Angus CouncilTel: 03452 777 778

ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 8 June 1999 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors KAY ELLIS, JACK GIBB, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE, KITTY RITCHIE and SANDY WEST; and Reverend MARK CASSIDY, Reverend CARLEEN ROBERTSON, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apology: An apology for absence was intimated on behalf of Councillor DAVID LUMGAIR.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

Before starting the business the Convener welcomed members to this first meeting of the Committee following the recent election. He introduced the Vice-Convener, and the principal officer advisers and for the benefit of new members, gave a brief outline of the extent of the remit of this Committee.

1. APPOINTMENTS

(a) Membership of Committee

With reference to Article 5 (c) of the minute of meeting of the Council held on 13 May 1999, the Committee agreed to note the members appointed to this Committee.

The Convener welcomed Reverend Carleen Robertson, representing the Church of Scotland and Father Mark Cassidy, representing the Roman Catholic Church, both of whom had been renominated by their respective churches. He indicated that nominations had been sought for a third church representative in terms of the scheme adopted by the Council on 16 August 1995 and that a report on the nominations received would be submitted to the next ordinary meeting of the Council.

The Committee also welcomed Mr Peter Andrews and Mr McHardy, who had been nominated by the JCC (Teachers) as the teacher representatives.

(b) Formation and Appointment of Sub-Committees etc

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 13 March 1996, there was submitted Joint Report No 561/99 by the Directors of Law and Administration and Education recommending changes to the current formation, and appointment to, Sub-Committees etc of the Education Committee.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to appoint Councillors Brian Milne, Sheena Welsh and David Lumgair to the undernoted Sub-Committees, which had been established previously:-

Special Cases Sub-Committee

Education Records Review Sub-Committee

Executive Sub-Committee;

(ii) to appoint Councillors Milne and Welsh to the School Attendance Sub-Committee, the third member being a School Board representative;

(iii) to establish a Staffing Sub-Committee in place of the Teachers’ Grievance and Premature Retirement Sub-Committee; and to appoint Councillors Milne, Welsh and Lumgair as members;

(iv) to note that the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) had been established in terms of the Constitution adopted by the Personnel and Property Services Committee held on 2 December 1997 (Article 11 refers);

(v) to confirm the remit and composition of each of the five Sub-Committees referred to above as detailed in Report No 561/99 and that they each had full delegated powers; and

(vi) to note the statutory position in relation to the Education Appeal Committee and approve its composition as detailed in the Report.

2. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 April 1999 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the outcome of the meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) held on 31 May 1999. The Committee noted the decisions of the meeting which would be set out in the minute, and that a copy would be appended to the minute of the next meeting of this Committee.

3. RETIREMENT OF TEACHERS

Having noted that this matter would normally be considered by the Staffing Sub-Committee of the Education Committee which had been appointed at today’s meeting (Article 1(b) above refers), the Committee homologated the decision of the Director of Education, in consultation with the Convener and Vice Convener, to grant two requests from teachers for early retirement in view of the urgency to give notice to the Scottish Office Pensions Agency.

4. BEST VALUE - DEPARTMENTAL PROGRAMME OF SERVICE REVIEWS

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Report No 562/99 advising that considerable progress had been made in the Departmental Best Value Programme and recommending that the timetable be revised to bring forward some reviews to ensure that the issues which overlapped different services could be addressed efficiently.

The Committee agreed to approve a revised five year timetable of the Best Value Service Reviews set out in the Appendix to Report No 562/99.

5. EDUCATION SERVICE PLAN 1999/2000

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 April 1999, there was submitted Report No 563/99 by the Director of Education reporting on responses from schools, services and school boards on the draft Education Service Plan and setting out the arrangements being made to finalise the Education Service Plan for 1999/2000.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 563/99;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Education to issue the finalised Education Service Plan for 1999/2000 to schools and services; and

(iii) to note the arrangements which had been made for the submission of 1999 School Development Plan Returns.

6. 1999 DRAFT ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE ANGUS CHILDREN’S SERVICE PLAN

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 1 June 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 548/99 by the Chief Executive and Directors of Social Work and Education advising of the completion of the draft of the first annual review of the Angus Children’s Services Plan, copies of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to approve the 1999 draft of the Annual Review of the Angus Children’s Services Plan and refer the Review to the next ordinary meeting of the Council for endorsement; and

(ii) to instruct the Directors of Social Work and Education to proceed with printing the Review and to distribute it appropriately.

