At the January 14th Parent Council meeting a Constitution working group was established to consider various amendments to the current Parent Council Constitution, adopted in June 2014. In particular, the group was tasked with broadening representation on the Parent Council to ensure that all year groups are represented.
Various amendments were discussed at the May 12 Parent Council meeting. These amendments will be voted on at the Parent Council AGM, open to all parents and carers, on June 16.
The amendments include:
- Clarification as to who are the voting members of Parent Council to include Office Bearers, Subgroup Conveners and named Year Reps;
- Extending three year term limits to all PC members.
The full text of the proposed Constitution can be found at the end of this post or as a PDF below. A copy of the current Constitution can be found here.
All changes have been made retaining the ethos of Sciennes PC and the original Sciennes PC Constitution, while making it more user friendly (eg section labeling, added structure), bringing it in line with the guidelines given by Scottish Parent Teacher Council, the latest recommendations for PC Governance, and adapting the Constitution to what works best for the PC in practice.
We value your thoughts regarding the proposed amendments. Please feel free to comment below or send in your comments/suggestions/concerns/support to email@example.com by Thursday June 9th. This will allow us to refine the draft further in advance of the AGM, June 16th.
Constitution of Sciennes Parent Council – Draft Amendments
This is the constitution of Sciennes Parent Council (‘the Council’).
The Parent Council represents and is accountable to the Parent Forum of the school as defined in the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006.
Throughout this constitution the following terms are defined as:
- Parent refers to parent(s), carer(s) and legal guardian(s) of pupils at the School as defined by law (Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006.
- School refers to Sciennes Primary School, and pupils to those children attending the school.
- Parent Forum is defined by the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006. Its membership comprises all parents, carers and guardians of the pupils at Sciennes Primary School.
- AGM is the annual general meeting of the parent forum.
- To support the school in its work with pupils;
- To represent the views of parents;
- To promote contact between the school, parents, pupils, and the community;
- To report to the Parent Forum.
The aims of the Council are to advance education by working in partnership with the school to:
- create a welcoming school which is inclusive for all pupils and parents;
- promote partnership between the school, pupils, parents, and the wider local community;
- develop and engage in activities which support the education and welfare of pupils;
- identify and represent the views of parents on the education provided by the school and other matters affecting the education and welfare of pupils.
The Parent Council shall comprise two types of membership: voting and non-voting
There will be no discrimination on grounds of age, gender, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, political or other opinion.
The membership of the Council will be a minimum of seven voting members, the Head Teacher (or their representative).
3.1 Voting Members
Voting members will be drawn for the Parent Forum and therefore shall be open automatically to all parents. The Council will encourage all parents to contribute to its activities.
Voting Members include:
- Office Bearers,
- Year Reps,
- Subgroup Conveners.
Voting members will be appointed for a period of one year, after which they may put themselves forward for re-appointment for a maximum of three consecutive years. After three years as a voting member they may remain part of the Council as a non-voting member for one year before they can be re-appointed as a voting member.
Posts may be shared. A shared post will be considered as one voting member. Those who share the post will decide amongst themselves how to organise their voting membership.
Anyone not selected to be a voting member may be offered the opportunity to be a non-voting member, take part in the work of any subgroups set up by the Council or participate in the activities of the Council.
3.2 Office Bearers
The Council Office Bearers must be parents and shall include the Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Events & Fundraising Convener.
The Council can create and elect other roles as considered to be appropriate to enable it to carry out its functions and fulfil its objectives.
Office Bearers will be elected at the AGM and are appointed for one year. Office Bearers may be re-elected for multiple terms and may hold office for a period of three consecutive years. Office Bearers may not hold more than one position at one time.
Prior to each AGM, nominations for Office Bearers will be invited from the Parent Forum. If there is more than one nomination for a particular position it will be decided by a vote of member of the Parent Forum in attendance at the AGM. Each nominee will be given a chance to present information prior to the vote.
If no nominations are forthcoming for the position of Chair, Vice-Chair or Events & Fundraising Convener, then the position will remain vacant. In the event that the position of Chair remains vacant, an individual from the Council will be selected on a rotating basis to run the Council meetings.
If no nominations are forthcoming for the position of Treasurer then the Parent Council will co-opt a suitable Treasurer.
