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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 26 November 1996 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, WALLIE LEASK, GEORGE ALLAN, HELEN ANGUS, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, JOHN GIBB, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, GEORGE NORRIE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, RICHARD SPEIRS, SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST; Father M MILTON, Rev Dr R MACKENZIE, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Also present Councillor THOMAS I N YOUNG.

Apology: An apology for absence was intimated on behalf of Councillor Mrs RENATE LAMONT.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved in terms of Standing Order No 27(2) that the public and press be excluded during consideration of items 2 and 3 below so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10.

The following matter was, on the determination of the Convener, dealt with as a matter of urgent business in view of the need to approve the appointment.

2. STANDING ORDER NO 48 - APPOINTMENT OF A RELATIVE OF CHIEF OFFICER

After hearing the Convener, the Committee approved the appointment of Mr Graham Torbet, husband of the Director of Personnel, to the post of Principal Teacher of Technical Education at Arbroath Academy.

3. TENDERING FOR SCHOOL CONVEYANCE REQUIREMENTS 1996/99

There was submitted Report No 112/96 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development setting out details of the results of tendering exercises undertaken in October/November 1996 for conveyance contracts to sports facilities and Angus Music Centre and recommending the award of contracts to the lowest tenderer in each case.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed that the contracts be awarded as set out therein.

4. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 October 1996 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

5. MINUTES

(a) Teachers’ Grievance and Premature Retirement Sub-Committee

The minute of the meeting of the Teachers’ Grievance and Premature Retirement Sub-Committee of 27 August 1996, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix 1), was submitted and noted.

(b) Special Cases Sub-Committee

The minute of the meeting of the Special Cases Sub-Committee of 15 October 1996, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix II) was submitted and noted.

6. ANDOVER PRIMARY SCHOOL - BID FOR CENTRAL CHALLENGE FUNDING

With reference to the minute of the meeting of this Committee of 15 October 1996 and Article 2(f) of the minute of the meeting of the Council of 7 November 1996, there was submitted Report No 1029/96 by the Director of Education indicating that the delegation representing the Council, the community and parents had met the Minister of State at the Scottish Office with responsibility for education, Mr Raymond Robertson, MP, to discuss the Council’s case for the replacement of Andover Primary School in Brechin, the difficulties faced by the Council due to the lengthy delay in processing a Compulsory Purchase Order and the need to take account of school security in the light of Lord Cullen’s recommendations.

In this connection, there was submitted a letter dated 18 November 1996 from Mr Raymond Robertson, MP, confirming that the Compulsory Purchase Order had now been approved. It was proposed that the Council submit the Andover project as its top priority bid for funding from the Central Challenge Fund announced by the Secretary of State on 8 November 1996. Outline bids had to be submitted by 29 November 1996 and final bids by 17 January 1997. Accordingly, it was suggested that, if the Committee approved, in principle, the submission of a bid, then an application be submitted to the Scottish Office immediately.

Mrs Ann Mitchell and Mrs Taletta Jamieson, of the parents’ group, who were present in the public benches, spoke at the invitation of the Convener, and expressed appreciation of the co-operation received from Council members and officers.

Thereafter the Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note and endorse the partnerships which had been formed with parental and community representatives from Brechin;

(ii) to approve in principle, the proposal that the Council should submit the replacement of Andover Primary School as its first priority bid for funding from the Government’s Challenge Fund; and

(iii) to note the contents of the letter received from Mr Raymond Robertson, MP.

7. NEWTYLE SECONDARY SCHOOL

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of the meeting of this Committee of 4 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 346/96 by the Director of Education setting out options for the future of the secondary department of Newtyle School, which at present covered only stages S1 and S2.

The options available to the Council were considered to be (a) closure of the secondary department; (b) upgrading of the secondary department to a four year department; (c) upgrading the secondary department to a six year department; or (d) retaining the status quo. The Report suggested that retaining the status quo would permit all the other options to continue to be given consideration should circumstances change. However, it was suggested that the Director should continue to monitor carefully the educational viability of the current arrangement.

After discussion, the Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to confirm its support for a fully viable two year secondary department as an integral part of Newtyle School; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to continue to monitor the viability of the Newtyle secondary department on the basis of educational criteria.

8. EDUCATION - INDUSTRY LINKS

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of the meeting of the Education Committee of 15 October 1996, there was submitted Joint Report No 1030/96 by the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel indicating that, in addition to the establishment of additional guidance posts already approved by the Committee, consideration had been given to the provision of central support for Education - Industry Link (EIL) activities in the light of the work related activity guidelines paper and the outcome of the TVEI project.

Discussions had taken place between officers of the Education Department and senior officers of Scottish Enterprise Tayside regarding possible support. SET had agreed to match funding from the Council for EIL activities which would allow the secondment of a Project Officer and the establishment, during the current financial year, of a temporary post of Clerical Assistant to provide dedicated support to the Projects Officer in the management and administration of a wide range of EIL activities, including support for an Angus Education Business Partnership Steering Group.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note the progress made to date and the current activities in Angus with respect to Education - Industry Links;

(ii) to endorse the secondment of an Education - Industry Links Projects Officer;

(iii) to approve, for its interest, the establishment of a temporary post of Clerical Assistant for a period of one year;

(iv) to approve the establishment of an Education Business Partnership Steering Group on the basis described in the Report; and

(v) to refer the Report to the Personnel Committee for its interest.

9. CENTRAL GRANTS TO NATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND OTHER OUTSIDE BODIES

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 7 May 1996, there was submitted Report No 1023/96 by the Director of Education giving details of grants under £500 approved in accordance with agreed Council policy and seeking approval of grants over £500 to national organisations.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note those grants of under £500 which had been approved under delegated authority; and

(ii) to approve the grants over £500 as set out in the Report.

10. SCHOOL TRANSPORT - IMPLICATIONS OF THE EDUCATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 1996

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of the meeting of the Education Committee of 15 October 1996, there was submitted Report No 971/96 by the Director of Education giving details of the implications of SOEID Circular No 8/96 for the Council’s school transport arrangements.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note the significant expenditure already being incurred by the Council on school transport, together with the continuing difficulty of containing that expenditure within the budget allocation in a climate of ever-increasing parental expectations;

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to monitor carefully this particular area of expenditure and to report back to this Committee immediately should any difficulties arise;

(iii) to re-affirm its policy of providing transport to and from school to all primary school pupils residing more than two miles from their designated primary school and to all secondary pupils residing more than three miles from their designated secondary school;

(iv) to instruct the Director of Education to continue to make arrangements for transport, to and from school, for any pupil whose journey to her/his designated school was less than the appropriate distance as described in (iii) but which was deemed to be unduly hazardous by the Director and the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development in consultation with appropriate officers of Tayside Police;

(v) to re-affirm its policy of not providing school transport as of right to any pupil attending a school as a result of parental placing request; and

(vi) to note that the Special Cases Sub-Committee had delegated power to consider requests for school transport on exceptional grounds.

11. USE OF SCHOOL GROUNDS BY OUTSIDE BODIES

There was submitted Report No 999/96 by the Director of Education suggesting that, in the light of a recent incident, all requests from outside organisations for the use of school premises, including school grounds, should be formally lodged with the Council.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed that the Director of Education be instructed to ensure that all requests from outside organisations for the use of school premises, including school grounds, were formally lodged, and if appropriate, approved in terms of the Council’s policies.