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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 26 January 1999 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN M C MILNE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, GEORGE P ALLAN, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, Councillors JACK GIBB, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS H MIDDLETON, GEORGE NORRIE, SHEENA WELSH and SANDY WEST; and Rev M CASSIDY and Rev CARLEEN ROBERTSON, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors HELEN ANGUS, RICHARD SPEIRS and Ms MADELINE KINGSTON

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

MR PATRICK B REGAN

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, Councillor Milne referred to the recent death of Mr Patrick Regan who had been Chief Executive of Angus District Council from 1986 to 1996. He paid tribute to Mr Regan as a sincere colleague who would be sadly missed. He intimated that the funeral would take place on Saturday 30 January 1999 in St Anthony’s RC Church, Kirriemuir.

Members joined with Councillor Milne in extending sympathy to Mr Regan’s family.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 1 December 1998 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener;

(b) School Attendance Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the School Attendance Sub-Committee of 17 December 1998, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix I) was submitted and noted.

(c) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 3 December 1998, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix II) was submitted and noted.

(d) Special Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

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

(e) 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 as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix IV), which was noted.

2. YEAR 2000: RISK ASSESSMENTS

There was submitted Report No 71/99 by the Director of Education advising of the Risk Assessments which had been carried out within the Education Department in relation to equipment likely to be affected by the change of date on 1 January 2000. The Report concluded that, from the assessment process to date and the advice received from suppliers etc, offices and schools would continue to function normally from 1 January 2000, but further Reports would be submitted to this Committee should issues arise which required to be highlighted.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 71/99.

3. AMENDMENTS TO DELINEATED AREAS

(a) Liff Primary School

There was submitted Report No 72/99 by the Director of Education recommending that the current delineated area of Liff Primary School be reduced, identifying three possible boundary changes to effect such a reduction and proposing that a consultation exercise be undertaken to help establish which of the three possible options, set out in the recommendations to the Report, would be the most appropriate.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to authorise the Director of Education to carry out a formal consultation exercise on which (if any) of the three proposals to amend the delineated area of Liff Primary School as described in the Report and shown on the maps comprising Appendices (A), (B) and (C) respectively, ought to be effected; and

(ii) to carry out a formal consultation exercise based on ascertaining which (if any) of the proposed deletions to the delineated area of Liff Primary School should also be applied as deletions to the delineated areas of Monifieth High School and Forfar Academy (both of which would encompass the whole of the delineated area of Liff Primary School).

(b) Arbroath Schools

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 November 1998, there was submitted Report No 73/99 by the Director of Education commenting on the results of a consultation exercise on minor amendments to the delineated catchment areas of certain schools in the burgh of Arbroath and recommending formal adoption of amendments outlined in the Report, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State for Scotland, amendments to the delineated areas of the following schools as proposed in the formal consultation exercise and set out in the Appendices to Report No 73/99:-

Hayshead Primary School

Inverbrothock Primary School

Ladyloan Primary School

St Vigeans Primary School

Warddykes Primary School

Arbroath Academy

Arbroath High School

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to write to the Secretary of State for Scotland seeking approval of the amendments as outlined in Report No 73/99;

(iii) to authorise the conferment of "Priority 1" status to any placing requests made for S1 of secondary school by parents of pupils currently residing within either Area A or Area C and who were enrolled St Vigeans Primary School (Area A) or Ladyloan Primary School (Area C) respectively, as outlined in the Appendices to the Report; and

(iv) to authorise the conferment of "Priority 1" status to any placing requests made for P1 of any one of the affected primary schools from parents of children who were currently enrolled in the nursery class of that school and resided within the current delineated area of that primary school.

4. RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES FOR UNPROMOTED TEACHING POSTS

There was submitted Report No 74/99 by the Director of Education recommending the implementation of new Procedural Guidelines on Recruitment to Unpromoted Teaching Posts which had been endorsed by the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) and proposing that further preparatory work, including training on the new Guidelines, be undertaken as soon as possible.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve, in principle, the new recruitment procedures for unpromoted teaching posts as set out in the Appendix to Report No 74/99;

(ii) to instruct the Director of Education to implement these new procedures with effect from April 1999; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Education to keep the operation of these new procedures under review, to encourage discussion of their operation within the JCC (Teachers), and to report back to this Committee should there be any requirement to do so.

5. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW - SCHOOL CATERING

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Report No 75/99 by the Director of Education presenting the findings of the Best Value Service Review Team on School Catering and recommending the implementation of the recommendations of the Team.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the content of the Report of the Best Value Service Review Team on School Catering, a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge, and

(ii) to approve the implementation of the Improvement Plan as set out in the Appendix to Report No 75/99.

6. EARLY INTERVENTION PROJECT - PROGRESS REPORT

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 9 June 1998, there was submitted Report No 76/99 by the Director of Education providing an update on progress made to date within Phases 1 and 2 of the Authority’s Early Intervention Project, detailing those primary schools involved, highlighting the achievements of the Project to date and proposing future developments.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 76/99;

(ii) to note, in particular, the very positive impact to date of the Early Intervention Project; and

(iii) to note the basis (now confirmed through the Excellence Fund) for an extension to the National Early Intervention Programme.

7. THE EXCELLENCE FUND

(a) SOEID CIRCULAR NO 4/98 "THE EXCELLENCE FUND FOR SCHOOLS"

There was submitted Report No 77/99 by the Director of Education drawing attention to SOEID Circular 4/98 "The Excellence Fund for Schools", a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge. The Excellence Fund had been established by the Secretary of State following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Under the terms of this initiative, an additional £1.718 million had been allocated to the education service in Angus in 1999/2000. The Report outlined nine areas of the "Core Programme" identified by the Excellence Fund and set out in an Appendix the financial implications relating to each Core Programme.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 77/99;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Education to forward detailed improvement plans to SOEID relating to each of the nine sections of the Core Programme of the Excellence Fund; and

(iii) to note the intention to bring forward in due course detailed reports on the implications of each of these improvement plans.

