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Education Committee

APPENDIX 1 to the minute of the meeting of the Education Committee of 7 March 2000 (Article 1(b) refers)

MINUTE of MEETING of the JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (TEACHERS) held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on 9 February 2000 at 3.30 pm.

Present: Authority Representatives

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

Teachers’ Representatives

GRAEME KIDDIE, BRIAN McHARDY, ARTHUR PRITCHARD, LESLEY ANDERSON, JIM FALCONER, ALICE MCLEOD and PETER ANDREWS (Substitute for ANNE TRUESDALE).

Apologies: Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor SHEENA WELSH and ANNE TRUESDALE.

Mr GRAEME KIDDIE in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

Having noted that guidance on early education admittance had been issued by Angus Council and not the Scottish Executive (Article 8 refers), the minute of meeting of the JCC (Teachers) of 13 December 1999 was otherwise approved as a correct record.

2. PROTOCOL FOR RAISING ITEMS ON JCC AGENDA

Jim Anderson proposed that agenda setting meetings be held two weeks in advance of the JCC meetings and that the Joint Secretaries, the Director of Education, and other teacher and officer representatives should attend as appropriate (together with the Convener of the Education Committee ­ if available).

Having heard Peter Andrews in support of establishing agenda setting meetings, the Committee agreed to approve the proposals.

3. REVENUE BUDGET 2000/2001

The Committee agreed to note that the Central Consultative Committee would meet on Thursday 17 February 2000 at 10.00 am to discuss the Revenue budget for 2000/2001 and that the papers for this meeting would be available on 14 February 2000.

4. EARLY EDUCATION IN ANGUS

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of previous meeting, Jan Nowak reported that he had held a meeting with EIS representatives. Issues regarding pre-school provision had been clarified as follows:-

Overall, the Education Department provided a pre-school service to 88 pre-school centres (44 of which were private and voluntary providers ­ nine of them, outwith Angus). This was supported by two full time centrally based staff within the Education Department. Documents had been produced to assist the transition to school from pre-school provision. Since the Scottish Executive had also produced a "National Transfer Document" offering advice to schools, an Options Paper would be considered by EDAG on 22 February 2000. The potential also existed for the involvement of members of the JCC (Teachers) in a Pre-School Working Group to be set up by the Education Department.

Arthur Pritchard suggested that the meeting with Jan Nowak and EIS representatives had been encouraging. There had been broad agreement on issues of national transfer, workload, record keeping and entry processes. Progress on these matters could be reported to this Committee in due course.

Peter Andrews commented that, given the importance of the Options Paper on the transfer of information, this matter had been referred to EDAG. Jan Nowak outlined the three available options, namely the adoption of Angus Council devised materials, the adoption of Scottish Executive produced materials or the continuing use of individual school’s materials.

The Committee agreed to note:-

  1. the outcome of the meeting held between Jan Nowak and the EIS representatives; and
  2. that an "Options Paper" on Pre-School provision would be considered by EDAG and that, if appropriate, it would be considered by this Committee thereafter.

5. TRANSFER OF INFORMATION

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of previous meeting, Peter Andrews reported on his informal discussions with Jim Anderson on this issue. Debate had taken place on the nature and type of information which should be recorded, the identification of relevant information and the establishment of a manageable records system. He stressed that extensive good work had already been carried out within the authority but that records should be related to pupil development and aided, rather than driven, by the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Neil Logue agreed that ICT was only a tool, albeit an immensely useful one. He reported that the Short Life Working Group on the Transfer of Information had received a demonstration by "Pheonix" of its software package on assessment. It was hoped this might provide a sustainable system to track, gather and transfer information through all 7 primary stages and between the primary and secondary sectors. A further meeting would be held to clarify system specifications. It was unlikely that the system would be in place before August 2000. However, it was hoped that a basis for using the Primary Achievement Summary Sheet (PASS) (the replacement for the current Inter Transfer Summary Sheet) could be agreed at a meeting of Cluster Group representatives to be held on 21 February 2000.

Peter Andrews stressed the need for a negotiated agreement on planning, recording and reporting of information throughout the school education process, not just at the point of transfer between primary and secondary sectors. He believed that all representatives should be involved, not only those currently involved as Cluster Group representatives.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the position; and
  2. that this Committee would be updated on progress on transfer of information procedures in due course and consulted on any possible changes to existing arrangements.

