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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 23 January 2001 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors JACK GIBB, STEWART MCGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, GEORGE NORRIE MBE, KITTY RITCHIE and SANDY WEST and Rev MICHAEL MILTON and MR BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of DAVID LUMGAIR, PETER NEILD, Rev CARLEEN ROBERTSON, Rev. KENNETH GIBSON and MR PETER ANDREWS.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. Education Minutes OF COMMITTEE ­ CHURCH REPRESENTATIVE

The Convener welcomed the Rev Michael Milton as representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Angus to his first meeting of the Education Committee and also paid tribute to the contribution made by his predecessor, Father Mark Cassidy.

2. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 November 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 11 December 2000, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (Appendix I).

(c) Staffing Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee of 31 October 2000, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (Appendix II).

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee held on 17 January 2001.

The Committee noted the decision of the Sub-Committee as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (Appendix III).

3. PRE-BUDGET STATEMENT - ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 88/01 by the Director of Education advising that, following the pre-budget statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in November 2000, the Scottish Executive Education Department had issued a circular entitled "Pre-Budget Statement ­ Additional Financial Resources for Schools". The circular outlined additional resources which were to be made available by payment of grant to Scottish education authorities for distribution to schools in their areas. The total sum allocated to schools managed by Angus Council in the current financial year amounted to £398,715.

The Report concluded that the additional resources would be most welcome, as was the Executive's decision to give some discretion to Councils in terms of prioritising this additional source of funding. However, spending decisions had to be made by the Council within an exceptionally tight timescale and this presented a significant challenge. Nevertheless, the expenditure proposals outlined in the Report were believed to represent good value for money for the Angus community as a whole and added value for all schools.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report and to approve the expenditure proposals outlined within it.

4. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW: SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS - PROGRESS REPORT

With reference to Article 2(c) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 89/01 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of progress being made in relation to the Special Educational Needs Best Value Service Improvement Plan. The Report highlighted those programmes which had been completed earlier than planned and indicated that the provisions of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000 underlined the importance of the Council's Service Improvement Plan for those children with special educational needs.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report; and
  2. to note the significant progress made to date in implementing the Best Value Service Improvement Plan, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

5. HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 26 January 1999, there was submitted Report No 90/01 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of aspects of Human Rights legislation which were of most relevance to the education service in Angus and setting out steps taken by the Education Department to date, to implement the Act.

The Report concluded that the work undertaken to date suggested that current Departmental procedures and practices complied with the requirements of the legislation and was also within the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Nonetheless, the existence of the legislation should prove helpful in guarding against undue complacency.

The Committee agreed to note the terms of the Report.

6. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PUPILS AND PARENTS - FINALISED CONTENTS OF PROPOSED LEAFLET

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 March 2000, there was submitted Report No 91/01 by the Director of Education providing feedback to the Committee on the results of a recent consultation exercise on a draft statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Pupils and Parents.

The Report indicated that a number of respondents to the consultation exercise supported the preparation of a simple leaflet encapsulating the proposed statement. The idea was believed to have considerable merit in engaging all key stakeholders, staff, pupils and parents.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the consultation process which had taken place;
  2. to approve the contents of the Appendix to the Report as the basis for the preparation of an information leaflet to be used by all Angus schools; and
  3. to authorise the Director of Education to have the proposed leaflets printed and copied in sufficient quantity for all schools to make use of it.

7. SEX EDUCATION IN SCOTTISH SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 1 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 January 2000, there was submitted Report No 92/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to a recent consultation exercise conducted by Learning and Teaching Scotland on sex education in Scottish schools and seeking the Committee's endorsement of the officer response.

Having heard Father Milton, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to endorse the officer response as appended to the Report, on the recent consultative guidelines on sex education in schools issued by Learning and Teaching Scotland; and
  2. to authorise the Director of Education, in consultation with the Convener, to maintain dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church on the implementation of whatever final guidelines emerged.

8. NATIONAL PRIORITIES IN EDUCATION

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 93/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to national priorities in education, which had been the subject of a draft Order laid in the Scottish Parliament on 6 November 2000. The draft Order and related Executive Note (which were appended to the Report) were the outcomes of responses to a consultation paper by the Scottish Executive entitled "Improving Our Schools". The draft Order set out five national priorities for school education in Scotland to take account of a new duty on education authorities to ensure the provision of an appropriately holistic education for all pupils, as laid out in Section 2(i) of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000.

The Report pointed out that the 2001-2002 Education Service Plan would take full account of the five national priorities and expressed the hope, in view of current Angus procedures, that the fixed annual date for the publication by all authorities of improvement plans would fall in the period June/July/August.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note and welcome the statement of broad national priorities in education listed in the draft Order;
  3. to note the advice provided in the accompanying note from the Scottish Executive; and
  4. to note possible misgivings in relation to the date by which authority improvement plans should be published.

9. STANDARDS IN SCOTLAND'S SCHOOLS ETC. ACT 2000

(a) Guidance on Section 15 - Requirement that Education be Provided in Mainstream Schools

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 November 2000, there was submitted Report No 94/01 by the Director of Education seeking the Committee's endorsement of an officer response to a consultation exercise carried out by the Scottish Executive on Section 15 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000, which placed a requirement on education authorities to provide education for all children in mainstream schools, unless certain specified exceptions applied.

The Committee agreed to note and approve the officer response to the draft circular from the Scottish Executive, a copy of which was appended to the Report.

(b) Sections 26 to 31 ­ Implications for School Boards

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 95/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to the detailed implications for School Boards arising from the implementation of Sections 26 to 31 of the Standards in Scotland's School etc Act 2000. A Briefing Note on the impact of these Sections of the Act (which was appended to the Report) had been discussed at a recent meeting with School Board and Parental Representatives and it was proposed that the note be formalised and issued to all School Boards in Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report and Appendix; and
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to issue the Appendix as a Briefing Note for School Boards in Angus.

