Minutes of Sciennes Parent Council Meeting, Monday 14 September 2015

Sciennes Parent Council Meeting, Monday 14th Sep 2015 7-9pm

Room 16, Sciennes Primary School

Attendees: Kristel Torokoff (Chair, KT) Kirsten Belk (Clerk, KB) Ro Banyard (Parent, RB) Tanya Boughtflower (Vice Chair, Comm. Group TB) Paddy Napier (P1 year rep, PN) Colin Sim (Parent, CS) Domenic Risi (Parent, P2 year rep?,DR) Lucy Gallagher (Deputy Head Teacher, LG) Bethan McEwan (Parent, BM) Claire Marshall (Parent, CM) Scott Bain (Parent, SB) Corrine Kirk (Parent, CK) Mary Kernothan (Parent Rep P6/7, MK) Neil Oliver (Parent, NO) Paul Beaton (Parent, PB) LeeAnne Boyle (Co-Treasurer, LB) Rosa Portero (P1 year rep, RRP Catherine McCormack (Treasurer, CMc) Jack Cadell (Playground & Facilities, JC) Nikki Sinclair (Parent, NS) Angela Christie (Business Manager, AC) Alison Noble (Head Teacher, AN) Tim Pask (Clubs, TP) Charlotte Herthelius (Chair E&F, CH) Emma Kirk (Parent, EK) Fiona Denvir (Health & Wellbeing, FD) L-J Stewart (Parent, volunteer P3 or P5 rep.) Aly Turnbull (Parent, AT) Clare Langley (Parent, CL) Sarah McIlhone (Parent, SMc)

Welcome and Apologies. KT welcomed everyone to the meeting and acknowledged the following apologies: Anna Salman Fiona Anthony Aileen Nimmo Conrad (FC Chair) Phoebe Cochrane KT invited all present to join the PC and there was a general consensus that all would become members. It was agreed that signup sheet emails would be used on public communications unless KB was informed otherwise.

April Minutes and Matters Arising.

1. Fruit Group ACTION: Outstanding Actions for CH and AN to be carried forward.

2. Bullying ACTION: AN to ensure that current policy goes onto the website. Improvement group carried forward.

3. Residential Trips In response to concerns raised by CH the cost of residential trips at other primaries was investigated. AC established that Preston Street Primary is able to charge a lower fee as bus fees and bedding are charged separately, and there is a significant difference in the venues.

AGREED: KT acknowledged that we now have a better understanding why there is a significant price difference, we are still none the wiser how to bring the cost down for Sciennes residential trips. KT suggested to the issue may need to be revisited in future.

4. Amendments. AGREED: Minor corrections to dates on pages 2 and 3.

Open Discussion Discussion:

  1. Sibling photographs were requested by parents. AN agreed this was possible and that these have previously been taken in October in time for Christmas. AC raised concerns about the potential for disruption to classes but that the photos had proven profitable. There was a general parental preference for traditional photographs.

ACTION: School to organise Tempest Photography.

Discussion: There was a request for P2 class photos. There was a general discussion of timings and formality. It was agreed these could be taken informally in the spring term and emailed out.

ACTION: CH to ask photographer Linda if she is willing to take photos.

2. Discussion: RP wished to discuss school lunches. RP felt the daily availability of pudding was unhealthy. There was a general discussion of the quality of school meals. Overall the quality has been improving with AC emphasising that the school now prepares 70% of meals from scratch (this was previously 30%) and that nutritional standards are monitored. The menu is set centrally by Edinburgh Council and Sciennes has limited control over what it serves. AN informed the group that fruit is always available at lunch time in addition to, as well as instead of desert. Parents are always welcome to come to the dinner hall to see what the children are served. There was discussion of the school making pictures of the meals available. TB suggested including lunches as a topic for the Parent Survey.

ACTION: RP to write to Edinburgh City Council regarding her concerns. TB to consider putting a question in the Parent Survey.

3. Discussion: There was discussion of the school’s new soft start policy. Since week 2 the doors have been open from 845 for smoother entry. AC has had positive feedback from parents. There was some concern that the policy means parents cannot easily communicate with teachers in the mornings. There is no division by door between the primary years, and there is always a staff member at each door. Concern was raised that there remains some confusion amongst the children about the policy.

ACTION: AN to remind the children and parents that the children can enter by both doors.

4. Discussion: Toilets. The parent concerned was unable to attend.

ACTION: To be carried forward.

