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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 24 April 2001 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE, SHEENA WELSH, JACK GIBB, DAVID LUMGAIR, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, HELEN OSWALD and SANDY WEST, and REV MICHAEL MILTON.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, OBE, Councillors STEWART McGLYNN, GEORGE NORRIE and KITTY RITCHIE, Rev CARLEEN ROBERTSON, Rev KENNETH GIBSON, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

  1. Previous Meeting

    The minute of meeting of this Committee of 6 March 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

  2. Staffing Sub-Committee

    The minute of meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee of 19 March 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (Appendix I).

2. EDUCATION SERVICE PLAN 2001/2004

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 April 2000, there was submitted Report No 472/01 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of progress made in implementing the 2000/2001 Education Service Plan and informing members of arrangements now being made for the finalisation of the Education Service Plan for the period 2001/2004.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the considerable progress made in relation to development priorities set out in the 2000/2001 Education Service Plan;
  2. to note the intention of the Director of Education to consult widely on the draft 2001/2004 Education Service Plan, and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to report back to this Committee on the outcome of this consultative exercise.

3. COMPARISON OF EDUCATION DEPARTMENT REVENUE BUDGET 2001/2002 WITH GRANT AIDED EXPENDITURE (GAE)

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Central Consultative Committee of 15 February 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 474/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Finance comparing, for the 2001/02 financial year, the Education Department Revenue Budget with the Grant Aided Expenditure assessment of the Scottish Executive.

The Report concluded that the Education service in Angus had revenue resources available to it in financial year 2001/02 in excess of the Grant Aided Expenditure level. However, future comparisons were not likely to be possible given the changes which had been introduced to the local government finance system for financial years 2002/03 and 2003/04.

Following discussion, and having heard various members on the allocation of resources expected to be available from the Council's Renewal and Repair Funds, the Committee, agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to note that including likely Renewal and Repair Fund resources, the Education Service in Angus would have a total revenue resource of £435,000 (0.7%) higher than GAE for financial year 2001/02; and
  3. to note that, excluding Renewal and Repair Funds, the percentage shortfall between the Education revenue budget and GAE had improved from 0.8% (in 2000/01) to 0.5% (in 2001/02).

4. SCHOOL TERMS AND HOLIDAYS 2002/2003 -- PROPOSALS FOR CONSULTATION

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 March 2000, there was submitted Report No 478/01 by the Director of Education advising that the education authority had a duty each year to fix the term and holiday dates for the subsequent school year and that School Boards had a statutory power, having consulted with the education authority, to fix occasional holidays during school terms. The Report set out proposals for the school terms and holidays for 2002/2003 and recommended that these proposed dates should form the basis of a consultation exercise.

The Report indicated that St Andrew's Day would fall on a Saturday in 2002 and that since the established holiday pattern had been that schools would close for one-day's holiday on St Andrew's Day itself, no school holiday was being proposed for St Andrew's Day in 2002.

The Committee agreed: --

  1. to approve the draft scheme of school terms and holidays for 2002/2003 appended to the Report as a basis for consultation;
  2. to instruct the Director of Education to seek the views of staff, trade unions, teachers' associations, head teachers and School Boards on the draft scheme;
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to bring the draft scheme to the attention of the Directors of Education in neighbouring Councils (Dundee City, Perth & Kinross and Aberdeenshire), and to invite comments from them;
  4. to seek formally the views of the Central Consultative Committee on the draft scheme; and
  5. to instruct the Director of Education to report back to the Education Committee on the outcome of the above consultation later this year.

5. GOLDEN JUBILEE BANK HOLIDAY -- MONDAY 3 JUNE 2002

There was submitted Report No 479/01 by the Director of Education recommending that the Council should seek approval from the Scottish Executive to declare a one-day holiday for schools on the additional Bank Holiday in June 2002 which had now been approved by the Government and advising that a number of Councils had already sought and obtained permission to declare Monday 3 June 2002 a school holiday.

The Committee agreed that the Council should formally apply to Scottish Ministers for a reduction in the 2001/2002 school year to 189 days in order to enable schools in Angus to observe the additional Bank Holiday which had been announced for Monday 3 June 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.