10. IMPROVING SCIENCE EDUCATION 5 - 14

There was submitted Report No 96/01 by the Director of Education seeking the Committee's approval for follow-up activities to a recently published HMI report entitled "Improving Science Education 5-15" which was one in a series of similar reports. A short-life Working Group had been established to consider this particular Report and to prepare a draft Council response, with the deliberations of the Working Group summarised in the Appendix.

The Report concluded that the Working Group should be congratulated for having timeously and efficiently completed the remit given to it and recommended that the Committee endorse in full the contents of the Working Group's Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the HMI publication "Improving Science Education 5-14", a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge;
  2. to endorse the response prepared by a staff working group, as appended to the Report; and
  3. to authorise the Director of Education to take forward the draft Action Plan outlined in Section 4 of the Appendix.

11. DAILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS - PILOT PROJECT

There was submitted Report No 97/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to a pilot project entitled "Daily Physical Activity in Primary Schools" which had been carried out in partnership with sportscotland and outlining proposals for a national launch in Angus.

The Report concluded that the response to the pilot had been most encouraging, given that concern about decline in fitness and increasing obesity among young people had attracted considerable media attention in recent months. It was hoped that the introduction of routine physical activity for Angus primary school pupils through this programme could make a measurable contribution to healthier and fitter lifestyles, as well as to improvements in learning and pupil attainment.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the progress to date in relation to the Daily Physical Activity in Primary Schools project; and
  3. to note that it was proposed that Angus Council and sportscotland make joint arrangements to hold a national launch of the programme in Angus in late February/early March 2001.

12. TAYSIDE AND FIFE INSTITUTE OF SPORT

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 18 January 2001, there was submitted Report No 61/01 by the Director of Recreation Services advising the Committee of the progress to date on the establishment of the Tayside and Fife Institute of Sport.

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

13. TAYSIDE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT GROUP ­ ANNUAL REPORT 99/00

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 18 January 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 60/01 by the Director of Recreation Services and the Director of Education providing the Committee with an update on the activities of the Tayside Sports Development Group, together with the Group's Annual Report for 1999/2000.

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

14. ANGUS BOOK AWARD

With reference to Article 20 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 18 January 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 69/01 by the Acting Director of Cultural Services and the Director of Education detailing the continued development and success of the Angus Book Award and the proposed arrangements for launch of the 2001 Award at Brechin Library.

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

15. ANGUS CHILD PROTECTION COMMITTEE - ANNUAL REPORT 1999/2000

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 16 January 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 50/01 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education presenting the Angus Child Protection Committee's Annual Report for 1999/2000.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the contents of the Angus Child Protection Committee Annual Report 1999/2000.

16. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE - REVENUE GRANT 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 98/01 by the Director of Education detailing an application received from a local voluntary organisation for a revenue grant of over £500.

The Committee agreed to approve the award of a revenue grant totalling £1,750 to the Drugs Initiative Group (Pitstop) for the purposes of investing in educational activities.

17. CAPITAL PROJECT APPRAISAL - FORFAR ACADEMY - CURTAIN WALLING

With reference to Article 18 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 5 December 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 1130/00 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services outlining proposals to undertake the replacement of the curtain walling system at Forfar Academy during financial year 2001/02 at a cost of £960,000, which would significantly improve the accommodation for staff and pupils at the school.

Having heard Councillor Glennis Middleton, local member, welcome the Report, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to approve the replacement of curtain walling at Forfar Academy; and
  2. to note that a separate report by the Director of Property Services would address the procurement of the works.

18. 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, 6, 8 and 9.

19. REPLACEMENT OF CURTAIN WALLING AT FORFAR ACADEMY - PROCUREMENT DETAILS AND TENDER LIST

With reference to Article 20 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 5 December 2000, and to Article 17 above, there was submitted Report No 1278/00 by the Director of Property Services setting out a proposed method of procurement, detailing the indicative programme, the contractors selection process and a list of contractors to be invited to tender for the above project.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the proposed method of procurement;
  2. to note the indicative programme;
  3. to approve the proposed concept for contractor selection; and
  4. to invite tenders from the contractors as listed in the Report, subject to any financial assessment deemed to be necessary by the Director of Finance in consultation with the Director of Property Services.

20. PROCUREMENT OF ICT EQUIPMENT FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 March 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 99/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Information Technology outlining the process for the purchase of ICT equipment for primary schools and seeking the Committee's approval for the procurement of the equipment.

Having heard Councillor Welsh in support of the proposals, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to approve, in principle, the arrangements described in the Report to purchase ICT equipment for primary schools;
  2. to approve the procurement method outlined in the Report in accordance with Financial Regulations 16.1.3.b(ii) and 16.1.3.b(iii); and
  3. to instruct the Directors of Information Technology and Education, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to enter into negotiations with RM Plc to agree the most advantageous arrangements for the Council.

21. APPOINTMENT OF RELATIVE OF CHIEF OFFICER ­ STANDING ORDER NO 49

Having heard the Director of Law and Administration report on the matter, the Committee agreed to approve the appointment of Mary Logue, wife of Neil Logue (Head of Educational Services), to the seconded post of Staff Tutor within the Education Department.

22. STAFFING ESTABLISHMENT FOR ANGUS CHILDCARE PARTNERSHIP

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 16 January 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 52/01 by the Director of Education, the Director of Social Work and the Director of Personnel proposing the permanent establishment of posts for the Angus Childcare Partnership, as outlined in the Report.

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

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