7. ANGUS CHILDCARE PLAN 1999-2002

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 1 June 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 532/99 by the Directors of Social Work and Education advising of the first draft Angus Childcare Plan 1999-2002 which had been produced by the recently established Angus Childcare Partnership and requesting formal support for the aims of the Plan, copies of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 532/99; and

(ii) to support the aims of the Angus Childcare Partnership as contained within the Childcare Plan.

8. NEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 1 June 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 531/99 by the Directors of Education and Social Work informing of the successful outcome of a Council bid to secure funds for a New Community Schools Pilot Project in Angus.

Having heard further from the Director of Education in relation to the project, the Committee agreed for its interest to note the terms of Report 531/99 and that further Reports would be submitted at regular intervals to monitor progress.

9. SCOTS LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

There was submitted Report No 565/99 by the Director of Education outlining the current national and local developments in the educational status of the languages of Scotland, in particular Scots, and the representation of Scottish culture across the whole curriculum. The Report drew attention to a recent consultation exercise by the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (CCC) and recommended preliminary consultation within Angus on the development of a policy statement and guidelines for Angus schools.

Having heard Councillor West speak in support of the Report and the importance of promoting the Scottish culture in schools, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note and endorse the response recently sent to the CCC on its consultative paper "The School Curriculum and the Culture of Scotland" as set out in Appendix I to Report No 565/99; and

(ii) to note and approve the proposal that a wide-ranging staff consultation exercise be undertaken in August/September 1999 on the draft Angus Council policy on Scots Language and Culture in the Curriculum as set out in Appendix 2.

10. SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY - PROPOSAL TO INTRODUCE SECOND EXAMINATION DIET: A CONSULTATION PAPER

There was submitted Report No 566/99 by the Director of Education describing a proposal by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to introduce a second examination diet in schools and seeking endorsement of a response by the Director of Education which had been forwarded to the SQA in order to meet the consultation timetable.

Having heard members express concern about the introduction of a second examination diet, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the nature of the SQA proposal and the concerns of members regarding the effect its introduction could have on pupils in particular; and

(ii) to note and endorse the responses to the consultation questions which were set out in the Appendix to the Report and which had already been sent as an officer response in order to comply with the consultation timetable established by the SQA.

11. TAYSIDE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT GROUP - PERFORMANCE UPDATE

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee held on 3 June 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 525/99 by the Directors of Recreation Services and Education providing an update on the activities of the Tayside Sports Development Group.

Having heard Councillor Myles on the importance of promoting the sport of curling in Scotland, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the intention of the Tayside Sports Development Group to widen sporting opportunities;

(ii) to note the appointment of the new Coaching Development Officer;

(iii) to note the continuing success of the Tayside Partnership; and

(iv) to note the progress being made towards the establishment of the Tayside Institute of Sport.

12. LAUNCHES/OPENINGS

(a) Letham Primary School - Opening Ceremony

There was submitted Report No 567/99 by the Director of Education notifying members of the intention to hold a ceremony on Friday 25 June 1999 to mark the opening of the modernised Letham Primary School.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note that it was planned to hold the ceremony to mark the opening of the modernised Letham Primary School on Friday 25 June 1999 at 1.30 pm; and

(ii) to otherwise note and approve the contents of Report No 567/99;

(b) Arbroath Technology Initiative

The Committee agreed to note that, in accordance with Standing Order 42(2), the Director of Education intended to launch the Arbroath Technology Initiative at a ceremony to take place at Arbroath Academy, Arbroath on 24 June 1999 at 11.30 am.

(c) St Thomas Primary School, Arbroath

The Committee agreed to note that, in accordance with Standing Order 42(2), the Director of Education intended to mark the opening of the new extension to St Thomas Primary School, Arbroath at a ceremony to take place in the school on 28 June 1999 at 11.00 am.

13. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

(a) Developments Within the Education Department - National Grid for Learning (NGfL)

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 March 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 568/99 by the Directors of Education, Information Technology and Personnel outlining proposals to create a dedicated Education Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Team to provide support and assistance to enhance learning and teaching opportunities within all Angus schools and making recommendations on the necessary establishment.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 568/99; and

(ii) to refer the Report to the Finance and Information Technology and Personnel and Property Services Committees.

