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Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 11 June 2002 at 4.00 pm.

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

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors STEWART McGLYNN and PETER NIELD; Rev ALAN WEBSTER and Rev KENNETH GIBSON.

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 April 2002 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Staffing Sub-Committee

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

(c) Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers)

The minute of meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee (Teachers) of 13 May 2002, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX II).

(d) Angus Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers

The minute of meeting of the Angus Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers of 13 May 2002, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX III).

2. EDUCATION SERVICE PLAN 2001-2004: 2002-2003 UPDATE

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 April 2002, there was submitted Report No 714/02 by the Director of Education describing the arrangements which had been made to finalise the 2002-2003 Education Service Plan Update and advising the Committee of the arrangements being made for the submission of School Development Plans for 2002-2003.

The Report indicated that, following consultation with schools, services and School Boards, the draft Education Service Plan Update had been well received and the overview of the service's priorities was generally viewed as helpful by Head Teachers and School Boards alike. Minor amendments had been incorporated into the final version in light of observations received, and a copy had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

The Report also indicated that schools and services had been asked to submit their 2002-2003 School Development Plan returns by 27 June 2002, taking into account the key priorities for the Angus Education Service highlighted in the Service Plan Update and the standards and quality indicators identified within the Scottish Executive Guidance issued in February 2002 entitled "How Good is our School?".

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to authorise the Director of Education to issue the finalised 2002-2003 update of the Education Service Plan to schools and services; and
  3. to note the arrangements which had been made for the submission of the 2002-2003 School Development Plan returns.

3. INSPECTION OF EDUCATION FUNCTIONS OF ANGUS COUNCIL ­ FOLLOW-UP ACTION PLAN

With reference to Articles 2 and 4 of the minutes of meetings of this Committee of 16 October 2001 and 30 April 2002, respectively, there was submitted Report No 715/02 by the Director of Education reminding the Committee that there was an expectation that the Council should publish a follow-up action plan to take account of the HMIE recommendations following the recent inspection of the education service. The Report set out in the Appendix, a draft Action Plan which had been the subject of consultation with all Head Teachers.

The Committee agreed to approve the draft Action Plan appended to the Report as the Council's response to the recently published Report by HMIE.

4. THE NATIONAL DEBATE ON EDUCATION

There was submitted Report No 716/02 by the Director of Education indicating that, in March 2002, the Scottish Executive had launched a National Debate on Education. Briefing packs and videos had been sent to the Head Teachers of all Scottish schools and parents, staff and pupils had been encouraged to participate in the debate. The regular May meetings with the School Board/Parental Representatives had been used to give parents in Angus an opportunity to contribute to this "National Debate" and a summary of the points raised by parents at these meetings was appended to the Report.

Having heard the Convener on the importance of contributing to the debate, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the summary of parental views set out in the Appendix to the Report which would be submitted to the Scottish Executive in order to contribute to the "National Debate on Education"; and
  2. to note that all members of the Education Committee were able to forward their own views to the Scottish Executive.

5. "THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM ­ RESPONDING TO PUPILS", A RESEARCH REPORT BY THE ANGUS EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE

There was submitted Report No 717/02 by the Director of Education drawing to the attention of the Committee, a research study prepared by the Angus Educational Psychology Service. The Report indicated that, for some years, the Service had sought to promote and provide training opportunities for classroom teachers in relation to positive approaches to managing pupil behaviour. A research study on teacher responses to pupil behaviour had recently been carried out in 16 primary schools in Angus, and a copy had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

The Report concluded that the outcomes of the study had been positive with participating teachers demonstrating effective behaviour management strategies. Feedback on the results of the study had been given to participating schools and it was intended that a range of Continuous Professional Development opportunities would be developed within the Angus Education Service with a view to assisting teachers in classroom management skills. It was also intended that a resource booklet would be produced for primary teachers in order to enhance their awareness of successful positive behaviour management strategies and initial arrangements had been made to undertake a similar research project in Angus secondary classrooms.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the Report;
  2. to note the encouraging findings about teacher-pupil interaction provided in the research report;
  3. to note the arrangements being made to disseminate the research findings to all Angus primary schools; and
  4. to note that arrangements were now being made to conduct a similar research study in Angus secondary schools.

