a process had been established to bring together the views of parents and young people on the way forward for the education service in Angus. Three staff Sounding Boards had been set up and teacher representatives on the Sounding Boards had participated in seminars. It was intended that the Sounding Boards would comment on any proposals prior to wider consultation.

Peter Andrews indicated that the first meetings of the Sounding Boards had been introductory and it was hoped that the next meetings would be more substantive in terms of commenting on proposals for the education service.

The Committee noted that the Director of Education intended, if possible, to submit a paper on "Towards a Shared Vision" to the next meeting of this Committee.

7. MILLENNIUM REVIEW

Peter Andrews referred to the results of the recent ballot held by Teachers on a package proposed by COSLA as part of a "Millennium Review" of Teachers' Pay and Conditions. He indicated that the EIS had rejected the offer on a 98% vote and, in response, Ministers had called for a "Committee of Inquiry", which would not include the retention of the SJNC. He also indicated that it was the package that was wrong, not the negotiating machinery.

He asserted that some Councillors in other areas had expressed public concern regarding the actions of COSLA and Ministers. One Council was said to have issued a statement to the effect that it wished to dissociate itself from:-

the threats to remove the SJNC

the move to increase composite class sizes from 25 to 30

the removal of Principal Teachers and introduction of "Professional Leaders"

restrictions on the professional autonomy of teachers

unwillingness of the Scottish Executive to finance scottish teacher salaries.

Peter Andrews invited the views of elected members on the statement.

Councillor Milne, responded that, as a member of the SJNC, he had some sympathy for concerns on the issues described, but would urge continued negotiations with COSLA.

Peter Andrews stressed that it would be useful to have the view of Angus Council prior to an EIS general meeting where the EIS national president would be speaking on this issue to be held on Thursday 23 September 1999. Councillors Milne and Welsh indicated that the views expressed at this meeting would be taken into consideration and agreed to further discussion.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

The Committee agreed that the following item be considered as a matter of urgency to gain the views of the JCC prior to the meeting of the next Education Committee.

8. CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS

(a) Improvements in Scottish Education Bill

(b) General Teaching Council (GTC)

Jim Anderson reminded the Committee that the Scottish Executive had issued two consultation documents entitled "Improving our Schools", on (a) the draft improvement in Scottish Education Bill and (b) the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC). Responses to these documents were due to be submitted to the Scottish Executive by 31 October 1999. He suggested that due to the short timescale and current workloads, it would not be appropriate to establish working groups to consider the documents. Accordingly, he sought the views of this Committee in order to provide draft responses for consideration by the Education Committee. A ministerial seminar on the proposed Bill was due to be held in Dundee the following evening, and several members of the Committee had been invited to attend this Seminar.

The Committee agreed to note:-

(i) that comments on the consultation documents should be submitted to the Director of Education at the earliest opportunity;

(ii) that Peter Andrews would submit a paper to the Director of Education on the consultation documents;

(iii) that the Director of Education should submit draft responses to the Education Committee on 19 October; and

(iv) that the draft responses should be forwarded to Brian McHardy for information.

9. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION TO STAFF

(a) Update (May 1999 to September 1999)

There was submitted Report No 911/99 by the Director of Education giving information about five cases involving secondary school pupils, six cases involving primary school pupils (three of the incidents concerning one pupil) and two cases involving parents; all relating to violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period May to September 1999.

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

(b) Submission to Scottish Executive Education Department 1998/99

There was submitted by the Director of Education a submission to the Scottish Executive Education Department reporting incidents of violence against school staff from 1 August 1998 to 31 July 1999.

Jim Anderson indicated that the information contained in the submission was of a confidential nature. Councillor Milne urged all Head Teachers to report such incidents. Jim Anderson agreed to raise the matter at forthcoming Head Teachers’ meetings.

Janice Torbet indicated that her Department provided a training service on handling violence and aggression. The Service would be available to teachers as well as other members of staff.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

10. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

The Committee agreed that the next meetings should be held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar at 3.30 pm as follows:-

Monday 13 December 1999

Wednesday 9 February 2000

Monday 15 May 2000