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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 5 June 2001 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE and SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors JACK GIBB, STEWART McGLYNN, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE HELEN OSWALD, KITTY RITCHIE, and SANDY WEST, Rev MICHAEL MILTON, and Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor DAVID LUMGAIR and Rev CARLEEN ROBERTSON and Rev KENNETH GIBSON.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

  1. Previous Meeting

    The minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 April 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

  2. Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

    The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 14 May 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (Appendix I).

    With reference to Article 4(c), Mr Andrews welcomed the progress which had been made to date in the working group. In answer to a question by Councillor Nield, the Convener indicated that current thinking was that the Management and Teachers Panels should each comprise 6 members, but draft proposals would emerge after further discussions and be submitted to this Committee in due course.

  3. Staffing Sub-Committee

    The minute of meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee of 17 May 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (Appendix II).

2. EDUCATION SERVICE PLAN 2001/2004

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 April 2001, there was submitted Report No 658/01 by the Director of Education commenting on the outcome of the consultative exercise on the 2001/2004 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 2001/2004 to schools and services; and
  3. to note the arrangements which had been made for the submission of the 2001 School Development Plan Returns.

3. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW ­ INSTRUMENTAL TUITION SERVICE

There was submitted Report No 659/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to a recently completed Best Value Review of the Instrumental Tuition Service for pupils in primary and secondary schools.

The Report concluded that, in general, both the surveys undertaken and the benchmarking information provided by six of the eight Councils from the Angus benchmarking family, suggested that the instrumental tuition service in Angus was of a good standard. However, the Review had identified a significant number of ways in which improvements to the service could be made and proposed that these be addressed as set out in the Improvement Plan appended to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to express its thanks to staff and parents who had participated in the Best Value Service Review of the Council's Instrumental Tuition Service;

  2. to note the full Report of the Review Team, a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge, together with a collation of the responses to the various surveys undertaken as part of the Review; and

  3. to endorse the Best Value Service Improvement Plan, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

4. NEW OPPORTUNITIES FUND ­ OUT OF SCHOOL HOURS LEARNING

There was submitted Report No 660/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to a successful bid for Lottery funding to support an out of school hours learning project to deliver a range of social and recreational activities in 3 secondary and 16 primary schools as outlined in the Appendix to the Report. The Report indicated that the bid had been progressed by a Steering Group involving a range of staff, including school based staff, Community Education staff and a representative from the Angus Childcare Partnership, and commended the Group for their work on the bid.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to acknowledge the excellent work of staff involved in putting together a successful bid for New Opportunities Fund monies;
  2. to note the outcome of the bid, namely a total sum of £276,211 being available to support summer schools and out of school hours learning in Angus over a three year period; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to report back to this Committee periodically to provide progress updates on the various projects to be funded by this grant.

5. EDUCATION APPEAL COMMITTEE ­ APPOINTMENT OF ADDITIONAL CHAIRPERSON AND PARENT MEMBERS AND TRAINING/AWARENESS OF MEMBERS

There was submitted Report No 709/01 by the Director of Law and Administration dealing with the Education Minutes of the Education Appeal Committee, constituted in terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1981, Schedule 1, and the training/awareness of such members.

The Report reminded the Committee that, in Angus, it had been agreed the Appeal Committee should comprise three members, namely:

  1. one Councillor who was not a member of the Education Committee;
  2. one person drawn from a list of School Board nominees provided by School Boards from their Education Minutes; and
  3. one person with experience in education and acquainted with the educational conditions in the area of the authority.

Hearings were chaired by one of the persons with experience in education and it was recommended that a further person be appointed. With regard to the parent member, reference was made to the Parental Sounding Board which had recently been established, drawn principally from parent representatives on School Boards, and the Report recommended that further parent members be sought from this source in order to widen the pool from which the current list was made up.

A recent Report by the Scottish Committee of the Council on Tribunals for Scotland had highlighted the need for training of members of Education Appeal Committees and the Report also proposed that training/awareness sessions be held at appropriate intervals.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note and endorse the appointment of Mr Ron McFarlane as an additional chairperson of the Education Appeal Committee;
  2. to note and endorse the use of the Parental Sounding Board as an additional source of parent members of the Education Appeal Committee; and
  3. to authorise the Director of Law and Administration, in conjunction with the Director of Education, to organise training/awareness sessions for all potential members of the Education Appeal Committee at appropriate intervals.

6. "A TEACHING PROFESSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY" ­ INTRODUCTION OF A 35 HOUR WORKING WEEK

There was submitted Report No 661/01 by the Director of Education advising that the recently agreed package of pay and conditions of service for Scottish teachers (the "McCrone Package) had become operational in 2001 and that the agreement included provision that "the individual and collective work of teachers should be capable of being undertaken within the 35 hour working week".

Guidelines had been provisionally agreed by a Joint Working Group and had been endorsed by the Joint Consultative Committee (Teaching Staff) at its meeting held on 14 May 2001 (Article 4(b) of the minute refers). The Guidelines had been shared with Head Teachers and early indications were that they were likely to offer a helpful framework for all teaching staff. The Report therefore recommended the endorsement of the Guidelines attached to the Report on the understanding that they would be kept under review and that progress with their implementation would be reported periodically to this Committee as appropriate.

