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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 6 June 2000 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, DAVID LUMGAIR, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE MBE, HELEN OSWALD, KITTY RITCHIE and SANDY WEST and Mr PETER ANDREWS, Mr BRIAN McHARDY, Rev CARLEEN ROBERTSON and Rev KENNETH GIBSON.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors JACK GIBB, and Rev MARK CASSIDY.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair

1. REQUEST FOR DEPUTATION

The Committee agreed, in accordance with Standing Order 12, to hear a deputation by representatives from St Vigeans Parent/Teacher Association in connection with a proposed consultation exercise on the possible closure of St Vigeans Primary School, Arbroath.

The deputation, led by Mr Jim Menzies, addressed the Committee on educational, community and economic factors in support of the retention of St Vigeans Primary School.

After questions had been asked and answered, Mr Menzies was thanked for his attendance and withdrew to the public benches.

2. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 April 2000 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 15 May 2000, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted. (APPENDIX I).

3. EDUCATION SERVICE PLAN 2000/2001

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 April 2000, there was submitted Report No 601/00 by the Director of Education commenting on the outcome of the consultative exercise on the 2000/2001 Education Service Plan and describing the arrangements being made for its finalisation.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to issue the finalised Education Service Plan for 2000/2001 to schools and services; and
  3. to note the arrangements which had been made for the submission of the 2000/2001 school development plan returns and standards and quality reports.

4. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW

(a) Educational Resources Services

There was submitted Joint Report No 594/00 by the Acting Director of Cultural Services and the Director of Education advising of the results of the Educational Resources Best Value Service Review and recommending the implementation of the Service Improvement Plan as agreed by the Review Team.

The objective of the Educational Resources Service was to support learning and teaching in Angus by providing high quality library support services and professional advice to a wide range of client groups within the Education Department. The Review had concluded that the standard of service was acceptable, but had identified a number of areas which could be improved. These areas were addressed in the Service Improvement Plan.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report and the contents of the Educational Resources Best Value Service Review; and
  2. to approve the proposed Service Improvement Plan set out in the Appendix to the Report.

(b) School Catering ­ Update

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 26 January 1999, there was submitted Report No 602/00 by the Director of Education advising of the progress being made in the implementation of the School Catering Best Value Service Review Improvement Plan.

The Report indicated that following the Service Review in April 1999, the service had been successfully re-launched by John Swinney MSP which had acted as a catalyst to improve the school catering service. Prior to introducing these changes, demand for school meals had been falling, but as a result of the improvements, there had been an overall increase of 18% in the number of school meals consumed.

The Report concluded that the Education Department, in partnership with Tayside Contracts, would strive to further improve the school catering service in accordance with the Service Improvement Plan, a copy of which was appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

5. ST VIGEANS PRIMARY SCHOOL

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 April 2000 and Article 1 above, there was submitted Report No 603/00 by the Director of Education providing feedback on the preliminary consultation exercise which had been taking place on the possibility of closing St Vigeans Primary School in June 2001. The Report identified the main factors which required to be taken into consideration, should closure of the school be seen as appropriate, and recommended a formal consultation exercise on the possible closure.

Having heard various members on the possible closure, including Councillor Alistair Gray, local member, and after the Director of Education had answered a number of questions on the possible closure and consultation exercise, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to commend the staff of St Vigeans Primary School for their unstinting efforts to provide a high quality of education for pupils in the school;
  2. to acknowledge the strong support voiced by parents of pupils in St Vigeans Primary School for the work of the school;
  3. that any decision about closure would be taken only after carefully weighing up the economic, educational and community implications;
  4. to authorise a statutory consultation exercise on the undernoted proposals:-

    A St Vigeans Primary School should be closed on 28 June 2001, and its entire delineated area transferred into the delineated area of Warddykes Primary School

    OR

    B St Vigeans Primary School should be closed on 28 June 2001, and its delineated area transferred into the delineated area of Warddykes Primary School, with the exception of any one, or any two, or all three of the undernoted areas:-

    B1 the area which included all addresses on the A92, and the whole of the settlement of Marywell (as outlined on the map circulated as Appendix 1 to the Report) which should be transferred to the delineated area of Inverkeilor Primary School

    AND/OR

    B2 the northernmost part of the area bounded by the unclassified road running north-east from the fork in that road at Cut-the-Wind to Mains of Parkhill, and by a line running due west from that fork to the current boundary of the delineated area of Colliston Primary School, (as outlined on the map circulated as Appendix 2 to the Report), which should be transferred to the delineated area of Colliston Primary School

    AND/OR

    B3 a narrow strip of land to the west of the area, bounded by an unclassified road (which ran north west from a fork in the road just south of the school) the railway line, the current boundary line between St Vigeans Primary School and the Inverbrothock Primary School delineated areas, and a line running due west from the fork in the road to just south of the school to the boundary line of the current delineated area of St Vigeans Primary School (as outlined on the map circulated as Appendix 3 to the Report), which should be transferred to the delineated area of Inverbrothock Primary School; and

  5. to authorise the Director of Education to undertake the statutory consultation exercise this summer and to report back to the Education Committee early in the school session 2000/2001.

