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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 21 November 2000 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors DAVID LUMGAIR, STEWART MCGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, GEORGE NORRIE MBE, HELEN OSWALD, KITTY RITCHIE and SANDY WEST and Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors JACK GIBB and PETER NIELD and Rev CARLEEN ROBERTSON and Rev KENNETH GIBSON

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

 

1. Education Minutes OF COMMITTEE ­ CHURCH REPRESENTATIVE

The Committee was advised that Father Mark Cassidy had taken up a position as Chaplain in the Royal Navy and had resigned as the Roman Catholic Representative on the Education Committee. The Director of Law and Administration had sought a further nomination from the Scottish Hierarchy in terms of Section 124 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and it was hoped that a Report would be submitted to the next meeting of the Council on the nomination received.

The Committee noted that the Convener and the Director of Law and Administration had written separately to Father Mark Cassidy expressing their appreciation for his work on this Committee and wishing him well in his new position.

2. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

3. 2001/2002 REVENUE BUDGET

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 13 June 2000, there was submitted Report No 1104/00 by the Director of Finance advising the Committee of the latest position with regard to the preparation of the Education Department 2001/2002 Revenue Budget and associated issues. Appended to the Report was a summary of the departmental provisional base budget for 2001/2002 as submitted to the Director of Finance and subsequently reviewed by the Technical Validation Group.

The Committee agreed:

  1. to note the contents of the Report for its interest at this stage in the budget process; and
  2. that more detailed Reports with specific recommendations would be brought forward later in the budget cycle.

4. 2000/2004 FINANCIAL PLAN AND 2001/2002 CAPITAL BUDGET

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 13 June 2000, there was submitted Report No 1105/00 by the Director of Finance advising the Committee of the latest position with regard to the preparation of the 2000/2004 Financial Plan (incorporating the 2001/2002 Capital Budget) for the Education Department, together with the departmental Financial Plan submissions for 2000/2004 as returned to the Director of Finance and subsequently reviewed by the Technical Validation Group.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report for its interest at this stage in the Financial Plan process and that a more detailed Report with specific recommendations would be brought forward later in the Financial Plan cycle.

5. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW: PRE-FIVES EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT PLAN ­ PROGRESS REPORT

With reference to Article 2(d) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 1089/00 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of progress being made in relation to the Pre-fives Education Best Value Service Improvement Plan. The Report concluded that the implementation of improvements identified in the Plan had resulted in significant progress in the quality and quantity of pre-school provision in Angus. Consideration was also being given to the main implications for the pre-school service in light of the Standards In Scotland's Schools, etc. Act 2000 which was due to come into effect in 2002.

The Committee agreed to note the terms of the Report and the significant progress made to date in implementing the Best Value Service Improvement Plan, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

6. PRIMARY SCHOOLS ­ NON TEACHER STAFFING LEVELS

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 20 April 1999 and Article 2 of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 22 April 1999, there was submitted Joint Report No 1090/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel summarising the current and proposed non-teacher staffing levels in primary schools and recommending minor adjustments to these levels as set out in the Appendix. The full implementation of the adjusted staffing levels would be effective from August 2001, following receipt of the Council's allocation of monies from the Excellence Fund in 2001/2002 as previously agreed with Central Government.

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

7. VACANT SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN ANGUS

There was submitted Joint Report No 1220/00 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Education advising the Committee that the former schools at Hillside, Craigo and Andover, Brechin were surplus to Council requirements and recommending that they be disposed of, either to a Housing Association or on the open market.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to declare surplus to requirements the former schools at Hillside, Craigo and Andover, Brechin and that the Director of Property Services arrange for the marketing and disposal of the properties.

8. STANDARDS IN SCOTLAND'S SCHOOLS ETC ACT 2000 ­ GUIDANCE ON SECTION 15 ­ REQUIREMENT THAT EDUCATION BE PROVIDED IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 1093/00 alerting the Committee to a truncated consultation exercise, carried out by the Scottish Executive, on guidance for making mainstream provision for as many children with Special Educational Needs as possible.