6. THE McCRONE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY

There was submitted, for information, Report No 81/00 by the Director of Education which had been approved by the Education Committee on 25 January 2000. This Report reminded the Committee that, in October 1999, the Scottish Executive had set up a Committee to look into the current pay structure and conditions of service of Scotland’s teachers. The Committee was chaired by Professor Gavin McCrone, a visiting Professor in the Edinburgh University Management School. The remit of the McCrone Committee was to inquire widely into professional conditions of service for teachers which would secure high and improving standards of education for all children in Scotland into the new Millennium, and the future arrangements for determining teachers’ pay and conditions, in light of the proposed removal of the statutory basis of the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee (School Education).

Comments on a leaflet which had been produced by the McCrone Committee were sought by 11 February 2000 and Angus Council’s response was outlined in an Appendix to the Report. However, Jim Anderson encouraged further comments from this Committee.

Peter Andrews suggested that teaching conditions for teachers were learning conditions for pupils. The McCrone Committee proposals contained parts of the recent pay settlement proposals by COSLA which had been rejected by 98% of teachers. He stressed that salaries should be set at sufficiently high levels to recruit and retain a high level and quality of graduates. Teachers conditions of service should reflect the professionalism of the service provided, giving time to prepare for learning and teaching. Reduction of class sizes should be approached on a phased basis and national pay bargaining should be retained. However, some local negotiation in conditions of service should be available.

Brian McHardy expressed concern regarding any changes which might be imposed by the McCrone Committee and increased workloads in respect of local negotiations as a result of those changes. Jim Anderson also expressed concern regarding increased workloads and referred to difficulties experienced by teachers in both teaching and developing professionally at the same time. He therefore urged the need to find ways of providing staff development opportunities which were not disruptive to the learning process.

The Committee agreed to note that the Report had been approved by the Education Committee on 25 January 2000.

7. COMPULSORY TRANSFER OF TEACHERS

There was submitted a draft Report by the Director of Education setting out the principles of the compulsory transfer of permanent members of teaching staff and detailing the procedures relating to identification of teachers liable to transfer, preliminary visits to new schools and confirmation of transfer. Jim Anderson reminded the Committee that this practice had been in place for some time and sought endorsement of the draft paper.

Having heard Arthur Pritchard in support of the document, the Committee agreed that it be issued to schools in Angus as the authority’s Guidance on the Compulsory Transfer of Teachers.

8. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PUPILS AND PARENTS

There was submitted a draft Report by the Director of Education suggesting that consultation be held with parents and pupils on the content of a draft Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and recommending that further consideration of the outcome of the consultation be referred to this Committee with a view to preparing a finalised statement. Jim Anderson referred to a number of recent developments which had highlighted the rights of children and indicated that the final statement should also highlight the responsibilities of both pupils and parents.

Brian McHardy recognised the need for a statement on the rights and responsibilities for pupils and parents but saw difficulties in ensuring that responsibilities were followed. In this connection, he suggested that a Statement of Intent be further developed on consultative mechanisms for issues of concern to teachers.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed:-

  1. that the paper provided a useful framework for consultation; and
  2. to recommend to the Education Committee that the paper be issued for consultation and that the responses be reported to this Committee for further consideration.

9. EXCELLENCE FUND

Jim Anderson reported that the predicted increase in funding from the Excellence Funding in 2000/2001 had been confirmed, although only a limited amount of this additional funding would be used in the current programmes for reducing class sizes, particularly P1-3. The sum of £3m had been reserved as a Challenge Fund for reducing P1-P3 class sizes and Councils were expected to bid for a share of this funding. He proposed that the Study Support Programme should benefit from the Excellence Fund to meet the Government’s objective of "ensuring that study support (out of school hours learning) activities were available in all secondary schools". One post of Library Resource Centre Assistant, part-time, should be established in each of the eight Angus Secondary Schools. He also proposed that one additional post of School Technician, part-time, be provided in each secondary school to provide ICT support and so help to meet the Government objective of establishing the "national grid for learning".

Peter Andrews expressed the view that the Excellence Fund should be sufficiently flexible to be used for other support schemes eg school sport.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed to note that a Report on the Excellence Fund for Schools would be submitted to the next meeting of the Education Committee.

10. VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION TO STAFF (NOVEMBER 1999 to JANUARY 2000)

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of previous meeting, there was submitted Report No 179/00 by the Director of Education giving information about two cases involving secondary school pupils and two cases involving primary school pupils (one of the pupils having been involved in previous incidents), all relating to violence and/or aggression to staff which had occurred during the period November 1999 to January 2000.

Peter Andrews suggested that an acknowledgement of the receipt of a report on violence and/or aggression to staff from the Director to the Head Teacher and Teacher involved would be helpful.

Having heard further details from Jim Anderson, the Committee agreed to note the nature of the incidents and that a number of other incidents had recently been reported.

11. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Committee agreed to note that the next meeting would be held on Monday 15 May 2000 in the Town and County Hall, Forfar at 3.30 pm.

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