Mr Andrews welcomed the agreed guidelines and the constructive approach which had been taken by the authority.

The Committee agreed to note and endorse the Guidelines appended to the Report, which had been supported unanimously by the JCC (Teachers).

7. STAFFING PROCEDURES

There was submitted Report No 622/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to proposed minor amendments to detailed teacher staffing procedures.

The Report covered three areas, namely ­ recruitment procedures for unpromoted teaching posts; voluntary transfer of teachers from one school to another; and the operation of the teachers' supply pool ­ and each area was detailed in an Appendix to the Report. The Report indicated that each of the Appendices had received support from the JCC (Teachers) at its meeting of 14 May 2001 (Article 5 of the minute refers) and recommended that the Education Committee endorse all three papers.

The Committee agreed to note and endorse the Appendices to the Report on recruitment procedures for unpromoted teaching posts (Appendix I), voluntary transfer of teachers from one school to another (Appendix II); and teachers' supply pool (Appendix III).

8. MANAGING DRUG RELATED INCIDENTS IN SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 663/01 by the Director of Education advising that considerable work had been undertaken to ensure that all Angus schools had effective drug and alcohol education policies in place. The staff tutor currently seconded to take forward drugs and alcohol education had developed a policy statement for Angus, based on the policy statement adopted by Perth and Kinross Council. The Report accordingly recommended that the Policy Statement attached to the Report be adopted as Angus Council's policy on the management of incidents involving illegal, controlled and inappropriate substances in Angus schools.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to endorse the contents of the Policy Statement appended to the Report;
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to issue it to all Head Teachers as a working document; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to monitor the implementation of this policy with a view to review and amendment in the light of experience.

9. IMPROVING OUR SKILLS: ADDRESSING OUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATIONAL NEEDS ­ THE WAY FORWARD

There was submitted Report No 664/01 by the Director of Education bringing the Committee's attention to the publication of a consultation paper, produced by the Scottish Executive, in which views were sought on the present arrangements for assessing, recording and reporting arrangements for children with special educational needs with a view to determining how they could be improved or updated. The Report recommended that, in light of the timescale for the receipt of comments, an officer response should be prepared for submission to the Scottish Executive subject to final ratification by the next meeting of the Education Committee.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the consultative document, a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge;
  2. to authorise the preparation of an officer response to the document in order to ensure that a reply could be submitted to the Scottish Executive by the deadline of 27 July 2001; and
  3. to consider the homologation of the officer response at the next scheduled meeting of this Committee on 21 August 2001.

10. SCHOOL SECURITY

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 665/01 by the Director of Education outlining proposed security measures for schools in the financial year 2001/02. These projects consisted principally of further improvements to existing security systems and the estimated costs could be met from the provision of £180,000 within the revenue budget.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

11. PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (Ppp)

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 666/01 by the Director of Education advising of a successful application to the Scottish Executive for funding for the Council to prepare a feasibility study into the potential development of Public/Private Partnership (Ppp) and recommending arrangements for the appointment of consultants to undertake a feasibility study/outline business case to enable the implications of a Ppp approach to be fully considered.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to authorise the Directors of Education, Finance and Law and Administration, in consultation with the Conveners of the Education Committee and the Finance and Information Technology Committee, to appoint consultants up to a maximum cost of £50,000;
  3. to note that all costs were to be funded through Scottish Executive grant; and
  4. to instruct the Director of Education to bring forward a further Report on the feasibility study.

12. RURAL TRAINING IN ANGUS ­ CAREERS EVENT

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 31 May 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 623/01 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Education providing information about a proposal to hold a one day careers event to promote and raise the profile of careers in the land based sector to Angus and Mearns schools. The event would be held at the former US Base at Edzell on Wednesday 19 September 2001.

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

13. SURESTART (SCOTLAND)

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 29 May 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 640/01 by the Director of Social Work, the Director of Education and the Acting Director of Personnel outlining the progress of the Surestart (Scotland) Initiative in Angus and recommending support for further developments in 2001/2002 using the additional funding being provided by the Scottish Executive.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the further development of Surestart (Scotland) as described in the Report.

14. 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 15, 16 and 17 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 6, 8, 9 and 10.

15. LAND AT NEWTON FARM, CARNOUSTIE

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 31 May 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 656/01 by the Director of Property Services, the Director of Planning and Transport, the Director of Recreation Services and the Director of Education advising that the owner of Newton Farm, Carnoustie was prepared to grant Angus Council a free option to acquire land at Newton Farm, Carnoustie for the development of a recreational sports ground and associated facilities.

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

16. FORFAR ACADEMY ­ REPLACEMENT CURTAIN WALLING ­ TENDER REPORT

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 1 May 2001, there was submitted Report No 494/01 by the Director of Property Services containing details of the negotiated tender accepted for the above project.

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

17. SCHOOL PUPIL CONVEYANCE REQUIREMENTS 2001/2004 ­ TENDERING

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 November 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 667/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning and Transport detailing the results of the tendering exercise for school pupil conveyance in the Arbroath, Carnoustie and Dundee rural (Tealing/Liff/Newtyle/Auchterhouse) areas and making recommendations with regard to the awarding of the contracts.

The Committee agreed to approve the awarding of the contracts as detailed in the Report.

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