If any of the Office Bearers resign prior to an AGM, then an Interim Office Bearer will be elected at the next Parent Council meeting to serve until the next AGM.
In the event that an Office Bearer does not attend more than two consecutive Parent Council meetings without apologies the position may become available at the next Parent Council meeting.
3.3 Year Representatives – to be known as Year Reps
The role of each Year Rep is to attend all Council meetings as a voting member, and to collect, collate and represent the views of the parents in their year group on Parent Council matters.
Year Reps are appointed for one year with elections/appointments held at the AGM, with the exception of the Primary 1 year rep. The Primary 1 year rep will be elected at the first meeting of the year of either the Parent Forum or the Council, whichever is held first.
Year Reps may be re-elected for multiple terms and may hold office for a period of three consecutive years. Year Reps may not hold more than one position at one time.
Prior to each AGM, nominations for Year Reps will be invited from the Parent Forum. If there is more than one nomination for a particular year group then the individuals will be informed prior to the AGM so that they can decide amongst themselves who will be their year’s Year Rep. In the event that agreement cannot be reached by the individuals, names will be drawn at random at the AGM.
If any of the Year Reps resign prior to an AGM, then an Interim Year Rep will be elected at the next Parent Council meeting to serve until the next AGM.
If no member of the Parent Forum puts their name forward to represent a particular year group, the position will remain unfilled. Any member of that year’s Parent Forum may approach the Parent Council Chair for representation on specific issues.
In the event that a Year Rep does not attend more than two consecutive Parent Council meetings without apologies the position may become available at the next Parent Council meeting.
3.4 Subgroup Conveners
Each subgroup will be represented on Parent Council by the Subgroup Convener or other representative as decided by that subgroup’s members at their final meeting of the year.
Subgroup Conveners are appointed for one year terms by the members of the Subgroup. Subgroup Conveners may be re-appointed for multiple terms and may hold office for a period of three consecutive years. Subgroup Conveners may not hold more than one position at one time.
3.5 Non-voting Members
The Parent Council and associated Subgroups may co-opt members with no voting capacity to assist with carrying out its functions when necessary. Non-voting members include:
- Head Teacher of the School, or their representative, who has both a right and a duty to attend meetings;
- the School shall be invited to provide at least one teaching member of staff and one non-teaching member of staff, such as the Business Manager;
- individuals from the wider school and local community, including local councilors;
- Administration Clerk, as funded by City of Edinburgh Council.
4.1 Council Meetings
The Council will meet a minimum of once per term, and additionally as is required. As far as is practicable there should be a meeting within the first month of each term.
A meeting will be deemed to be quorate if there are at least forty percent of members present; with the minimum being five members in attendance of whom at least four must be members of the Parent Forum. The parents must include at least one Office Bearer.
The Council must meet if a minimum of four Council members request a meeting.
Dates of routine public meetings of the Parent Council will be communicated to the Parent Forum at least two weeks in advance.
All meetings of the Council will be held in public and members of the Parent Forum and staff are welcome to attend. The only exception to this will be if issues of a confidential nature are to be discussed. Confidential issues will be agreed between the Chair and Head Teacher. Any such discussions will take place in private.
There will be a formal agenda for each meeting and this will be circulated to Council members in advance by the Clerk or other Office Bearer on behalf of the Chair. Reports to be tabled for discussion at meetings should, where possible, be circulated to the members in advance of any meeting. All meetings of the Council will be minuted and minutes will be published to the Parent Forum following each meeting.
Any member of the Parent Forum may submit a topic for discussion at a Council meeting by contacting the Chair at least two weeks in advance.
Members of the Council will attend meetings of the Sciennes School Pupil Council by invitation of the Pupil Council.
4.2 Parent Forum Meetings
The Parent Council will make a report on its activities to the Parent Forum at least once a year, but ideally at the beginning and end of every year (ie/ once in the autumn and at the AGM in June).
The Council has the power to convene a meeting of the Parent Forum if required.
The Parent Forum must meet if requested by a minimum of fifteen parents.
4.3 Annual General Meeting
There will be an Annual General Meeting of the Parent Council, incorporating a meeting of the Parent Forum. This will provide an opportunity to discuss issues that members of the Parent Forum may wish to raise.
