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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 9 June 1998 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, GEORGE P ALLAN, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors JACK GIBB, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, GEORGE NORRIE, SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST; Ms M KINGSTON and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors HELEN ANGUS, and RICHARD SPEIRS; Rev M CASSIDY, Rev C ROBERTSON and Mr PETER ANDREWS.

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, 3, 4 and 5 below so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraph 1.

2. EARLY INTERVENTION - ADDITIONAL NON-TEACHING POSTS

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 April 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 612/98 by the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel indicating that on 30 April 1998, the Secretary of State had announced a major expansion of the SOEID Early Intervention Programme, advising of the current involvement of non-teaching staff in the programme, setting out proposals in relation to early intervention non-teaching posts and recommending approval of the proposals as detailed in the Report.

The Committee agreed, for its interest:-

(i) to note the Secretary of State's decision of 30 April 1998 to increase funding to the SOEID Early Intervention Programme and to extend the programme to five years up to 2001-2002;

(ii) to approve the proposal that early intervention non-teaching staff engaged to support P1/P2 teachers be designated as Classroom Assistants (Early Intervention) rather than Nursery Nurses; and

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

3. PROPOSED LEASE OF LAND - ARBIRLOT PRIMARY SCHOOL

There was submitted Joint Report No 623/98 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services advising of a proposal to lease an area of land adjacent to Arbirlot Primary School for use as a new playing field.

Having noted that the Report would also be considered by the Personnel and Property Services Committee on 16 June 1998, the Committee agreed to approve for its interest the lease of a site measuring 0.3 ha or thereby adjacent to Arbirlot Primary School on terms and conditions to be negotiated by the Director of Property Services.

4. PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF LAND AT LATCH ROAD, BRECHIN

There was submitted Joint Report No 676/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Education advising that the East Angus Co-operative Society Limited, owners of land adjacent to Maisondieu Primary School, Brechin had enquired about the possibility of acquiring land currently within the school’s boundary. The Report indicated that provisional terms and conditions had been agreed for disposal of the land.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to declare the site at Latch Road, Brechin, measuring 0.10 ha or thereby, surplus to the requirements of the Education Department; and

(ii) to refer the Report to the Personnel and Property Services Committee, for approval of the disposal of the site on the provisional terms and conditions contained in the Report.

5. TENDERING FOR EDUCATION SCHOOL CONVEYANCE REQUIREMENTS 1998/2001

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 November 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 624/98 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning and Transport detailing the results of the school conveyance tendering exercises undertaken in May 1998 in the Arbroath, Carnoustie and Dundee rural areas and making recommendations regarding the award of these contracts.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the award of contracts detailed in Report No 624/98;

(ii) to note the current situation regarding the provision of seat belts on school conveyance contracts and the problems which could arise in August 1998 when new seat belt tests were implemented; and

(iii) that operators be not awarded price increases in lieu of any additional expenses incurred in providing seat belts fitted to a standard which would meet the new Department of Transport checks.

6. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

7. MINUTES

(a) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 27 May 1998, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix I) was submitted and noted.

(b) Teachers' Grievance and Premature Retirement Sub-Committee

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the outcome of the meeting of the Teachers' Grievance and Premature Retirement Sub-Committee held earlier this day as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix II), which was noted.

8. SEATBELTS FOR SCHOOL CONVEYANCE PURPOSES

In terms of Standing Order 35(3) and with reference to Article 5 above, notice had been given by the Convener of the above item.

After discussion, the Committee agreed:-

(i) that Angus Council would continue, where possible, to award contracts for school transport to those contractors which provided vehicles with seatbelts, and the Council would also promote, where fitted, the wearing of seatbelts; and

(ii) that the Director of Education should write to the Scottish Office asking that the Regulations regarding the wearing of seatbelts be reviewed to enforce, where fitted, the wearing of seatbelts.

9. APPOINTMENTS

(a) Education Appeal Committee - Chairpersons

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 13 March 1996, there was submitted Report No 645/98 by the Director of Law and Administration recommending that members note and approve the appointment of three persons to chair Hearings of the Education Appeal Committee.

The Committee agreed to note and approve the appointment of Mr David Affleck, Mrs Mary Faulkner and Mr Harry Faulkner being persons who, in the opinion of the authority, had experience in education and were acquainted with educational conditions in the area of the authority, to chair Hearings of the Education Appeal Committee established in terms of Section 28D(1) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

(b) Private Prosecutor (Truancy)

Members were reminded that the Committee agreed, at its meeting held on 4 June 1996, that Alistair R Doig, Head of Legal Services (Contractor) be appointed to act as prosecutor of parents whose children were not attending school regularly.

Following the recent retiral of Mr Doig, the Committee agreed that Sheona C Hunter, Head of Legal Services and Karen McCafferty, Principal Solicitor, be authorised to institute proceedings on behalf of the Council, as education authority, against the parents of children who were reported by Head Teachers as failing to attend school regularly, where the institution of such proceedings had been requested by the School Attendance Sub-Committee.

