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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Meffan, 20 West High Street, Forfar on Tuesday 24 August 1999 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors KAY ELLIS, JACK GIBB, DAVID LUMGAIR, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, KATHLEEN RITCHIE and SANDY WEST; and Reverend CARLEEN ROBERTSON, Reverend KENNETH GIBSON, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor GEORGE NORRIE.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

Prior to commencing the business, and with reference to Article 6(e) of the minute of meeting of Angus Council of 30 June 1999, the Convener welcomed Reverend Kenneth Gibson, the third Church representative, to his first meeting of the Committee.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

With reference to Article 2(b) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, the minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 31 May 1999, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix I), was submitted and noted.

(c) School Attendance Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the School Attendance Sub-Committee of 21 June 1999, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix II), was submitted and noted.

(d) Central Consultative Committee

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the outcome of the meeting of the Central Consultative Committee held on 23 August 1999. The Committee noted the decisions of the Committee as set out in the minute, a copy of which would be appended to the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 19 October 1999.

(e) Special Cases Sub-Committee

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the outcome of the meeting of the Special Cases Sub-Committee held earlier this day. The Committee noted the decisions of the Sub-Committee as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix III).

(f) Staffing Sub-Committee

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee held earlier this day. The Committee noted the decisions of the Sub-Committee as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix IV).

2. BEST VALUE

(a) Janitorial Services

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, there was submitted Report No 796/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the outcome of the Best Value Service Review of janitorial services and recommending the implementation of the Service Improvement Plan as agreed by the Review Team. The Review had concluded that, in general, the service performed well, when compared with similar services in other Councils.

The Committee agreed:-

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

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

(b) School Lets

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, there was submitted Report No 797/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the outcome of a Best Value Service Review of school lets and recommending the implementation of the Service Improvement Plan as agreed by the Review Team. The Review had concluded that the standard of service was acceptable, and that weaknesses which had been identified were addressed in the Service Improvement Plan.

The Committee agreed:-

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

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

(c) Special Educational Needs

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, there was submitted Report No 798/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the outcomes of the Special Educational Needs Best Value Service Review and recommending the implementation of the Service Improvement Plan as agreed by the Review Team. The review had identified a number of areas where improvements could be effected which were summarised in the Service Improvement Plan.

The Committee agreed:-

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

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

(d) Pre-Fives Education

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, there was submitted Report No 799/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the outcomes of the Pre-fives Best Value Service Review and recommending the implementation of the Service Improvement Plan as agreed by the Review Team. While there was a clear consensus among staff and users about the delivery of an efficient, effective and responsive pre-school education service, the Review had highlighted areas for improvement which were identified and addressed in the Service Improvement Plan.

The Committee agreed:-

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

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

3. SCHOOL TERMS AND HOLIDAYS 2000/2001

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 April 1999, there was submitted Report No 800/99 by the Director of Education reporting on the outcome of consultation on a draft scheme of school terms and holidays 2000/2001 and setting out two options in relation to in-service closure days.

After discussion, and having heard Mr Andrews and Mr McHardy, teacher representatives, on the outcome of the meeting of the Central Consultative Committee of 23 August 1999 (Article 1(d) above refers), the Committee agreed:-

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

(ii) to approve the main term and holiday dates for 2000/2001 as set out in the Appendix to the Report, subject to the substitution of Monday 4 December 2000 instead of Thursday 24 May 2001 as one of the in-service closure days (Option B).

4. EXTENSION OF DELINEATED AREA OF GAELIC MEDIUM UNIT

There was submitted Report No 801/99 by the Director of Education proposing an extension of the catchment area of the Primary Gaelic Medium Unit currently housed in Kirkriggs Primary School, Forfar and recommending specific arrangements to assist parents in transporting their children to and from this Unit.

Having heard from various members regarding a child’s entitlement to assistance with transport, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the extension of the delineated area of the Gaelic Medium Unit to the whole of Angus; and

(ii) to approve, in principle, the entitlement to some assistance with home-to-school transport for any pupil enrolled in the Unit residing over two miles away, on the understanding that:-

(a) if a suitable school transport contract could accommodate the child, she/he would be expected to take advantage of this facility; and

(b) if no suitable school transport contract could accommodate the child, then parents would be required to take full responsibility for transporting the child to and from the Unit, with financial assistance payable by the Council in these circumstances by way of a mileage allowance, as detailed in the Report.

5. POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO DELINEATED AREAS

(a) Wellbrae Primary School - Proposed Consultation Exercise

With reference to Article 17 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Report No 802/99 by the Director of Education detailing the need to amend the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School and recommending that consultation should take place on a number of possible options which were detailed in the maps appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the need for a reduction in the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School;

(ii) to note that there were six distinct areas currently within, or adjacent to, the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School which were worthy of close consideration for possible amendments as follows:-

(a) Area "A" as detailed in Appendix A to the Report, lying south of the A90 but within the delineated area of Tannadice Primary School, that school being located north of the A90;

(b) Area "B" as detailed in Appendix B to the Report, lying north of the A90 but within the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School (Wellbrae being south of the A90);

(c) Area "C" as detailed in Appendix C to the Report, lying east of the A90 but within the joint delineated area of Southmuir Primary School/Kirkriggs Primary School (Southmuir being west of the A90);

(d) Area "D" as detailed in Appendix D to the Report, lying within the Burgh of Forfar, and bounded by Castle Street, Queenswell Road, Craig o’ Loch Road and Manor Street;

(e) Area "E" as detailed in Appendix E to the Report, containing Lunanhead and its immediate hinterland; and

(f) Area "F" as detailed in Appendix F to the Report, being 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 authorise the Director of Education to undertake a consultation exercise in terms of the Education (Publication and Consultation) Etc (Scotland) Regulations 1981, as amended, on which (if any) of the undernoted proposals ought to be adopted:-

(a) Option 1

Transfer Area A from Tannadice to the Wellbrae delineated area; and

Transfer Area B from Wellbrae to the Southmuir delineated area; and

Transfer Area C from the overlapping Kirkriggs/Southmuir delineated area to the Wellbrae delineated area;

Confirm Area D as being within the Kirkriggs delineated area; and

Transfer Area E from the Wellbrae to the Chapelpark delineated area; and

Transfer Area F from the Wellbrae to the Chapelpark delineated area; or

(b) Option 2, being as for Option 1 but with no transfer of Area F; or

(c) Option 3, being as for Option 1 but with no transfer of area E;

(iv) to confirm that, in authorising the aforementioned consultation exercise, should any amendments to the delineated area of Wellbrae Primary School be effected, then priority 1 status should be conferred on any children living in any of the amended Areas "A" to "F" above who, at August 1999, had older siblings in attendance at the primary school currently designated for their address (including any nursery class attached to that school); and

(v) to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of the consultation exercise as soon as possible.

(b) Maisondieu Primary School - Proposed Consultation Exercise

With reference to Article 17 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Report No 803/99 by the Director of Education detailing the need to amend the delineated area of Maisondieu Primary School and recommending that consultation take place on a number of possible options which were detailed in the maps appended to the Report.

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

(i) to note that local members would be invited to submit comments on the proposals to the Director of Education;

(ii) to note the need for a reduction in the delineated area of Maisondieu Primary School;

(iii) to note that there were two linked areas currently within the delineated area of Maisondieu Primary School which were worthy of close consideration for possible amendments as follows:-

(a) Area "A", as detailed in Appendix A to the Report, lying within Brechin and bounded by St Mary Street, St David Street, Swan Street, Panmure Street, Southesk Street and a line running from the junction of Southesk Street and Damacre Road due west to St Mary Street; and

(b) Area "B", as detailed in Appendix B, lying in the rural hinterland to the south-west of Brechin;

(iv) to authorise the Director of Education to undertake a consultation exercise in terms of the Education (Publication and Consultation) Etc (Scotland) Regulations 1981, as amended, on which (if any) of the undernoted proposals ought to be adopted:-

(a) Option 1, being the transfer of Area A from the Maisondieu to the Andover delineated area; or

(b) Option 2, being the transfer of Area B from the Maisondieu to the Andover delineated area; or

(c) Option 3, being the transfer of both Areas A and B from the Maisondieu to the Andover delineated area;

(v) to confirm that, in authorising the consultation exercise, should any amendments to the delineated area of Maisondieu Primary School be effected, then priority 1 status would be conferred on any children living in any of the amended Areas "A" and "B" above who, at August 1999, had older siblings in attendance at the Primary School currently designated for their address; and

(vi) to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of the consultation exercise as soon as possible.

6. CAPITAL PROJECT APPRAISAL - SOUTHMUIR PRIMARY SCHOOL/WEBSTER’S HIGH SCHOOL

There was submitted Joint Report No 804/99 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services concerning the requirement to extend Webster’s High School and replace Southmuir Primary School.

The Report indicated that, while the main building at Webster’s High School was in good condition structurally, four classrooms were located in temporary inadequate accommodation separate from the main building. It was therefore recommended, as the preferred option, that the modernisation and extension of the present school on the existing site be pursued. The major problems in Southmuir Primary School concerned the temporary hutted accommodation which was presently used for five primary classes and a staffroom.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to approve the replacement of Southmuir Primary School and extension to Webster’s High School at an estimated cost of £2,850,000 at outturn prices, as detailed in Option (c) of the Report;

(ii) to note that the amended cost and phasing shown in the Report would be reflected in the revised Capital Programme for 1999/2000 and beyond;

(iii) to note that the Director of Property Services, in consultation with the Director of Education and the Director of Finance, was investigating potential alternative funding mechanisms in relation to the provision of energy for the building;

(iv) to note the overall proposed funding package; and

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

7. MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL POOL USAGE

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Contract Services Committee of 17 August 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 768/99 by the Director of Recreation Services, the Director of Education and the Contract Services Manager informing the Committee of the utilisation of Monifieth High School pool during the summer. The Report concluded that the utilisation of the pool during the school summer holiday period had been extremely successful and that it was the intention of the Departments involved to extend the operation during the October 1999 school holiday.