6. CUSTOMER CARE: GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 475/01 by the Director of Education drawing members' attention to the draft guidelines document which had been produced for schools on the subject of Customer Care. A copy of the document had been made available in the Members' Lounge.

The Report concluded that, by listening to users/stakeholders as part of the process of self-evaluation, the Education Service could be made even better and it was hoped that these guidelines would help to further strengthen the existing healthy partnership arrangements evident across Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note and endorse the work undertaken by the staff teams involved in preparing draft Customer Care Guidelines; and
  2. to confirm the proposals to finalise and issue materials to all schools following the incorporation of comments received from Head Teachers.

7. IMPLEMENTATION OF NATIONAL GRID FOR LEARNING IN ANGUS SCHOOLS

There was submitted Joint Report No 482/01 by the Director of Information Technology and the Director of Education indicating that, in 1998, the Government had announced plans to implement the National Grid for Learning to ensure that every school was connected to the internet by 2002 and that every school pupil would have their own e-mail address. The Report outlined the considerable progress made to date, in implementing the Grid within Angus schools and sought approval to allocate further funding to complete the infrastructure part of the programme.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the progress made within Angus schools in implementing the National Grid for Learning and the Council's achievement in meeting the Government targets.

8. NEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS: PROGRESS REPORT ON BID FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING 2001-2004

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 476/01 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the successful outcome of a bid to extend the New Community Schools project in Arbroath. The Report indicated that this Government initiative was aimed at raising standards of educational attainment and tackling social exclusion by providing integrated services including education, social work, family support, health education and health promotion services in schools which were designated as New Community Schools.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report; and
  2. to note the intention of the Directors of Education and Social Work to bring forward further Reports in due course detailing proposals for the development of services in line with the bid document.

9. MEETINGS WITH SCHOOL BOARD/PARENTAL REPRESENTATIVES

The Committee agreed to note that, in accordance with the previous practice, meetings had been arranged with the School Board/Parental Representatives at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8 May in Forfar Academy and Wednesday 9 May 2001 in Arbroath Library to which members of the Education Committee were cordially invited.

10. EDUCATION AT HOME: AMENDMENTS TO DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

With reference to Article 1 (b) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 8 June 1999, and Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 January 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 480/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Law and Administration seeking approval for an amendment to the Scheme of Delegation to Officers and to the Order of Reference to Committees on the subject of Education at Home.

The Committee agreed: -

  1. to delegate to the Director of Education the power (in accordance with current legislative provisions) to agree all reasonable proposals from parents to educate their children at home, and to refuse agreement to any such proposals the Director believed to be unreasonable;
  2. to remove from the School Attendance Sub-Committee its remit to consider and determine requests from parents to educate their children at home; and
  3. to extend the remit of the Special Cases Sub-Committee to include "the consideration and determination of appeals against decisions of the Director of Education in respect of Education at Home".

11. TRAINING FOR APPEAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Committee noted that a training/awareness session was to be held in May 2001 for members of the Education Appeal Committee.

12. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27 (2) that the public and press be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Items 13 and 14 below, 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 1, 6,8, 9 & 10.

13. JANITORIAL SERVICES

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 473/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Personnel outlining the successful janitorial arrangements which had been operating in Forfar Academy and Webster's High School clusters and proposing that this cluster arrangement be extended to all Angus schools.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the organisation of janitorial services on a cluster basis.

14. CARNOUSTIE HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE UPGRADE

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 November 1998, there was submitted Report No 477/01 by the Director of Education outlining the successful Lottery application of £71,600 to improve the theatre at Carnoustie High School.

Having heard Councillor Gibb, the local member, welcome the Report, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the successful award of lottery funding and improvements which would be made to the theatre at Carnoustie High School;
  2. to note the awarding of contracts to Kwikbuild Ltd, Warehouse Sound Services and Black Light Ltd as detailed below:-
    Building Works:Kwikbuild Ltd£26,605
    Specialist Sound:Warehouse Sound Services £24,620
    Specialist light:Black Light Ltd £36,788
  3. to commend the work of the Carnoustie School Theatre User Group in preparing the application; and
  4. to note the overall funding package, as set out in section 3 of the Report.
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