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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 20 April 1999 at 4.00 pm.

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

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor RICHARD SPIERS; Reverend CARLEEN 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 and 3 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. CHANGES TO STAFFING ESTABLISHMENT - SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT

There was submitted Joint Report No 419/99 by the Directors of Education and Personnel proposing, for the reasons outlined in the Report, an increase in the staffing establishment of the School and Community Support Section of the Education Department.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 419/99 for its interest; and

(ii) to recommend that the Personnel and Property Services Committee approve the increase in the staffing establishment of the School and Community Support Section of the Education Department as outlined in Report No 419/99.

3. "THE EXCELLENCE FUND FOR SCHOOLS" - CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee held on 26 January 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 420/99 by the Directors of Education and Personnel proposing the establishment of new posts and the regrading of other posts within primary schools to provide support for teachers in accordance with the SOEID Circular 4/99 entitled "The Excellence Fund for Schools" and that the establishment of the new posts be phased in from 1999 to 2002.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the terms of Report No 420/99 for its interest; and

(ii) to recommend that the Personnel and Property Services Committee approves recommendations 1(a) to (g) set out in the Report.

4. MINUTES

(a) Previous meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 9 March 1999 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Special Cases Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Special Cases Sub-Committee of 22 March 1999, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix I), was submitted and noted.

(c) 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. The Committee noted the decision of the Sub-Committee as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix II).

5. SCHOOL TERMS AND HOLIDAYS 2000/2001 - PROPOSALS FOR CONSULTATION

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998, there was submitted Report No 421/99 by the Director of Education advising that the education authority had a duty each year to fix the term and holiday dates for the subsequent school year and that School Boards had a statutory power, having consulted with the education authority, to fix occasional holidays during school terms. The Report set out proposals for school terms and holidays for 1999/2000 and recommended that these proposed dates should form the basis of a consultation exercise.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the draft scheme of school terms and holidays for 2000/2001 appended to Report No 421/99 as a basis for consultation;

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to seek the views of staff, trade unions, teachers’ associations, head teachers and School Boards on the draft scheme;

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to bring the draft scheme to the attention of the Directors of Education in neighbouring Councils (Dundee City, Perth & Kinross and Aberdeenshire), and to invite comments from them;

(iv) to seek the views of the Council’s Central Consultative Committee on the draft scheme; and

(v) to instruct the Director of Education to report back to the Education Committee on the outcome of the above consultation later this year.

6. EDUCATION SERVICE PLAN 1999/2000

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 April 1998, there was submitted Report No 422/99 by the Director of Education advising on progress made in relation to development priorities identified in the 1998/99 Education Department Development Plan and informing of the revised procedures and subsequent arrangements for the finalisation of the Education Service Plan for 1999/2000.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 422/99;

(ii) to note that the considerable progress made in relation to development priorities set out in the 1998/99 Education Department Development Plan had been the subject of a comprehensive report within the draft 1999/2000 Education Service Plan, a copy of which was available in the Members’ Lounge;

(iii) to note the introduction of revised procedures for service planning by Departments of the Council;

(iv) to authorise the Director of Education to issue the 1999/2000 draft Education Service Plan for consultation to all schools, services and School Boards; and

(v) to instruct the Director of Education to report back to this Committee on the outcome of the consultative exercise.

7. ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN

There was submitted Joint Report No 423/99 by the Directors of Education, Personnel and Property Services advising that SOEID Circular 6/97 entitled "New Deal for Schools" had highlighted the need for education authorities to have an Asset Management Plan for educational properties. The Report outlined progress to date in developing an Asset Management Plan for Angus and recommended the establishment of a temporary post for a two year period to complete the development of the Plan for all educational properties in Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 423/99 for its interest; and

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

8. DEVOLVED SCHOOL MANAGEMENT - AMENDMENTS TO COUNCIL SCHEME

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 424/99 advising that, since the adoption, in April 1994, of the Devolved School Management Scheme by Angus Council, the number of schools involved in the Scheme had been increased and that all Angus schools now operated their own devolved budgets. Accordingly, a Departmental Short Life Working Group had been set up to consider the Scheme. The proposed amendments were outlined in the Appendix to the Report.

The Committee agreed to approve the proposed amendments to the Council’s Scheme of Devolved School Management set out in the Appendix to Report No 424/99.

9. PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION INITIATIVE

There was submitted Report No 425/99 by the Director of Education advising that the Scottish Office had set two principal targets in relation to the provision of pre-school education by local authorities. The first target, to develop sufficient nursery places for all children in the pre-school year whose parents wished places by the end of 1998, had been achieved by Angus Council. The Report proposed that the second target, to develop sufficient places for all children in their ante-pre-school year whose parents wished places by 2002, be achieved incrementally between 1999 and 2002. Provisional arrangements had been made to extend ante-pre-school provision in August 1999 through a combination of Council run nursery classes and partnership arrangements with private and voluntary providers.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 425/99;

(ii) to approve the proposals described, and in particular to approve the amended prioritisation arrangements for pre-five enrolments as detailed in paragraph 4.2 of Report No 425/99; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to bring forward updated information in respect of these proposals, following completion of the nursery enrolment exercise.

10. THE GOVERNMENT’S EDUCATION WHITE PAPER

There was submitted Report No 426/99 by the Director of Education advising that the Government had recently issued a White Paper on education entitled "Targeting Excellence: Modernising Scotland’s Schools", a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge. Comments on the White Paper had been sought by 23 April 1999 and the Report set out a proposed response to the Secretary of State for Scotland from Angus Council.

The White Paper described a range of initiatives, many of which had already been launched on at least one occasion in recent months, and some of which were at present no more than outline proposals. Many of the initiatives should be commended and Angus Council was already actively engaged in taking these forward. There were at present, however, real concerns about the dangers of initiative overload and it was recommended that the Scottish Parliament should consider carefully how to take forward the White Paper as a whole.

The detailed comments on selected sections of the White Paper were intended to be of assistance to the new Parliament as it took forward consideration of how best to develop the Scottish education service in the interests of the country as a whole. It was suggested that this process would be infinitely more successful if education authorities, parents, pupils and staff were active contributors and saw themselves as such.

The Committee agreed to approve the terms of the response set out in Report No 426/99 to the Government White Paper "Targeting Excellence: Modernising Scotland’s Schools".

11. MEETING THE CHILDCARE CHALLENGE - A CHILDCARE STRATEGY FOR SCOTLAND

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee held on 24 November, 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 406/99 by the Directors of Education and Social Work providing an update on developments within Angus since the publication of the Government’s White Paper entitled "Meeting the Childcare Challenge: A Childcare Strategy for Scotland" and confirming the details of planned expenditure on a variety of childcare initiatives on behalf of the recently appointed Angus Childcare Partnership.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note, for its interest, the terms of Report No 406/99 which had been approved by the Social Work Committee on 13 April 1999 (Article 12 refers);

(ii) to refer the Report to the Personnel and Property, and Policy and Resources Committees for their respective interests; and

(iii) to instruct the Directors of Education and Social Work to bring forward further reports, on a regular basis, on the work of the Angus Childcare Partnership.

12. THE CHILDREN’S SERVICES DEVELOPMENT FUND

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 13 April 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 402/99 by the Directors of Social Work and Education informing of the announcement by the Secretary of State for Scotland that the sum of £36.7 million would be allocated over the next three years to help improve children’s services in Scotland and outlining proposals for the use of this funding. The Report also highlighted the need for additional posts to progress work in Children’s Services.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of and approve the proposals outlined in Report No 402/99 for its interest;

(ii) to note that the Social Work Committee had agreed to incorporate these developments in the review of the Children’s Plan for the Council; and

(iii) to recommend that the Personnel and Property Services Committee approve recommendations (i) to (iv) in the Report.

13. DEVELOPMENT OFFICER FOR SPORT AND RECREATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 15 April 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 407/99 by the Directors of Recreation Services, Education and Social Work, and the Contract Services Manager providing information on a recently formed partnership with other agencies, including the Scottish Sports Council, Scottish Disability Sport, and health professionals to promote sport and recreation for people with disabilities and recommending the establishment of a post to be funded by the partners.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 407/99 for its interest;

(ii) to establish a Forum for Sport and Recreation for People with Disabilities; and

(iii) to note the establishment of a temporary post dedicated to the development of Sport and Recreation for People with Disabilities.

14. ESTABLISHMENT OF FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT OFFICER POST

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 15 April 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 411/99 by the Directors of Recreation Services and Education recommending the establishment of a temporary Football Development Officer post through the Angus Football Partnership, the cost of which would be met by the Recreation Services and Education Departments.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to note and support this venture between the joint partners and, in particular, note the establishment of the temporary post of Football Development Officer for a period of three years.

15. GLENISLA PRIMARY SCHOOL EXTENSION AND ALTERATIONS - SCHEDULE OF RATES ORDER

With reference to Article 19 of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 16 March 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 340/99 by the Directors of Education and Property Services outlining a specially accelerated contract, using the Schedule of Rates contract 1998/2001 for work in excess of £50,000 in value, to allow completion of the extension and alteration project at Glenisla Primary School, prior to the start of the school year.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 340/99 for its interest.

16. VALEDICTORY REMARKS

As this was the last meeting of this Committee to be held before the elections, the Convener thanked all the officers for the support which he and the Committee had received over the last four years.