Examination of witnesses
(Questions 80 - 82)
WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER 1998
and MR MALACHY
80. I think there was some coaching occurring
(Mr Fitzsimons) Obviously we do have the LMS funding
system in Northern Ireland and within that we have a category
which really is targeting social needs. The indicators for social
needs are really determined by entitlement to free school meals.
A special working group has been found to look at how we can meet
the needs of the educationally disadvantaged young people which
arises out of social needs or for other reasons and also ensuring
that the money which becomes available is targeted towards and
ring fenced for the use of those children. So that is how the
differentiation will emerge. But there is differentiation at the
moment. Whether in fact it is the most efficient and effective
way of doing it or not is an issue which this working party is
(Mr McCullough) Chairman, that covers not only
social needs. It also covers special educational needs in mainstream
schools for children who are not statemented, because you will
be aware that the other 18 percent of Warnock's 20 percent are
in mainstream schools without statements. Money is given to schools
through LMS both for social needs and for SEN remediation, so
there is a differentiation in place already.
(Mr Irwin) We also have an initiative in the School
Improvement Programme called the School Support Programme, which
is targeted to those areas particularly who find themselves in
areas of high social deprivation and they will be receiving priority
funding for a number of years to help them improve right across
the spectrum, as part of the overall school improvement programme
and that will be continuing with earmarked funding for a number
81. Unless anyone wants to add anything
further in response to the question I have just asked, what plans
do the Boards have to monitor procedures which will be introduced
as a result of the Code of Practice?
(Mr Martin) I think, Chairman, Mr Irwin will attempt
to answer that.
(Mr Irwin) Chairman, what we were hoping to do
was have a number of different levels of possible monitoring.
Obviously some of it would depend on the reviews of the annual
statements and that would be a key element and we have taken on
board the comments at the last meeting, but in addition to that
we would be looking at a range of qualitative and quantitative
measuresand qualitative ones were discussed, I think, at
the last meeting as well - but we would particularly be looking
at feedback from our own services in terms of feedback from groups
like the Literacy Teaching Support Scheme, peripatetic services,
educational welfare and psychology. So although we get feedback
from our own services on how effective that support has been in
schools, from now on we will also be looking very closely at the
annual reports of schools, because there will be a statutory obligation
on schools to report on how they have deployed their resources
and that should be a very useful additional level of information
which we can build into our accountability. We also, as Mr O'Loane
said, will have computer based management systems in place and
it would also be hoped to make use of those again on a five-Board
basis. Obviously we will make use of the traditional methods such
as feedback from Principals, Governors, the Department of Education's
Inspectorate and reports from Principals and our intention would
be to pull those into a coherent programme which will give us
a framework for monitoring the Code.
82. Very good. Thank you very much indeed.
Let me verify whether there is any other question which any Member
of the Committee wants to ask? In the absence of any other questions
from the Committee, let me ask you whether there are any other
questions which you are surprised we have not asked you?
(Mr Martin) I do not think so, Chairman.
Chairman: I cannot
believe we have been as comprehensive as that response suggests,
but at any rate, thank you very much indeed. I notice that we
have taken in fact about 50 minutes to conclude the questions
which we were not able to ask last time. Although I recognise
it has been significantly inconvenient for you to need to come
back, I think in fact we have got much more mileage out of the
opportunity of coming to it afresh than we would have done if
we had actually tried to do another three quarters of an hour
on the previous occasion, so we are full of appreciation. Thank
you very much indeed for having come in such numbers and the fact
that we had to resume the engagement meant that we had the pleasure
of hearing from Mr Irwin and Mr O'Loane which we would not otherwise
have had. Thank you very much indeed.