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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 22 January 2002 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BRIAN MILNE and SHEENA WELSH, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE, Councillors JACK GIBB, DAVID LUMGAIR, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD, GEORGE NORRIE MBE, KITTY RITCHIE and SANDY WEST; Rev KENNETH GIBSON, Father JAMES FOLEY, Rev ALAN WEBSTER, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors STEWART McGLYNN and RON SCRIMGEOUR.

Also Present: Councillor IAN MACKINTOSH.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 November 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 10 December 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX I).

With reference to Article 4(d) of the above minute, Mr Andrews referred to progress with regard to the implementation of Tripartite Agreement "A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century" and reiterated the hope that a local Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers could be established at an early date.

(c) Staffing Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee of 20 December 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX II).

2. REQUEST FOR DEPUTATION

The Committee agreed, in accordance with Standing Order 12, to hear a deputation by parents and prospective parents of pupils in connection with the review of Kilry Primary School.

The deputation, led by Mr Jeremy Martindale and Dr Mike Morris, addressed the Committee on educational, community and economic factors in support of the retention of Kilry Primary School and sought continued consultation between parents and the education authority on any future review of the school.

Thereafter the Convener thanked Mr Martindale and Dr Morris for their presentation, following which they withdrew to the public benches.

3. QUEEN'S NEW YEAR'S HONOURS LIST

Having heard Councillor Glennis Middleton express appreciation for his community work in the Forfar area, the Committee congratulated Mr William G G McLeod, Assistant Head Teacher, Forfar Academy on the award of an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

4. END YEAR FLEXIBILITY: ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 96/02 by the Director of Education advising the Committee that, on 13 November 2001, the Scottish Executive Education Department had issued Circular 9/2001 indicating that additional funding was available for distribution to all schools in the Angus area. Paragraph 5 of the Circular indicated that Ministers required education authorities to take deprivation factors into account in allocating available resources.

The Report set out, in Appendix 1, proposals for the allocation of the funding within Angus schools and proposed that the Circular, a copy of which was appended to the Report, be issued to all Head Teachers in order that they, and their whole school community, could take full account of the Ministerial priorities in deciding how best these additional monies should be spent. In this context, Sportscotland had requested that some of these monies be targeted towards sports programmes and this would also be emphasised in advice to Head Teachers.

Having heard Councillors Ritchie and Middleton on the need for a sustainable approach to tackle deprivation, the Committee agreed to approve the proposed allocation of monies to schools, as set-out in Appendix I to the Report.

5. DISCIPLINE TASK GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS ­ RESOURCES FOR 2001/2002

There was submitted Report No 97/02 by the Director of Education advising that, in June 2001, the Scottish Executive had published a Report by the National Discipline Task Group entitled "Better Behaviour, Better Learning". The Scottish Executive had now made available, at short notice, additional resources in support of the implementation of the recommendations of the Discipline Task Group as detailed in a letter attached to the Report. The letter confirmed that grants had been made available to Angus Council for the purpose of (a) policy review and planning (£68,392), and (b) creation of pupil support bases in schools (£227,974).

The Report set out the issues to be addressed, made recommendations regarding the allocation of expenditure to be met from the Scottish Executive resources and sought an extension, from the Scottish Executive, of the deadline within which the expenditure could be incurred.

Having heard Mr McHardy express concern regarding the need for an equitable approach towards the allocation of expenditure and the short timescale to respond to the Scottish Executive, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the letter from the Scottish Executive dated 29 November 2001 (Appendix I);
  2. to approve, in principle, expenditure to create Pupil Support Bases in:
    • Arbroath Academy
    • Arbroath High School
    • Brechin High School
    • Forfar Academy
    • Montrose Academy
    funded by those resources referred to in the letter, in the approximate cost of £227,974, on the understanding that this expenditure would be incurred in accordance with the Council's Standing Orders and Financial Regulations;
  3. to note and endorse the intention of the Director of Education to effect a short-term secondment and to establish a short-life working group to begin the process of policy review and planning described in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the letter; and
  4. to instruct the Director of Education to write to the Scottish Executive urging them to reconsider the timescale within which the proposed expenditure could be incurred, specifically seeking flexibility to enable the Council to have the opportunity to carry forward as much of the proposed expenditure as possible into the financial year 2002/2003.

6. NEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 15 January 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 78/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work advising the Committee of the provision of additional funding from the Scottish Executive to roll out the New Community School approach across Angus during 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 and seeking approval for the development of detailed plans with schools and other relevant service providers.

Having heard Councillor Welsh express concern regarding the overall reduction of funding from the Scottish Executive, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note and approve the terms of the Report;
  2. to authorise the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work to submit a co-ordinated response to the letter from the Scottish Executive (Appendix 1 to the Report) by the deadline of 31 January 2002 in terms of the body of this Report; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work to submit, as soon as was possible, a Report to their respective Committees detailing plans for the development of services in line with Scottish Executive guidelines.