6. PERFORMANCE INFORMATION AND CELEBRATING SUCCESS

There was submitted Report No 728/02 by the Director of Education referring to comments made in the recent HMIE Report on the education functions of Angus Council that "there was further scope for providing elected members with more detailed information on Education Department performance and attainment in schools to assist them in decision making".

The Report indicated that, in order to comply with the recommendation, the Director of Education intended to submit to this Committee, at least three times per annum, reports relating to performance and attainment in Angus schools. In this connection, the Report illustrated, in tabular form, the rise in 5-14 attainment levels in all Angus primary schools and an analysis of the results of the HMIE inspections of the five Angus schools in the period August 2001 to June 2002. The Report also recorded particular successes of individual pupils and Angus schools in various events for the period January to May 2002.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

7. CELEBRATING SUCCESS IN THE ANGUS EDUCATION SERVICE

The Committee agreed to note that a number of events "Celebrating Success in the Angus Education Service" would be held between September and November 2002. The Director of Education or one of the Heads of Educational Services would attend each of the events to which members of this Committee were invited.

8. BETTER INTEGRATED CHILDREN'S SERVICES: CHANGING CHILDREN'S SERVICES FUND

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 April 2002, there was submitted Report No 727/02 by the Director of Education advising the Committee that, in order to enhance existing services to children and families, the Scottish Executive had made available £33m to local authorities through the Changing Children's Services Fund in the current financial year. The total funding being made available to Angus was £539,000 in 2002/2003 and £728,000 in the financial year 2003/2004.

The Report concluded that the development of an integrated approach to all service provision in Angus would be vital in successful work with children, young people, their families and carers. The Report recommended the utilisation of the fund to establish new posts to expand the education service teams and enhance services, in line with the objectives of the Changing Children's Services Fund and to ensure the delivery of better outcomes for the most vulnerable and deprived children in Angus.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the proposals outlined in the Report;
  2. to approve, subject to receipt of confirmation of funding through the Changing Children's Services Fund, the following posts:-
  3. 1FTE Peripatetic Teacher
  4. 2 FTE Support Teachers
  5. 1 FTE Support Learning Assistant
  6. 1.2 FTE Educational Psychologists
  7. 2 part-time Clerical Assistants (GS1/2, one for 15 hours per week, one for 7½ hours per week)
  8. 2 FTE Community Education Workers; and
  9. to instruct the Director of Education to report to this Committee on progress made within Children's Services and the new developments established as a result of the Changing Children's Services Fund.

9. DEVOLVED SCHOOL MANAGEMENT SCHEME: FINANCIAL CONTROLS

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 6 March 2001, there was submitted Report No 723/02 by the Director of Education outlining the financial controls supporting the Devolved School Management Scheme operating in Angus and providing an overview of the financial management systems currently in place to ensure that the Education Department discharged their responsibility to monitor and regulate financial performance.

The Report indicated that, in response to concerns raised by Audit Scotland, a review had been carried out of the financial management systems in place in Angus Council to support Devolved School Management. A national review had also been carried out by the Scottish Executive Education Department which had confirmed that the Angus Scheme compared well with the national position. In addition, the recent HMIE inspection of the Council's functions judged financial management to be very good.

The Report concluded that, whilst not being complacent, the Council could be confident of the financial controls in relation to the Devolved School Management Scheme.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to note the recent HMI Report on the Education Department of Angus Council which rated the quality of financial management as very good.

10. SCHOOL LETS: REVIEW OF CHARGES

With reference to Articles 1 and 2(b) of the minutes of meetings of this Committee of 14 February 2002 and 24 August 1999, respectively, there was submitted Report No 726/02 by the Director of Education outlining proposals to amend charges in relation to the letting of school premises, including an agreed general increase of 5%.

The Committee agreed to note and approve the contents of the Report, including the new schedule of charges for the letting of Education Department premises set out in the Appendix.

11. SCHOOL SECURITY

With reference to Articles 8 and 10 of the minutes of meetings of this Committee of 4 March 1997 and 5 June 2001, respectively, there was submitted Report No 725/02 by the Director of Education outlining proposed projects to improve security measures for schools in the financial year 2002/2003, details of which were set out in the Appendix. These projects consisted principally of further improvements to existing security systems and the estimated costs could be met from within the revenue budget.

Having heard Councillor Glennis Middleton welcome security improvements at Langlands Primary School, in particular, the Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the contents of the Report.

