Longniddry Primary School Parent Council
Annual General Meeting
4th June 2008
Background of the Parent Council
In Feb 2007 all parents were informed that, as a result of the new Parental Involvement Act, the existing school board would be replaced in August by a new Parent Council. From August every parent of the school was a member of the Parent Forum. The Parent Council is the representative group acting on behalf of that Forum and would include representatives of each year group. A working group was formed to produce a constitution and, in May, the year group representatives were elected. The council’s aims are:
· To support the school in its work with pupils and parents
· Represent the views of parents
· Promote contact and communication between the school and wider school community
· Report to the Parent Forum
At its first meeting in June, the council agreed that, to make the transition easier, for the first year of the new Council, the previous School Board office bearers would continue in their posts.
In accordance with the Parental Involvement Act, the Parent Council has two main duties:
1. to consult frequently with the Parent Forum and represent its views;
2. to produce an action plan which details it’s aims and objectives.
With regard to representing the parent’s views, the council representatives have worked hard to forge links with the parents in their year group, using a variety of means including email, newsletters and, of course, direct contact in the playground.
The Parent Council’s action plan is:
a) to optimise communication between the Parent Council and the Parent
b) to facilitate enhanced opportunities for parental involvement in the
We have contacted every member of the Parent Forum requesting permission to contact them directly by email. It was hoped that each year group representative could use this approach to enable communication specific to each child in the school. This has had limited success, due to a disappointing response rate. However we will continue to work on this area as, not only is it a more reliable means of ensuring communication with parents, but it also underpins the schools eco-friendly policy.
We now have our parent zone pages up and running on the school website (http://edubuzz.org/longniddry ). All Parent Council minutes are posted here, so you can catch up on what’s been happening at your leisure. There’s also information on the PTA as well as details of school policies.
The Parent Council is hoping to erect notice boards at each school entrance. The PTA has agreed, in principal, to help fund these, subject to costing. Again, we hope that this will encourage discussion about the issues affecting our children’s education and their school.
Some of the improved opportunities for parental involvement we are underpinning include:
- After School Clubs – It is likely that the number of After School Clubs will be cut next year, due to the time pressures faced by teachers. Parents will be asked to run and/or support these clubs. Mrs Jack is looking at running two blocks of clubs in the winter months, probably after the October break and in January.
- We have issued ‘tear-off slips’ asking for class-room volunteers to assist teachers.
- The school is asking for parental help with Golden Time and again the Parent Council will be involved with this undertaking.
Some of the Parent Council’s Achievements
East Lothian Council’s Proposed Budget cuts
In January, East Lothian Council proposed a 3% “efficiency saving” in our school’s budget – equating to £25,000. The Parent Council was concerned that such a cut would have a direct effect on the provision of learning support and auxiliary staffing which will have a detrimental effect on the quality of education offered at Longniddry. Following a meeting with Councillor Currie, the Parent Council drew up a model letter to appeal against this proposal and encouraged Longniddry parents to send it to their local councillors and MSPs.
Consequently, efficiency savings were agreed at a reduced level of 1.5%. Proposals to cover the cuts were that the nursery nurse in P1 would move into nursery, replacing a retiring member of staff. However, this issue has not been laid to rest – bigger efficiency savings are expected to be required in the next two years.
Reducing School Role
In April concerns for the school’s future grew following East Lothian Council’s (ELC) rejection of applications for P1 children from out of catchment, together with their proposal to move from a ten class school to nine. Historically, between 20% and 25% of Longniddry’s pupils have come from out of catchment. The ELC’s stance on this issue will result in a falling school role and may result in further reductions in staff. Representatives from the Parent Council met with Maureen Jobson, Head of Education, regarding the falling school roll and the hope that the 10 classes could be retained. A letter was also sent to Councillors and a reply has been received from Councillors McKenzie and Currie.
Ros MacIntosh has been driving forward some tremendous work on the development of the school playground.
The minibeast garden is nearly finished and has been a great success. The Playground Development Group has been working with the Pupil Council to get the children involved in the planning of our new playground. Visits have been made to other schools and £2,000 is available from the PTA to provide seated shelters if appropriate.
Our eligibility for various grants is being investigated and Ros is liaising with a number of bodies including the local council, Park Rangers, the Woodland Trust and the Scottish Wildlife Trust to expedite the many different areas of this project.
Topics for Discussion at Parent Council
As you will see from the minutes, there are many issues raised at each Parent Council meeting. Here is a taste of what we’ve looked at over the past year:
- Disclosure Scotland and how it applies in our school. This issue has been revisited a number of times as the legislation on it is complicated and lacks clarity.
- Composite classes
- School security
- School policies, including anti bullying
- Parent consultations
- Disabled parking
- Nursery renovation and impending P2/3 area renovation
- Staffing issues
- Parking in John Knox Road
- After school clubs
- School twinning
- Walking Bus Stickers
- funding to allow two teachers to visit school in South Africa
- Nursery Reading Initiative
Ongoing issues for the Parent Council
Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Longniddry Primary School (the PTA) was held in February. The purpose of the EGM was to consider, and decide on, a proposal to dissolve the PTA and to reform it as a sub-group within the Parent Council. Once part of the PARENT COUNCIL, the PTA would continue to work as a fundraising body and would retain full control over the allocation of where any funds are spent. By being part of the Parent Council, the PTA would no longer require its own insurance and would therefore save a significant amount of money.
The EGM agreed to the reforming of the PTA as a sub-group of the Parent Council but only after proper wording was in place within the Parent Council constitution and a PTA sub-group remit/constitution has been ratified. It is hoped that this will go ahead at the PTA AGM on 4th June 2008.
The Parent Council intends to publish a one page summary of the issues discussed at its meeting, on the school website, shortly after each meeting.
Issues raised by Parents
An important part of our role as a Parent Council is to represent issues raised by the parent forum to the Head Teacher. Some of the issues addressed at the request of parents include:
- School meals
- School security
- School uniform
- School policies including anti bullying
- Parent consultations
- Golden time
- Wet weather arrangements
- Time Allowed or Pupils to Leave School at the End of the Day
- Informing Parents of School Trips
- Innerwick Trip
- Whole School Assembly
- Lost Property
- Worry box
- Fencing danger
Training and Meetings
As well as attending the Longniddry Parent Council meetings, members have also taken the opportunity to attend a number of training courses and represented Longniddry Primary at various local association meetings.
During this first year we have had a number of presentations made to us on issues affecting the school and its surrounding area. These have included:
A talk from Phil Denning, HMIE Inspector, who discussed the work of HMIE in schools and how the Parent Council and Forum can feed into the inspection process. This will be a key issue during our next school inspection.
A talk from Val McIntyre, from East Lothian Council. She is responsible for setting up, promoting and supporting Parent Councils.
A presentation on demographics by Ian Fullerton, Principle Officer, Strategic Planning, East Lothian Council together with Richard Parker, Business Manager, East Lothian Council. The information derived from this presentation enabled the Parent Council to fully appreciate the implications of East Lothian Council’s stance of rejecting out of catchment placings.
Councillors Willie Innes, Stuart Currie and Peter McKenzie have also attended the Parent Council
This has been a busy and exciting first year for the Longniddry Parent Council. We have achieved much and have worked well as a team. Our learning curve has been steep but achievable. We have faced some challenging issues and produced positive results. This is thanks to the parents of Longniddry Primary. The Parent Council can only be as strong as the Forum it represents.
With your help, we foresee ongoing success from our continuing efforts.