5. Presentation: RB gave a presentation of her safety concerns about the new playground. Health and Safefty Professionals classify risks on a scale from trivial to intolerable. RB considers that the type of stone used in the playground and located in its current position, presents an intolerable risk. RB does not believe Sciennes playground conforms to the standards of good practice set down by Play England and Kids Safe Australia. These bodies recommend smooth stone, located safely away from areas where children are playing at height or running at speed. RB identified 3 primary areas of concern; the jagged rocks edging the playground structure, the rocks that edge the hill and the 2 rocks near the sandpit. RB emphasised the school’s health and safety duty under s3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. RB noted that the Sciennes’ risk benefit assessment of 20th Aug. 2015 does not mention the rocks at all. RB would like to see the following:

  • The risk assessment immediately reviewed and revised to include the risk presented by these rocks.
  • The designer made aware that this is not good practice
  • Sciennes as the party now legally responsible for the playground take appropriate measures to reduce the risk.

Discussion: The efforts of all involved in the creation of the new playground were acknowledged. A number of parents supported RB’s concerns and there was a general consensus that the finished playground was not what many parents had expected. AN has discussed these concerns with the architect, with Edinburgh City Council’s senior play co coordinator and is arranging another visit from ROSPA. AN acknowledged that the safety of the children is her responsibility and is something which she takes very seriously. AN was concerned to monitor the situation. AN does not want to make hasty alterations which may make the playground less safe. Anecdotally there were fewer injuries on the new playground. RB did not feel that AN’s responses addressed the urgency of the situation. The possibility of cordoning off the areas was raised. Similar playgrounds at Cramond and Trinity were discussed. TB felt that now that the issues had been identified there needed to be a focus on solutions and suggested RB may like to make her presentation to the designers.

ACTION :AC to review the Risk Assessment document. Discussion referred to the Playground meeting on the 22nd of Sept at 6pm in room 16. AN to invite relevant experts to the playground meeting to address these concerns.

Head Teacher’s Report.

Alison Noble presented her Head Teacher’s Report dated 14 Sep 2015 to the Parent Council. Please see attached Report.


The Safer Streets Pilot begins on the 22nd of Sep. There will be a police presence on the 1st day.

The Parent Survey is to be completed by the 1st of November. TB welcomed a new member CS to the Comm Group. The Parent Survey will mainly cover areas under the remit of PC.

The Grand Opening of the playground will take place on the 24th of October. This event will be jointly organised by the school and the PC. All donors, previous and current Sciennes families as well as the wider community will be invited

Finance Report

CMc presented the Finance Report dated 23 April 2015. Please see attached Finance Report. Points to note: The balance is £3286 – in line with last year. The lump sum received from CEC is divided between communications expenditure, the clerk and 60p per child. Easy fundraising was down on last year. A successful uniform sale raised £403. FSS have £3000 of unrestricted funds available. There was expenditure on 1 club subsidy and refreshments for the P1 evening.

ACTION: CH will advertise easy fundraising. CMc to put together advert for an auditor for the flier.

PC Spending Plan.

Point 1: basic costs was agreed. The rest was carried forward to the next meeting. The spending plan aims for greater transparency and continues the tradition of paying for the water fountains, gifts for the janitors and a buffer for extra expenses.

Sub-Group Updates:

See attached updates Fruit Group: KT invited the PC to adopt the group and this was done. The group will begin on the 25th of Sep. The group runs for 30 weeks at a cost of £100 per week and last year broke even financially. The PC agreed a £6 per child per year suggested donation.

Events and Fundraising: CH told the PC that the focus will be on events after last year’s fundraising push. CH queried how the group should sign off its costs. CMc advised that it was best to ask event by event and that previous year’s costs were a good guide.

ACTION: CH to advertise for additional members. Comms: TB invited potential topics for consideration for the Parent Survey.

Health and Wellbeing: The group’s initial meeting on the 23rd of Sep has received a good response. There was a discussion of the potential ambiguity in the name and the group was encouraged to think about potentially changing the name to better reflect the focus of their activity. PC agrees that the focus of the group is children’s emotional health and well being.

Eco Group: It was agreed that as a form of recycling the uniform sale should come under the Eco Group giving the group the potential for self funding.

Clubs: In general PC clubs are going well. Football Club: There was discussion of the insurance for clubs. SPT Council funding covers this; giving limited liability for the clubs.

Playground Group: Report attached


None. The meeting ended at 9pm.

Playground Safety Concerns Report 14th Sept 2015

PC_Head Teacher Report_ 14th Sept

PC_Progress update template_Football Club_13Sep15






Progress update _HWB_Sept_2015

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