7. THE SUSTAINABILITY OF OUT OF SCHOOL CARE IN ANGUS

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 15 January 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 79/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Social Work drawing the attention of the Committee to the findings of research by the Angus Childcare Partnership on the sustainability of parent-led out of school care clubs in Angus, as providers of high quality, affordable childcare.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to note, at this stage, the findings of research into the sustainability of out of school care provision in Angus and that a more detailed Report would be brought forward following consideration of the Scottish Executive's letter of 19 December 2001 on the future development of out of school care services (clubs).

8. COUNCIL GUIDELINES ON SEX AND RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 January 2001, there was submitted Report No 98/02 by the Director of Education seeking the Committee's approval of the Policy Statement on Sex and Relationship Education set out in Appendix I to the Report.

The Statement had been developed principally by the Council's Guidance Steering Group after examination of existing Council policy and a range of documents published by Learning and Teaching Scotland. It also took account of Scottish Executive Education Department Circular No 2/2001 which provided specific guidance on the conduct of sex education in schools, in the light of Section 56 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000.

The Committee agreed to approve the contents of the proposed Policy Statement set out in the Appendix and authorised the Director of Education to ensure that it was implemented systematically and sympathetically.

9. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF STAFF

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 January 2001, there was submitted Report No 99/02 by the Director of Education reporting on consultation on a leaflet entitled "Rights and Responsibilities of Staff" which had been developed as a companion leaflet to the leaflet entitled "Rights and Responsibilities of Pupils and Parents".

The Report concluded that there appeared to be widespread support for the leaflet which had taken account of some helpful comments which had been received as part of the consultation process.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the contents of the leaflet "Rights and Responsibilities of Staff" appended to the Report; and
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to distribute the leaflet so that each member of staff would have his/her own copy.

10. ANGUS BOOK AWARD

With reference to Article 21 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 17 January 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 59/02 by the Acting Director of Cultural Services and the Director of Education detailing the continuing development and success of the Angus Book Award and the proposed arrangements for the current year.

The Report indicated that this year's Award would be officially launched by the Scottish writer Theresa Breslin, a previous Angus Book Award shortlisted author, at Carnoustie High School on 24 January 2002. After consultation with schools about the timing of the Award, the Award Day would take place in the summer term on Tuesday 21 May in Carnoustie High School with the authors of the short-listed titles, participating pupils, teachers and representatives of the wider school community being invited, together with members and officers of the Council, including all members of the Education Committee.

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

11. KILRY PRIMARY SCHOOL

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 November 2001, there was submitted Report No 101/02 by the Director of Education reporting on discussions with the whole school community of Kilry Primary School about future roll projections and possible options in relation to the future of the school. The Report detailed the consultation process which had been carried out and reminded members of the criteria for considering the viability of small schools relating to the cognitive development of pupils, personal and social development of pupils, alternative arrangements, community related factors and value for money/value for effort (now more appropriately considered in the context of "Best Value").

The Report concluded that, on balance, although there were some very strong arguments in favour of closing Kilry Primary School at the end of the current school session, there were also strong arguments against this course of action. At present, the most appropriate option would appear to be to maintain the status quo on the understanding that future roll fluctuations had to be closely monitored along with any other changes in circumstances which might arise.

Having heard various members, including Councillor Mackintosh as local member, on the options in relation to Kilry Primary School and future school roll projections, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report and, in particular, the projected future enrolments of children in Kilry Primary School (set out in paragraph 4.2 of the Report);
  2. to affirm, in light of all the information currently available, the viability of Kilry Primary School; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to continue to maintain an overview of the geographical spread of primary school provision across Angus.

Councillor West left the meeting at this point.

12. MONIFIETH HIGH SCHOOL

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 November 2001, there was submitted Report No 102/02 by the Director of Education providing feedback on a recent consultation exercise on the delineated area of Monifieth High School and recommending a reduction in that area to take effect from 1 January 2009. The Report referred to concerns expressed by Barnhill School Board and Barnhill Parents Association but concluded that, in all the circumstances, the original proposal should now be implemented, subject to formal ratification by the Scottish Ministers in accordance with current legislation.

In this connection, there was tabled an extract from a Report which had been approved by Dundee City Council's Education Committee on 21 January 2002. The extract set out a number of issues for Dundee City Council and the parents and pupils living in the Barnhill Primary School catchment area, but stated that, should the proposal be accepted and implemented, Dundee City Council would ensure that school provision would exist for all pupils within its boundaries.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the responses to the recent consultation exercise as outlined in the Report and in the Appendices and the position of Dundee City Council;
  2. to acknowledge the understandable position adopted by the respondents to the consultation exercise;
  3. to approve, subject to the formal ratification of Scottish Ministers, the proposal on which the consultation had taken place, namely:-
  4. "that part of the delineated area of Monifieth High School which lies outwith the boundaries of Angus Council should be deleted from the delineated area of Monifieth High School with effect from 1 January 2009"; and
  5. to instruct the Director of Education to seek approval of Scottish Ministers for this amendment, but in the meantime also to take whatever steps might be taken to raise the awareness of parents of prospective pupils of Monfieth High School regarding the planned amendment.

