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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 5 March 2002 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 MBE, KITTY RITCHIE, RON SCRIMGEOUR and SANDY WEST; Rev ALAN WEBSTER, Mr PETER ANDREWS and Mr BRIAN McHARDY.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor DAVID LUMGAIR, Father JAMES FOLEY and Rev KENNETH GIBSON,.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 January 2002 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Staffing Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee of 22 January 2002 a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX I).

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the meeting of the Staffing Sub-Committee held earlier this day. The Committee noted the decision as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (APPENDIX II).

(c) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 11 February 2002, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX III).

2. FORMATION OF JOINT NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE FOR TEACHERS

There was submitted Joint Report No 311/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Law and Administration recommending the formation of a new negotiating body for teaching staff in Angus in accordance with the terms of the 2001 national McCrone Agreement on pay and conditions of service which required all Scottish Councils to establish a local negotiating Committee for teaching staff, by no later than 1 April 2002.

The Report advised that extensive consultations had been carried out on the formation of a new joint negotiating body for teaching staff in Angus to be known as the Angus Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers (JNCT). As a result of discussions with the JCC (Teachers) and the recently formed Angus Teachers Panel, a Constitution for the JNCT had been developed and was recommended for approval by the Committee. The Constitution set out the purpose, Education Minutes, functions and procedures to be adopted by the Angus JNCT.

COUNCILLOR MILNE, SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR WELSH, MOVED THAT THE COMMITTEE AGREE:-

  1. TO NOTE THAT PART OF THE NATIONAL AGREEMENT ON TEACHERS' SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE ("A TEACHING PROFESSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY") CONTAINED A REQUIREMENT FOR EACH SCOTTISH COUNCIL TO FORM A LOCAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE FOR TEACHING STAFF (CONFIRMED ON 6 SEPTEMBER 2001 BY THE SCOTTISH NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE FOR TEACHERS ­ CIRCULAR SNCT\8);
  2. TO RECORD ITS APPRECIATION OF THE WORK OF THE RECENTLY FORMED ANGUS TEACHERS PANEL AND OF THE JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) ON A RANGE OF ISSUES RELATING TO THE NEW NATIONAL AGREEMENT, INCLUDING HELPFUL CONTRIBUTIONS WHICH HAD BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE REPORT AND ITS APPENDIX;
  3. TO FORMALLY ESTABLISH AN ANGUS JOINT NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE FOR TEACHERS (ANGUS JNCT), THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTION OF WHICH WAS SET OUT IN THE APPENDIX ATTACHED TO THE REPORT;
  4. TO FORMALLY RECOMMEND TO THE JCC (TEACHERS) THAT IT SHOULD BE DISBANDED ON THE FORMATION OF THE PROPOSED NEW JNCT;
  5. TO DELEGATE TO THE STAFFING SUB-COMMITTEE, POWERS TO RATIFY ANY AGREEMENTS REACHED BY THE JNCT, THEREBY AMENDING ITS DELEGATED FUNCTIONS AS FOLLOWS:-
    • "THE CONSIDERATION AND DETERMINATION OF ANY MATTERS RELATING TO THE CONDITIONS OF SERVICE OF TEACHERS, BEING FUNCTIONS CONFERRED ON THE EDUCATION AUTHORITY AND NOT OTHERWISE DELEGATED TO THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION; INCLUDING, BUT WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE FOREGOING GENERALITY, THE FOLLOWING:

      (A) THE APPROVAL OF LOCAL AGREEMENTS RELATING TO THE DEVOLVED CONDITIONS OF SERVICE SET OUT IN CIRCULAR SNCT/8;

      (B) THE HEARING OF GRIEVANCES RAISED BY TEACHING STAFF IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE FOR TEACHING STAFF AS APPROVED BY THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE;

      (C) THE HEARING OF APPEALS BY TEACHERS AGAINST ANY DISCIPLINARY ACTION TAKEN BY THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION (OR HIS NOMINATED DEPUTE);

      (D) THE CONSIDERATION AND DETERMINATION OF APPLICATIONS FROM TEACHERS IN EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS FOR PREMATURE RETIREMENT, OR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT AT THE AGE OF 65 YEARS; AND

      (E) THE CONSIDERATION AND DETERMINATION OF CASES INVOLVING ANY TEACHER WHOSE PERIOD OF SICKNESS ALLOWANCE HAS ENDED AND WHOSE CIRCUMSTANCES THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION REQUIRES TO REPORT TO THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN ACCORDANCE WITH NATIONALLY AGREED CONDITIONS OF SERVICE;"

  6. TO CONFIRM THAT THE SUB-COMMITTEE SHALL COMPRISE THREE MEMBERS OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE (2 OF WHOM WILL NORMALLY BE THE 2 COUNCILLOR REPRESENTATIVES ON THE JNCT), THAT MEMBERS MAY APPOINT SUBSTITUTES WHO MUST ALSO BE COUNCILLOR MEMBERS OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, AND THAT THE QUORUM SHALL BE THREE MEMBERS; AND
  7. TO CONFIRM THAT THE CONVENER AND VICE CONVENER OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE WOULD BE THE TWO COUNCILLOR REPRESENTATIVES ON THE JNCT.