12. DRINKING WATER IN SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 724/02 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of proposals to improve drinking water facilities in schools. The Report indicated that there was a requirement under Health and Safety Legislation to give staff and pupils access to an adequate supply of wholesome drinking water. Whilst the Education Department currently met its legal obligation in providing drinking water and monitoring quality, recent research had shown that there would be considerable benefits in encouraging pupils to drink more water.

The Report recommended the provision of mains fed water fountains (at an approximate cost of £190.00 per installation) as the most cost effective and safe means of providing wholesome water to school communities. The Report concluded that, in order to be effective, consultation and agreement with school staff and pupils regarding location and operation of the water supply would be essential.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to approve the improvements to drinking water facilities in schools as outlined in the Report.

13. REVIEW OF SCHOOL DELINEATED AREAS IN AND AROUND TANNADICE

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 5 March 2002, there was submitted Report No 718/02 by the Director of Education providing feedback on a recent informal consultation exercise on the delineated areas of primary and secondary schools in and around the Tannadice area.

The Report indicated that the consensus view was that no change should be made to the delineated area of Tannadice Primary School, nor should any change be made in the delineated area of the three secondary schools which served this area. Accordingly, the Report recommended no change to current arrangements.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the general tenor of the responses to the recent consultation exercise on primary and secondary school delineated areas in and around Tannadice, as summarised in the body of the Report; and
  2. to make no changes at present to school delineated areas in and around Tannadice.

14. AMENDMENTS TO SCHOOL CAPACITIES

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 5 March 2002, there was submitted Report No 719/02 by the Director of Education reporting on the results of a consultation exercise on proposed amendments to notional school capacities of a number of schools in Angus.

The Report concluded that, with the exception of Ladyloan Primary School, the proposed amendments had commanded wide support. It was therefore proposed to adopt the amended notional capacities and intake limits for five of the schools, to adopt a slightly different amended notional capacity and intake limit for Ladyloan Primary School, and to retain the existing capacity and intake limit for Southmuir Primary School.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the comments received on proposed amendments to school capacities outlined in Section 3 of the Report;
  2. to approve amended notional school capacities for:-
  3. Birkhill Primary School
  4. Dun Primary School
  5. Inverbrothock Primary School
  6. Ladyloan Primary School
  7. Maisondieu Primary School
  8. Webster's High School; and
  9. to note and endorse the complete list of notional capacities and associated intake limits for all schools as outlined in the appendices, the amended capacities and intake limits being highlighted in bold print in Appendix 1(a).

15. ANGUS ENGINEERING EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING MANUFACTURING RESULTS FOR ANGUS SCHOOLS

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 6 June 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 687/02 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Education outlining the success in achieving a high level of participation by Angus schools in science, technology, manufacturing and enterprise programmes which was due to increased co-operation between the Education Department and the Economic Development Unit.

The introduction and promotion of various initiatives under the scheme had raised awareness and levels of participation which it was hoped, would assist the long term aim of the partnership in ensuring that there was an adequate number of young people interested in engineering, to help continue the tradition of this industry throughout Angus.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

16. CENTRAL GRANTS TO NATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND OTHER OUTSIDE BODIES

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 720/02 by the Director of Education recommending the award of certain grants, above the level of £500.00, to four national organisations.

The Committee agreed to approve the awards of grants, totalling £5,399, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

17. COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE

(a) Revenue Grants to Voluntary Organisations 2002/2003

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 721/02 by the Director of Education detailing an application received from a local voluntary organisation for a revenue grant over £500.00 and making recommendations regarding the award.

The Committee agreed to approve a revenue grant, totalling £5,000, to the Carnoustie Youth Partnership Zone, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

(b) Adult Education Support Fund Grants to Voluntary Organisation 2002/2003

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 722/02 by the Director of Education proposing grant aid from the Adult Education Support Fund to Carnoustie Further Education Association for 2002/2003. The Report set out the range of classes which had been offered by the Association in the 2001/2002 programme and made recommendations regarding the grant to be awarded in 2002/2003.

The Committee agreed to approve grant aid totalling £1,290 to the Carnoustie Further Education Association, as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

18. 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 item 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.

19. TENDERING FOR SCHOOL CONVEYANCE CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS 2001-2005

The Committee agreed that Joint Report No 698/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning and Transport be referred to the next meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on 25 June 2002.

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