6. SCHOOLS (SCOTLAND) CODE 1956

There was submitted Report No 604/00 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the recent launch of a Scottish Executive Consultation Paper on the future of the Schools (Scotland) Code 1956 and indicating that comments had been sought by 30 June 2000. The Report proposed a draft response to the Consultation Paper (a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge) and indicated that due to the volume of consultation exercises which had been launched in recent months, no time had been available for staff consultation to take place on the contents of the draft response.

The Committee agreed to approve the terms of the Appendix to the Report as Angus Council's response to the Scottish Executive Consultation Paper on the future of the Schools (Scotland) Code 1956.

7. S1/S2 RESEARCH REPORT - "DEVELOPING A FRAMEWORK FOR EFFECTIVE LEARNING AND TEACHING IN ANGUS SECONDARY SCHOOLS"

With reference to Article 20 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, there was submitted Report No 605/00 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the results of a research and evaluation exercise carried out by the University of Strathclyde and Northern College on S1/S2 provision in Angus secondary schools and of the publication of a document entitled "Developing a Framework for Effective Learning and Teaching in Angus Secondary Schools" following the research investigation.

The Report concluded that the research report was a substantial and comprehensive resource which would complement work carried out by Angus Council in relation to the Secondary Best Value Review and in relation to implementing local guidelines for the management of the 5-14 Programme in secondary schools. The Report would also provide a strong basis for the delivery of an appropriate range of staff development activities with a view to improving the quality of learning and teaching in S1/S2 and would be of interest beyond Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the terms of the appended Executive Summary of the research report;
  3. to note the very strong basis provided by the report for future curriculum and staff development activities in relation to learning and teaching in S1/S2; and
  4. to note that copies of the full research report had been placed in the Members' Lounge and that the Director of Education would make available copies of the full report to individual members of the Education Committee, on request.

8. STUDY VISIT TO ZWICKAU, SAXONY

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 November 1998, there was submitted Report No 606/00 by the Director of Education drawing the attention of the Committee to the continuing progress being made in developing links between Angus and Zwickau, Saxony.

As the result of a study visit to Dresden in December 1998, it had been agreed that a direct link be formed between Angus and the Zwickau Education Authority. In June 1999, the Director of Education of Zwickau, accompanied by his Depute, had visited Angus, and various joint projects had been agreed during the visit, including an agreement that the Education Authority in Zwickau would host an Angus delegation in March 2000. Details and key outcomes of the March Study visit were appended to the Report. It was anticipated that a significant number of benefits would accrue to the education service in Angus both in terms of school activities and of the educational and cultural activities which were likely to be undertaken more widely within the communities of Angus and Zwickau.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the terms of the appended Study Visit Report; and
  3. to note that the Directors of Education of Zwickau, and Angus Council, had agreed and signed a letter of understanding regarding the priority projects for this bi-lateral partnership.

9. 2000 DRAFT ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE ANGUS CHILDREN'S SERVICES PLAN

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, and to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 30 May 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 576/00 by the Chief Executive, and the Directors of Social Work and Education advising of the completion of the draft of the second annual review of the Angus Children's Services Plan.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed,:-

  1. to approve the 2000 draft of the annual review of the Angus Children's Services Plan and refer the review to Angus Council for endorsement; and
  2. to authorise the Directors of Social Work and Education to proceed with the printing of the review and to distribute it appropriately.

10. REVIEW OF ANGUS CHILDCARE PLAN 2000-2003

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, and to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 30 May 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 577/00 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education advising of the first review of the Angus Childcare Plan 2000-2003, which had been produced by the Angus Childcare Partnership.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to support the developments proposed by the Angus Childcare Partnership as contained within the Review of the Childcare Plan.

11. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27 (2), that the public and press be excluded during consideration of the following items so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 6, 8 and 9.

12. PROCUREMENT OF COMPUTER EQUIPMENT

(a) Secondary Schools

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 March 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 618/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Information Technology seeking the approval of the Committee for procurement of additional computer equipment for secondary schools as part of the on-going implementation of the National Grid for Learning in Angus Schools and recommending the acceptance of one of the joint lowest tenders for the reasons outlined in the Report.

Having heard the Director of Education's representative clarify the number of computers to be purchased, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to accept the tender submitted by Computer Technology Scotland Ltd; and
  2. to approve the purchase of computer equipment at a cost of £161,750.

(b) Arbroath Secondary Schools

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 March 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 619/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Information Technology seeking the approval of the Committee for exemption from the normal tendering procedures under Financial Regulation 14.1.3c for the procurement of additional computer equipment from RM PLC for Arbroath secondary schools as part of the on-going implementation of the National Grid for Learning in Angus Schools.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the exemption from the normal tendering requirements under Financial Regulation 14.1.3c for the purchase of 60 computers from RM PLC at a cost of £42,289.

13. TENDERING FOR EDUCATION SCHOOL CONVEYANCE REQUIREMENTS 2000/2003

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 January 2000, there was submitted joint Report No 620/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning and Transport detailing the results of the school conveyance tendering exercise undertaken in May 2000 in the Forfar and Kirriemuir areas and making recommendations as regards the awarding of the contracts.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the awarding of the contracts as detailed in the Report; and
  2. to award contract AFR3 at the tender price, until such time as the local bus service with which it inter-related came up for renewal, and to note that, thereafter, the price would be re-negotiated, or failing this being undertaken successfully, the contract would be re-tendered.
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