Councillor Nield, seconded by Councillor Myles moved as an amendment that recommendation (vii) be amended to add one opposition member to the Councillor representatives appointed to the management side of the JNCT.

On a vote being taken, the members voted:-

For the motion:-

Councillors Milne, Welsh, Duncan, Gibb, McGlynn, Middleton, Norrie, Scrimgeour and West (9).

For the amendment:-

Councillors Myles and Nield (2).

No vote:-

Councillor Ritchie, Rev Webster, Mr Andrews and Mr McHardy (4).

The motion was declared carried and the Committee agreed accordingly.

3. SCHOOL TERMS AND HOLIDAYS 2003/2004 ­ PROPOSALS FOR CONSULTATION

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 August 2001, there was submitted Report No 307/02 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 the school terms. The Report set out proposals for the school terms and holidays for 2003/2004 and recommended that these proposed dates should form the basis of a consultation exercise.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the draft Scheme of School Terms and Holidays for 2003/2004 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 Directors of Education in neighbouring Councils (Dundee City, Perth and 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.

4. AMENDMENTS TO SCHOOL CAPACITIES

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 January 1997, there was submitted Report No 303/02 by the Director of Education advising that, since the school capacities and intake limits for all Angus primary and secondary schools had been last approved, some improvements/alterations had taken place to a number of these schools and recommending that consultation be carried out on proposed amendments to the notional capacities and intake limits of each of the schools mentioned in the body of the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note and endorse, in principle, the proposed amendments to school capacities of the following schools:-

    · Webster's High School

    · Inverbrothock Primary School

    · Ladyloan Primary School

    · Maisondieu Primary School

    · Southmuir Primary School

    · Dun Primary School

  2. to authorise the Director of Education formally to seek the views of the School Board (where a School Board had been established) and Head Teacher on the proposed amendment to notional capacity of each of the above schools;
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of these consultations in due course; and
  4. to reaffirm the delegation to the Director of Education to operate school enrolments in accordance with the requirements of current legislation and specifically to operate a system of retaining a small number of reserved places (no more than two per year group in any primary school and no more than six per year group in any secondary school) in any school which might be in danger of experiencing overcrowding, all in accordance with the existing legislation.

5. PRIMARY 7/SECONDARY 1 TRANSFER FOR NEWTYLE PUPILS ­ OUTCOMES OF CONSULTATION EXERCISE

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 January 2002, there was submitted Report No 304/02 by the Director of Education summarising the responses to the recent consultation exercise on the widening of parental choice of secondary schools for pupils living in the Newtyle area. The Report set out the arguments for, and against, the extension of the delineated area of Webster's High School to incorporate the delineated area of Newtyle Primary School and the retention of the Newtyle area within the delineated area of Forfar Academy.

The Report concluded that, on balance, there was a stronger argument in favour of deleting the Newtyle area from the delineated area of Forfar Academy and recommended an amendment to the current choice of secondary schools for parents of pupils living in the Newtyle area. However, special arrangements should be made for siblings of any Newtyle pupils enrolled at Forfar Academy.

Having heard Provost Mrs Duncan, local member, welcome the Report, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the responses to the consultation exercise summarised within the body of the Report and in the Appendices;
  2. formally to approve, subject to the approval of Scottish Ministers, the extension of the delineated area of Websters High School to incorporate the delineated area of Newtyle Primary School;
  3. to approve, subject to the approval of Scottish Ministers, the deletion of the delineated area of Newtyle Primary School from the delineated area of Forfar Academy;
  4. notwithstanding (iii) above, to confer continuing "priority 1" status on pupils currently attending Forfar Academy from the Newtyle delineated area and on the younger siblings of these pupils; and
  5. to instruct the Director of Education to seek the approval of Scottish Ministers to these amendments, but in the meantime to inform the School Boards of Newtyle Primary School, Websters High School and Forfar Academy of the Committee's decision.

