A meeting of the Western Education and Library Board was held in the Boardroom,
Headquarters Office, Omagh, on Thursday 9 October 2008 at 11.00 a.m.

PRESENT: Rev R Herron (Chairman)
         Mr P Duffy (Vice-Chairman)
         Councillor A Brolly      Mrs F Brunt
         Dr J Cornyn              Miss M Cunningham
         Councillor M Devenney    Miss K Doherty
         Councillor M Durkan      Councillor P Fleming
         Mrs R Fox                Councillor S Gallagher
         Mrs S Hogg               Councillor D Hussey
         Councillor R Irvine      Councillor P Logue
         Mrs B Maguire            Councillor D McAleer
         Mrs G McCafferty         Mr E McCaffrey
         Councillor P McDonnell   Mr V McKelvey
         Councillor J O’Kane      Councillor T O’Reilly
         Mr A Orr                 Mr A Smyth
         Mr R Tierney             Mr W Wilson

IN ATTENDANCE: Mr B Mulholland (Chief Executive)
               Mr P Mackey (Head of Teaching, Learning, Curriculum & Youth)
               Ms H Osborn (Head of Libraries & Information)
               Mrs R Watterson (Chief Administrative Officer)
               Mr O Harkin (Chief Finance Officer)
               Dr C Mangan (Head of Children & Young People’s Services)
               Mrs P Ward (Corporate Development Officer)
               Mrs A Devine (Communications Officer)
               Mrs N Young (Recorder)

                  Mr G Boyd (Chief Executive Designate of ESA) (For Item 2)
                  Mr J McGrath (Deputy Secretary of DE)            “

           Rev Herron, outgoing Chairman, extended a welcome to Mr Gavin Boyd,
           Chief Executive Designate, ESA and Mr John McGrath, Deputy Secretary,
           DE, who were in attendance to update members on RPA progress.

           Rev Herron then reminded members of the decision taken earlier in the
           year that his term of office as Chairman would end in October and that the
           Vice-Chairman, Mr Duffy, would assume the position of Chair.           He
           thanked the members for their courtesy and guidance over the past few

           Mr Duffy took the Chair and thanked Rev Herron for his commitment and
           expertise in managing the Board and said that he looked forward to the
           challenge of guiding the Board towards the implementation of ESA.

B/08/10/1   APOLOGIES

            An apology for non-attendance was received from Councillor Coyle and Mr

            The Chairman welcomed Councillor P Logue to her first meeting of the
            Board. Councillor Logue was replacing Councillor M McLaughlin.


            The Chairman welcomed Mr Boyd, and Mr McGrath, to the meeting and
            thanked them for agreeing to update the Members on RPA progress.

            Mr McGrath said he was pleased to have been given the opportunity to
            respond to the concerns which Members had raised and apologised for the
            Department’s delay in responding to correspondence from the Chair of the
            Board’s Audit Committee.       Mr McGrath began by saying that RPA had
            two strands.      The first strand related to the transformation of the
            Department of Education with the focus on improving educational
            outcomes for children and young people. The second strand involves
            oversight of the establishment of ESA and the winding down of the five
            Education and Library Boards, CCEA and CCMS which was detailed in the
            Programme for Government.              He acknowledged that there were
            concerns and that difficulties were being encountered by the Education
            and Library Boards but this was due to the political impasse which was
            delaying the legislation being taken forward.

            Councillor Irvine said that the RPA Committee and Audit Committee
            Members had been seeking answers to a number of questions for the past
            22 months and that DE had failed to adequately respond within a
            reasonable timescale. He added that he is continuing to seek information
            on the methodology for the implementation of the Review of Public
            Administration in Education; clarity on future Governance procedures;
            what categories of staff will be affected by the proposed changes and the
            timescale for the redundancy process and an assurance that ESA will
            take place on 1 April 2009.

            Mrs Burnt drew attention to the disparity in the figures with regard to the
            number of legacy organisations and also expressed concern about the
            uncertainty in the hand-over date which she said was creating uncertainty
            for the schools and as a consequence uncertainty for children’s education.

            In responding to Members’ queries, Mr McGrath confirmed that he, as the
            accountable officer in DE, was satisfied that the correct Governance
            procedures were in place. As regards the winding-down of organisations
            and hand-over to ESA he said this will take place on 1 April 2009 or as
            soon as possible thereafter depending on the political climate.
Councillor McDonnell expressed concern about the hand-over date and
after tracking the events since the announcement of RPA in 2006 he said
that the Minister should be advised to postpone the implementation of ESA
until 1 April 2010. Councillor Gallagher also agreed that ESA should be
postponed until 2010 and said RPA had caused a lot of frustration
amongst Board Members and staff and there were also concerns about
recruiting staff due to the vacancy control policy.