13. PRIMARY 7/SECONDARY 1 TRANSFER FOR NEWTYLE PUPILS

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 14 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 103/02 by the Director of Education seeking the Committee's approval for a consultation exercise to widen parental choice of secondary school for pupils living in the Newtyle area.

The Report referred to considerable discussion which had taken place in 1997 about the closure of the secondary department of Newtyle School and the most appropriate location(s) for secondary school provision for pupils coming from Newtyle itself. In 1997, a number of Newtyle parents had indicated that Websters High School might be a suitable secondary school for Newtyle children. At that time, Websters High School was experiencing a degree of overcrowding but, since then, its roll had gradually decreased. In addition, a small extension had been built to the school, thereby increasing its notional capacity. In these circumstances, the Report proposed that a consultation exercise be carried out alerting parents and pupils currently in P7 of Newtyle Primary School of the possibility of an extension of the parental choice, should they wish to exercise it.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to authorise the Director of Education to undertake a formal consultation exercise on a proposal that:-
    • the delineated area of Websters High School should be extended to incorporate the delineated area of Newtyle Primary School, AND
    • either the delineated area of Forfar Academy should remain unchanged (ie, it should continue to incorporate the delineated area of Newtyle Primary School)
    • or the delineated area of Forfar Academy should be reduced by deleting it from the delineated area of Newtyle Primary School;
  2. to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of the aforementioned consultation exercise as soon as possible; and
  3. to authorise the Director of Education to alert, specifically, parents of pupils currently in P7 of Newtyle Primary School to this consultation exercise, to enable them to take advantage of any extended parental choice which might become available for their children's secondary education.

Councillor Neild declared an interest in the following item and took no part in the discussion thereof.

14. NEW NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS ­ REVIEW OF ASSESSMENT AND SUBJECT REVIEWS

There was submitted Report No 104/02 by the Director of Education setting out the key issues arising from two consultation exercises, in relation to the new National Qualifications namely (a) a Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) Review of Assessment within New National Qualifications which sought to explore views on two options for the assessment and certification of New National Qualification Courses; and (b) a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National Qualifications Subject Review. The Report sought the Committee's endorsement of the responses to the SEED and SQA Reviews which had already been submitted by officers of the Education Department in order to comply with the consultation deadlines. The responses had been informed by extensive deliberations within the Curriculum Advisory Groups attended by all principal teachers in Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the key issues addressed in the SEED and SQA consultation documents detailed in the Report;
  3. to note and endorse the responses prepared by officers of the Education Department which had already been submitted in order to comply with consultation deadlines; and
  4. to note, in particular, the response to the SEED consultation document attached to the Report.

15. STANDARDS AND QUALITY IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS: MATHEMATICS 1998 ­ 2001

There was submitted Report No 105/02 by the Director of Education advising that HM Inspectors of Schools had published a Report entitled "Standards and Quality in Primary Schools: Mathematics 1998-2001". Whilst the Inspectorate recognised that there were strengths in many aspects of Mathematics in primary schools, they had identified areas of weakness and recommended courses of action to be addressed by schools and education authorities in remedying those weaknesses.

The Committee's approval was sought for proposals for action set out in the Appendix to the Report to take forward, in Angus schools, the recommendations made by HM Inspectors in the Mathematics Standards and Quality Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report; and
  2. to note and approve the proposals for action outlined in the Appendix attached to the Report which took account of priority developments already in place in the Angus Education Service.

16. STANDARDS AND QUALITY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS 1995 ­ 2000: THE SCIENCES ­ A REPORT BY HM INSPECTORS OF SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 January 2001, there was submitted Report No 106/02 by the Director of Education advising that HM Inspectors of Schools had published a Report entitled "Standards and Quality in Secondary Schools 1995-2000: The Sciences". Whilst the Inspectorate recognised that much of the teaching and learning of Science in Scottish Secondary Schools was effective, they identified areas of weakness and recommended courses of action to be addressed by schools and education authorities in remedying those weaknesses.

The Committee's approval was sought for the proposals for action set out in the Appendix to take forward, in Angus schools, the recommendations made by HM Inspectors in the Science Standards and Quality Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note and approve the detailed proposals for action outlined in the Appendix to the Report, these proposals having been framed in the course of meetings with promoted Science teachers, including meetings of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics Curriculum Advisory Group; and
  3. to note that the action plan sought to take account of "A Science Strategy for Scotland" launched in August 2001.