(b) Specific Implications

There was submitted Report No 78/99 by the Director of Education advising of specific implications of the Excellence Fund for the education service in Angus and recommending the establishment of two additional Education Development Officer Posts.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 78/99;

(ii) to note the range of activities which would be supported by the Excellence Fund (and generally, as a result of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review) and the implications of this for the education service in Angus; and

(iii) to approve the establishment of two additional Education Development Officer posts.

(c) Specialist Provision in Schools

There was submitted Report No 79/99 by the Director of Education advising that SOEID had written to all Directors of Education in Scotland and other interested parties, seeking views on issues to be addressed in allocating funding in the amount of £14 million over a three year period to support existing specialist education provision in three Scottish schools and to support new initiatives. A copy of the SOEID letter/consultation paper had been placed in the Members’ Lounge.

The Report indicated that a small number of Angus pupils had attended specialist schools for music and dance and set out in an Appendix a proposed response to the SOEID letter and consultation paper recommending, in particular, that a high priority ought to be accorded to empowering all schools to offer as wide a range of specialisms as possible and that there were a number of areas of sporting and artistic activity which Angus Council would be keen to promote and expand.

The Committee agreed to authorise the Director of Education to forward the Appendix to Report No 79/99 as the Council’s response to the SOEID consultation paper on specialist provision in schools.

(d) Education Action Plans

There was submitted Report No 80/99 by the Director of Education advising that, in addition to the Core Programme of the Excellence Fund, arrangements had been made by SOEID to establish individual special programmes, and that Circular 8/98 had detailed a special programme for Education Action Plans under which grants would be provided to education authorities in order to raise standards in schools "facing major challenge". Authorities wishing to make a bid to the special programme were required to give prior notice of their intention by 31 January 1999 and the Report identified a possible option for an Angus Education Action Plan.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the main provisions of the Excellence Fund Special Programme in relation to Education Action Plans; and

(ii) to note and endorse in principle the possible option for an Angus Education Action Plan submission to the Scottish Office.

8. SCOTTISH CCC CONSULTATION - REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES 5-14

There was submitted Report No 81/99 by the Director of Education advising that the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (CCC) had recently initiated a consultation exercise seeking views on the desirability of reviewing the National Guidelines on Environmental Studies 5-14. A Working Group of teaching staff in Angus had considered the various questions raised by the CCC and had incorporated their views in a response which had been forwarded in late December in order to comply with the timescale set for completion of the consultative exercise.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the response on the Review of Environmental Studies 5-14 which had been forwarded to the Scottish CCC; and

(ii) to endorse the contents of the response set out in the Appendix to Report No 81/99.

9. GUIDANCE ON ISSUES CONCERNING EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL: SOEID CIRCULAR NO 2/98

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 August 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 82/99 by the Directors of Education and Social Work informing of revised guidance for schools on exclusion procedures which had been produced by the Director of Education in response to SOEID Circular No 2/98.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 82/99;

(ii) to endorse the final version of the Council guidelines, a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge;

(III) to authorise the distribution and implementation of the Guidelines; and

(iii) to refer Report No 82/99 to the Social Work Committee for its interest.

10. EXPANSION OF PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION: SESSION 1999-2000

There was submitted Report No 83/99 by the Director of Education referring to specific targets set by the Government in relation to the provision of pre-school education and setting out proposals for the further extension of pre-fives educational provision in a number of schools in Angus in session 1999-2000.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 83/99;

(ii) to endorse the proposals to extend the provision of pre-school education providing that viable numbers of pupils were enrolled in each new location; and

(iii) to refer Report No 83/99 to the Social Work Committee for its interest.

11. NEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 19 January 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 47/99 by the Directors of Education and Social Work advising of a new Government initiative designed to raise standards of attainment and to tackle social exclusion by providing integrated services, including education and social work, family support, health education and health promotion services in schools designated as new community schools.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 47/99;

(ii) to develop a multi-agency bid for a New Community School Project in Angus in terms of the New Community Schools’ prospectus, (copies of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge), and relating specifically to Arbroath Academy, Hayshead Primary School, Warddykes Primary School and St Thomas Primary School; and

(iii) to note the intention of the Directors of Education and Social Work to bring forward further reports in due course detailing progress with this application.

12. SCOTLAND FOR CHILDREN CAMPAIGN

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 19 January 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 46/99 by the Directors of Social Work and Education advising that the Scotland for Children Campaign had sought support from Angus Council in their campaign to ensure that any legislation coming before the new Scottish Parliament would take into account the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 46/99;

(ii) to support the objectives of the Scotland for Children Campaign; and

(iii) to refer the Report to the Policy and Resources Committee with a view to seeking formal support for the Scotland for Children Campaign.

13. OPPORTUNITY SCOTLAND - LIFELONG LEARNING

There was submitted Report No 86/99 by the Director of Education advising that the Scottish Office had issued a Green Paper entitled "Opportunity Scotland: A Paper on Lifelong Learning" which offered a framework for developments in lifelong learning in Scotland and itemised specific programmes to be undertaken up to the year 2002. Responses to the Green Paper had been sought by 29 January 1999.

The Report set out in the Appendix a draft response to the Green Paper giving observations on the overall framework and specific points, including support for learners.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Green Paper, a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge; and

(ii) to approve the response set out in the Appendix to Report No 86/99 as Angus Council’s response to the Scottish Office.