(c) Church Representative

With reference to Article 4(a) of the minute of meeting of Angus Council held on 21 May 1998, the Committee noted that, following the recent resignation of the Reverend Robin Mackenzie as the representative nominated by the Church of Scotland on this Committee, the Reverend Carleen Robertson, Convener of the Presbytery Education Committee, had been appointed to take his place.

10. EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1998/99

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998, there was submitted Report No 619/98 by the Director of Education setting out the progress made in relation to the Education Department Development Plan for 1997/98 and advising members of the arrangements being made to finalise the Development Plan for 1998/99, a draft of which was available in the Members' Lounge.

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

(i) to note the terms of Report No 619/98;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Education to issue the finalised Education Department Development Plan for 1998/99 to schools and services; and

(iii) to note the arrangements which had been made for the submission of 1998 school development plan returns.

11. CAPITAL BUDGET 1998-99 - EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS

There was submitted Report No 609/98 by the Director of Education advising that the 1998/99 Capital Budget contained provision of £200,000 for educational improvements and proposing six projects on which the provision would be utilised.

The Committee agreed to approve the allocation of the available capital budget as outlined within Report No 609/98.

12. BUDGET 1998 - MONEY FOR SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 11(b) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998, there was submitted Report No 610/98 by the Director of Education outlining proposals for the disbursement of the additional expenditure allocated to the Council in relation to the SOEID "Money for Schools" initiative. In response to a question from Mr McHardy on the secondary school "challenge budget" of £174,000, the Director of Education confirmed that all schools would be eligible to receive benefit from this fund. He also confirmed that there would be no ongoing financial implications arising from the proposals set out in the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note and approve the terms of Report No 610/98; and

(ii) to approve the proposals set out in the Report to disburse the Council's allocation of £339,000 in accordance with the priorities specified by SOEID.

13. SCHOOL HOURS

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 March 1998, there was submitted Report No 613/98 by the Director of Education providing an update on responses received in respect of a recent consultative exercise on school hours and recommending guidelines for primary/nursery schools in setting school hours.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the comments and views expressed on the proposed guidance on school hours initially proposed;

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to liaise with secondary schools (including, if necessary, School Boards and parents of secondary school pupils) on possible future minor adjustments to school hours;

(iii) to approve the proposed guidelines for primary schools as outlined in Appendix A to the Report and the phased implementation of these guidelines as outlined;

(iv) to approve the proposed guidelines for nursery schools and classes outlined in Appendix B to the Report; and

(v) to authorise the Director of Education to send a copy of Appendix A to the parents of all Angus primary school pupils.

14. TARGET SETTING FOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS - FROM SOEID PROVISIONAL TARGETS TO FINAL TARGETS

With reference to Article 11(a) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998, there was submitted Report No 611/98 by the Director of Education describing the rationale behind the final targets to be submitted to SOEID for attainment of pupils in "S" Grade and "H" Grade. The Report commented on the impact of the SOEID target setting initiative and sought approval of the final targets for Angus to be submitted to SOEID (which had been placed in the Members' Lounge).

Mr McHardy expressed concern that the timescale for consultation and implementation of the initiative was extremely short, resulting in insufficient opportunity for consultation with staff. However, the Director of Education gave an assurance that consultation would be carried out and that the final submission to SOEID would include the views of all secondary schools.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve Report No 611/98 and instruct the Director of Education to send a copy to SOEID;

(ii) to approve the detailed final targets for individual schools outlined in the Report and lodged in the Members' Lounge;

(iii) to authorise the Director of Education (in consultation with Head Teachers and staff) to arrange awareness raising sessions around September/October this year for School Boards and parents in each of the 8 secondary schools in Angus on the subject of target setting for individual schools;

(iv) to note and endorse the intention to encourage schools to set targets in areas other than examination performance; and

(v) to note specifically the intention of the Director of Education to report further to this Committee in early course on progress made in identification of appropriate targets for pupil attendance levels.

15. SOEID CONSULTATION - DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR INITIAL TEACHER EDUCATION COURSES IN SCOTLAND

There was submitted Report No 617/98 by the Director of Education referring to an SOEID consultation document on Draft Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education Courses in Scotland (which had been placed in the Member's Lounge) and appending a response to the document from Angus Council.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of the consultation document;

(ii) to note and endorse the terms of the provisional response attached to the Report which had been prepared in order to comply with the timescale set by SOEID; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to advise the Scottish Office of concerns expressed by Mr McHardy on a possible mis-match between the policy adopted by Teacher Training Colleges in awarding secondary teaching qualifications in single subject areas and the need in schools for maximum flexibility in deployment of teachers.

16. THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE - EVALUATION OF PILOT PROJECT

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 January 1997, there was submitted Report No 618/98 by the Director of Education setting out the results of the evaluation of the pilot project on the Alexander Technique. The Report concluded that useful lessons had been learned from the project but, in light of the evaluation, there were no plans for any extension in the use of the Alexander Technique in schools at present.

