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APPENDIX I to the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 16 October 2001 (Article 2(b) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Monday 17 September 2001 at 2.00 pm.

Present:

Authority Representatives

Councillors BRIAN MILNE and SHEENA WELSH, JIM ANDERSON (Director of Education), NEIL LOGUE (Head of Educational Services) and JAN NOWAK (Head of Educational Services).

Teachers' Representatives

GRAEME KIDDIE, PETER ANDREWS, BRIAN McHARDY, ARTHUR PRITCHARD, LESLEY ANDERSON, JIM FALCONER and ALICE McLEOD.

Mr Graeme Kiddie, Chairman, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 14 May 2001 was submitted and approved as a correct record.

2. IMPROVING COMMUNICATIONS

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 May 2001, there was submitted a discussion paper by the Director of Education on improved communications between staff in the Education Department.

The paper concluded that effective communication could best be achieved by the creation of a "collegiate" approach and it was suggested that the paper could provide a useful starting point for discussions within each workplace and across the Education Department.

Jim Anderson advised that the paper had been shared with all secondary Head Teachers and would also be shared with primary Head Teachers. Brian McHardy indicated that whilst some of the issues highlighted by the staff survey did not relate directly to educational issues, progress had been made in improvement in communications with the enhancement of "VIEW", developments in the Council's intranet and Internet and visits to school by the Director of Education and Heads of Service.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note that the discussion paper would be distributed throughout all schools in Angus; and
  2. to ask the Director of Education to seek feedback on the discussion paper.

3. HIGHER STILL

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of previous meeting, Brian McHardy acknowledged the amount of consultation undertaken by the Education Department on Higher Still and welcomed the proposals to reduce workload burdens.

He asked if the "cascade" mechanism of the Curriculum Advisory Groups (CAGS), which only involved principal teachers, could be extended to allow time for consultation with appropriate staff on Higher Still issues.

Neil Logue responded that Higher Still issues were already appropriately considered by the National Qualification Strategy Group (formerly the Higher Still Strategy Group) and through the CAGs meetings. However, he would encourage principal teacher representatives on CAGs to consult with their colleagues in schools on Higher Still issues.

The Committee agreed that an item should be placed in VIEW on consultation with staff on Higher Still.

4. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF STAFF

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of previous meeting, the Director of Education submitted a draft leaflet which had been prepared by a Working Group on the Rights and Responsibilities of Staff. Jim Anderson sought comments on the draft leaflet with a view to issuing it for wider consultation.

Graeme Kiddie endorsed the leaflet subject to amendment to reflect that the workplace should be a healthy, safe and secure environment.

The Committee agreed that the leaflet should be amended and issued for wider consultation.

5. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION CODE OF CONDUCT

With reference to Article 4 above, Jim Anderson reported that the Scottish Executive's Discipline Task Group had published a report entitled "Better Behaviour ­ Better Learning" which set out the key principles to promote a positive learning environment and good discipline in schools. A Summary Report was available which summarised the key principles and action points arising therefrom. Jim Anderson recognised that the Working Group on Rights and Responsibilities of Staff and Violence and Aggression had considered a first draft Code of Conduct and suggested that the Group might widen its remit to consider the implications for local authorities of the action points recommended by the Discipline Task Group.

The Committee agreed that the Working Group on Rights and Responsibilities of Staff and Violence and Aggression should:-

  1. continue to progress the development of a Violence and Aggression Code of Conduct; and
  2. consider the implications for local authorities of the Scottish Executive document "Better Behaviour ­ Better Learning".

6. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION TO STAFF ­ APRIL 2001 TO AUGUST 2001

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of previous meeting, there was submitted Report No 1029/01 by the Director of Education giving information about seven incidents involving secondary pupils and six incidents involving primary pupils, all relating to violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period April to August 2001. The Report also summarised the number of reported incidents over the last three years.

Having heard further details from Jim Anderson on the cases and the greater awareness of staff of the need to report incidents, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the report; and
  2. to note that Jim Anderson would re-issue to appropriate staff the Procedure Note on Reporting of Incidents of Violence and/or Aggression.

7. A TEACHING PROFESSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of previous meeting, the Committee considered the following matters in relation to the Tripartite Agreement "A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century":-

(a) Appointment of Additional Support Staff

Jim Anderson indicated that Joint Report No 914/01 by the Director of Education and the Acting Director of Personnel on the appointment of additional support staff had been approved by the Council's Education Committee on 21 August 2001. Funding was now available to provide additional property and ICT support to schools and it was hoped that appointments would be made shortly.

In response to concern expressed by Arthur Pritchard on the need to "ring fence" the available monies within the Education budget, Councillor Milne gave an assurance that the allocated monies would be used for Education purposes.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

(b) A 35 Hour Week With Effect From August 2001

Peter Andrews indicated that agreement had been reached in the previous school session that "individual and collective work of teachers should be capable of being undertaken within the 35 hour working week". The Director of Education had issued pro formas to all schools seeking information on time allocation within the 35 hour working week. To date, there had been no evidence of difficulties in relation to the completion of pro formas. However, he would urge teachers to complete the section relating to time audit. Further discussion would be held later in the current school session with a view to possible amendments to the pro forma.

