Sciennes Parent Council Meeting
Thursday 10th March 2016 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) Colin Sim (Parent, CS) Lucy Gallagher (Deputy Head Teacher, LG) Rosa Portero (P1 year rep, RP) Leanne Boyle (Co-Treasurer, LB) Alison Noble (Head Teacher, AN) Tim Pask (Clubs, TP) Charlotte Herthelius (Chair EFG, CH) Fiona Denvir (Health & Wellbeing, FD) Sarah McIlhone (Parent, SMc) Christine Rednall (Parent, CR) Kirstin Unger (Parent, KU) Pheobe Cochrane (Eco group, PC)
Welcome and Apologies. KT welcomed everyone to the meeting and acknowledged the following apologies: Cathy McCormack and Emma Kirk.
January Minutes and matters arising.
1. Tempest photography booked for October 2016 to take sibling photos. ACTION: CH to confirm with Linda possibility of class photos.
2. Soft start is working fine and will no longer me monitored. COMPLETE.
3. There has been a successful Buildings and Facilities meeting regarding the school toilets. ACTION: James Chow to report back at the next meeting.
4. Easy fundraising – LG agreed to take this forward. COMPLETE.
5. Suggestion of Fruit Day: Action: AN will follow up with James Chow.
6. Discounts on trips and merchandise for children in receipt of free school meals. ACTION: Carry forward.
7. PC Consitution sub-group work in progress. ACTION: KT to present a draft constitution at the next meeting.
8. Better overview of what school trip fees are for and s summary of costs per year group. Produce figures that allow an estimate of costs for the year ahead. The Comms. Group have decided to take this forward. ACTION: TB to coordinate this initative.
Road closure: CEC was contacted by PC regarding road closure signage – the improved yellow signage is now in place. Parent/Carer volunteers are out every morning to try to enforce the road closure. More volunteers are needed.
Music: There are opportunities for parents to contribute. If interested, contact KT.
Succession Planning in advance of the AGM. ACTION: Office bearers to email KT and confirm whether or not they will be continuing next year. Volunteers are needed for the Events and Fundraising Group.
World Book Day: There was discussion of lack of clarity about whether the children were allowed to dress up. The different approach to the event in upper and lower primary was felt to be divisive among siblings. AN acknowledged that the school’s approach has varied year to year – this year was lower key as teaching staff were busy and the focus was on the launch of the reading shed. CH felt conflicting information caused upset especially in the lower school.
Outdoor Learning: AN confirmed that parents are being surveyed about outdoor learning including residential trips. This year there will be no P4 or P5 skiing.
Mobile phones at school disco: CH raised the issue of mobiles at the disco and cyber bullying. LG confirmed that she felt an appropriate use of technology should be encouraged but perhaps a policy is needed. ACTION: SMT to work on mobile phone policy at school and after school events.
Via email Emma Kirk raised the issue of the Hopscotch theatre performance. There was a widespread lack of clarity amongst P1 parents. LG confirmed it was a theatre production about the rights of the child. AC agreed more info is needed in emails especially for P1s.
Head Teacher Report. Alison Noble presented her Head Teacher’s Report dated 10th March 2016 to the Parent Council. Please see attached Report. 3 staff members will be going on maternity leave – more information will follow.
Finance: There was discussion of efficiency savings which have been made to a measure of £17.5K each year for the past 5 years. AN will produce per capita figures for the AGM. Funding through the Positive Action scheme, which is linked to free school meal entitlement, has been recently reviewed and Sciennes cut completely. This year’s budget does have a carry forward in anticipation of cuts next year. AC confirmed there is no risk of this being lost as it is below the threshold. Savings have been made through the secondment of a Deputy Head to Edinburgh University and careful management of the photocopying budget.
Dining Hall: Work is still planned to commence onsite at Easter. There will be limited access through the rear gates – AN confirmed the football club will still be able to get access.
