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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 22 April 1997 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, GEORGE P ALLAN, HELEN ANGUS, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, JACK GIBB, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, GEORGE NORRIE, Mrs KATHLEEN M RITCHIE, Mrs SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST; Fr M MILTON, Ms MADELINE KINGSTON and Mr PETER ANDREWS.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor GLENNIS MIDDLETON and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

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 to avoid the possible disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, items 1 and 8 respectively.

2. STANDING ORDER NO 48

The Director of Law and Administration reported that the Director of Education proposed to appoint to a post of supply Nursery Nurse, Fiona Greig who was related to Councillor William Crowe. Councillor Crowe had not been involved in the appointment procedure and would not have a direct working relationship with Miss Greig.

The Committee approved the appointment.

3. SUPPLEMENTARY FUNDING PROVISION - REPAIRS TO ZIGZAG FOOTPATH, WEBSTER'S HIGH SCHOOL, KIRRIEMUIR

There was submitted Joint Report No 469/97 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Education seeking approval for the provision of supplementary funding for health and safety improvements and minor repairs to the zigzag footpath at Webster's High School, Kirriemuir by the installation of handrails and additional surface water drainage at an estimated cost of £13,000.

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

(i) to note the requirement for urgent repairs to be carried out to the path;

(ii) to approve the bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £13,000 from the Property Maintenance Renewal and Repairs fund in the financial year 1997/98; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Property Services to progress the repairs immediately.

4. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 March 1997 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

5. ATTENDANCE SUB-COMMITTEE

The minute of meeting of the Attendance Sub-Committee held earlier this day, a copy of which is appended hereto (APPENDIX) was submitted and noted.

6. DEVOLVED SCHOOL MANAGEMENT - PHASE 3

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 23 April 1996, there was submitted Report No 431/97 by the Director of Education proposing that a further 14 schools begin to participate in Devolved School Management during 1997/98 as Phase 3. However, the approved levels of clerical support meant that nearly every school still to join the DSM Scheme would require support in addition to that already employed.

In view of the move towards a higher proportion of schools participating in Devolved School Management the complete range of centrally based administrative support, on which schools had traditionally drawn, had been examined with a view to possibly reducing this support in favour of more support at school level. As a result, it was proposed that one post be deleted from the Education Department's staffing establishment on the understanding that the savings generated could be applied to partially cover the cost of additional clerical support required for Phase 3 schools.

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

(i) to approve the inclusion of the 14 schools listed in the Appendix within the Council's Devolved School Management Scheme during 1997/98;

(ii) to approve, in principle, the deletion from the Education Department staff establishment of one post of Clerical Assistant (No 02/08) on the understanding that the savings so generated could be applied to enable the provision of additional clerical support described in the Appendix to the Report; and

(iii) to refer the Report to the Personnel and Property Services Committee.

7. EXTENSION OF PRE-SCHOOL PROVISION

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 October 1996, there was submitted Report No 433/97 by the Director of Education setting out the latest figures on the enrolment of children in nursery schools and classes for August 1997 and indicating that the publicity regarding nursery vouchers might have had an effect on enrolment since the vouchers were not due to be issued until May of this year.

Accordingly, it was proposed to recruit additional staff for new or extended nursery classes but, before filling vacant posts, it would be necessary to ensure that existing staff had been appropriately deployed and that any transfer requests from staff had been fully considered and effected where desirable. Thereafter, it was proposed to advertise remaining posts in accordance with normal procedures.

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

(i) to note the continuing concerns being raised as a result of funding pre-school education by way of a voucher system;

(ii) to note and approve current projections of the available nursery places from August 1997 as set out in Appendix I to the Report;

(iii) to approve, in principle, the recommended staffing levels outlined in Appendix II to the Report, including the continuation of a seconded teacher in the post of Pre-School Development Officer; and

(iv) to delegate to the Director of Education authority to recruit additional staff at short notice if unexpectedly large numbers of pupils were enrolled in any particular nursery class, on the understanding that any such recruitment decisions would be cost neutral and that they would be reported to Committee at as early a date as possible.

8. EARLY INTERVENTION

There was submitted Report No 436/97 by the Director of Education indicating that the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department had issued a draft circular advising local authorities of a proposed Early Intervention Grants Programme which followed closely upon the Government's responses to the Report of the Task Force on Under-achievement in Scottish schools. The draft programme welcomed the development of early intervention schemes by certain authorities and recognised that the introduction of a specific grant programme would assist authorities' own schemes.

The Report set out proposals for an Angus Council Early Intervention Project and suggested that a pilot project be established for the sessions 1997-2000.

