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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of SPECIAL MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 26 June 1997 at 2.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, GEORGE ALLAN, HELEN ANGUS, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, JACK GIBB, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, WALLIE LEASK, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, GEORGE NORRIE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, RICHARD SPEIRS, SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST; Rev Dr R MACKENZIE, Fr MICHAEL MILTON, Ms MADELINE KINGSTON, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. PROCEDURE

The Committee, on the motion of the Convener, agreed that the decision of the Committee on the closure of the Secondary Department of Newtyle School be referred to the Council for approval.

2. RECEPTION OF DEPUTATION

It was reported that a request had been received from Newtyle School Board to be heard in connection with the proposed closure of the Secondary Department of Newtyle School.

The Committee agreed to hear the deputation whereupon Mr Bill Reekie and Mr Chris Roberts spoke against the proposals to close the Secondary Department of Newtyle School outlining their reasons, including (a) the change of circumstances since the consultation process had been undertaken, in that Harris Academy was no longer able to accept pupils from the area, (b) the effect this was likely to have on the roll of Newtyle Secondary Department, in particular on the assumption that the roll would continue to fall and (c) the costs of retaining the Secondary Department.

After questions had been asked and answered Mr Reekie and Mr Roberts were thanked for their attendance and withdrew to the public benches.

2. NEWTYLE SCHOOL - SECONDARY DEPARTMENT

With reference to Article 1 of the minute of the special meeting of the Education Committee of 8 May 1997, there was submitted Report No 717/97 by the Director of Education providing details of the consultation exercise and the representations made in response to that exercise (copies of which had been made available in the Members’ Lounge).

AFTER DISCUSSION COUNCILLOR MILNE, SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR GIBB, MOVED THAT THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL

(I) THAT THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE IN RESPONSE TO THE CONSULTATION EXERCISE BE NOTED;

(II) THAT THE VIEW BE AFFIRMED THAT, IN THE LIGHT OF ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION, THE ROLL OF THE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL WOULD CONTINUE TO BE TOO LOW TO BE CONSIDERED VIABLE;

(III) THAT THE GENUINE CONCERNS RAISED BY THE PARENTS WHO HAD ENROLLED THEIR CHILDREN IN THE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL FOR 1997/98 BE RECOGNISED AND THAT THE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL BE CONTINUED AND MAINTAINED UNTIL JULY 1998 IN ORDER TO ALLOW THOSE PUPILS TO UNDERTAKE ONE FURTHER YEAR OF SCHOOLING IN NEWTYLE IF THEIR PARENTS SO WISHED;

(IV) THAT IT BE AGREED IN PRINCIPLE THAT THE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL BE DISCONTINUED WITH EFFECT FROM 3 JULY 1998 IN LIGHT OF THE EDUCATIONAL AND FINANCIAL POSITION AS SET OUT IN REPORT NO 717/97 AND ITS APPENDICES;

(V) THAT THE LIKELIHOOD BE RECOGNISED THAT A NUMBER OF AFFECTED PARENTS MIGHT WISH TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO S1 OR S2 OF MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL IN 1997/98 AND TO AUTHORISE THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION TO PROVIDE HOME-TO-SCHOOL TRANSPORT FOR THOSE CHILDREN WITH EFFECT FROM AUGUST 1997;

(VI) THAT THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION BE AUTHORISED TO CONSULT, IN TERMS OF THE EDUCATION (PUBLICATION AND CONSULTATION ETC) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 1981, AS AMENDED, ON THE UNDERNOTED PROPOSALS:

THAT THE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL SHOULD BE DISCONTINUED WITH EFFECT FROM 3 JULY 1998 AND THAT THE DELINEATED AREA OF THE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED AS OUTLINED IN ONE OF (A), (B) OR (C) BELOW:

(A) THAT PART OF THE DELINEATED AREA WHICH COINCIDES WITH THE DELINEATED AREAS OF AUCHTERHOUSE, BIRKHILL AND LIFF PRIMARY SCHOOLS SHOULD BE DELETED FROM THE DELINEATED AREA OF FORFAR ACADEMY AND SUBSUMED WITHIN THE DELINEATED AREA OF MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL, AND THAT PART OF THE DELINEATED AREA WHICH COINCIDES WITH THE DELINEATED AREA OF THE PRIMARY DEPARTMENT OF NEWTYLE SCHOOL SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE SUBSUMED WITHIN THE DELINEATED AREA OF FORFAR ACADEMY; OR

(B) THE WHOLE OF THE DELINEATED AREA SHOULD BE DELETED FROM THE DELINEATED AREA OF FORFAR ACADEMY AND SUBSUMED WITHIN THE DELINEATED AREA OF MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL; OR

(C) THE WHOLE OF THE DELINEATED AREA SHOULD BE SUBSUMED INTO THE DELINEATED AREA OF MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL AND ALSO CONTINUE TO BE SUBSUMED WITHIN THE DELINEATED AREA OF FORFAR ACADEMY;

(VII) THAT THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION BE INSTRUCTED TO UNDERTAKE THE ABOVE CONSULTATION EXERCISE DURING THE PERIOD AUGUST/ SEPTEMBER 1997 AND REPORT BACK TO THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE ON THE OUTCOME OF THIS CONSULTATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE;

(VIII) THAT IT BE NOTED THAT AT PRESENT THE DELINEATED AREA OF NEWTYLE SECONDARY DEPARTMENT WAS SUBSUMED WITHIN THE DELINEATED AREAS OF BOTH HARRIS ACADEMY (DUNDEE) AND MENZIESHILL HIGH SCHOOL (DUNDEE) AND THAT THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION BE AUTHORISED TO LIAISE WITH OFFICERS OF DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL TO ENSURE THAT VIEWS EXPRESSED BY PARENTS REGARDING THIS MATTER WERE MADE KNOWN TO DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL;

(IX) THAT THE STATUTORY OBLIGATION PLACED ON THE COUNCIL TO SECURE ECONOMY, EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY IN ITS USE OF RESOURCES BE NOTED AND THAT THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION BE INSTRUCTED THEREFORE TO MAKE REASONABLE AND SENSITIVE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE STAFFING LEVELS WITHIN NEWTYLE SCHOOL IN 1997/98 CONSISTENT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE PUPIL ROLL OF THE SCHOOL.

Councillor Speirs, seconded by Mr Andrews, moved that the Education Committee:-

(1) note the report by the Director of Education on the recent consultation exercise;

(2) note the very strong support for the Secondary Department at Newtyle School by parents;

(3) note the changing situation with regard to alternative secondary education in the Newtyle/Birkhill/Invergowrie area;

(4) agree to maintain the department for a minimum of three further academic years and instruct the Director to continue to monitor the viability of the department on the basis of educational criteria; and

(5) instruct the Director to give further detailed consideration to the possible enlargement of the department to a S1-S4 school.

On a vote being taken the members voted:-

For the motion:- Councillors Milne, Allan, Angus, Provost Mrs Duncan, Gibb, Mrs Lamont, Middleton, Norrie, Mrs Ritchie, Mrs Welsh, West and Father Milton (12).

For the amendment:- Councillors Speirs, Rev Dr Mackenzie, Ms Kingston, Mr Andrews and Mr McHardy (5).

Councillor Leask abstained from voting.

The motion was declared carried.