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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 10 October 2000 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors DAVID LUMGAIR, STEWART MCGLYNN, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE MBE, KITTY RITCHIE and SANDY WEST and Mr PETER ANDREWS.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors SHEENA WELSH, JACK GIBB and GLENNIS MIDDLETON.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 August 2000 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Special Meeting

The minute of the special meeting of this Committee of 14 September 2000 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(c) Central Consultative Committee

The minute of meeting of the Central Consultative Committee of 17 August 2000, appended to the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 30 August 2000, was submitted and noted.

(d) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 18 September 2000 a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted. (Appendix I)

Arising from consideration of Article 2 thereof, Mr Andrews confirmed that teachers’ representatives looked forward to working with the authority on the delivery of new initiatives on the re-establishment of school based consultative mechanisms.

2. STANDARDS IN SCOTLAND'S SCHOOLS ETC ACT 2000

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 19 October 1999, there was submitted Report No 1136/00 by the Director of Education bringing the attention of the Committee to the Standards in Scotland's Schools Etc Act 2000 which had received Royal Assent on 14 July 2000. The Report set out the implications for Angus Council of several sections of this new Act and detailed dates of commencement of various sections.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the commencement dates of various sections of the Standards in Scotland's Schools Etc Act 2000 as set out in annex A to the Report;
  2. to note that the full text of the Act was available for perusal on the Internet at www.scotland-legislation.hmso.gov.uk; and
  3. to delegate to the Director of Education and the Director of Law and Administration the task of ensuring that the Council complied with the terms of the Act, and of keeping the Education Committee informed on progress with this task as appropriate.

3. NEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 26 January 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 1137/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work drawing the attention of the Committee to the possibility of an extension to the New Community School project in Arbroath by means of a further submission for grant under Phase 3 of the Excellence Fund Special Programme for New Community Schools. The Scottish Executive expected that initially, at least two community school projects would be established in each local authority and it was therefore hoped that the submission attached to the Report would be successful.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to homologate the multi-agency bid attached to the Report, for a New Community School project centred on Arbroath High School, Inverbrothock Primary School, Ladyloan Primary School, Muirfield Primary School and Timmergreens Primary School;
  3. to note the intention of the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work to bring forward further Reports in due course detailing the progress of the application; and
  4. to note the content of the annual report describing the progress of the first new community school project, a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

4. EARLY INTERVENTION PROJECT: PROGRESS REPORT ­ PHASE 1 ­ P3 PUPIL ATTAINMENT

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 November 1999, there was submitted Report No 1138/00 by the Director of Education describing the improvements in attainment made by P3 pupils in the first phase of the Authority's Early Intervention Project. The Report concluded that results of the evaluation of Phase 1, a copy of which was appended to the Report, were very encouraging and it would now be important to build on the initial successes of the Project by ensuring sustained commitment to learning and teaching approaches which were shown to be effective.

The Committee agreed:

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the analysis of the improved performance in standardised reading and mathematics tests recorded by Phase 1 P3 pupils in May 2000 as set out in the appendix to the Report; and
  3. to note the continuing benefits for learning and teaching in the early stages of primary schools arising from the Early Intervention Project.

5. DIARY ENTRIES

(a) Rosemount Primary School ­ Official Opening

The Committee agreed to note that the official opening of Rosemount Primary School by Andrew Welsh MP had been scheduled for 1.30 pm on Friday 3 November 2000 and that invitations to the opening ceremony would shortly be issued to all members of the Education Committee.

(b) Proposed Meeting with School Board/Parental Representatives

The Committee agreed to note that a meeting had been arranged with School Board/Parental Representatives from all Angus Schools to be held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 15 November 2000 and that all members of the Education Committee were welcome to attend.

(c) McDonald's Our Town Story - Performance by Angus Pupils

The Committee agreed to note that, along with other education authorities, Angus had been invited to send a party of school children to perform in the Millennium Dome. The performance was due to take place on Tuesday 21 November 2000 and would involve 82 Angus pupils (from all eight secondary schools) who would be performing a theatre piece using, for the most part, ideas suggested by the young people themselves and based around the theme "Angus ­ Past, Present and Future".

Prior to the performance in the Dome, the pupils would be staging their show in the Webster Theatre, Arbroath at 7.30 pm on the evening of Thursday 16 November 2000.

