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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 19 October 1999 at 4.35 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors DAVID LUMGAIR, STEWART McGLYNN, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE, KATHLEEN RITCHIE and SANDY WEST; and Reverend MARK CASSIDY; Reverend KENNETH GIBSON; Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors JACK GIBB and GLENNIS MIDDLETON and Reverend CARLEEN ROBERTSON.

Also present with the concurrence of the Committee:

Councillors JOY MOWATT and PETER MURPHY.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Executive Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Executive Sub-Committee of 21 July 1999, a copy of which is appended hereto (APPENDIX I), was submitted and noted.

Arising therefrom, the Convener assured the Committee that appropriate training would be provided for secondary school staff who would be using the new personal computers.

(c) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 20 September 1999, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted. (APPENDIX II)

The following item of business was, on the determination of the Convener, treated as a matter of urgency in view of the current stage of negotiations.

With reference to Article 7 of the above minute of meeting, Mr Peter Andrews expressed extreme concern regarding the actions of COSLA and Ministers following the results of the recent ballot held by teachers’ unions on a package proposed by COSLA as part of a "Millennium Review" of teachers pay and conditions and sought the support of the Committee in further negotiations to be held on Monday 25 October 1999.

Mr Andrews moved that the Committee note, with concern, developments in the negotiations on the pay and conditions of service of Scottish teachers, and, in particular:-

(i) regret the failure of Management Side of the SJNC to make an offer to Scottish teachers on 8 October 1999;

(ii) record its opposition to an increase in the current maximum size for composite classes and changes in the role of Principal Teachers as described in the recent COSLA document;

(iii) oppose the abolition of the SJNC; and

(iv) urge the Scottish Executive to make available the funds required to ensure that a negotiated settlement would be possible in the 1999 pay round.

Having heard various members, the Committee agreed to approve the terms of the motion.

(d) School Attendance Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the School Attendance Sub-Committee of 23 September 1999, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted. (APPENDIX III)

2. "CELEBRATING SUCCESS IN ANGUS"

The Committee noted that a conference would be held in Arbroath High School on Saturday 6 November 1999 from 9.30 am-4.00 pm in order to celebrate good practice in the education service in Angus and help create an ethos of achievement, and that although aimed principally at teachers and parents, members of the Education Committee would be warmly welcomed.

3. "IMPROVING OUR SCHOOLS"

(a) Consultation on the Improvement in Scottish Education Bill

There was submitted Report No 1051/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee that the Scottish Executive had recently issued a consultation document on the draft Improvement in Scottish Education Bill, and seeking approval of the officer response which was appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed to approve the terms of the proposed response to the draft Education Bill, as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

(b) Consultation on the General Teaching Council for Scotland

There was submitted Report No 980/99 by the Director of Education advising that the Scottish Executive had recently issued a consultation document on the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC) and seeking approval of the officer response which was appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed to approve the terms of the proposed response to the GTC consultation paper, as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

4. STANDARDS AND QUALITY IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS 1994-98: MODERN LANGUAGES – A REPORT BY HM INSPECTOR OF SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 996/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee that a Report had been published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate identifying certain deficiencies in modern languages provision in primary and secondary schools in the period 1994-98. The Angus Modern Languages Working Group had prepared a response to the recommendations made by HM Inspectors which would provide a basis for the construction of a robust strategy for modern languages provision within Angus schools for the new millennium. The Report sought the approval of the Committee to take forward into Angus schools, the proposals of the Angus Modern Languages Working Group as set out in the Appendix.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note and approve the detailed proposals for action outlined in the appended response to the Standards and Quality Report by HM Inspector of Schools, which had been produced by a cross-sectoral Modern Languages Working Group; and

(ii) to note that the proposals of the Working Group should constitute a sound basis for an Angus Council Strategy for Modern Languages provision (to be drafted on receipt of guidance from Ministerial Action Group for Languages and its related Modern Languages 5-14 Review and Development Group).

5. PROMOTING PERSONAL SAFETY AND CHILD PROTECTION IN THE CURRICULUM – GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 997/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of guidelines which had been issued to schools in response to the SOEID publication "Promoting Personal Safety and Child Protection in the Curriculum". The Report indicated that a short-life working group had developed guidelines to complement the health education guidelines issued to all schools in Tayside in 1994, and these were of particular significance with the European Week of Safety and Health taking place from 25-29 October 1999.

Councillor Milne advised the Committee that Provost Mrs Frances Duncan had, earlier this day, presented awards to schools in Angus promoting the European Week of Safety and Health and expressed particular pleasure at the number of winning entries from rural schools.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note and endorse the key elements of the guidelines which had been issued to Angus schools for the promotion of personal safety and child protection in the curriculum, a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge;

(ii) to note that these guidelines updated and reinforced guidelines provided in the Tayside Health Education document "Putting People First" published in March 1994; and

(iii) to note that, in light of recent national and local initiatives, arrangements were currently being made to revise the authority’s Child Protection Guidelines and Anti-Bullying Policy Statement.

6. CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN RURAL ANGUS

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 6 October 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 962/99 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education providing an update on the work of the Children and Families in Rural Angus Project, which had been established to develop innovative approaches to supporting children and families in rural Angus. The Report described the discussions relating to the end of the project and arrangements for mainstreaming essential aspects of the project’s work.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report;

(ii) to approve the inclusion of certain aspects of the project’s work into mainstream Council provision, as described within the Report; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education to provide members with a copy of the final Report from the project on completion.

7. THE CHILDREN’S SERVICES DEVELOPMENT FUND - UPDATE

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 6 October 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 966/99 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education informing the Committee on the progress of implementing proposals for the use of the Children’s Services Development Fund.

The Report indicated that a level of slippage had been identified and proposals for the use of this money were set out in the Report. These new proposals were consistent with the overall objectives for the use of the Children’s Services Development Fund as outlined by the Scottish Executive.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report; and

(ii) to approve the proposals as outlined in the Report for the use of slippage in the Children’s Service Development Fund monies.

8. MILLENNIUM BANK HOLIDAY – 31 DECEMBER 1999

With reference to Article 1 (c) above, there was submitted Report No 998/99 by the Director of Education advising that Central Government had decided that an additional one-off holiday should be granted on Friday 31 December 1999 in order to celebrate the new Millennium. This holiday was specifically for anyone who would otherwise have been required to work on 31 December.

The Report sought a decision from the Committee on whether or not to award school pupils and school-based staff an additional holiday in celebration of the new Millennium. Any authority wishing to seek a reduction of one day in the 1999/2000 school year of 190 pupil days would require to request the approval of the Scottish Executive for such a modification.

Having heard Councillor Welsh in support of a millennium day holiday, the Committee agreed:-

(i) that in recognition of the strongly held views which had been expressed by teaching staff representatives permission from the Scottish Executive should be sought for a reduction of one day in the 1999/2000 pupil year;

(ii) that the additional holiday be taken on Thursday 23 December 1999; and

(iii) that, given the unusual nature of this proposed arrangement and the need to ensure that it would cause minimal disruption to pupils’ learning, Wednesday 22 December 1999 be a normal day in all Angus schools with no early closure for pupils.

9. MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL – POSSIBLE FUTURE OVERCROWDING

With reference to Article 17 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 999/99 by the Director of Education outlining potential difficulties for Monifieth High School in accommodating all pupils from its current delineated area due, in particular, to an increase in new housing. The Report proposed that a formal consultation exercise be undertaken to reduce the delineated area of Monifieth High School and maps detailing options available were appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note:-

(a) that there was the potential for Monifieth High School to become overcrowded if and when all known local housing developments were completed; and

(b) that, although one possible way of addressing overcrowding in future would be to build an extension to Monifieth High School at an estimated cost of approximately £800,000, it would be extremely difficult to justify expenditure of this magnitude in the current circumstances;

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to undertake a formal consultation exercise in terms of the Education (Publication and Consultation, Etc) Regulations (Scotland) 1981 (as amended) on a proposal that either:-

(a) the area shown in Appendix 3A be deleted from the delineated area of Monifieth High School, or

(b) the area shown in Appendix 3B be deleted from the delineated area of Monifieth High School; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcomes of that consultation exercise.

10. AMENDMENTS TO PRIMARY SCHOOL DELINEATED AREAS

(a) Wellbrae Primary School

With reference to Article 5(a) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 1011/99 by the Director of Education informing the Committee on representations made as part of a recent consultation exercise on amendments to the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School and recommending minor amendments to the delineated areas of schools in Forfar/Kirriemuir as detailed in the maps appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the representations received as a result of the recent consultation exercise undertaken on possible amendments to the delineated areas of schools in Forfar/Kirriemuir;

(ii) to make the following amendments to school delineated areas (subject to the approval of the Scottish Executive):-

(a) transfer Area A from the Tannadice delineated area into the Wellbrae delineated area (Area A as detailed in Appendix A to the Report, lying south of the A90 but currently located within the delineated area of Tannadice Primary School);

(b) transfer Area B from the Wellbrae delineated area into the Southmuir delineated area (Area B as detailed in Appendix B to the Report, lying north of the A90 but currently located within the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School);

(c) transfer Area C from the overlapping Kirkriggs/Southmuir delineated area into the Wellbrae delineated area, and delete Area C from Webster’s High School delineated area (Area C as detailed in Appendix C to the Report, lying to the east of the A90 but currently located within both the Kirkriggs and Southmuir delineated areas);

(d) confirm Area D as lying within the Kirkriggs delineated area (Area D as detailed in Appendix D to the Report, being an area within the burgh of Forfar bounded by Castle Street, Queenswell Road, Craig O’ Loch Road and Manor Street; previous descriptions of school delineated areas in Forfar having lacked absolute clarity in terms of this particular area which contained very few residential properties);

(e) transfer Area E from the Wellbrae delineated area into the Chapelpark delineated area (Area E as detailed in Appendix E to the Report, consisting of Lunanhead and the immediate rural hinterland of Lunanhead);

(f) transfer Area F from the Wellbrae delineated area into the Chapelpark delineated area (Area F as detailed in Appendix F to the Report, being an area within the burgh of Forfar bounded by North Street, Roberts Street and a diagonal line running from the junction of North Street and East High Street to a point near the northernmost end of Wyllie Street);

(iii) to confirm that "Priority 1" status (in terms of school enrolment for any one of the schools named above) should be conferred on any child presently living within any of the areas A to F described above who presently had one or more siblings enrolled in the primary school currently designated for her/his home (enrolment having been continuous from August 1999 and to include enrolment within a nursery class attached to the specified school); and

(iv) to instruct the Director of Education to seek approval for the above proposals from the Scottish Executive.