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

(i) to note the background to and the main features of the SOEID draft circular issued in February 1997 in respect of an Early Intervention Grants Programme;

(ii) to endorse the need for continuing high priority to be accorded to early intervention strategies;

(iii) to note that the final guidance on an early intervention grants programme would not now be issued until after the forthcoming General Election;

(iv) to note the outline proposal contained in the Report for the project to further develop early intervention strategies in Angus;

(v) to endorse the proposal as the basis for a specific grant application as soon as final details had been made known to local authorities; and

(vi) to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of any application for specific grant.

9. SOEID CONSULTATION ON TEACHER APPRAISAL REGULATIONS

There was submitted Report No 435/97 by the Director of Education drawing attention to the draft Regulations recently issued by the Scottish Office to make teacher appraisal a compulsory process. The Report also set out the present arrangements in Angus for teacher review and set out possible comments on the terms of the Regulations.

After hearing Mr Andrews regarding the need for teacher review to be a genuine partnership arrangement, the Committee approved the Report and endorsed its terms as a response to the request by the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department for comments on the draft Regulations.

10. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION PROCEDURES

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 434/97 by the Director of Education indicating that he had written to each of the trade unions and professional associations represented on the JCC (Teachers) regarding the proposed amendments to the current selection procedures for promoted teaching posts. The teachers’ representatives had indicated that, whilst regretting the need to amend current procedures, they recognised the existence of the requirement and expressed no opposition to the proposed arrangements.

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

(i) to note that Councillors would no longer be required to be involved in selection panels for short leeting and interviewing for the posts of Principal Teacher and Assistant Principal Teacher;

(ii) to approve the amended procedures described in the Report for the selection of Principal Teachers and Assistant Principal Teachers; and

(iii) to confirm the continuation of existing selection procedures for all other promoted teaching posts.

11. EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1997/99

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 April 1996, there was submitted Report No 437/97 by the Director of Education setting out the progress made in relation to the first Education Department Development Plan and advising members of the arrangements being made for the finalisation of the Development Plan for 1997/99, a draft of which was available in the Members' Lounge.

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

(i) to note the considerable progress made in relation to development priorities set out in the Education Department's first Development Plan which was the subject of a comprehensive position statement within the draft 1997/99 Development Plan;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Education to issue the 1997/99 draft Development Plan for consultation to all schools and services; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of this consultative exercise.

12. A NATIONAL SYSTEM OF ACCREDITATION AND VETTING ADULTS WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

There was submitted Joint Report No 438/97 by the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work setting out a proposed response to a consultation document issued by the Scottish Office on "Proposals for a National System of Accreditation and Vetting Information regarding Adults Working with Children and Young People in Scotland".

The Committee for its interest approved the contents of the Report as the Council's response to the Scottish Office consultation document.

13. HMI REPORT - MONTROSE ACADEMY

A copy of a Report by Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools on an extended inspection of Montrose Academy had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

The Convener indicated that the Report was one of the best on any school in Scotland and members of the Committee expressed their appreciation of the work being carried out by the Head Teacher, Mr Harry Faulkner, and the staff of Montrose Academy.

14. REVIEW OF THE DRUG PREVENTION INITIATIVE IN SCOTLAND - ADVISORY GROUP REPORT 1996

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 15 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 410/97 by the Director of Social Work advising the Committee of the content of the review of the Drug Prevention Initiative in Scotland, which contained recommendations proposing that a national Drug Prevention Unit be established and invited comments on the issues raised, and on the specific proposals.

A response to the review had been submitted and a copy was attached to the Report.

The Committee for its interest noted the contents of the response submitted to the Scottish Office.

15. DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION

There was submitted Report No 432/97 by the Director of Education indicating that, as a consequence of three members of staff having been granted premature retirement and in the light of severe budgetary constraints, a review of existing departmental staffing levels within central support teams had been carried out, including an amendment to the zonal arrangements of the second tier officers and to the functional responsibilities of these officers.

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

(i) to approve in principle the proposed amendments to the zonal arrangements, subject to consideration of any consequent implications; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to bring forward a further Report, jointly with the Director of Personnel, on consequent implications of the arrangements described in the Report.

16. MEETINGS WITH SCHOOL BOARD AND PARENTAL REPRESENTATIVES

The Committee noted that arrangements were being made for the next in a series of regular meetings with representatives of school boards and the wider parent body as follows:-

Tuesday 27 May 1997, 7.30 pm - Grange Primary School, Monifieth

Wednesday 28 May 1997, 7.30 pm - Arbroath High School (Library)

Thursday 29 May 1997, 7.30 pm - Meffan Institute, Forfar

17. ANDOVER PRIMARY SCHOOL

With reference to the minute of meeting of the Executive Sub-Committee of the Personnel and Property Committee held on 15 and 17 April 1997, the Convener reported, for the information of members, that the contract for the construction of the new Andover Primary School had been let, and that the contractor would have access to the site by the end of May.

The Committee noted the position.