Playground: Playground Action Plan has been published. Fiona Sellar is collating the pupil survey for display at Parents Evening. TB raised the issue of a risk benefit analysis for the playground. AN updated that recommendations from the David Yearly Rospa Playsafety inspection (1st Feb) were being carried out. The report was commissioned to achieve tolerable residual risk and compliance on all points. It was noted the report found a high and medium risk of major head injury relating to the position of some rocks in the playground and a feasibility study for the removal of some rocks is being undertaken. It was noted a group complaint about CEC’s responses to safety concerns had been upheld and the CEC were working towards resolving the safety issues, with organisational learning and new protocol being undertaken as part of the process. RB confirmed that CEC has a zero harm policy implemented by Susan Tananhill Head of Health and Safety – this requires a ROSPA score of 6 or less. It was noted communication from the council to parents to explain what was happening could be clearer. PC strongly feels the need for a proper risk benefit analysis and improved communication from CEC. ACTION: School to communicate the PC position regarding proper risk benefit analyses and improved communication from CEC to relevant officials at CEC. CH raised the issue of the nature strip and widespread concern that it was out of use. AN confirmed that it is still in use for the curriculum and has been used less since December time due to wet weather. Children are expected to begin using it again within a week now the ground has dried out. AC confirmed that to her knowledge dogs cannot be banned, but she has commissioned signs about school children’s use of the area. The fence around the area has been repaired. ACTION: AC will check with CEC regarding banning dogs as this does seem to be possible in some play areas.
CEC Parent / Carer Survey: Good response but lower than last year. The results were emailed out.
Raising Awareness of Child Poverty: There has been concern over the cost of residential trips. There will be meetings to discuss this and school will also be seeking parental input via online survey.
Finance Report LB presented the Finance Report dated 10th March 2016. Please see attached Finance Report.
Friends of Sciennes School (FSS) asked for confirmation of the Swimathon date – 25th April – and what the money raised will be used for. KT suggested handing over spending plan to FSS. It was confirmed that the PC bank balance is distinct from the FSS account – they currently cover the cycling bill. There was discussion of what the money from the Swimathon should go towards. There was a general feeling that it should be for something specific not just the general pot. CS thought it would be good if the children could choose, perhaps via an online method. KT informed that Swimathon is the main income bringer for FSS and FSS has agreed to fund cycling and swimming subsidy.
School Street Scheme. KT thanked all parents/carers for their support of the School Street Scheme by respecting the traffic restrictions at school drop off and pick up times. Especial thanks to the volunteers standing on the streets for their dedication, enthusiasm and courage. Please see the attached notes that summarize the progress of the Street Project so far. It was suggested that the scheme would benefit from a coordinator to collect ideas/suggestions and act as face outward. ACTION: Convener to be recruited to manage volunteers. There are 2 main concerns with the Scheme at present: poor signage / lack of policing – it is hoped that it is early days and things will continue to improve. There was discussion of methods of recruiting greater numbers of volunteers. It was agreed that any parental engagement in this matter has to be strictly voluntary and there was no support for a recruitment drive via class parent reps. AC feels there has been a significant improvement in compliance with the scheme. AC is willing to resend instruction email for volunteers but emphasized that it is a CEC initiative not a school initiative. A Doodle poll should be put out again for next semester. There was concern that the presence of volunteers is not sustainable.
Sub-Group Updates: see attached reports.
Comms Group: Email Policy to Facilitate communication between the PC and the Parent Forum and cut down on unnecessary duplication of communications. It is hoped to reduce emails to a weekly bulletin and emails marked Urgent or Optional. There is no intention to restrict in class communications. Approved.
Work of Comms. Group with AN on questions for the Parent Survey: Approved.
Looking for Buildings and Facilities Group Leader: To be advertised.
Eco Group: £30 for feeder group into Pedal on Parliament. Approved. ACTION: TB to advertise.
EFG volunteers needed for upcoming events eg Silent Auction and Summer Fair. ACTION: TB to advertise.
Football Club request clear guidelines for volunteer PVG process. ACTION: KT to liaise with TP and Morven Cadell.
HWB Group: Caledonia Attack fundraising – donate button on website. ACTION: TB to investigate and advertise.
Correspondence None AOB None. The meeting finished at 9pm.