(b) Maisondieu Primary School

With reference to Article 5(b) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 1012/99 by the Director of Education informing the Committee on representations made as part of a recent consultation exercise on the delineated area of Maisondieu Primary School and recommending minor amendments to the delineated areas of primary schools in Brechin as detailed in the maps appended to the Report.

Having heard Councillor Mowatt, local member, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the representations received as part of the recent consultation exercise undertaken on possible amendments to the delineated areas of primary schools in Brechin;

(ii) to transfer all of Areas A and B as detailed in Appendix A and Appendix B to the Report from the delineated area of Maisondieu Primary School into the delineated area of Andover Primary School, subject to the approval of the Scottish Executive;

(iii) to confirm that "Priority 1" status (in terms of school enrolment for Maisondieu Primary School) should be conferred on any child presently living within Area A or Area B who was currently enrolled or had one or more siblings enrolled in Maisondieu Primary School or Townhead Nursery School (enrolment having been continuous from August 1999);

(iv) to instruct the Director of Education to seek approval for the above proposals from the Scottish Executive; and

(v) to instruct the Director of Education to make his best efforts, within the terms of the Council’s policies, to accept any future parental placing requests to Maisondieu Primary School on behalf of children living at any addresses within the areas described in the Appendices to the Report, but particularly those addresses which were closest to Maisondieu Primary School.

11. CAPITAL PROJECT APPRAISAL: BIRKHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee held earlier this day, there was submitted Joint Report No 1013/99 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services outlining proposals for the extension of Birkhill Primary School at an estimated cost of £480,000, subject to the availability of adequate financial resources.

The Report outlined a number of options in relation to how best to address the issue, with the modernisation and extension of the present school on the existing site being the preferred option. This would comprise an extension of 4 classrooms, toilets, together with activity area adjacent to the existing school. Further alterations to the existing building would enable the nursery class to be accommodated within the main school which would have educational advantages and be a cost effective use of school resources. However, due to the uncertainty over funding in future years, it was proposed to undertake the work in two phases. Phase 1 would be a car park extension and works to the existing school and Phase 2 would be a 4 classroom extension.

The Committee, for its interest agreed:-

(i) to approve the extension of Birkhill Primary School at an estimated cost of £480,000 at outturn prices, subject to the availability of adequate financial resources;

(ii) to note that the phasing of expenditure outlined in the Report would be reflected in the revised Capital Programme for 1999/2000 and beyond;

(iii) to note the overall proposed funding indications and instruct the Director of Education to prepare a further Report once the level of funding available in future years was clarified; and

(iv) to approve the preparation and issue of tender documents for Phase 1 of the project.

12. REVENUE BUDGET 1999/2000

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee held earlier this day, there was submitted Joint Report No 1014/99 by the Director of Education and the Director of Finance identifying a potential overspend of £302,000 within the Education Department Revenue Budget for 1999/2000 and outlining proposals to address this. The proposals outlined in the Report were intended to ensure that the net expenditure in 1999/2000 was contained within the available cash limited budget.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the budget virements as outlined in the Report.

13. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW –SCHOOL CLEANING

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, there was submitted Report No 1015/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the key findings of the Best Value Service Review of School Cleaning and recommending the implementation of the Service Improvement Plan as agreed by the Review Team. While a high level of satisfaction had been evinced by Head Teachers as testimony to the excellent work undertaken by Tayside Contracts and their cleaners, the review had highlighted areas for improvement which were identified and addressed in the Service Improvement Plan.

Having heard Councillor Milne congratulate Tayside Contracts on the high level of cleanliness in schools, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of the Report; and

(ii) approve the Service Improvement Plan set out in the Appendix to the Report.

14. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE

Councillors Ritchie, West and Norrie, declared an interest in the following item (14(a)) and took no part in the consideration thereof.

(a) Revenue Grants to Voluntary Organisations 1999/2000

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 1016/99 by the Director of Education detailing the applications received from local voluntary organisations for Revenue Grants over £500 and making recommendations regarding the awards.

The Committee agreed to approve the award of revenue grants totalling £12,750 as detailed in Appendix 1 to the Report.

(b) Central Grants to National Organisations and Other Outside Bodies

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 1017/99 by the Director of Education recommending the award of grant to six national organisations. The Report advised that four organisations had requested grant aid above the level of £500 and the recommended awards were detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

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

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

15. 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 item 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.

16. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee held earlier this day, there was submitted Joint Report No 1018/99 by the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel outlining proposals to create a dedicated Education ICT Team to provide support and assistance to enhance learning and teaching opportunities within Angus schools.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the contents of the Report.