In response to a question from Mrs Hogg, Mr McGrath confirmed that there
would not be a gap between the winding up of Boards and the
implementation of ESA. Mr McKelvey in complimenting Mr McGrath on
his determination to move ahead with the implementation of the RPA
process stressed the need for corporation to alleviate any blockages in the
system. Councillor Hussey said it appeared there was a tendency to hide
behind the legislative process and queried whether the Education
Committee of the Assembly would eventually scrutinise the legislation. He
also said that the Minister should be informed that the 1 April 2009 was not
a feasible date for the implementation of ESA.

Councillor Irvine, in reiterating his concerns, asked that he also be
provided with a copy of the ESAIT Risk Register; a copy of the PRINCE 2
Project Initiation Document; budget information; the contingency plans
which will be in place for the children next year; how it was intended to
deal with the non-implementation of ESA on 1 April 2009 and to whom Mr
Boyd was accountable. He concluded by saying that the new model
appeared to be based on blank policies.

Mr McGrath, in acknowledging Members’ fears about the uncertainty, said
this was inevitable since there had been little change for a number of years
and now the proposed change was going to be difficult. He added that the
primary purpose of the Review of Public Administration was to improve the
educational outcomes for children and young people.            Evidence had
indicated that the Education System is not serving all children well and
changes are necessary. He went on to say that the process had two
strands i.e. legislation timetable and operational issues.      The ultimate
objective was to achieve a smooth winding-down of organisations to the
transition of ESA. Mr McGrath advised Members that political decisions
have been taken and these have to be supported.              He said that an
Outline Business Case has been approved by DE and by the Department
of Finance and Personnel (DFP). He concluded by saying he would relay
Members’ concerns to the Minister and to DE colleagues.

Mr O’Kane left the meeting at 12.50 p.m.

Mr Boyd then gave a power-point presentation which showed statistics on
the educational outcomes of pupils and comparisons across Northern
Ireland; the proposed changes in management; the savings which will
be achieved from the proposed changes and the organisational design.
Miss Doherty said there was much presumption that ESA would improve
the learning system for children and young people and asked for

            clarification on how this would be achieved.        She also asked for
            information on where the present system had failed.

            In response, Mr Boyd said that as part of the Programme for Government,
            the Minister had taken the view that this was an area which needed to be
            addressed.     He drew attention to the example and statistics in the
            presentation and said that it was evident that the outcomes of young
            people attending Catholic schools had significantly improved since CCMS
            was established. He added that the focus was on the quality of learning
            and teaching in the classroom, supporting school principals and the
            professional development of teachers.

            In response to queries from Mr McCaffrey, Mr Boyd said that Development
            Plans were in place and his responsibility was to make sure that the Plans
            were implemented. Mr McCaffrey expressed disappointment that these
            plans had not been shared with the Board.

            Mr Boyd, in responding to other queries from Members, said that every
            member of staff will be protected in the draft legislation (TUPE) and that a
            figure of £50m has been earmarked for a Voluntary Severance Package
            for Senior Management. He added that schools would be given some
            autonomy and would be encouraged to work with each other to improve
            educational outcomes. The savings taken from the Administration Budget
            would be used for priority initiatives specified by the Minister.        He
            confirmed that the reason for change was to improve the educational
            outcomes for children and young people.

            Councillor Gallagher and Councillor Durkan left the meeting at 1.20 p.m.

            The Chairman, concluded the discussion.      He then thanked Mr McGrath
            and Mr Boyd for their attendance and contribution to the debate.

            After further discussion it was agreed that a letter highlighting Members’
            concerns would be framed and sent to the Minister. It was noted that the
            Minister had agreed to receive a deputation from the Board and it was
            agreed, in the circumstances, that the RPA Committee would make the
            necessary arrangements.

            The meeting adjourned for lunch at 1.40 p.m.

            Mr Orr and Councillor Devenney left the meeting at 1.40 p.m.

            The meeting resumed at 2.30 p.m.


            The Minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2008 were adopted on
            the proposal of Councillor Irvine, seconded by Miss Cunningham.


            (i) Item B/08/09/3 (ii) Area Based Planning Groups.        In response to
            queries from Mrs Brunt, the Chief Executive said that the Board had been
            asked to submit the names of two officers to serve on the Area Based
            Planning Group. He added that other organisations would also have been
            asked to submit names. As regards the Alternative Test for Academic
            Selection, no further information has been received.

