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APPENDIX I to the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 22 January 2002 (Article 1(b) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Monday 10 December 2001 at 3.30 pm.

Present:

Authority Representatives

Councillor BRIAN MILNE, JIM ANDERSON (Director of Education) and JAN NOWAK (Head of Educational Services).

Teachers' Representatives

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

Apologies: Apologies were intimated on behalf of Councillor SHEENA WELSH and NEIL LOGUE (Head of Educational Services)

Mr Graeme Kiddie, Chairman, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 17 September 2001 was submitted and approved as a correct record, subject to amendment to Article 3 to read "consultation undertaken by the Scottish Executive Education Department".

2. EMERGENCY WEATHER ARRANGEMENTS

There was submitted by the Director of Education a draft support pack for schools on emergency weather arrangements. The pack contained summary leaflets for all staff; parents and pupils and Head Teachers; together with a list of Burgh Co-ordinators and emergency numbers in the event of emergency closure of schools.

Having noted that Head Teachers and School Boards had submitted comments on the draft support pack, the Committee agreed that the Director of Education should issue the support pack to Head Teachers, staff and parents as soon as possible, subject to updating the list of Burgh Co-ordinators.

3. HIGHER STILL ­ UPDATE

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of previous meeting, Jim Anderson reported on progress on Higher Still. He indicated that "Higher Still" had been replaced by the new National Qualifications (NQs). Nationally, consultation had taken place with the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) and Head Teachers in secondary schools on the SEED "Review of Assessment Within New National Qualifications". The general feeling was that the number of internal assessments should be reduced.

Consultation had also taken place with Principal Teachers in Angus during Curricular Advisory Group (CAG) meetings, on individual subject reviews. Responses were being forwarded to the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA). The majority of responses sought the reduction of assessments to one, or two, per unit.

Angus Council was currently looking at the "Scholar" initiative which had been produced by Heriot Watt University. Learning and Teaching Scotland had established an on-line national support system for NQs with access materials available to schools through the Internet. Angus continued to be active in the Inter-Authority Collaborative Network (IACN) and there had been a high level of requests for Angus produced materials.

Thereafter, Jim Anderson indicated that the 2001 diet of National Qualifications had posed no major problems to schools in Angus. A draft paper on "Quality Assurance and Procedures in New National Qualifications" had been issued to Senior Management Teams (SMTs) for comment.

Brian McHardy referred to a decision taken in the previous session not to proceed with the "Scholar" initiative at that time. However, Jim Anderson proposed that the situation remain under review as new support materials became available.

In this connection, Brian McHardy referred to Article 9 of the minute of previous meeting with respect to the removal of age and stage restrictions and information he had received that Intermediate Access courses were being actively considered for introduction to S3 and S4 in some secondary schools in Angus. He referred again to the need for a cautious, thoughtful, coherent approach to the introduction of such courses and the need to consult all stakeholders. He also requested a Report by the Director of Education on the position with regard to each secondary school in Angus.

Jim Anderson gave an assurance that no secondary schools in Angus were currently looking at the removal of the age and stage restrictions but that schools were actively involved in the introduction of NQs.

The Committee agreed to note that Jim Anderson would submit a position statement with regard to removal of age and stage restrictions and the introduction of NQs in secondary schools in Angus.

4. A TEACHING PROFESSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of previous meeting, the Committee considered progress reports in relation to the Tri-partite Agreement "A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century":-

(a) 35 Hour Week with effect from August 2001

Jim Anderson indicated that Guidelines had been issued to schools on the 35 hour week, which had been introduced from August 2001. The Guidelines appeared to have been well received in schools and he had received no negative feedback.

Peter Andrews advised that at a meeting of the Teachers' Panel held the previous week, feedback on the Guidelines had been positive. The pro-formas on time allocation had also been well received and it was hoped that the outcomes could be included in future deliberations on the 35 hour working week.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

(b) Continuing Professional Development

There was submitted by the Director of Education Draft Guidelines on Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The Draft Guidelines set out the background on underlying principles of CPD and considered the sort of activities that should be viewed as contributing towards the contractual commitment to CPD; when these activities should take place; monitoring and evaluation of CPD activities; and how teachers should "get started" in CPD activities.

Jim Anderson stressed that CPD should encompass as wide a range of activities as possible and that a number of legitimate and valuable CPD activities might well be undertaken during the course of the teachers' contractual 35 hour working week. He expressed the hope that teachers would view CPD as an entitlement, resulting in the authority offering high quality CPD provision. Thereafter he referred to each teacher's CPD Plan for 2002/2003 and tabled an amendment to paragraphs 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6 of the Guidelines indicating that the Plan should be agreed by 30 September 2002 at the latest. In sessions 2001/2002 and 2002/2003, teachers were expected to work towards the full contractual commitment which was due to be implemented by August 2003.

