IRVINE, 17 February 2004 - At a Meeting of the Educational Services Committee of North Ayrshire Council at 2.00 p.m.
Peter McNamara, Jacqueline Browne, Donald Reid, Thomas Barr, Gordon Clarkson, Jane Gorman, Jean Highgate, Elspeth MacTaggart, Margaret McDougall, Father Matthew McManus, Rev Sandy Montgomerie, David Munn, David O'Neill, Elaine Shaw and Nan Wallace.
B Devine, Chief Executive; J Travers, Corporate Director, B Gardner, Head of Educational Resources, J Leckie, J Ward and J Owens, Heads of Service, C Laird, Acting Head of Service (Educational Services); J McIntyre, Finance Manager (Finance); J Stevenson, Communications Officer, M Adams and J Bannatyne, Corporate & Democratic Support Officers (Chief Executive's).
Also In Attendance
F. Keddilty, Chief Executive and L Cairns, Head of Business Services, North Ayrshire Leisure Limited.
Councillor McNamara in the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
Stewart Dewar, Drew Duncan, Elisabethe Marshall, John Reid and Ian Richardson.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 6 January 2004, copies of which had previously been circulated, were confirmed.
2. Educational Services Standing Sub Committee
Submitted the annexed report (Appendix ES1) being the Minutes of the Meeting of the Educational Services Standing Sub Committee held on 28 January 2004 .
The Committee agreed to approve the Minutes.
3. North Ayrshire Leisure Limited: Business Plan 2004/05
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the North Ayrshire Leisure Limited Business Plan for 2004/05 and on the level of financial support being sought from the Council.
In terms of the Service Level Agreement between the Council and North Ayrshire Leisure Limited, the Leisure Company is required to prepare and submit a Business Plan for approval by the Council on an annual basis. The Business Plan for 2004/05 was appended to the report.
Mr Keddilty, Chief Executive of North Ayrshire Leisure Limited, highlighted the progress made by the company to date. He gave details of a number of key developments which have improved overall visitor numbers to North Ayrshire Leisure facilities, including improvement works undertaken at swimming pools. He outlined a number of developments planned for the year ahead and indicated that the level of business activity is projected to increase. The anticipated company turnover for 2004/05 is £7,442,053.
The Committee agreed (a) to approve the North Ayrshire Leisure Limited Business Plan as set out in the Report; and (b) to provide financial support amounting to £4,014,430 to the company in financial year 2004/05.
4. School Estate Management Plan
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the School Estate Management Plan.
In January 2004, the Committee approved the preparation of a School Estate Management Plan (SEMP) and agreed to the submission of initial relevant core data to the Scottish Executive. The SEMP has now been completed and a copy was attached as an Appendix to the report. The Plan sets out the approach to be adopted by the Council to the management of all school properties throughout North Ayrshire.
The needs of the school estate will be considered against a set of criteria and the resources available and the Plan will assist in identifying issues which will require to be addressed in future years. The Scottish Executive has recognised that development of the SEMP will be an ongoing process and that the initial Plan will serve as a framework for further development. Further refinements and improvements will continue to be made to the Plan as additional data is gathered. Initial consultations with Head Teachers of secondary schools and other stakeholders will be extended to include the primary sector.
The Committee agreed to adopt the School Estate Management Plan.
5. Enterprise in Education
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the progress to date in the delivery and planning of programmes of Enterprise in Education.
The Council has been allocated £286,000 in 2004/05 and £613,000 in 2005/06 to pursue the delivery of Enterprise in Education across all schools.
Relevant guidelines have been issued to all schools and in-service training on policy formation has been provided. Effective links have been established with FE Colleges, Careers Scotland, and local businesses to develop a wide range of Enterprise in Education activities.
A Determined to Succeed Strategy Group, which includes representation from James Watt College and Careers Scotland, was established in October 2003 to co-ordinate, monitor and evaluate Enterprise in Education developments across North Ayrshire schools. The group has produced the Council's Enterprise in Education Action Plan outlining a phased approach to developments for the period 2004 - 06. Key elements of the Plan include the introduction of Development Officers to support schools in an effort to promote Enterprise in Education in the P1 - S6 curriculum.
A number of approaches will also be developed to extend vocational based education opportunities currently available in North Ayrshire for students over the age of 14. A seconded post of Business Adviser is also to be introduced.
The Committee agreed to approve the implementation proposals as detailed in the report.
6. Grants to Voluntary Organisations 2004/05
Councillor Browne declared an interest in the following item of business and took no part in the discussion thereon.
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on Educational Services Grants to Voluntary Organisations for 2004/05.
The Committee agreed to approve the grants as detailed in the report.
7. Primary Space Public Art Initiative
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the successful outcome of an application to the Scottish Arts Council for funding towards a public art in schools project.
Primary Space is an initiative which seeks to promote the inclusion of artists in the ongoing design of new school buildings in North Ayrshire. With a view to building on the success of previous arts projects at Lawthorn, Mayfield and Beith Primary Schools, an application was submitted to the Scottish Arts Council to secure funding towards the costs of developing art work for the new Dalry Primary School.