The Report indicated that, as from some point in 2001, education authorities would, under the terms of Section 15 of the Standards in Scotland's School etc Act 2000, have a duty to provide education in mainstream schools, except under the specified circumstances set out in the letter and draft circular from the Scottish Executive, appended to the Report. Local authorities had been given the opportunity to comment on the draft circular but the time available to prepare a considered response was exceptionally short.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the letter and draft circular from the Scottish Executive, as appended to the Report; and
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to respond to the letter by 15 December 2000 as requested, and to report back to the Committee on the contents of the response at its first meeting in 2001.

9. A TARGET SUBMISSION DATE FOR THE RESULTS OF NATIONAL UNITS CONTRIBUTING TO NATIONAL COURSES: SQA CONSULTATION PAPER

With reference to Article 1 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 1094/00 by the Director of Education bringing to the attention of the Committee details of a consultation paper from the Scottish Qualifications Authority entitled "A target submission date for results of National Units contributing to National Courses", together with the officer response which had already been submitted to the SQA. The Report concluded that the consultation paper represented a major shift from the original assessment model proposed for the Higher Still framework and should, therefore, be rejected in favour of the options set out in the officer response.

Having heard Councillor Ritchie express her appreciation to teachers in Angus for the support given to pupils following the recent difficulties with SQA results, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the SQA proposal to bring forward to 30 April the final date for submission of all data relating to internally assessed components of national courses and estimates of candidate achievement for national courses at Intermediate 1 to Advanced Higher, a copy of which was attached as Appendix 1 to the Report;
  2. to note and endorse the response to the consultation paper prepared by officers of Angus Council's Education Department, a copy of which was attached as Appendix 2 to the Report; and
  3. to note the concerns held by the Director of Education in relation to the SQA proposal.

10. PROPOSED FUNDING FOR CHILDREN'S HOSPICE ASSOCIATION SCOTLAND (CHAS)

With reference to Article 11 of the Social Work Committee held on the 14 November 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 1056/00 by the Director of Social Work, the Director of Education and the Chief Executive seeking approval of a contribution of £1,200 towards Angus Council's payment of £3,600 to the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

The Report indicated that detailed discussions had taken place between COSLA and CHAS regarding local authority funding for CHAS and it was proposed that a maximum of £169,000 be paid to CHAS in 2000/2001 of which Angus Council's share would be £3,600.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve a contribution of £1,200 towards the corporate payment of £3,600 to CHAS.

11. GRANT AID ­ ANGUS FEDERATION OF VILLAGE HALLS

There was submitted Report No 1092/00 by the Director of Education recommending the award of grant aid from the Adult Education Fund to the Angus Federation of Village Halls, to assist with health and hygiene training for local community organisations.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report and to approve the award of grant aid totalling £800 to the Angus Federation of Village Halls, as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

12. 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 6, 8 and 9.

13. TENDERING FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION EQUIPMENT

There was submitted Report No 1091/00 by the Director of Education indicating that a tendering exercise for the contract for the supply of Physical Education Equipment was undertaken every three years and detailing the results of the exercise carried out in August 2000.

The Committee agreed to approve the award of the Physical Education Equipment contract to Alpha Leisure Scotland Ltd.

14. SCHOOL CONVEYANCE CONTRACTS ­ RESULT OF TENDER AND AMENDMENTS TO CONTRACT PRICE

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 6 June 2000, there was submitted Report No 1223/00 by the Director of Planning and Transport informing the Committee of revisions to contract prices and the results of tenders sought for school conveyance contracts since the start of the new academic session.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to homologate the decision of the Director of Law and Administration, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to revise prices for Contracts AFR/6 and AFR/20 following original inaccurate submissions; and
  2. to homologate the award of contracts by the Director of Education, as outlined in the Report.
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