Education and Employment Committee Meeting Summary – Wednesday, 17 March 2021

The monthly meeting of the Education and Employment Committee took place on Wednesday, 17 March 2021.

The Educational Psychologist gave an outline of the work that has been completed and what is currently being addressed with Teaching Assistants to ensure they are being used efficiently. Further work is also planned to ensure Teachers are aware of how to use Teaching Assistants more effectively. Discussions around multi-agency meetings, interventions, behaviour and discipline, and parental engagement followed. The Educational Psychologist also gave explanations to questions regarding suspensions. The Director highlighted to Members some concerns that have been raised in regards to the role of parents in disciplining their children.  Suggestions were then made for some support to be given to parents such as offering further parenting classes. The location of the Educational Psychologist post was also discussed with the post currently under Health and not Education and Employment. The Director is to investigate whether the Educational Psychologist post needs to sit under Health with Members feeling strongly that it should be with the Education, Skills and Employment Portfolio. The Educational Psychologist also explained the benefits of the Code of Practice and that this is to be a shared vision to alleviate some of the challenges within the system. The Code of Practice is currently being developed and will be shared with the Committee.

The Committee was impressed with a Scholarship Student’s report and how well the Scholarship Student is coping with studying using online platforms. It was noted by Members that if there are any questions with regards to the report, these can be emailed to the Scholarship Student.

Various questions were asked in relation to the minimum wage. It was noted that the consultation is an annual process, and there will be a financial implications within the private sector. The Senior Economist then spoke to members regarding the documentation. Members noted that the documentation did not include the low income earners and there was minimal representation from the Chamber of Commerce on the committee. The Chairperson reiterated that the Education & Employment Committee needs to take on Employment Rights and therefore the committee members for the Employment Rights Committee will need to be changed.  It was noted that the work of the Policy Planner is referred to in this report although not named.  Following discussions, the Committee gave approval to have an increase of 7p per hour to the Minimum Wage to take effect from 1 July 2021. It was agreed that a draft Minimum Wage Policy which set out the principles for a longer-term path to a more ambitious Minimum Wage that will benefit workers and provide adequate time for businesses to plan and adapt was needed.

The Director explained the changes to the Charging Policy and clarified some areas for members.  Some amendments were then suggested and made.  Members then endorsed the Charging Policy for implementation with effect from 1 April 2021. The Director was asked to ensure communication of the changes to the main users of the facilities as well as to the wider public.

The Director explained to members the format of the new term times. Various queries and comments were made. It was noted that the Education Regulations needed to be reviewed and Members reviewed the proposed term times and approved their use in the next Academic Year.

Members agreed to have a flat rate of allowances from September 2021 at the current rate for apprentices. It was however noted that this would be dependent on the Budget.

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12 April 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470