The Scottish Arts Council has awarded the Council £165,829 towards these costs in addition to a previous award of £12,300 which supported the costs of the design process. The balance of funding towards the total cost of the project amounting to £269,892 will be met by the Council from capital expenditure.
8. Arts & Cultural Events Programme 2004
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the proposed Arts and Cultural Events Programme for 2004.
The 2004 Programme of Events, as set out in the Appendix to the report, has been drawn up by the Council's Arts and Cultural Services staff in consultation with local schools, community groups and where appropriate, funding agencies.
The Committee agreed to approve the Programme of Events for 2004.
9. HMIE Report: Community Learning and Development in the Saltcoats, Stevenston and Ardrossan Area
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the outcome of an inspection of the Community Learning and Development Services in the Saltcoats, Stevenston and Ardrossan area undertaken by HMIE in September 2003 as part of a national sample.
The scope of the inspection covered the work of the Community Learning and Development Service and the work contracted out to community, voluntary and public sector partners. The areas evaluated included the management of the service; the quality of community learning planning; the processes for self-evaluation and planning for improvement; the provision for young people; and the training and support delivered to voluntary groups and organisations.
The report outlined the key strengths of the Service and made recommendations on the main points requiring action. A follow up visit will be undertaken by HMIE within approximately two years.
The Committee agreed to approve the proposals to address the key points for action in the HMIE report.
10. HMIE Report: Greenwood Academy
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the HMIE Report on Greenwood Academy.
The report outlined the key strengths of the school and made recommendations on the main points requiring action. HMIE will continue to monitor progress and will undertake a follow-through inspection within two years of the publication of the inspection report.
The Committee agreed to approve the proposals to address the key points for action in the HMIE report.
11. Consultation: Ensuring Improvement in our Schools
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on a consultation from the Scottish Executive on the draft Bill "Ensuring Improvement in our Schools".
HMIE inspection reports identify areas of improvement in schools and set out the main points for action for education authorities. The new draft Bill proposes that if the HMIE considers an authority has failed to take satisfactory steps to carry out recommended improvements and considers that Ministerial action is appropriate, it will have a duty to refer the matter to Ministers. Ministers will have the power to require that the education authority complies with the HMIE recommendations. Use of the proposed powers would require to be reported to the Scottish Parliament.
Since no North Ayrshire school has ever failed to comply with HMIE recommendations or been found to be unsatisfactory at the follow-up stage of an inspection, the proposed powers of intervention are considered unhelpful and unnecessary. COSLA takes the view that adequate powers of intervention already exist where there is failure by education authorities to meet their statutory obligations. It is proposed that the Scottish Executive be requested to reject these proposals for increased powers of intervention and to place a greater emphasis on a shared approach to improving Scottish schools.
The Committee agreed to approve the response to the Scottish Executive consultation paper in the terms outlined in the report.
12. Consultation on the SEED publication: Enhancing Sexual Well-being in Scotland: A Sexual Health Relationship Strategy
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on a consultation by the Scottish Executive Education Department on its publication "Enhancing Sexual Well-being in Scotland: A Sexual Health and Relationship Strategy".
The consultative draft document sets out the following five main proposals for implementation of the strategy: -
the appointment of National Sexual Health Co-ordinator and a National Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation of the strategy;
the provision of local leadership in the form of the Local Health Board's Sexual Health Strategy;
setting clear national and local targets by developing shared standards of care among service providers;
using existing mechanisms such a local Health Plan to ensure targeted delivery; and
providing mechanisms for the monitoring of progress at national and local level.
The Council's policy on Sexual Health Education was produced in early in 2001 and all schools in North Ayrshire have included sexual health education as a priority in their School Plans. All North Ayrshire schools have been given an opportunity to contribute to this consultation exercise and the views expressed include the need for greater consultation with young people and their families on the issues raised in the consultation document and for more recognition of the wide range of values held across the country. The establishment of a Sex Education Forum has been suggested and the need to recognise the links between sexual health and health improvement has been emphasised.
The Committee agreed to approve the response to the consultation in the terms outlined in the report.
13. Consultation: Supporting Students with Additional Needs in Further Education Colleges
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) draft consultation document "Supporting Students with Additional Needs in Further Education Colleges".
The document links to the two national priorities of "Life Long Learning" and "Inclusion and Equality". The first section introduces the subject and sets out the legislative framework for the consultation, the second section sets out the roles and responsibilities of the colleges themselves in establishing appropriate provision and the third section looks at a number of issues arising from collaborative working.
Staff supporting pupils with additional needs have been consulted on the proposals and their comments were detailed in the report.
The Committee agreed to approve the consultation response in the terms outlined in the report.
14. Revenue Budget 2003/04: Budgetary Control
Submitted report by the Assistant Chief Executive (Finance) on the budgetary control position for Educational Services at the end of December 2003 and projections for the financial year 2003/04.