            (ii) Item B/08/10/3(iii) Warning Lights Outside School Premises. In
            response to queries from Councillor McDonnell and Councillor O’Reilly,
            the Chief Administrative Officer said that discussions were ongoing
            between the Chief Transport Officer and the Department of the
            Environment, Roads Service. Councillor Hussey asked that a schedule for
            the installation of warning lights at schools in the WELB be made

            (iii) Item B/08/9/5 – DE letter regarding ‘Preparation for the Transition to
            ESA’.      The Chief Executive clarified that the Board had written to the
            Minister for Education, Caitriona Ruane, conveying Members’ concerns
            and not to Minister Sammy Wilson, as had been suggested, since he was
            the Minister responsible for RPA in Local Government.

            (iv) Item B/08/9/6(ii) In response to a query from Councillor McAleer, the
            Chief Finance Officer (CFO) indicated that following a discussion with the
            NI Audit Office a questionnaire for all staff has been developed and
            published on the website.


            The Chairman, on behalf of Members, conveyed condolences to the family
            of the late Charlie McHugh who had been a member of the Board during
            the period 1997-2001.

            The Chairman welcomed Mrs P Logue to her first meeting of the Board.
            Mrs Logue was replacing Ms M McLaughlin.


            The Chief Executive summarised his engagements since the September
            meeting of the Board.


            There was no correspondence.


            The Chief Executive advised Members that NIPSA Union had asked for a
            Deputation to be permitted to address the Board on issues relating to job
            evaluations and the differentials in pay for Education Welfare Officers

            Councillor Irvine and Mrs Maguire left the meeting at 2.45 p.m.

            Mrs A Millar, Assistant Secretary NIPSA, Ms P Dodds, Branch Secretary
            NIPSA, Mrs A Wright (EWO), and Mr Joe McLaughlin, (EWO), members
            of the Deputation, were welcomed to the meeting. Mrs Millar thanked the
            Members for giving them the opportunity to address the meeting .       She
            expressed her regret that the issues relating the pay scales of EWOs,
            which have been ongoing since 2002, had not yet been resolved. In
            acknowledging the offer of 2 additional points she said that NIPSA
            members felt that the offer did not recognise the comparative nature of
            their work with Social Workers. Mrs Millar detailed the circumstances
            which led to the proposed industrial action and added that, in light of the
            ongoing discussion surrounding the revised business case, it was decided
            to postpone the industrial action at this time.

            Mrs A Wright, EWO, then spoke at length on the role of the EWO and how
            it had changed over the past 16 years. She highlighted that in 2000 the 5
            Education and Library Boards (ELBs) agreed that the only qualification to
            fulfil the extensive and evolving role of EWOs was that of ‘Social Worker’
            but the remuneration offered by the ELBs to EWOs failed to reflect that
            which was offered to Social Workers.        She expressed disappointment
            that EWOs were not valued the same as their social services counterparts.
            In conclusion she asked the Board to support the EWO pay claim and to
            ensure that all necessary steps are taken to resolve the 6½ year dispute.

            The Deputation left the meeting.

            Mr McCaffrey left the meeting at 3.20 p.m.


            (i) Audit Committee held on 10 September 2008

            Mrs Hogg, in proposing the adoption of the Report, drew attention to
            A/08/09/03 Review of Public Administration and said that a response had
            been received from the Permanent Secretary, Mr W Haire, and this would
            be brought to the next meeting of the Audit Committee.     She then gave
            an account of the other business discussed at the meeting.

            The adoption of the Report was seconded by Councillor McDonnell and
            was agreed.

            (ii) Joint SELB/WELB Youth Committee held on 17 September 2008

            Councillor O’Reilly, in proposing the adoption of the Report, expressed his
            gratitude to the Centre Manager of the Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown for
            the hospitality extended to the Committee. He gave Members a detailed
            account of the business discussed at the meeting.

            The adoption of the Report was seconded by Miss Cunningham and was

(iii) Library and Corporate Services held on 18 September 2008

The Chairman, in proposing the adoption of the Report gave a detailed
account of the business discussed at the meeting.    He pointed out to
Members that due to the NIAELB Conference taking place on 16 October it
was agreed that the October meeting be rescheduled to take place on 20

The adoption of the Report was seconded by Mrs Hogg and was agreed.

