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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 16 October 2001 at 4.30 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE and SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors JACK GIBB, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE, KITTY RITCHIE, RON SCRIMGEOUR and SANDY WEST; Rev KENNETH GIBSON, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies were intimated on behalf of Councillors DAVID LUMGAIR and STEWART McGLYNN.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, the Convener intimated that, in accordance with previous practice, a meeting had been arranged with the School Board/parental representatives on Wednesday 14 November 2001 at 7.30pm in the Meffan, Forfar to which members of the Education Committee were cordially invited.

1. Education Minutes OF COMMITTEE ­ CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES

The Committee noted that Father Milton, Roman Catholic Church, and Rev Carleen Robertson, Church of Scotland had retired from their positions as representatives on the Education Committee and that a Report would be submitted to the next meeting of the Council on the nominations received for their replacement in terms of Section 124 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

2. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 August 2001 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 17 September 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX I).

(c) Special Cases Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Special Cases Sub-Committee of 27 September 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX II).

3. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW ­ SECONDARY EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT PLAN: PROGRESS REPORT

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 1140/01 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of progress being made in relation to the Secondary Education Best Value Service Review and summarising the considerable progress made in implementing the Service Improvement Plan in the period from August 2000 to June 2001.

The Report concluded that considerable effort was being made by secondary Head Teachers and Local Authority support staff in addressing the recommendations for improvement in the ten aspects of secondary education identified in the Plan and that, as a result of the Best Value exercise, focused improvements had been achieved in key areas of secondary education in Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the arrangements made to monitor progress in implementing the Service Improvement Plan; and
  3. to note the considerable progress made in implementing the improvements identified within the ten sections of that Plan, with specific progress for each section of the Plan contained in a more detailed progress report, copies of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

4. INSPECTION OF THE EDUCATION FUNCTIONS OF ANGUS COUNCIL

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 1141/01 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to the forthcoming inspection of the education functions of Angus Council by HM Inspector of Education (HMIE) during the period 12 November 2001 to 18 January 2002. The Report indicated that Angus Council welcomed external scrutiny with a view to further improving services and that every effort had been made by the Director of Education and the HMIE to alleviate any unnecessary anxiety.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

5. REPORTS BY HM INSPECTORS OF SCHOOLS: STANDARDS AND QUALITY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS 1995-1999: HISTORY AND MODERN STUDIES

There was submitted Report No 1142/01 by the Director of Education indicating that reports had been produced by HM Inspectors of Schools entitled "Standards and Quality in Secondary Schools 1995-1999: History" and "Standards and Quality in Secondary Schools 1995-1999: Modern Studies". Officers of the Education Department, in consultation with the History and Modern Studies Curriculum Advisory Groups, had prepared a response to the HMI Report containing proposals which, it was believed, would assist Angus secondary schools to respond effectively to the main recommendations for improvement in both History and Modern Studies made by HM Inspectors.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report; and
  2. to note and approve the detailed proposals for action outlined in the Appendix to the Report, which had been produced in consultation with Angus History and Modern Studies Curriculum Advisory Groups.

6. PUPIL CONSULTATION AND INVOLVEMENT

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 5 June 2001, there was submitted Report No 1144/01 by the Director of Education drawing to the Committee's attention, in terms of Sections 6(1) and 6(3)(a) and (b) of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, the arrangements being made in Angus to establish formal pupil consultation and involvement procedures in schools. These arrangements included a secondary schools conference entitled "Right Hear, Right Now" and a primary schools conference entitled "The Pupils' Voice".

The Report concluded that a Report would be drafted following the conferences, which it was hoped would be seen as a good practice guide to assist schools to address effectively and enthusiastically the commitment to work co-operatively with pupils and to involve them meaningfully in the every day running of their school.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report; and
  2. to note and endorse the arrangements being made to hold pupil consultation conferences in October/November 2001.

7. ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 October 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 1145/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services outlining progress being made in establishing an Asset Management Plan for Angus schools. The Report indicated that an Asset Management Plan had been prepared for each Angus Primary School, with a detailed analysis of each of the school buildings placed in the Members' Lounge. Work had also commenced on preparing a Plan for each secondary school and it was expected that this exercise would be completed by March 2002.

The Committee agreed to note the progress being made in developing an Asset Management Plan, in respect of all school buildings in Angus.

8. SCHOOL BUILDING IMPROVEMENT FUND

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 April 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 1146/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services indicating that on 22 August 2001, the Scottish Executive had issued Circular 6/2001 in respect of the School Building Improvement Fund. The Circular outlined the shared commitment of local authorities and the Scottish Executive to tackling outstanding repairs and making significant improvements to school stock.

The Report detailed the additional grant funding available for school improvements in Angus and contained proposals on how this funding should be utilised. The Report indicated that, whilst the additional resources were to be welcomed, an earlier indication of the availability of funding would have been appreciated, to allow more opportunity to schedule and undertake the works, at a time which would be of most benefit to Angus schools.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to welcome the additional resources being made available to improve Angus school buildings;
  2. to approve the use of the grant, as outlined in the Report; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to write to the Scottish Executive seeking assurances that funding information in respect of years 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 be made available to Councils timeously.

9. BRECHIN HIGH SCHOOL ­ REMEDIAL REPAIRS TO RETAINING WALLS

With reference to Article 19 of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee and Article 26 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 28 August 2001, there was submitted Report No 959/01 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval for the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to cover the cost of urgent repairs to the retaining wall at Brechin High School at an estimated cost of £40,000.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the recommendations, as detailed in the Report.

Councillor Myles declared an interest in the following item.

10. ANGUS COUNTRYSIDE INITIATIVE

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 11 October 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 1109/01 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Education containing details of a request for financial assistance by the Angus Countryside Initiative, which comprised a group of Angus farmers, educational staff and representatives of rural businesses, to finance the employment of a part-time Project Officer from October 2001 to March 2002.

Having heard various members welcome the initiative, the Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the recommendations as detailed in the Report.

11. DEVELOPMENT OFFICER FOR SPORTS AND RECREATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 2 October 2001 and Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 4 October 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 1126/01 by the Director of Recreation Services, the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education indicating that the post of Development Officer for Sports and Recreation for people with disabilities had been established during 1999 through a funding partnership agreement between sportscotland and a number of Angus Council departments. A package for a three year fixed term contract had been agreed and would again be a partnership arrangement with sportscotland, the Angus Childcare Partnership and the Angus Council departments of Recreation, Education and Social Work contributing to the overall costs.

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

12. TAYSIDE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT GROUP

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 4 October 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 1125/01 by the Director of Recreation Services and the Director of Education indicating that the Tayside Sports Development Group had been exploring opportunities to develop an enhanced model for the regional delivery of sports development.

This exercise had now been completed and a structure had been agreed which would provide a new Regional Manager, an enhanced administrator and a team of five Sports Development Officers. The post of Regional Manager had been advertised and it was hoped that this post could be filled by the end of October 2001. Following this appointment, the postholder would work with the Project Management Team to conclude the Tayside Sports Development Group review.

The Report concluded that the revised structure would provide substantial new benefits to the Tayside sporting communities and was being supported by additional investment by the partners of £528,000 over a four year period.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the recommendations, as detailed in Report.

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