17. "EARLY INTERVENTION: 1998 ­ 2000": REPORT BY HM INSPECTORS OF SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 107/02 by the Director of Education drawing to the attention of the Committee (a) the main findings of the most recent progress report by HM Inspectors on the national Early Intervention Programme, (b) a related evaluation of the Early Intervention programme, commissioned by the Scottish Executive and undertaken by the University of Edinburgh and KPMG, and (c) a Report by Angus Council's Early Intervention Project on progress to date (a copy of which was attached).

The Report highlighted the extremely satisfactory contribution which the Angus Council Early Intervention Project was making towards raising pupil attainment in P1-P3. The Project Team and Angus Head Teachers were very familiar with the strategies being promoted by HM Inspectors and were committed to build on good practice to date. It was anticipated that current and future strategies described in the Early Intervention Project Report would consolidate and build on the good practice which had been achieved in the early stages of primary schools since the inception, in 1997, of the Early Intervention Programme and related Angus Early Intervention Project.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note, in the Angus Progress Report, the effective strategies highlighted in the Report by HM Inspectors and related report entitled "Early Intervention in Literacy and Numeracy: Key Issues from the National Evaluation of the Programme", produced by the University of Edinburgh and KPMG; and
  3. to note the considerable progress made within the Angus Early Intervention Project both in relation to raising pupil attainment and in relation to implementing features of effective learning and teaching in P1-P3 described in these national reports.

18. ACTION PLAN ON ADULT LITERACY AND NUMERACY

There was submitted Joint Report No 108/02 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Education advising that Circular No ELLD 1/01 had been issued by the Scottish Executive Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department. The Circular provided guidance on the role expected of local authorities in a new drive to raise levels of adult literacy and numeracy, which they were expected to carry out in the context of community learning developments. In line with local authority responsibilities under Scottish Executive Circular 4/99, each authority was also expected to co-ordinate the production of a Local Adult Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan, by 21 December 2001 and to monitor and evaluate implementation of the plan once in place.

The Report sought the endorsement of an Angus Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan which was attached. The Plan had been developed by a Sub-Group of the Angus Community Learning Strategy Partnership, in consultation with a wide range of community learning partners in Angus, and had already been submitted to the Scottish Executive.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note and endorse the terms of the Action Plan which had been prepared by the Literacy and Numeracy Sub-Group of the Community Learning Strategy Partnership; and
  3. to note that, while the terms of the Scottish Executive Circular No ELLD 1/01 provided for new adult literacy and numeracy funding to be added to local authorities' GAE, it also stated that "these funds are for the use of the whole partnership group responsible for the Community Learning Strategy, rather than for the local authority alone".

19. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE ­ REVENUE GRANTS TO VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS 2001/2002

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 May 1996, there was submitted Report No 109/02 by the Director of Education detailing applications received from local voluntary organisations for revenue grants over £500 and making recommendations regarding the awards.

The Committee agreed to approve the award of revenue grants, totalling £4,000, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

20. 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 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, paragraph 1.

Peter Andrews declared an interest in the following item and took no part in the discussion thereof. Councillor Welsh left the meeting at this point.

21. INTERNATIONAL VISITS AND EXCHANGES

There was submitted Report No 100/02 by the Director of Education seeking the Committee's retrospective approval of arrangements made for members of the Education Department to participate in international visits and exchanges. The Report concluded that Angus Schools and the Angus Community Education Service had demonstrated considerable enthusiasm for, and had achieved considerable success in, international work. There were significant benefits, linguistic, social and cultural, for staff who had the opportunity to be involved in international visits and exchanges.

Having heard Councillor Nield in support of the Programme of International Visits and Exchanges, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note and approve the terms of the Report; and
  2. to approve the arrangements for the involvement of Education Department staff in international visits and exchanges set out in the Appendix.

22. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT STAFF FOR SCHOOLS ­ PROPERTY SUPPORT TO THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 August 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 110/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services outlining proposals to augment the staffing level within the Property Services Department by the establishment of two additional posts of Clerk of Works, Tech 1/4 and one additional post of Building Maintenance Technician, Tech 1/4 in order to enhance support provided to schools.

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

23. ADDITIONAL ICT SUPPORT FOR SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 August 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 111/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Information Technology outlining proposals to augment the resources available to support ICT in schools as part of the implementation of Teaching Provision for the 21st Century. The Report concluded that, by implementing the proposals outlined in the Report and seeking to further integrate the remits of ICT members, the Team as a whole would be better able to provide a comprehensive service to schools and to respond to a full range of requirements for technical support matters.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to approve the establishment of three posts of IT Officer (Support), grade AP1/2; and
  3. to approve the deletion of the post of ICT Assistant (AP1) from the establishment of the Education Department.
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