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APPENDIX II to the minute of the meeting of the Education Committee of 25 January 2000 (Article 2(c) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on 13 December 1999 at 3.30 pm.

Present: Authority Representatives

Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE and SHEENA WELSH, JIM ANDERSON (Director of Education), NEIL LOGUE (Head of Educational Services) and JAN NOWAK (Head of Educational Services).

Teachers’ Representatives

GRAEME KIDDIE, BRIAN McHARDY, ARTHUR PRITCHARD, ANNE TRUESDALE, LESLEY ANDERSON, JIM FALCONER and ALICE MCLEOD

Officer Representative

HUGH ROBERTSON (Head of Client Services, Personnel Department)

Mr GRAEME KIDDIE in the Chair.

Prior to the commencement of business, at the request of the Teachers’, representatives, the Committee agreed that Item 6 on the agenda (Achieving Success in S1/S2) be withdrawn.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

There was submitted and approved as a correct record, the minute of meeting of the JCC (Teachers) of 20 September 1999 subject to the following amendments:-

(a) With reference to Article 3, paragraph 3, the word "He" be replaced by "The Director"; and

(b) With reference to Article 4, paragraph 3, "Brian McHardy" be replaced by "The Director" and "He proposed ….." be replaced by "The Director proposed ……..".

2. MANAGEMENT OF STRESS AT WORK

There was submitted by the Director of Personnel a draft Report incorporating a suggested Management of Stress at Work Policy for adoption by Angus Council. The Report concluded that one of the Council’s Key Themes was to value its employees, employees being the most important asset. A healthy, happy workforce would co-operate with management led change and progress and could initiate new and productive working practices and procedures. On the other hand, the cost of not dealing with stress could result in increased absence and related costs; lost productivity; apathy and low motivation; increased ill health and retiral costs; and, financially cumulative damages awarded by courts.

Hugh Robertson referred to the key points outlined in the Report and stressed the need for an Action Plan. Arthur Pritchard welcomed the Report but emphasised that in the context of increasing teacher workloads, the action plan would be vital to its success.

Thereafter various members expressed concern regarding stress related to current workloads and requested consultation with Trade Unions and appropriate representative Groups prior to implementation of an Action Plan. The Director of Education concurred with points raised by Teachers’ representatives on workload stresses arising from an increasing number of Government initiatives. However he asked that, in future, items placed on the agenda for this Committee by the Teachers’ representatives be supported by some background notes on the issues being raised.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to support the draft Report, in principle;

(ii) that an Action Plan be drawn up in consultation with Trade Union representatives; and

(iii) to request the Teachers’ representatives to submit to this Committee, where possible, notes in support of issues being raised on the agenda.

Hugh Robertson left the meeting at this point in the proceedings.

3. SCOTTISH QUALIFICATION FOR HEADSHIP

Neil Logue advised that this Council was a partner member of the Northern Consortium of Training Providers for the Scottish Qualification for Headship. The qualification was aimed at potential Head Teachers. Angus Council had been allocated 6 places in the primary sector and one in the secondary sector. A small number of expressions of interest had been received to date. Applicants would be interviewed by a Head of Educational Services, the Senior Adviser in Education and an experienced Head Teacher. A recruitment pack would be available for applicants after Christmas.

The Committee agreed to note the position and that the Director of Education would be seeking ways of resourcing additional training places for the secondary sector in particular.

4. TOWARDS A SHARED VISION

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of previous meeting, Jim Anderson reported that three senior colleagues had met with the Sounding Boards and that they were working towards developing a brief, clear, vision statement which could be shared with all staff in draft form by mid January 2000.

Anne Truesdale welcomed the development of a "Statement of Intent" by the authority. She suggested that the key to ownership would be a "shared" vision supported by continuing and meaningful consultation.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

5. CELEBRATING SUCCESS

The Committee agreed to commend the excellent work being undertaken within the Angus Education Service, some of which had been evinced in the Celebrating Success booklet recently published, and in the Celebrating Success seminar held on 6 November 1999.

6. ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES S1/S2

Brian McHardy sought clarification in terms of General Teaching Council (GTC) Regulations on the position of those Teachers qualified in history and geography, but not modern studies, who were requested to teach environmental studies.

