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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 27 January 1998 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, GEORGE P ALLAN, HELEN ANGUS, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors JACK GIBB, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, GEORGE NORRIE, RICHARD SPEIRS, SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST; Rev Dr R MACKENZIE, Rev M CASSIDY and Mr PETER ANDREWS.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor RICHARD SPEIRS and Ms MADELINE KINGSTON.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

 

REVEREND MARK CASSIDY

The Convener welcomed the Reverend Mark Cassidy as the representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Angus to his first meeting of the Education Committee and paid tribute to the contribution made by his predecessor, Father Milton.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 November 1997 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. MINUTE OF SCHOOL ATTENDANCE SUB-COMMITTEE

The minute of meeting of the School Attendance Sub-Committee of 11 December 1997, a copy of which is appended hereto, (Appendix) was submitted and noted.

3. PUBLIC EDUCATION IN SCOTLAND INTO THE MILLENNIUM

There was submitted Report No 97/98 by the Director of Education indicating that COSLA and the Teachers’ Unions had launched a joint enquiry into public education in Scotland into the Millennium to examine issues, through written evidence from a wide range of partner organisations and individuals backed by oral evidence from key interests.

The enquiry had established four Task Groups, three of which had now written to all Scottish Councils inviting them to submit written evidence before the end of January 1998. Proposed responses on behalf of Angus Council were attached as Appendices to the Report.

After hearing the Convener regarding the lack of a national educational development plan and Councillor Ritchie with regard to the need for a period of stability in the education system through a reduction in the number of new initiatives being introduced, the Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to authorise the Director of Education to send the responses to COSLA as being the comments of Angus Council, subject to paragraphs 4.1 and 4.2 in Appendix 3 being replaced with the following:-

"4.1 The SJNC is a product of statute and this has ensured a consistent and uniform application of its decisions across Scotland. This has prevented the uneven delivery witnessed in other parts of the UK and the criticisms afforded to these areas. We believe in a high quality, national, Scottish Education system and an SJNC, underpinned by statute, but operating in the flexible manner identified in paragraph 2.3 above, would play an important role in its delivery;"

(ii) to refer the Report to the Policy and Resources Committee for its interest; and

(iii) to advise the Scottish Office of this Council’s concerns regarding the need for a period of stability in the education system and the lack of a national educational development plan.

4. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE - REVENUE GRANTS TO VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS 1997/1998

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 7 May 1996, there was submitted Report No 98/98 by the Director of Education seeking approval of grants exceeding £500 to voluntary organisations.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed to approve the grants, totalling £7,800 as detailed in the Report.

5. EDUCATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: THE PRE-SCHOOL YEARS - A CONSULTATION PAPER

There was submitted Report No 102/98 by the Director of Education indicating that the Minister for Education and Industry had issued a Consultation Paper in which he had described the Government’s proposals for developing the provision of pre-school education throughout Scotland over the next few years. A copy of the Consultation document had been placed in the Members’ Lounge.

The Minister’s first priority was the provision of a part-time education place for every child in the pre-school year whose parents wished it, by winter 1998. It was expected that, due to the extension of pre-school provision throughout Angus in the current session, the Council should be able to meet this target by August 1998.

Proposed responses to the questions raised in the Consultation document were set out as Appendix 1 to the Report.

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

(i) to approve Appendix 1 to the Report as Angus Council’s formal response to the questions raised in the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department Consultation document; and

(ii) to authorise the Director of Education to continue discussions with other providers of pre-school education with a view to establishing partnership arrangements for pre-school provision, where appropriate.

6. NURSERY PROVISION 1998/99

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 October 1996, there was submitted Report No 103/98 by the Director of Education setting out proposed changes to the priorities for enrolment to pre-school education, following the discontinuation of the pre-school voucher scheme later in the year.

In addition, it was proposed that the new Andover Primary School in Brechin include provision for a nursery class, either at the commencement of Session 1998/99 or very soon thereafter. It was also proposed that a nursery class be provided in Grange Primary School in Monifieth, with the number of places available in Seaview Primary School being reduced, thus resulting in an increase in the proportion of nursery places available within easy travelling distance of the home addresses of four year olds.

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

(i) to approve the proposed new scheme of admission to nursery schools and classes;

(ii) to approve the establishment of nursery classes at Andover Primary School in Brechin and Grange Primary School in Monifieth with effect from school session 1998/99; and

(iii) that the Director of Education should examine the effect of the proposed nursery provision on accommodation for out-of-school activities at Grange Primary School.

7. SOEID CIRCULAR NO 6/97 - CAPITAL RESOURCES 1998/99

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 14 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 96/98 by the Director of Education indicating that, following consultation with the Convener and the Vice Convener, the Chief Executive and the Directors of Finance and Property Services, he had submitted to the Scottish Office an application for capital funds totalling £587,000. A copy of the submission was attached as an Appendix to the Report.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report.

8. WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN ANGUS - THE DRAFT PLAN FOR CHILDREN’S SERVICES

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of the Housing Committee of 13 January 1998 and Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 20 January 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 9/98 by the Chief Executive, the Director of Social Work, the Director of Education and the Director of Housing advising members of the completion of the first draft for consultation of the Children’s Services Plan "Working with Children and Families in Angus. A plan for children’s services in Angus 1998-2001".

The Committee agreed, for its interest:-

(i) to note the contents of the draft plan; and

(ii) that the Directors of Social Work, Education and Housing should make the necessary arrangements to consult on the contents thereof.

9. PROPOSED LEASE OF LAND - PANBRIDE PRIMARY SCHOOL

There was submitted Joint Report No 95/98 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services indicating that, at present, Panbride Primary School had no grassed area for pupils undertaking sporting events and that the School Board, parents and staff at the school had approached the landlord of the land adjacent to the school with a view to obtaining a lease to provide such facilities for pupils and the wider community.

Provisional terms and conditions for a lease had been agreed and the cost of compensation and of providing fencing and grass had been estimated at £3,500, which could be met from the Education Department budget for 1997/98.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the lease of a site measuring 0.35 hectares or thereby adjacent to Panbride Primary School on the provisional terms and conditions set out in the Report.