Having heard Councillor McGlynn, local member, welcome the proposal, the Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the terms of the Report.

8. PROPOSED MEETING WITH SCHOOL BOARD/PARENTAL REPRESENTATIVES

The Committee noted that a meeting with representatives of School Boards, to which members had been invited, would take place in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Thursday, 23 September 1999 at 7.30 pm.

9. "OPPORTUNITIES AND CHOICES: A CONSULTATION PAPER ON POST-SCHOOL PROVISION FOR 16-18 YEAR OLDS"

There was submitted Report No 806/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee that the Scottish Office had recently issued a consultation paper on post-school provision for 16 to 18 year olds entitled "Opportunities and Choices" and seeking approval of the officer response which was appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of the consultation document entitled "Opportunities and Choices: A Consultation Paper on Post-School Provision for 16-18 Year Olds", a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge;

(ii) to note and approve the terms of the proposed response as set out in the Appendix to the Report; and

(iii) to authorise the Director of Education to submit the response to the Scottish Executive by the deadline of 15 September 1999.

10. DRUG AND NUTRITION EDUCATION - A STUDY OF PROVISION IN SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION BY HER MAJESTY’S INSPECTORS OF SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 807/99 by the Director of Education reporting on a recent publication by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools entitled "Drug and Nutrition Education - A Study of Provision in Schools and Community Education". The Report indicated that a staff working group had developed a plan of action which could be adopted by the Council to follow up the various HMI recommendations and sought endorsement of the proposed follow-up action plan.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the "conclusions and main points for action" detailed by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools in their recent publication entitled "Drug and Nutrition Education", as set out in Appendix I to the Report;

(ii) to endorse the outline follow-up action plan set out in Appendix II, which had been drawn up by a staff working group; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to "flesh out" the outline action plan and ensure that it was fully implemented.

11. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE - ADULT EDUCATION FUND

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 808/99 by the Director of Education proposing grant aid from the Adult Education Fund to Adult Education Associations for 1999/2000. The Report detailed the amount of grant paid to these Associations in the financial year 1998/99 and recommended a level of grant for 1999/2000.

The Committee agreed:-

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

(ii) to approve grant aid to the Adult Education Associations as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

12. CAREERS EDUCATION - DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT

There was submitted Report No 809/99 by the Director of Education advising the Committee that, since 1996, a Careers Education Standing Group had been operating as a joint venture between Angus Council and Tayside Careers Limited. The Report indicated that the Standing Group had produced a draft Policy Statement on Careers Education and recommended that it be issued to secondary schools in Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the draft Careers Education Policy Statement as set out in the Appendix to the Report;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Education to issue the Policy Statement to schools in Angus for implementation; and

(iii) to note the intention that the Statement should form one strand of an emerging "Education for Work" policy framework.

13. PARTICIPATION IN THE DUNDEE UNIVERSITY EU FUNDED "VOICE" PROJECT

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 19 August 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 810/99 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Education recommending that Angus Council participate in, and contribute to, a Dundee University research and education project in the Angus Glens entitled "Vocational Opportunities in Internet, Commerce and Education" (VOICE) which would provide training for users of electronic commerce in developing transnational links.

Having heard Councillor Nield welcome the Report, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of the Report;

(ii) to approve participation in, and support for, the project as described in the Report; and

(iii) to note and approve the proposed arrangements to meet any financial shortfall.

14. SCHOOL CONVEYANCE CONTRACTS - REVIEW OF CONTRACT PRICES

With reference to Article 25 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 22 June 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 811/99 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning and Transport informing the Committee that school conveyance contract prices were reviewed on an annual basis and recommending, for reasons outlined in the Report, a contract price increase of 3.05% for eligible contracts, effective from 3 July 1999. This inflationary increase would not apply to school conveyance contracts in the Brechin/Montrose areas and to Special Education Establishments as outlined in Report No 576/99.

The Committee agreed to approve the award of a 3.05% contract price increase for eligible contracts, effective from 3 July 1999.

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. FAMILY SUPPORT AND EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 17 August 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 757/99 by the Director of Personnel, Director of Social Work and the Director of Education proposing staffing developments in line with the National Childcare Strategy and Children’s Services Development Fund in order to establish additional family support and early intervention services in Angus.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to approve the development of family support and early intervention services, as described in the Report.