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Summary

  1. The West Belfast Partnership Board briefed the Education Committee on addressing educational underachievement.
  2. In the afternoon, the OFMDFM Committee heard from officials on the Building a United Community programme.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Robert Ainley

All times stated are UK

  1. The committee adjourns

    Mike Nesbitt adjourns the committee.

    Join us tomorrow morning at 10:00 GMT for live coverage of the Culture Committee, including a session on ticketing for the Euro 2016 finals with the representatives of the Irish Football Association.

  2. Play and leisure

    painted hands

    Mike Nesbitt asks about the "signature project on play and leisure".

    Dr Browne says there is no specific budget for the programme.

    "Has it achieved anything?" Mr Nesbitt asks.

    "It has helped top focus departments on the importance of that aspect of play for children and young people as they deliver their programmes," Dr Browne says.

  3. Maths and literacy

    Child writing

    Dr Browne outlines some of the outcomes of the Delivering Social Change programme.

    He says that over 18,000 of primary and post-primary children have received helped with maths and literacy, and that almost 6,000 families have been referred to family support hubs.

  4. Delivering Social Change

    Dr Browne is joined by fellow OFMDFM official Joe Reynolds for a briefing on Delivering Social Change.

    Mike Nesbitt complains about the late delivery of briefing papers.

    "Protocol is five days notice," he says.

  5. Two meetings in three years

    Chris Lyttle

    Committee deputy chairman Chris Lyttle of Alliance asks "why have there been only two ministerial panel meetings in almost three years of the strategy?".

    Dr Browne says "it is difficult to get the full ministers together".

    He adds that "it's all about the overall programme, and the extent to which this programme is being taken forward".

  6. Interface barriers and summer camps

    Mark Browne

    Dr Mark Browne says that, following consultation with all the relevant departments,  "we are taking forward the full range of recommendations in the committee's report".

    He outlines some of the initiatives undertaken, including shared education campuses and 100 summer camps.

    Dr Browne says official shave taken into consideration local concerns about the removal of interface barriers.

  7. Inquiry into Building a United Community

    OFMDFM Officials

    OFMDFM officials arrive to brief the members on the progress made on the implementation of the recommendations made in their report into Building a United Community. 

  8. 'Headline grabbing'

    Alex Maskey

    Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey objects to Mr Nesbitt's line of questioning.

    He says he supports the LCM, and accuses the chairman of "headline grabbing".

    "I don't think you should be introducing a political argument into this," he says.

  9. 'A question for the Secretary of State'

    Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers
    Image caption: Secretary of State Theresa Villiers

    Mike Nesbitt asks what would happen if the Assembly voted against the LCM.

    Neill Jackson says it would "be a question for the Secretary of State at that stage".

    Mr Nesbitt turns to the provisions touching on the budget.

    Joanne McBurney of the Finance Department says they are bringing in legislation because it is required by the Fresh Start agreement

    "It doesn't actually ask us to do anything that we would not normally be doing," she says.

  10. Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Bill

    officials

    Officials arrive to brief the committee on a legislative consent motion (LCM) concerning the Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Bill.

    Mike Nesbitt explains that the LCM relates to commitments made under the Fresh Start agreement.

    Neill Jackson says that two aspects require approval from the Assembly.

    These are the right of OFMDFM to nominate two members to the proposed independent reporting commission on paramilitary activity, and provisions regarding greater transparency into the budgetary process.

  11. Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

    Mike Nesbitt

    UUP leader Mike Nesbitt is chairing this afternoon's meeting of the OFMDFM committee.

  12. Committee adjourned

    Chairman Peter Weir brings the meeting to a close.

    Join us again from 14:00 GMT for coverage of the OFMDFM Committee when members will hear from the department about a range of social initiatives.

  13. 'Problem gamers'

    Boy using laptop

    Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend talks about the impact on young people's communication skills of time spent using digital devices.

    She says its important to tell parents, "the time needs to be restricted to them".

    Robin Newton of the DUP asks about "prolific gamers".

    Ms McStravick says that sleep deprivation can be a problem related to gaming, which can impact on children's concentration in school and even their mental health.

    Richard Nugent says of the cohort involved in the NCB NI report, "50-70% are problem gamers".

  14. 'Access not the issue'

    Richard Nugent, from NCB NI, says their research suggests access to ICT "was not the issue" and other variables had had a greater effect.

    He says there is a "gender gap" with male students more likely to play video games than female students.

    Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy says he has concerns that providing greater access will not have "an educational outcome", but could lead to more playing of games".

    Ms McStravick says it is important to "capitalise on students' online time" by, for example, setting homeworks that use in the internet.

  15. Impact of ICT access on attainment

    Celine McStravick

    Representatives of the National Children's Bureau Northern Ireland (NCB NI) brief the committee on a report entitled "ICT and Me", addressing a "digital divide" in terms of home access to computers.

    In compiling the report, Celine McStravick from NCB NI says the organisation examined the link between the availability of ICT and its impact on GCSE attainment.

    MLAs watch a short video presentation.

  16. Uplifting

    Pat Sheehan

    Pat Sheehan of Sinn Féin describes their evidence as "uplifting" and asks how they encourage collaboration rather than competition between schools.

    "It's been about building trust and respect with each other", says Frank Maskey.

    He says schools develop relationships so headmasters can discuss problems directly if they arise.

  17. Involvement with unionist community

    trevor Lunn

    Trevor Lunn of Alliance asks what engagement the partnership has had with people from a unionist background.

    Geraldine McAteer says they have been working with the Greater Shankill Partnership for around 20 years.

    She says they have been involved in a departmentally-funded early years scheme and had "a number of children" from the Shankill area attending an Easter school.

    Angela Mervyn says that last year, out of 229 children at the Easter School, "two of those were from the Shankill, three from the Donegall Road". The year before there were four children from these areas.

    The West Partnership has also provided advice to other areas wishing to set up similar schemes, she says.