(iv) Finance Committee held on 24 September 2008

In the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee, the
CFO presented the Report.       He drew attention to F/09/08/3 Energy and
Efficiency Services and said that with the increased energy costs and with
the absence of additional funding the Board would not be in a position to
assist schools financially.    He referred to F/09/08/9 - 2007/08 Annual
Report and Accounts and advised that these were now complete and
awaiting ministerial approval.

The Report was adopted on the proposal of Mr Duffy, seconded by Miss
Doherty and was agreed.

(v) Services Committee held on 24 September 2008

Mrs McCafferty, in proposing the adoption of the Report , gave a detailed
account of the business discussed at the meeting.

The adoption of the Report was seconded by Mr Wilson and was agreed.

(vi) Children & Young People’s Services Committee held on 25
September 2008

Mrs Hogg, in proposing the adoption of the Report, drew attention to
Item 7 – Educational Psychology: Staffing Contingencies and to the
lengthy discussion which had taken place. It was noted that further
updates would be brought to future meetings.   She referred to Item 10
WELB Formal Statementing Procedure and proposed that the Statements
listed be adopted. The adoption was seconded by Miss Cunningham.

The adoption of the Report was seconded by Miss Cunningham and was

Mrs McCafferty left the meeting at 3.45 p.m.

(vii) Joint WELB/SELB Education Committee held on 25 September 2008

Miss Cunningham, in proposing the adoption of the Report, took Members
through the business discussed at the meeting. She highlighted the
presentation on the E2S Entitlement Framework and said that the
feedback was very positive.

             The adoption of the Report was seconded by Dr Cornyn and was agreed.

             (viii) Review of Public Administration Committee held on 24 September

             Mr Duffy presented the Report and gave a résumé of the business
             discussed at the meeting. He reminded Members it had been agreed
             that a Deputation should meet with the Minister and that at the next RPA
             meeting a list of questions could be formulated for the Deputation to
             discuss with the Minister. The Deputation would consist of Chair and Vice-
             Chair of the Board, Chairs of the Committees and Vice-Chairs of the Joint

             The Report was adopted on the proposal of Mr Duffy, seconded by Mrs

             (ix) Teaching Appointments Committee 39th meeting held on 5 June 2008

             The Report was noted.

             Councillor Hussey referred to the serious accident in which Mr David
             Crawford, Principal of Killen Primary School had been involved. He said
             that the Board of Governors and staff in the school were most appreciative
             of the support offered by Board officers.     It was agreed to write to Mrs
             Crawford conveying Members’ best wishes for David’s speedy recovery.

             It was agreed to go into Committee on the proposal of Miss Cunningham,
             seconded by Mr Wilson.

             IN COMMITTEE


             The Human Resources Report PE/2008/10/01 was adopted on the
             proposal of Mrs Hogg, seconded by Miss Cunningham.


             There was no Report.

             It was agreed to go out of Committee on the proposal of Mr Wilson,
             seconded by Miss Cunningham.

             OUT OF COMMITTEE


             The following appointment was made on the proposal of Mr Wilson,
             seconded by Mrs Brunt:

Board Representative

Belmont House Special School

Mrs I Melaugh

The following appointment was made on the proposal of Mrs Brunt,
seconded by Miss Cunningham:

Board Representative

Ballinamallard PS

Mrs R Kerr

The following appointments were made on the proposal of Mr Tierney,
seconded by Councillor O’Reilly:

Board Representatives


Mrs J McNellis

St Patrick’s PS, Castlederg

Mrs J Dolan

St Eugene’s Secondary School, Castlederg

Ms B Harpur

The following appointments were made on the proposal of Mrs Brunt,
seconded by Miss Cunningham:

Teacher Representatives

Drumrane PS

Mrs R Hylands

Enniskillen Model PS

Mrs A Keyes

Newbuildings PS

Mr K Baldrick

             The following appointment was made on the proposal of Mr McKelvey,
             seconded by Councillor Hussey:

             Teacher Representative

             Strabane PS

             Mr D Gamble

             It was agreed to defer making appointments to the following schools until
             the next meeting:

             Ballycolman Nursery
             Limavady Nursery
             Ardstraw PS
             Ballougry Ps
             Donemana PS
             Groarty Controlled Integrated PS
             Good Shepherd PS
             St Brigid’s PS (Mountfield)
             St Columba’s Ps (Newbuildings)
             St Conor’s PS
             St Oliver Plunkett PS (Strathfoyle)
             St Therese’s Ps, Lenamore


             There were no documents for sealing.


             There was no other business and the meeting concluded at 4.00 p.m.


To top