The Group agreed to note the position.

(c) Continuing Professional Development

Peter Andrews referred to the introduction of a contractual 35 hours per annum (maximum) of continuing professional development for teaching staff. He suggested that a quality based framework for professional development would take some time to deliver and that teachers would not be expected to fully meet this commitment until August 2003.

Peter Andrews also referred to Paragraph 4.1 of the Tripartite Agreement "A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century" which stated that "it is the employer's responsibility to ensure a wide range of continuous professional development opportunities and the teacher's responsibility to undertake a programme of agreed continuous professional development which should be capable of being discharged within contractual working time".

The Committee agreed to note that the Director of Education intended to produce a starter discussion paper on this issue.

(d) Formation of New Joint Negotiating Committee

Peter Andrews referred to Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) Circular No 8 entitled "Framework Local Recognition and Procedure Agreement" and suggested that the document should not require significant amendments to provide a framework Local Recognition and Procedure Agreement for Angus.

He hoped that agreement could be reached on a suitable negotiating structure and that the arrangements for the new Negotiating Committee could make swift progress.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

(e) Guidelines for Peripatetic Staff

Having heard Peter Andrews on the need to examine the guidelines for Peripatetic Staff in light of "A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century", the Committee agreed to note that the Director of Education would submit a starter paper on this issue in due course.

8. FLEXIBILITY IN THE CURRICULUM

There was submitted SEED Circular 3/2001 entitled "Guidance on Flexibility in the Curriculum". The Circular set out the flexibility available within current curriculum Guidelines and arrangements for national qualifications and explained new procedures which HM Inspector of Education would use when inspecting schools which were taking advantage of this flexibility. The Circular concentrated on the 5-14 curriculum but stated that outcomes would apply equally to the curriculum for pre-school education and for those in post?14 education. The Circular was recommended by the Discipline Task Force which suggested that flexibility in the delivery of the curriculum would be essential if teachers, schools and education authorities were to meet the needs and wishes of all pupils.

Arthur Pritchard acknowledged that the guidance appeared to give more flexibility to tailoring the curriculum to meet individual needs in a broad sense. He referred to Section 19 of the Circular in relation to modern languages and, in particular, the implications of the guidance for the opportunity to study a modern language beyond S2. He expressed concern that the guidance gave no clear indication on how outcomes could be met within a 35 hour working week or on support and resources available to schools to assist in achieving these outcomes.

Neil Logue confirmed that modern languages would be delivered as an entitlement but that the guidelines could be construed as restricting access to modern languages beyond S2. He suggested that this issue should be taken forward by the education authority and schools gradually and thoughtfully.

The Committee agreed to note the terms of SEED Circular 3/2001.

9. REMOVAL OF AGE AND STAGE RESTRICTIONS ­ POSITION STATEMENT

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 18 September 2000, there was submitted by the Director of Education a Report on the current position with regard to the removal of age and stage restrictions. The Report indicated that, to date, only one Angus school had taken advantage of the relaxation of the age and stage restrictions and had implemented a system to allow a small number of classes to sit mathematics standard grade examinations in two separate years, at one level in S3 and at the consecutive higher level in S4. Separately from this particular initiative, the advent of National Qualifications had meant that an increasing number of schools were looking at ways in which National Qualifications could be offered to S3 and S4 pupils instead of Standard Grade courses.

Jim Anderson suggested that there had been some evidence of success for individual pupils who had taken part in the initiative but urged a cautious approach to a wider introduction in schools.

Brian McHardy reiterated the need for a cautious approach and stressed the necessity of consulting all stake-holders in accordance with the guidelines now approved by the Education Committee on Age and Stage Restrictions at Standard Grade and Higher (Report No 877/00 refers).

The Committee agreed to note the terms of the Report.

10. INSPECTION OF THE EDUCATION FUNCTIONS OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES: ANGUS COUNCIL

There was submitted a letter dated 31 August 2001 from HM Inspectorate of Education advising that an inspection of the education functions of Angus Council would commence on 12 November 2001. During the period of 12 November 2001 to 18 January 2002, the Inspection Team would contact and interview officers of the Council and elected members. They would also undertake field work in a sample of establishments with a range of users of the education service. An oral report would be provided by HM Inspectors at the end of the inspection and the opportunity would be given to comment on the accuracy of a draft of the eventual report prior to publication. The opportunity would also be given for Angus Council to publish any comments on the findings of the inspection.

Jim Anderson indicated that the Inspector who had overall responsibility for the inspection and report, HMI Ms Annette Bruton, had arranged a briefing on the inspection later this day.

The Committee agreed to note the inspection of Angus Council by HM Inspectorate of Education.

11. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Committee agreed to note that the next meeting would be held on Monday 10 December 2001 (Agenda setting meeting on 26 November 2001).

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