Angus CouncilTel: 03452 777 778

Education Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the EDUCATION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 27 August 2002 at 4.00 pm.

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

Councillor MILNE, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 11 June 2002 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Special Cases Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Special Cases Sub-Committee of 15 and 20 August 2002, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX I).

(c) Central Consultative Committee

The Director of Law and Administration reported on the meeting of the Central Consultative Committee held earlier this day. The Committee noted the decisions as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended to the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 3 September 2002.

(d) 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 decision as set out in the minute, a copy of which is appended hereto (APPENDIX II).

2. RESPONSES TO GTC SCOTLAND CONSULTATION EXERCISES ON:

(i) Draft Professional Code for Registered Teachers

(ii) Draft Code of Practice on Teacher Competence

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 November 1998, there was submitted Report No 922/02 by the Director of Education bringing to attention of the Committee, General Teaching Council for Scotland consultation papers entitled (i) Draft Professional Code for Registered Teachers; and (ii) Draft Code of Practice on Teacher Competence. Appended to the Report were the officer responses which had been submitted to the General Teaching Council for Scotland to meet their deadline of 22 August 2002.

The Report concluded that whilst the officer responses proposed a number of amendments, mainly of a technical nature, the general thrust of the documents was to be welcomed. The adoption of a Professional Code for Registered Teachers and a Code of Practice on Teacher Competence would be wholly consistent with the spirit and letter of the National McCrone Agreement ("A Teaching Profession of the 21st Century"). The provision of both Codes was likely to promote and enhance the professionalism of teachers, which was one of the key objectives of the National Agreement.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the terms of the officer responses to the consultative documents set out in the Appendices to the Report;
  2. to note that copies of the full consultation papers were available in the Members' Lounge; and
  3. to approve the terms of the officer responses which had been submitted to the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

3. HEALTH AND SAFETY

With reference to Articles 10 and 12 of the minutes of meetings of this Committee of 5 June 2001, and 11 June 2002 respectively, there was submitted Report No 949/02 by the Director of Education advising the Committee of the various health and safety issues which had been addressed during the course of 2001/2002 and outlining areas for development in 2002/2003.

The Report concluded that the Departmental Health and Safety Committee worked well in highlighting issues of concern and acting as a focus for issues to be raised. However, it was important that Health and Safety was continually monitored and priority given to further improvements on the wide range of important issues identified in the Report.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

4. SCHOOL TERMS AND HOLIDAYS 2003/2004

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 5 March 2002, there was submitted Report No 986/02 by the Director of Education reporting on the outcome of the consultations on the draft Scheme of School Terms and Holidays for session 2003/2004 and recommending that the draft Scheme be adopted.

Having noted the outcome of the meeting of the Central Consultative Committee held earlier this day (Article 1(c) above refers), the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to approve the 2003/2004 term and holiday dates as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

5. HOME TO SCHOOL TRANSPORT: REVIEW OF CONTRACT PRICES

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 August 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 987/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport and the Director of Education advising that the school conveyance contract prices were reviewed on an annual basis and recommending a contract price increase of 2.25% for eligible contracts, effective from 1 July 2002.

The Committee agreed to approve the award of a 2.25% contract price increase, for eligible school conveyance contracts, effective from 1 July 2002.

6. EDUCATION REVENUE MONITORING BUDGET COMPARED TO ACTUAL EXPENDITURE 2001/2002

With reference to Article 1 of the minute of the special meeting of Angus Council of 15 February 2001, there was submitted Report No 988/02 by the Director of Education indicating that the recent HMI Report on the Education Department had recommended that regular budget reports be submitted to this Committee. Accordingly, the Report advised the Committee of the actual net revenue expenditure incurred in comparison to budget in respect of the Education Department for the year to 31 March 2002 and provided comment on the more significant variances arising.

The Report concluded that the overall expenditure for the Education Department had been contained within the agreed revenue budget, and strategies were in place to address the major variances highlighted in the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to note that, subject to confirmation of the controllable budget underspend of £168,000 shown in the unaudited management accounts, the Education Department would be able to carry forward £84,000 into 2002/2003.

7. SCHOOL BUILDING IMPROVEMENT FUND

There was submitted Joint Report No 989/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services outlining additional funding which had been made available to Angus Council by the Scottish Executive for school improvements and containing proposals on how that funding should be utilised. The additional funding was in the form of a grant from the School Building Improvement Fund in the amounts of £276,000 in the financial year 2001/2002 and £614,000 in the financial year 2002/2003.

