Longniddry Parent Council Meeting
6th May 2009
Ros McIntosh (Chair) P3 Rep, Trish Lang – P2 Rep, Jennifer Shipston – P1 Rep, Claire MacGillivry – P4 Rep, Steph Walsh, Fiona Torrance, Russell Devine – P5 Rep, Sue Whatmore – pm Nursery Rep, Gary Thomson – PTA Treasurer, Jim Duffy – P7 Rep, Sarah Boyd – Teacher Rep, Catherine Jack (Head Teacher), Councillor Peter Mackenzie, Carrie-Ann Scougall (Clerk)
Jamie Wilson, Mhairi Hastie, Councillor Willie Innes
Ros welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for coming.
1. Matters Arising/Approval of Minutes
There is a rota of different people doing the Bakery Club with support staff helping out.
There is to be a homework group meeting on 8.5.09.
The parent contact list for the nursery has now been completed.
Curriculum for Excellence/Open Day is to be held on 7.5.09.
LPS is no member of East Lothian Diversity Network.
The school is not currently on the list for any further refurbishment work to be done at the moment. Concerns were expressed about the state of the toilets.
Nintendo DS games consoles are no longer allowed in school.
The AGM for the PTA is to take place next Wednesday (13.5.09)
The minutes of the meeting of 4 March 2009 were approved.
2. Head Teacher’s Report
Although the school is not currently on the list for further refurbishments, continuous improvements are being made around the school, such as painting etc. There were Health and Safety concerns over the PE equipment cupboard, so the area was refurbished with proper industrial shelving and the old PE room has now been made into a meeting room available for a range of uses.
Apologies were made for the short notice for the Open Day where parents have been invited into their child’s classroom to see Curriculum for Excellence being taught.
There was some discussion around the issue of disruption during the last parent consultation meeting by a small number of children. Parents are welcome to bring their children along, providing they are well behaved.
Parent Council to look at providing a creche for parent consultation evenings or the possibility of extending hours and opening After School Club to all. Action – Gary / Claire
The Staff Self Evaluation has taken place, with priorities for next year decided. They will be; Curriculum for Excellence, Health and Wellbeing, Social Studies and Literacy and a follow up from HMIe.
The school is to play host to a number of visitors. Phil Denning, HMIe is coming to visit the school with a group of Slovak visitors, and it is an honour the school has been chosen as an example of Scottish primary education. A visitor from the linked Italian school is also coming to the school on 19.5.09.
Claire has received an email stating that Aaron Ghandi is to visit East Lothian and deliver a pupil talk on non violence at the Brunton Theatre on 12.10.09. Claire is attending a meeting in May and she will contact Catherine with information on how the school could be involved in this. Action – Claire
There is a meeting next week to link in with Health Week to have a rethink about residential activities and would like to hear thoughts from P5, 6, and 7 parents.
3. New Representatives
Mhairi Hastie was the only parent to put her name forward and is the new representative for Primary 5.
The morning Nursery class also needs a new representative, a further appeal will go out in newsletter. Ros to approach am Nursery parents for volunteers. Action – Ros
Following Angus Tulloch’s resignation there is space for a new coopted member. Ros suggested that as Jim’s son is in P7 and about to start secondary school that he would be an ideal candidate for our co-opted member the meeting unanimously agreed. Jim was happy to accept this role.
4. PTA – The Way Forward
Ros recognised that the PTA has done a fantastic job over the years and that so many of the resources that the children have access to in the school have been made available due to the work of the PTA. Thanks were given to those PTA members present, in particular to Fiona Torrance for her long standing role as Secretary and in his absence to Jamie Wilson, Chairperson.
Given that these post holders and most other members of the PTA are standing down this year there was discussion on the best way forward for events and fundraising to be organised in the future.
The consensus of the Parent Council was that the best option would be for the PTA to disband and a new, small, more informal Events & Fundraising Group be set up as a sub group of the Parent Council.
The Treasurer would join the Parent Council and all financial responsibilities for spending money raised by future events would go through the Parent Council. It was suggested that the sub group consist of 4 parents, Gill Gardner (DHT) and a member of the Parent Council, as yet to be decided. It was also muted that the Communication sub group could assist with marketing to the Parent Forum to recruit a pool of volunteers who could be called on to assist at events throughout the year.
Pending discussions at the PTA AGM on Wed 13 May, this course of action could be pursued, volunteers recruited and the constitution of the Parent Council changed to reflect this. Action – PTA, Ros and Jennifer
5. AGM Planning
Claire has offered to run a workshop at the AGM involving a possible presentation from the pupil council which would encourage parents to come along. This would be followed by a Vision workshop where we could discuss what we are doing well and what we could do better as a Parent Council, from this we can set our objectives for the year ahead. Claire and Ros to plan and advertise the AGM to Parent Forum, Claire to speak to Gill Gardner who facilitates the Pupil Council to see if they would be willing to take part. Action – Claire and Ros
Trish will produce the Parent Council Annual Report for 2008/2009 for discussion at the AGM. Action – Trish
AGM to take place on Wednesday 17th June 2009 at 7pm, all Parent Forum welcome.