Jim Anderson indicated that a consultation document setting out National Guidelines for Environmental Studies S1/S2 had just been issued by the Scottish Executive. The Council had recently produced supporting guidelines to cover the very specific issue raised by Mr McHardy and it was hoped that mutually acceptable arrangements could be implemented in all schools.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

7. HIGHER STILL

Brian McHardy expressed continued concern regarding the national shortfall in materials in certain subject areas and increased workload in relation to assessment for pupils and Teachers with respect to the Higher Still Initiative. He also suggested that the proposed 1½ hour National Examination Board assessments would be difficult to deliver in Angus schools at present as school periods were not long enough to accommodate this timescale.

Neil Logue indicated that concern had been expressed at a recent meeting of the Higher Still Strategy Group regarding assessment and re-assessment of pupils. However, further advice was awaited on this matter by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

8. EARLY EDUCATION IN ANGUS

Arthur Pritchard referred to a recent meeting of Early Education staff at which concerns had been expressed, in particular by representatives from rural nurseries with no permanent Teacher and nurseries with 40 plus children. Specific issues raised by staff included the impact on workloads due to compilation of Reports and recording of nursery children; meeting targets with those children who were not yet ready for formal learning, some of whom were not fully toilet trained. He asked, on behalf of the staff, that the Education Directorate examine a mechanism to devolve decisions on admission to local nursery staff.

Brian McHardy referred to the effect which immature three year olds could have on the quality of education received by other nursery children.

Jan Nowak advised that all Head Teachers had been contacted regarding early education admissions and expressed disappointment that he had not previously been informed of the concerns now being expressed. He indicated that Guidance on early education admittance had been issued by the Scottish Executive which included an expectation that nursery children could use the toilet unsupervised. However, he indicated that he was willing to publicise the matter to parents. He also explained the current position that, in the context of scarcity of resources, priority was given to elder siblings for morning places, this being the most popular option. Jim Anderson referred to a recent HMI Review of assessment for 3 to 14 year olds which included a specific section on 3 year olds. The HMI sought a Council response and Jim Anderson sought nominees from this Committee to serve on a Short Life Working Group.

Following further discussion, the Committee agreed:-

(i) that a nomination be made for a representative from this Committee to serve on a Working Group to consider 3 - 14 assessment; and

(ii) that a meeting be held with the Director of Education to address the specific issues raised.

9. NATIONAL DRAFT TRANSFER OF INFORMATION

Arthur Pritchard referred to pilot projects on the National draft transfer of information in various schools and requested a meeting with the Director of Education to discuss this issue. He also reminded the meeting of the current position as agreed in the "Update on Planning, Reading and Reporting". (Note - the HMI consultation exercise on 3-14 Assessment referred to in Item 8 above is also relevant to this matter).

Neil Logue confirmed that a Short Life Working Group had been established by EDAG to ensure the coherent development of ICT Systems with a view to minimising workload.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

Councillor Sheena Welsh left the meeting at this point in the proceedings.

10. GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES OUTWITH SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT PLANS AND COUNCIL SERVICE PLANS

Brian McHardy indicated that the major concern of Teachers in Angus at present was the ever increasing demands made by Government on the authority and the incremental effect on Teachers. He stressed that, whilst new developments were mostly welcomed, Teachers had reached the point of overload.

Councillor Brian Milne indicated that the Education Committee recognised the effect on Teachers of the continued introduction by the Government of new initiatives. He expressed particular concern that monies tended to be "ring fenced" for particular projects thus removing flexibility from the authority. He indicated that the Education Committee had written on several occasions to the Scottish Office/Scottish Executive expressing concerns regarding an initiative overload.

Arthur Pritchard welcomed the fact that the Education Committee had already written and hoped that the Council would continue to pursue this matter.

Having heard various other members on the impact of the initiatives on teaching staff, the Committee agreed to confirm its support for the Education Committee’s established position which was to oppose government imposed initiative overload.

11. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION TO STAFF - UPDATE - (AUGUST TO NOVEMBER 1999)

There was submitted Report No 1244/99 by the Director of Education giving information about 4 cases involving secondary school pupils and 5 cases involving primary school pupils (3 of the incidents concerning one pupil and 2 of the incidents concerning another pupil), all relating to violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period August to November 1999.

Having heard further details from Jim Anderson, the Committee agreed to note the nature of the incidents.

12. DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

The Committee agreed to note that the next meetings would be held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar at 3.30 pm as follows:-

Wednesday 9 February 2000

Monday 15 May 2000