The Committee agreed to note the terms of Report No 618/98.

17. SUCCESFUL NATIONAL LOTTERY APPLICATION - ANGUS ARTISTS IN EDUCATION

There was submitted Report No 614/98 by the Director of Education describing the Angus Artists in Education Initiative which had been successful in attracting funding from the National Lottery New Directions Programme and appending an evaluation of the Initiative from the Head Teacher, Friockheim Primary School, where the project had been piloted. The Report concluded that the Artists in Education Initiative would make a significant contribution to the development of the 5-14 Expressive Arts curriculum in Angus schools and it was hoped that schools could undertake similar projects in the future.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 614/98; and

(ii) to note the considerable success achieved in securing National Lottery Funding to support the Angus Artists in Education Initiative.

18. ESTABLISHMENT OF POST FOR THE COMPASS PROJECT

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 2 June 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 570/98 by the Director of Social Work, the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel proposing the establishment of a post to continue the work of the Compass Project.

Having noted that the terms of the Report would also be considered by the Personnel and Property Services Committee on 16 June 1998, the Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 570/98 for its interest.

19. WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN ANGUS - THE ANGUS CHILDREN'S SERVICES PLAN

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 2 June 1998 there was submitted Report No 573/98 by the Chief Executive advising of the completion of the final draft of the Angus Children's Services Plan, "Working with Children and Families in Angus. A plan for children's services in Angus 1998-2001", a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

The Committee agreed to note the content of the final Draft Plan which would now be presented to the Policy and Resources Committee.

20. EDUCATION IN HILLSIDE AREA

(a) Provision of New School in Hillside - Option Appraisal

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of 25 November 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 615/98 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services describing the requirement to build a new primary school to replace Hillside Primary School and Craigo Primary School and setting out the financial implications.

Having heard the local member welcome the Report, and having noted that the Report would also be considered by the Personnel and Property Services Committee on 16 June 1998, the Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to approve the construction of a new primary school to provide accommodation for a maximum of 231 primary pupils and a nursery class at an estimated cost of £1,700,000 at outturn prices;

(ii) to note that the amended cost and phasing shown in Report No 615/98 would be reflected in the updated monitoring statements with regard to the Capital Programme 1998/99 and beyond; and

(iii) to approve the preparation and issue of tender documents.

(b) New Primary School for Craigo/Hillside

With reference to Article 20(a) above, there was submitted Report No 616/98 by the Director of Education providing feedback on the consultation exercise recently undertaken in Craigo and Hillside and recommending that the proposal to build a new school to serve the Craigo and Hillside Communities be formally adopted by the Council.

Having heard Councillors Ritchie and West welcome the proposals in the Report, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the responses to the recent consultation exercise undertaken in Craigo and Hillside;

(ii) to approve formally the proposals on which consultation had recently taken place, namely that:-

(a) the delineated areas of Craigo Primary School and Hillside Primary School should be merged;

(b) Craigo Primary School should be closed;

(c) pupils in Craigo Primary School and Hillside Primary School be transferred to the new merged school; and

(d) these changes should be effected upon completion of a new primary school on the site already earmarked for this purpose in Hillside (the estimated completion time being Spring 2000);

(iii) to authorise the Director of Education to inform the Secretary of State for Scotland of this position, notwithstanding that his consent was not required;

(iv) to instruct the Director of Education to bring forward further Reports on the detailed implications of this development in early course; and

(v) to authorise the Director of Education to make arrangements for a temporary 10 place nursery class in Craigo Primary School in session 1998/99 and, if there were sufficient children to justify this, in session 1999/2000.

21. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE

(a) Adult Education Fund

There was submitted Report No 620/98 by the Director of Education recommending grant aid from the Adult Education Fund to Adult Education Associations for 1998/99 as outlined in the Report and setting out grant aid criteria.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 620/98; and

(ii) to approve grant aid totalling £3,800 to the five Adult Education Associations for 1998/99 as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

(b) Revenue Grants to Voluntary Organisations 1998/99

Councillors Norrie and Mrs Ritchie declared an interest in the proposed grant to Montrose YMCA and took no part in the decision relating thereto.

There was submitted Report No 621/98 by the Director of Education setting out in an Appendix the applications received for revenue grants over £500 to voluntary organisations and making recommendations regarding awards.

The Committee agreed to approve revenue grants totalling £21,000 as detailed in Appendix 1 to the Report.

22. CENTRAL GRANTS TO NATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND OTHER OUTSIDE BODIES

There was submitted Report No 622/98 by the Director of Education regarding the award of grants to three national organisations. The Report advised that one organisation had requested grant aid at or below the level of £500 and that this had been approved under delegated powers. Two other national organisations had requested grant aid of more than £500 and recommended awards were detailed in the Appendix.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the grants of under £500 which had been approved by officers in accordance with agreed Council policy; and

(ii) to approve additional grants of over £500 as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.