6. Parent Council Protocols/Strategic Guidelines
Parental Involvement Strategy booklets were handed out to everyone, along with a draft copy of East Lothian Council Parent Council Protocols.
Concerns were expressed that the Parent Involvement Strategy booklets looked expensively produced and a lot of the factual information appeared to be retrospective rather than an outline of forward plans.
The draft protocols were developed through ELAPCM. In general there was some concern over the prescriptive language used and comment was passed that it seemed rather bureaucratic in approach. Concerns were also expressed regarding having to set the agenda with the Head Teacher, although it was stated that Catherine would be able to come to the meeting prepared for any question which may be asked.
It was suggested that these should be more of a framework for parent councils rather than protocols.
A question was also raised as to who decides who is involved in the strategic groups listed (Financial Advisory Scrutiny Group, Curriculum for Excellence Group, Budget Planning Group) and as to how parents were chosen.
Although the parent council had the above concerns, they commended ELC fort taking parental involvement so seriously.
After some discussion, consensus was reached that members of LPS Parent Council would not be comfortable signing a confidentiality agreement.
Ros to report back on the Parent Council’s comments on both the Protocols and the Parental Involvement Strategy Document to Val McIntyre. Action – Ros
LPS Parent Council agreed that it would be useful for a number of members to be disclosure checked and would be keen to take up the suggestion made by SPTC regarding the centralised disclosure process, particularly as it is without cost implications. We would like more information on how to go about doing this from Val McIntyre. Item for next meeting – volunteers to be disclosure checked. Action – Ros/Val & CarrieAnn
7. ELAPCM Independence
The meeting discussed the suggestion that the ELAPCM should become a body independent of East Lothian Council. It was agreed that ,although ELC has done a great job in establishing the group, it would now be a good idea to establish an independent group to represent parent forums across the authority. Ros to report back to Val McIntyre at ELC. Action – Ros
The next meeting of ELAPCM is to take place on 16.6.09; Ros and Jim plan to attend. Action – Ros and Jim
8. Sub Committee Reports
PTA – there are currently around £2,500 worth of funds in the bank. The AGM is scheduled for 7pm on Wed 13th May in the Staff Room.
Communication – the draft newsletter was circulated, amendments noted and will be distributed through pupil post asap in order to publicise the forthcoming PTA AGM. Thanks were given to Jennifer for coordinating the newsletter and to Murray Wellwood for his dtp work. The meeting agreed that the newsletter looked great and hope it will help raise the Parent Council profile among the parent forum.
Playground – Ros announced that £8,700 was received in funding from the Lottery Awards for All to spend on developing the playground. The meeting was delighted with this news and interested to hear plans to put in a pirate ship, chalk boards and a trim trail. The grounds work required to install these items will cost more than originally thought, but it is hoped it will be completed over the summer break. Ros then reported that she is optimistic she can access further funds once this current work is completed, hopefully over the summer break. Phase 2 of the work would look at improving the areas by the ramp outside Nursery and the steps near the park entrance.
9. Year Representatives Reports
Ros apologised that she had left this item off the revised agenda and that it had not been covered earlier, in future the Year Rep reports will be put after the Head Teacher Report at the start of the meeting. Action – Ros
Primary 3 – Claire has nominated Chris Reid as probationary teacher of the year. His innovation and efficiency has been excellent throughout the year. The group congratulated him on this achievement.
Primary 6 – Russell reported that pupils and staff from Longson Primary School recently made a presentation about their successful Dyslexic Club. He asked if there were any plans for the Dyslexic Club to be reintroduced to LPS. Catherine explained that, unfortunately, as there are other priorities for the support for learning in the school, currently there were no plans to restart the Club. She felt that dyslexic children are receiving the support they need from teaching staff in the classroom.
Russell expressed concerns about the state of the audio equipment in the hall, as highlighted during the Junior Showtime event last term, and that no staff appeared to be able to work it. Catherine explained that a technician from Preston Lodge had been to look at the system and give some training. Russell put forward that Ross Mason had offered to come and look at the system and help sort it out. Catherine was delighted and will get in touch with Ross. Action – Catherine
There is to be no homework on Gala Week.
Brass Instruments – parents would like to see letter go out to keep parents informed regarding the situation on a teacher for brass instruments.
Afternoon Nursery – Sue Whatmore had been asked to raise concerns that the “what we are doing this week” notice in Nursery required updating. Catherine will pass this comment on to Gill Gardner but suggested that questions such as this would be better aimed directly to the staff member rather than raised through Parent Council.
Unfortunately, the meeting over ran and the items under any other business were not discussed.
Ros will email Parent Council members the information about the National Parent Council body, the National Parent Council Conference and training available. Although she did point out that everyone should have received this information directly by email already. Action – Ros
Date of the next meeting – AGM to be held on 17 June 2009