The Report indicated that, whilst the additional resources were welcomed, earlier notification of the availability of funding for 2002/2003 would have been appreciated in terms of scheduling works. However, having taken account of the Guidance set out in Scottish Executive Circular 6/2001, the Report identified various school improvement projects which would be committed, and in most cases, completed by 31 March 2003. This situation was acceptable to the Scottish Executive in terms of payment of the grant.

The Committee agreed to approve the use of additional funding for school improvements, as outlined the Report.

8. PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS TO SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 990/02 by the Director of Education outlining proposals to improve school buildings within Angus. The Report indicated that the Council was committed to improving school buildings and that the Capital Budget Provision for Educational Improvements for 2002/2003 had been increased to £170,000 in order to rationalise accommodation at Monifieth High School and complete a number of smaller scale projects.

The Report also indicated that the Scottish Executive had provided the sum £123,058 in the form of a Nursery Development Revenue Grant to be utilised by the end of the financial year 2002/2003. The Report proposed that the sum of £110,000 be utilised to convert an existing building within the Wellbrae Primary School campus to accommodate the nursery and that £10,000 be utilised to improve toilet provision at Tannadice Nursery School, with the remainder forming a contingency fund.

The Committee agreed to approve the contents of the Report.

9. EDZELL AND STRACATHRO PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Notwithstanding that due notice had not been received, the Committee agreed, in terms of Standing Order 26, to hear a deputation from Dr Ryan August, Chairman, Stracathro Primary School Board in connection with a proposal to build a single replacement school for the current school buildings of Edzell and Stracathro Primary Schools.

Having addressed the Committee on educational and community factors in support of the retention of Stracathro Primary School and expressed his concern regarding the preliminary informal consultation process, Dr August was thanked for his attendance and withdrew to the public benches.

Thereafter, there was submitted Report No 991/02 by the Director of Education recommending preliminary consultation on a proposal to build a single replacement school for the current school buildings of Edzell and Stracathro Primary Schools.

The Report concluded that the opportunity to create a modern school building to meet the needs of current and future generations of pupils in both Edzell and Stracathro deserved careful and sympathetic consideration. However, before coming to any decision, some informal consultation should take place with the school communities of both schools. The Report therefore recommended that the Director of Education should be authorised to write directly to the parents of all children currently enrolled in the schools and to both School Boards and to arrange to meet with each School Board and any parents who might wish to attend such a meeting. The purpose of the consultation would be to establish what support there might be for the proposed new build, identify any concerns or anxieties and highlight any particular issues to be addressed should the proposal go ahead.

Having heard various members in support of the consultation process proposed by the Director of Education, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to authorise an informal consultation exercise on a proposal to build a single new school to replace the current buildings which housed both Edzell Primary School and Stracathro Primary School;
  2. to instruct the Director of Education to report back on the outcomes of that consultation as soon as possible; and
  3. to authorise the Director of Education (in consultation with the Directors of Finance, Law and Administration and Property Services) to continue discussions with a local developer aimed at preparation of a draft development agreement for future consideration by the Education Committee.

10. THE USE OF IDENTIKIT BIOMETRIC BORROWER IDENTIFICATION IN ANGUS SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 997/02 by the Director of Education giving details relating to biometric borrower identification in school libraries and seeking the Committee's approval of its use. The Report indicated that the eight secondary schools in Angus either already had in place, or were presently preparing for conversion to, an automated library management system. Key features of the system included an Identikit module which used biometric fingerprint technology to enrol and issue material to borrowers. Eight primary schools had an automated library management system but only one of those schools had purchased Identikit.

The Report referred to recent press coverage of the Identikit module which might have given rise to some concern. However, an assurance was given that the software did not retain any image of the finger print. In addition, schools would still be able to use alternative means of registering borrowers and issuing materials so that parents would have the choice to opt out of the Identikit system.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the use of the Identikit system in Angus schools;
  2. to note and approve the guidance given to schools regarding informing parents on the introduction of the system;
  3. to note and approve the potential for pupils, parents and staff to opt out of this method of borrowing material; and
  4. to note the positive impact its use had on the perception of school libraries.

