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APPENDIX III to the minute of the meeting of the Education Committee of 4 June 1996 (Article 2(iii) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in The Cross, Forfar on Wednesday 22 May 1996 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Education Committee Representatives

Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE (Convener), HELEN ANGUS, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors WALLIE B LEASK, GEORGE NORRIE, Mrs SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST.

Teachers Representatives

PETER ANDREWS, DAVID DRYSDALE, JIM FALCONER, BRIAN McHARDY, JOE McKELVIE (as substitute for Lesley Anderson), ARTHUR PRITCHARD and SANDY TAPLEY (as substitute for Alice McLeod).

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Meeting of 15 February 1996

The minute of the meeting of this Committee held on 15 February 1996 was submitted and approved as a correct record.

(b) Meeting of 26 March 1996

The minute of the special meeting of this Committee held on 26 March 1996 was submitted and approved as a correct record.

Arising therefrom, Mr Andrews referred to the part of the agreement (item iii) under which the temporary arrangements might include "occasional" meetings of staff as agreed by those involved. He asked that it be recorded, to avoid any possible misunderstanding, that "occasional" did not mean "regular" meetings, even on a voluntary basis. He also stressed that school development plans must be drawn up in collaboration with teaching staff and that such plans should reflect the significant slowing down of developments. The issue of teachers' workload should be approached in a systematic way and the Convener agreed that in-service days would be an appropriate time for development work to take place.

Mr McKelvie asked for clarification from the Director on a number of matters relating to the amended cover agreement. The Director of Education agreed to clarify, in writing, the detailed issues raised by Mr McKelvie.

2. PROMOTED POSTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 292/96 by the Director of Education proposing a small increase in the number of substantive promoted posts in the secondary schools by amending the recommended number of permanent AHT and guidance posts in six year secondary schools, as set out in the Report.

Mr McHardy referred to Article 4 of the minute of the meeting of 15 February 1996 when the benefits of the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) had been accepted. He reiterated the teachers' view that damage to learning and teaching would be caused by the withdrawal of funding for the substantive TVEI posts. However, the teachers' representatives considered that the additional guidance posts proposed were inadequate in terms of sustaining innovations such as work experience due to lack of time and experience in TVEI work. There were also health and safety issues to be considered in relation to site visits which could not reasonably be expected of an APT (Guidance) with such a wide remit.

Mr Andrews pointed out that the APT (Guidance) posts proposed in the Report would be posts within the agreed staffing standard, and would not therefore result in any more teachers being employed in any school.

After a full discussion, the Convener agreed to ask the Director of Education to reconsider his recommendations. He also gave an assurance that the whole Report (including the proposals relating to Senior Teachers) would be reconsidered.

3. DISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS

The Director of Education tabled statistics on assaults on school staff for the period 14 August 1995 to 30 April 1996. He had reminded Head Teachers to keep recording any incidents in Angus schools which involved assaults on school staff, even if the matter was not referred to the police.

Mr Falconer commented on the lack of information on assaults in secondary schools perhaps arising from the non-reporting of incidents in that sector.

Mr Pritchard emphasised the difficulties surrounding temporary exclusions from schools following such incidents, and he welcomed the Director's advice to Head Teachers stressing the importance of completing the necessary forms. He suggested that future reports should be more generic and deal with the background and context of any assaults and the Director undertook to look at the design of the forms to enable this to be achieved. He also asked if any progress had been made with the joint examination of the existing guidelines on discipline in schools, as agreed at the meeting on 15 February 1996.

The Convener concurred with the teachers' representatives' view that more "off site" provision would help with the problem of excluded pupils. He would discuss with the Director the arrangements for the joint examination of the guidelines as soon as possible.

4. HIGHER STILL

The Director of Education reported that the next phase of the implementation of the Higher Still programme would include all subjects. He reminded the Committee that Tayside Regional Council had participated in the consultation but not in development work. He hoped that Angus Council would continue this practice, with this Committee's involvement.

Mr Andrews agreed that it was important for teachers to be involved in the consultation exercise, although this was without commitment to implementation of the Higher Still initiative. He asked that Head Teachers be advised that individual schools may make submission on the documents connected with the next phase to the Director, but not directly to the Scottish Office. Mr McHardy asked if the specific grant for Higher Still was still ring-fenced. The Director of Education confirmed that, it was, and that cover from these funds would be supplied for teachers who were involved in the preparation of a response to the consultation documents. He also agreed to write again to the Scottish Office with regard to the allocation of specific grant funding, and the constraints now being placed on that funding.

It was agreed that the Joint Secretary (Teachers Side) should be notified of the names of the teachers' representatives willing to participate in seminars to be arranged as part of the consultation process.

5. EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT SERVICE

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of the meeting of this Committee of 15 February 1996, Mr Andrews reminded the Committee that the teachers' representatives had reservations about the model proposed for the Educational Development Service. He asked what the Director of Education's plans were for review of the model and noted that two posts had recently been advertised. He asked for clarification of alleged reports that a number of the issues which had been raised at meetings of Principal Teachers in different subject disciplines had been identical and he questioned the need for separate meetings for each subject discipline rather than in larger groupings.

The Director of Education confirmed that the Council would review its departmental structures in due course, but he suggested that it would be more efficient to have fewer groups co-ordinating educational developments. He therefore proposed that there should be an educational development advisory group which would include representation from this Committee.

Mr Andrews welcomed this proposal.

The Director then emphasised that he was attempting to respond to demand from teachers for support with subject developments and the meetings to which Mr Andrews had referred were merely the inaugural launch of subject specific networks.

The Convener noted that use would be made of secondments as part of the EDS structure to avoid duplication of effort.

6. SUPPORT FOR LEARNING

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of the meeting of this Committee held on 15 February 1996, Mr Pritchard requested information on the progress of the short life working group which had been established to consider support for learning. Having noted the progress which had been made, he considered that there was now a need for focusing in on particular issues which had been identified and he asked that there be significant class teacher input in any subsequent groups established to consider issues such as discipline in schools, the range of provision available, recording criteria partnership with parents and off-site provision.

The Director informed the meeting that a policy framework had been issued to schools and that it was the intention of the authority to involve as many staff as possible in looking at specific issues.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

7. NATIONAL TESTING

Mr Andrews referred to the recent announcement by Raymond Robertson MP, Scottish Office Minister for Education, on the Government's intention to legislate for compulsory national testing at S1 and S2 levels. He hoped that Angus Council would endorse Tayside Regional Council's commitment to whole school assessment policies working with parents with teachers' professional discretion as to the use of national testing.

The Convener indicated that National Test materials were widely used in schools in Angus and stressed that assessment procedures should be used for the benefit of pupils according to their needs. He re-assured Mr Andrews that the Council, teachers and parents would oppose any legislation that would make National Testing compulsory.

8. SMOKING AT WORK POLICY

In response to a question by Mr Andrews, the Convener assured the teacher representatives that any proposals for a Council policy on smoking at work which affected teachers conditions of service would be brought before this Committee, at a special meeting if necessary, before being formally considered by the Council.