Peter Andrews reported that the Teachers' Panel had agreed the amendment to the Draft Guidelines and had stressed that the culture underpinning CPD was important, with CPD viewed as an entitlement rather than an obligation. Quality CPD would be welcomed by teachers and there was a requirement for devolved school training budgets to be sufficient to deliver quality training.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the amended Draft Guidelines on Continuing Professional Development;
  2. to issue the finalised Guidelines to schools, with the employers' and teachers' sides as joint signatories.
(c) Appointment of Additional Support Staff

Jim Anderson indicated that considerable progress was being made with the Directors of Property and Information Technology regarding additional support staff. A meeting was due to be held on 11 December 2001 and it was hoped that further provision could be made for additional classroom assistants in secondary schools.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

(d) Formation of Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers (JNCT)

Peter Andrews introduced this item, setting out the background to the formation of a Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers (JNCT) at national level. Thereafter, he referred to the position in Angus and indicated that the Teachers' Panel had held four meetings to date. At the most recent meeting, he had been instructed to prepare a draft Local Recognition and Procedure Agreement, copies of which were tabled at this meeting.

He stressed that the Scottish Executive and COSLA had agreed that certain matters in relation to teachers' pay and conditions should be devolved to local authorities but that changes to current practice should only be made by agreement with the JNCT's. He referred, in particular, to Annex H, paragraph 10, of the Tri-partite Agreement and indicated that some difficulties had been encountered in resolving the issue of delegation of negotiating powers to members of the JNCT but expressed the hope that these difficulties could be resolved between the employers' and teachers' sides.

Having heard Councillor Milne also express the hope that any difficulties could be resolved soon, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the draft Local Recognition and Procedure Agreement submitted by the teachers' side;
  2. to note that the Director of Education and the Director of Law and Administration would enter into discussion with the Teachers' Representatives regarding the draft Agreement; and
  3. to note that Councillor Milne would consult his colleagues at an early date.

5. BETTER BEHAVIOUR ­ BETTER LEARNING

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of previous meeting, the Director of Education submitted draft guidelines entitled "Allegations made by Pupils that a Member of Staff has Physically Assaulted Them". The guidelines should ultimately be viewed as an integral part of the Council's overall Guidelines on Behaviour Management in Schools and would complement the recommendations contained in the Report by the National Discipline Task Group "Better Behaviour ­ Better Learning". The advice had been prepared for the benefit of any individual member of staff who was the subject of an allegation of assault and also for line managers. The guidelines also advised of the requirement to take all allegations seriously, with sections on the involvement of the Police and Procurator Fiscal. Jim Anderson stressed that only a very few incidents of this nature had been reported in Angus schools in the last few years.

Arthur Pritchard welcomed the paper on behalf of the teachers' representatives subject to amendment to Section 5.1 to read "to take appropriate steps" in place of "intervene", and to add a further bullet point to paragraph 5.5 to read "to whom the matter was reported within the school".

Thereafter, Brian McHardy referred to the need to develop a protocol for such situations. Jim Anderson responded that Tayside Police had advised him that, should a complaint be received, he would be informed. The decision as to whether the teacher remained in post would therefore rest with the Director of Education.

On a further reference to the Scottish Executive document "Better Behaviour ­ Better Learning", Jim Anderson advised that the Chief Executive of Angus Council had recently received intimation from the Discipline Task Force that a Scottish Executive grant of £68,392 could be made available for policy review and planning and that a further grant of £227,294 could be available for pupil support bases. However, this funding would only be available up to the end of the financial year 2001/2002.

Jan Nowak gave further details as to how this grant money might be used, and it was noted that the JCC Working Group would be given an opportunity to comment on any proposals as they developed, prior to their approval by the Education Committee.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to endorse the guidelines "Allegations made by Pupils that a Member of Staff had Physically Assaulted Them", as amended, and note that the Director of Education would now issue the finalised version; and
  2. to note that detailed proposals to make use of the grants would be submitted to the Scottish Executive as soon as possible.

6. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION TO STAFF ­ MAY 2001 TO NOVEMBER 2001

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of previous meeting, there was submitted Report No 49/01 by the Director of Education giving information about 21 cases involving secondary pupils, 19 involving primary pupils (6 of these 19 involving 1 pupil; and 10 involving another pupil i.e. 13 pupils involved in all); 1 involving a nursery pupil and 1 involving a parent, all relating to violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period May to November 2001.

Having heard further details from Jim Anderson on the cases and the greater awareness of staff in the reporting of incidents, the Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

7. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Monday 11 February 2002 at 3.30 pm (agenda setting meeting, Monday 28 January 2002).

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