11. BETTER INTEGRATED CHILDREN'S SERVICES ANGUS CHILDREN'S SERVICES PLAN 2002-2004

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 20 August 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 950/02 by the Chief Executive, the Director of Social Work and the Director of Education advising the Committee on the contents of the draft Children's Services Plan 2002-2004 and the outcome of the bids to the Changing Children's Services Fund.

The Report concluded that the Angus Children's Services Plan 2002-2004 would serve as the key document for the progression of integrated delivery of services to children and families in Angus over the next two years. The Plan would be reviewed annually with revised priorities as need was identified. Progress on actions within the Plan and the use of resources would be monitored by the Joint Children's Services Planning Group and reported to future meetings of the appropriate Committees as well as the Healthy, Safe and Caring Communities Partnership.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to endorse the contents of the final draft of the Angus Children's Services Plan 2002-2004 and note the outcome of the bids to the Changing Children's Services Fund.

12. 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 992/02 by the Director of Education detailing applications received from Voluntary Organisations for Revenue Grants over £500 and making recommendations regarding the awards.

The Convener drew to the attention of the Committee, the fact that there were a number of current outstanding and future applications with regard to voluntary youth work, emerging from the Arbroath area relating to both Revenue Grants and Common Good. He proposed that, in order to ensure best value, consultation on a joint framework should take place between Angus Council and those organisations involved.

Having heard Councillor Nield, as a local member, support the Convener's proposal for a joint framework for the Arbroath area, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the award of revenue grants, totalling £9,492, as detailed in the Appendix to the Report;
  2. to instruct officers to bring together those organisations relating to voluntary youth work provision in Arbroath to identify how they might co-operate and collaborate more effectively in the future;
  3. to confirm that no consideration of any further financial assistance be undertaken until those meetings had taken place and the joint framework for taking forward youth work in Arbroath had been agreed;
  4. to recommend that the Council's community planning partners be advised of the position, in terms of community planning and in the spirit of partnership; and
  5. to note that consideration of requests for financial assistance would continue to be given to individual applications notwithstanding agreement on a joint framework.

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

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 993/02 by the Director of Education proposing Grant Aid from the Adult Education Support Fund to Forfar Association for Continuing Education for 2002/2003. The Report set out the range of classes which had been offered by the Association in its 2000/2001 programme and made recommendations regarding the grant to be awarded in 2002/2003.

The Committee agreed to approve grant aid totalling £1,500 to the Forfar Association for Continuing Education, as set out in the Appendix to the Report.

13. 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 paragraphs 1, 6, 8 and 9.

14. INTERNATIONAL VISITS AND EXCHANGES

With reference to Article 21 the minute of meeting of this Committee of 22 January 2002, there was submitted Report No 994/02 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.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note and approve the terms of the Report; and
  2. to approve the arrangements for the involvement of the Education Department staff in International Visits and Exchanges between 1 November 2001 and 30 June 2002 as detailed in the Appendix to the Report.

15. CHANGES TO ESTABLISHMENT: COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERVICE CLERICAL STAFFING

There was submitted Report No 995/02 by the Director of Education recommending, for the reasons outlined in the Report, amendments to the clerical staffing establishment of the Community Education Service.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the increase from 15 hours to 20 hours per week for 2 GS1/2 posts within Damacre Community Education Centre, Brechin;
  2. to approve the increase from 23.5 hours to 37 hours per week for the GS1/2 post based at Forfar Academy Community Education Wing;
  3. to approve the deletion of 2 x 20 hours GS1/2 Clerical Assistant posts based at Arbroath Academy Community Education Wing;
  4. to approve the establishment of one 37 hours per week GS1/2 post based at Arbroath Academy Community Education Wing; and
  5. to approve the increase from 15 hours to 17 hours per week for the GS1/2 post based in Monifieth CES base.

16. TENDERING FOR SCHOOL CONVEYANCE CONTRACTS TO SWIMMING AND LEISURE FACILITIES

There was submitted Joint Report No 996/02 by the Director of Education and the Director of Planning and Transport detailing the results of a tendering exercise undertaken in August 2002 for the transport of pupils to swimming and sports centres.

The Committee agreed to homologate the award of contracts by the Director of Education as detailed in the Report and set out in Appendix 1.

Get Adobe Reader Adobe Reader is required to view the PDF documents on this page. If you don't have it, download it free from www.adobe.com.