6. DELINEATED AREAS OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN THE TANNADICE AREA

There was submitted Report No 305/02 by the Director of Education outlining current delineated areas of primary and secondary schools in the Tannadice area. The Report discussed the issues relating to the geographical nature of the delineated area of Tannadice Primary School and those secondary schools serving Tannadice Primary School. The Report concluded that, although there were a number of persuasive reasons for retaining the status quo, there were some unusual features relating to the delineated area of Tannadice Primary School which would justify further scrutiny, and recommended informal consultation about possible amendments to these delineated areas, involving as many key stakeholders as possible.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the issues raised in the Report;
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to engage in informal consultations about the current delineated area of Tannadice Primary School and about the delineated areas of those three secondary schools which overlapped with the delineated area of Tannadice Primary School (namely, Brechin High School, Forfar Academy and Websters High School); and
  3. to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcome of these informal consultations with a view to entering into further formal consultation, should it appear that there was a strong case for any amendments to the current arrangements.

7. PROPOSED AMALGAMATION ­ TOWNHEAD NURSERY SCHOOL AND MAISONDIEU PRIMARY SCHOOL

There was submitted Report No 306/02 by the Director of Education proposing the amalgamation of Townhead Nursery School and Maisondieu Primary School, both of which were on adjacent campuses. Townhead Nursery School was the only separate nursery school in Angus whilst Maisondieu Primary School was the only medium/large primary school in Angus which did not have a integral nursery class as part of the school.

The Report concluded that whilst there would be logic in amalgamating the Nursery and Primary Schools, it would be important to work with the key stakeholders to allay any anxieties which they might have. In this regard, arrangements for session 2002/2003 should, as far as possible, be similar to those which had pertained in previous school sessions, and any subsequent changes which the proposed amalgamation might bring, should be allowed to take place gradually and naturally.

Having heard Councillor Myles, local member, welcome the consultation on the proposals, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Education to take forward the proposed amalgamation of Townhead Nursery School and Maisondieu Primary School on the basis of consultation and discussion with key stakeholders.

8. A SCIENCE STRATEGY FOR SCOTLAND: ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR SCIENCE ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 January 2002, there was submitted Report No 309/02 by the Director of Education seeking the Committee's approval of proposals to disburse additional funding distributed to authorities in support of the Science Strategy for Scotland.

The Director of Education had been advised by the Scottish Executive that the sum of £120,800, ring-fenced to science education, was being allocated to the Council to help Angus schools address the objectives of the National Science Strategy. The Report therefore recommended that the additional science monies be expended in support of the Angus Council Science Action Plan which sought to respond to the priority objectives of the Science Strategy for Scotland.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note and approve the proposals to disburse additional funding for science activities and resources being made available to Angus Council by the Scottish Executive as follows:-

    (a) £61,000 allocated on a flat rated basis to enable all schools to purchase core resources required to implement the now adopted 5-14 Science Programme of Study;

    (b) £24,800 to secondary schools to fund the purchase of priority resources, not least in relation to the replacement of obsolete equipment; and

    (c) £35,000 to support the production of curricular materials and the provision of school-based, as well as centre-based, staff development activities in line with the priorities identified in the Angus Council Science Action Plan;

  3. to note that the allocation to Angus amounted to £120,800; and
  4. to note that the expenditure proposals were in tune with Angus Science Action Plan which had been the subject of a detailed Report to the Education Committee on 22 January 2002. (Article 16 refers).

9. GUIDANCE ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH PARENTS MAY CHOOSE TO EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN AT HOME

There was submitted Report No 310/02 by the Director of Education drawing the Committee's attention to draft guidance which had been issued by the Scottish Executive Education Department to education authorities in respect of the circumstances in which parents might choose to educate their children at home. The draft guidance highlighted continuing tensions which were evident in the previous legislation relating to this issue and attempted to offer clarification to parents and education authorities.

The Report concluded that the intention to produce guidance in this area was warmly welcomed but that, unfortunately, the draft document (a copy of which was appended to the Report), was, ultimately, disappointing. The Report therefore set out a proposed response to the draft guidelines recommending either a major redraft or a consultation exercise leading to amendments to primary legislation.

The Committee agreed to note and endorse the proposed response to the draft guidance referred to in the body of the Report.

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

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 308/02 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 £4,200 as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

11. ANGUS CHILD PROTECTION COMMITTEE ­ ANNUAL REPORT 2000/2001

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 26 February 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 297/02 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education presenting the Angus Child Protection Committee's Annual Report for 2000/2001.

The Report indicated that the Angus Child Protection Committee had been formed at local government reorganisation and that the Annual Report, which had been circulated to all members of the Social Work Committee, was the fifth one produced. The Annual Report would be distributed to all agencies represented on the Committee, to the Scottish Executive and to other Child Protection Committees.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the contents of the Angus Child Protection Committee Annual Report 2000/2001.

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