The Annual General Meeting will take place in June each year and at least one month’s notice of the date and time of the meeting will be given.
At the Annual General Meeting the Council will provide a report on its activities, the finances, elect Office Bearers and Year Reps, and appoint members of the Parent Council.
The Annual General Meeting will also appoint an independent reviewer who will carry out an annual audit of the Council’s accounts including the Chess and Football Clubs.
The Council will publish an annual report which will be available to the Parent Forum in advance of the Annual General Meeting.
Resolutions may be presented and voted on at the Annual General Meeting if they are submitted by the Council or are endorsed by a minimum of fifteen parents.
A resolution for the dissolution of the Council may be presented by a minimum of fifteen parents. In order to pass such a resolution at least three quarters of the parents attending the meeting must vote in favour.
- Decision Making
As far as possible, the Council will take decisions by reaching consensus.
Any member concerned that a consensus will not be, or has not been reached, may demand that a vote is taken.
Voting members will have one vote per position. In any vote the view of the majority of those parent members present and voting will prevail.
In case of a tie, the chair will have the casting vote or may defer the final vote to a later date pending consultation of the Parent Forum.
The votes cast and the outcome of the vote shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Non-voting members will have the right to be heard at any meeting they attend, and the Council will have due regard to this, but non-voting members will not have any right to vote.
The Council has the power to set up subgroups as required. These may be either single issue working groups or may carry out ongoing activities as part of the overall work of the Council.
Each subgroup will have a Convener, who represents the interests of the subgroup as a voting member of the Parent Council. Other subgroup members need not be Parent Council members and may be drawn from the Parent Forum, staff and community as appropriate.
The subgroup will meet as frequently as is required to fulfil its aims.
Since the Parent Council is the representative body of the Parent Forum, any subgroup formed will be accountable to the Parent Forum, through the Parent Council.
All subgroups should agree on an annual plan. The Subgroup Conveners will provide regular written status reports on their activities to the Council at the termly meetings. The permanent subgroups are Communications, Clubs and Events & Fundraising.
The Clubs subgroup, which includes before and after school clubs, Chess and Football Clubs, and links with the Active Schools Clubs, reports in to the Council so as to ensure appropriate coverage from an insurance and PVG perspective.
Additionally the Chess and Football Clubs should submit financial reports to the Parent Council on an annual basis, and are accordingly covered by the SPTC membership (Scottish Parent Teacher Council) and associated public liability insurance.
The Treasurer will maintain a bank account in the name of the Sciennes Parent Council for all Council funds.
Withdrawals will require the signature of the Treasurer and one other named individual (either Co-Treasurer, Events & Fundraising Convener, or Council Chair).
The Treasurer will keep an accurate record of all income and expenditure, and will provide a summary of this for each Council meeting and a full account for the Annual General Meeting.
The Council accounts including the Chess and Football Clubs will be audited by the independent reviewer appointed at the previous Annual General Meeting.
The Council shall be responsible for ensuring that all monies are used in accordance with the objectives of the Council.
Formal complaints about Council activities shall be made in writing (or by email) to the Council Chair or Vice-Chair and copied to the Head Teacher. The Head Teacher and the Chair will endeavour to ensure that a satisfactory outcome is achieved for the complainant and that processes and procedures are updated as required.
- Behaviour of Council Members
If a Council member acts in a way that is considered by other members to undermine the objectives of the Council, their membership of the Council shall be terminated if the majority of parent members agree. Termination of membership would be confirmed in writing to the member.
Individuals must have the approval of the Parent Council before they are able to represent the views of the Parent Council externally.
- Changing the Constitution
The Council may change its constitution after obtaining consent from a majority of the Parent Forum at a meeting. Members of the Parent Forum will be sent a copy of any proposed amendment and given reasonable time to respond to the proposal.
- Dissolution of the Council
The Council may be dissolved at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose, provided that at least three quarters of the parents attending the meeting vote in favour.
In the event of the dissolution of the Council any assets remaining after the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities shall be given or transferred to the School to be held in trust and applied for any purpose which the law regards as charitable for the benefit of the children attending the school.
If the reason for the winding up of the Council is the closure of the school then the residuary assets shall be given or transferred to a recognised charitable body or bodies with similar objects.
Revised June 2016