(d) Angus Youth Congress ­ Awareness Raising on UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Committee agreed to note that Angus Youth Congress was planning to hold an awareness raising day on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on Monday 20 November 2000. In addition to activities in all secondary schools, an inter-school debate was planned in the evening at Webster's High School, Kirriemuir and members of the Education Committee were welcome to attend the debate.

6. WITHDRAWAL OF FUNDING BY TAYSIDE UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS TRUST FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY EQUIPMENT USED BY SPECIAL NEEDS PUPILS IN SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 1139/00 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of a decision made by Tayside University Hospitals NHS Trust to discontinue funding for the purchase of occupational therapy hoists and slings to be used in schools by pupils with physical disabilities. The Report concluded that the Council could face considerable difficulties as a result of this unilateral change in policy by the Trust and suggested that the issue should be addressed at local level to achieve an interim solution to the problem.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to instruct the Director of Education to write to the Chairman of Tayside University Hospitals NHS Trust to request an urgent meeting to discuss this matter;
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to liaise with colleagues in Dundee and Perth and Kinross Councils with a view to identifying common difficulties which the Health Trust's unilateral decision had caused; and
  4. to instruct the Director of Education to write to Mr Peter Peacock, Deputy Minister for Children and Education, who was currently chairing a national enquiry into the provision for pupils with special educational needs, with a request for ministerial guidance on the issue of funding for the purchase of specialist equipment and for a commitment from Central Government to fund appropriately the needs of children with physical disabilities.

7. PROTECTING CHILDREN ­ SECURING THEIR SAFETY

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 3 October 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 991/00 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education drawing the attention of members to the pre-legislative consultation paper on the establishment of an index of adults unsuitable to work with children. Thirteen distinct proposals were outlined in the paper and a suggested response by the Council on each proposal was appended to the Report.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to endorse the suggested response as the Council’s view on the consultative paper; and
  3. to note the potential future implications of the proposals.

8. SUPPORT FOR THE COSTS OF DEVELOPING PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS FOR SCHOOL BUILDINGS

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 April 2000, there was submitted Report No 1145/00 by the Director of Education together with Circular 3/2000 from the Scottish Executive on support for the costs of developing public/private partnership projects for school buildings.

The Committee agreed to authorise the Director of Education and the Director of Finance to prepare and submit a bid for a one-off payment of grant to support the development of public/private partnership projects for school buildings in Angus.

9. 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 1142/00 by the Director of Education recommending the award of grant to six national organisations. The Report advised that five 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:-

  1. to note the single grant of under £500 which was being approved by officers in accordance with agreed Council policy; and
  2. to approve the additional grants of over £500 as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

    Councillors Norrie, Ritchie and West declared an interest in Article 10 (a) below and took no part in the discussion thereof.

10. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE

(a) Revenue Grants to Voluntary Organisations 2000/2001

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 1143/00 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 £28,884 as detailed in appendix 1 of the Report.

(b) Adult Education Fund

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 1144/00 by the Director of Education proposing grant aid from the Adult Education Fund to Adult Education Associations for 2000/2001. The Report detailed the amount of grant paid to these Associations in the financial year 1999/2000 and made recommendations regarding the 2000/2001 programme.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to approve grant aid to the Adult Education Associations as set out in the appendix to the Report.

11. POSSIBLE 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 to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 1, 8, 9 and 10.

12. PROVISION OF EARLY YEARS CHILDCARE AND EDUCATION SVQ ASSESSMENT CENTRE

With reference to Article 19 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 3 October 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 999/00 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education advising the Committee of tenders received for the provision of an SVQ Assessment Centre in Angus.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to approve the award of contract, for the provision of an SVQ Assessment Centre to offer SVQ II and III and D32/33 Assessor awards in Early Years Childcare and Education to private and voluntary sector daycare and education providers in Angus, to Angus College; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Education to submit a further report containing details of costs to the next meeting.

13. PROPERTY ADVISER

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 April 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 1141/00 by the Director of Education, the Director of Personnel and the Director of Property Services outlining progress made in establishing an asset management plan for all educational establishments and recommending the establishment of the post of Property Adviser to be outposted to the Education Department.

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

14. PROVISION OF JANITORIAL SERVICES FOR SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 2(a) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 1140/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel outlining details of a pilot project to provide janitorial services within Forfar and Kirriemuir Schools on a cluster basis, for the period October 2000 to March 2001. The Report concluded that the objective of the study would be to determine whether the proposals improved the level of janitorial services, and the project would be evaluated to determine whether it would be introduced into all Angus schools.

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

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