(b) Information and Communication Equipment for Schools 1999/2000

There was submitted Joint Report No 569/99 by the Directors of Education and Information Technology outlining the present position in respect of information and communication technology hardware in Angus schools, proposing further investment in ICT in the current financial year and recommending that tenders be sought for the provision of equipment.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to approve the contents of Report No 569/99 and authorise the issue of tender documentation for the purchase of computers for secondary schools; and

(ii) to refer the Report to the Finance and Information Technology Committee.

(c) New Opportunities Fund - Information and Communication Technology (ITC) Training for Teachers and School Librarians

There was submitted Report No 570/99 by the Director of Education outlining proposals for ICT training which would be available to teachers and school librarians through the New Opportunities Fund. The Report concluded that new monies offered by the Fund would afford the opportunity of consolidating, maintaining and enhancing developments in ICT within the Education Service.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 570/99.

14. ESTABLISHMENT OF ADDITIONAL CLERICAL SUPPORT - EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

There was submitted Joint Report No 572/99 by the Directors of Education and Personnel advising that, in order to comply with legal obligations under Health and Safety Regulations, the Council was required to test all portable electrical appliances to ensure they met specified safety standards. This service was currently carried out by a team of technicians within the Education Department which required additional clerical support.

The Report also advised that in response to the extension of the Government’s Early Intervention Initiative, a number of additional staff were being appointed to augment the Council’s Early Intervention Project Team. This team would also require additional receptionists, clerical and typing support.

Accordingly, in light of the above developments, the Report recommended the establishment of two posts of Clerical Assistant to support the Education Department’s Portable Appliance Testing Service and the Early Intervention Project.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to note and approve the terms of Report No 572/99; and

(ii) to refer the report to the Personnel and Property Services Committee.

15. SCHOOL SECURITY

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998, there was submitted Report No 571/99 outlining proposed school security measures for the financial year 1999/2000 and setting out the financial implications.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 571/99 for its interest.

16. SCHOOL MEALS SERVICE - CASHLESS CATERING SYSTEM

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 26 January 1999, there was submitted Report No 573/99 by the Director of Education outlining the success of the Cashless Catering System introduced to Forfar Academy and providing information on the introduction of similar systems to Montrose Academy and Webster’s High School.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 573/99 for its interest.

17. REVIEW OF SCHOOL LET CHARGES

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 9 March 1999, there was submitted Report No 574/99 by the Director of Education outlining proposals to amend charges in relation to the letting of school premises.

The Committee agreed to approve the content of Report No 574/99, including the amended Schedule of Letting Charges set out in the Appendix.

18. EXTENSION OF PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATIONAL PROVISION

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 April 1999, there was submitted Report No 575/99 by the Director of Education detailing proposals for the further extension of pre-school educational provision in session 1999-2000 and recommending the establishment of a number of temporary posts as a consequence of those developments.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note and approve the contents of Report No 575/99; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to bring forward updated information in respect of the total number of pre-five enrolments in all pre-five educational centres in Angus, including details of the number of places commissioned from private and voluntary providers.

19. 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 the following items 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, paragraphs 6, 8 and 9.

20. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION EXERCISES - PROPOSALS TO CONTRACT OUTSIDE BODIES

There was submitted Report No 564/99 by the Director of Education recommending approval of proposals to contract two Higher Education Institutions to conduct key research and evaluation exercises in Angus schools.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 564/99;

(ii) to endorse the arrangements being made with Northern College in relation to an evaluation of the use and impact of information and communication technology in Angus primary schools; and

(iii) to authorise the Director of Education, in terms of Financial Regulations 14(1)(h) and 14(3)(f), to negotiate a contract with the University of Strathclyde and Northern College to carry out a research and evaluation exercise in respect of S1/S2 provision in Angus secondary schools.

21. TENDERS FOR CONVEYANCE OF SCHOLAR REQUIREMENTS 1999/2000

Having heard the Director of Education, the Committee agreed that Joint Report No 576/99 by the Directors of Education, and Planning and Transport, be withdrawn meantime in order to allow for further consultation on the implications of the tenders received.