ARDROSS PRIMARY SCHOOL
Minutes of Parent Council Annual General Meeting held in Ardross Primary School
Monday, 25th January 2016 at 2.30pm
Present: Gemma Dunnett (HT) Abigail Walker Apologies: Shirlee O’Reilly
Catherine Allison (CT) Amanda Kelly
Fiona MacLean Kelly Falkiner
Imogen Percy-Bell Isla Graham
June Bowman Fionn Pittman
Mrs Dunnett opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending this important AGM.
Election of New Parent Council Members
Mrs Dunnett told the meeting that it was time to elect new members for our Parent Council and apologised for holding this meeting on a Monday. Due to diary constraints at school this was the only available slot before the February break. She then asked if a Tuesday was normally still the best day for meetings and most people said it was not. It was agreed that we would try the next couple of meetings on a Thursday to see if that would suit better.
Mrs Dunnett then asked for volunteers to fill the new positions and the following was agreed:
Chairperson Shirlee O’Reilly to remain in position. Proposed by Kelly, seconded by everyone!
Vice-Chairperson June Bowman; proposed by Kelly, seconded by Gemma.
Secretary Fionn Pittman; proposed by June, seconded by Amanda.
Treasurer Lynne Adams-Stevenson; proposed by Kelly, seconded by Abigail.
- Isla voiced concern over cars being parked in front of the school gates as this could be a hazard should any emergency services be required at school. Due to the restricted amount of parking this does happen, but it is always someone working in the school (or a parent picking up) which has parked there and can be easily moved should the need arise. However, it was agreed that the school would look into the erection of a sign on the gates asking people to refrain from parking there.
- Isla stated that, due to the difference in the times children are released from classes, it was a problem for young children needing the toilet between 2.30-3pm as there are no facilities available. Gemma confirmed that most other schools have staggered release times but no other school allows access to toilets between them as per Health & Safety regulations. Mrs Allison said that, as this is still part of her working day and she is trying to concentrate, it was extremely distracting to have children/parents asking to come in and use facilities. Kelly offered to look into the hall toilets being available to parents using the school’s access code but the school would not be at all happy with this as a solution, in case of any blame occurring if there was any damage to property. Gemma suggested that, in the meantime, we will leave the main door open for the half hour in question. Pupils can then use the staff toilet but only in an emergency.
- Isla then asked why there is a difference in the home-times for children at the end of the school day. i.e. P1-3 leave at 2.30pm and P4-7 leave at 3.00pm. Gemma explained that this was normal in most schools in the area and was due to a variety of factors – if P1-3 stayed until 3pm, Mrs Allison would lose her CCR time (class contact reduction) which is from 2.30-3pm. As she is not allowed to work longer than the hours she currently does in front of a class, due to government regulations for that age group, this would then mean that we would need to employ a supply teacher for this time, which would be impossible for half an hour each day. The other main factor is that nearly all children in school are eligible for school transport and there is not enough space on the bus should everyone require it at the same time so the Transport Department organise two runs.
- Amanda then questioned whether there was supervision in the playground before 9am each morning, as bus pupils are dropped off around 8.45am. Gemma confirmed that Christean MacKay (Pupil Support Assistant) was always on the premises by 8.30am and usually there are other staff members on-site even before then.
Mrs Dunnett told the meeting that she now had some of the feedback returned from parents regarding Learning Logs; mixed feelings but response would be good to them being replaced! She went on to tell the meeting that we have now introduced an online programme known as SEESAW to school and each child has their own profile. The school has purchased an iPad for each classroom to use for phonics games/maths, etc. and pupils have been trained to use them to take photos and videos of their work as they go along. This should be exceptionally valuable for the P1-3 class as it will make it easier to show their learning to others and help them gain confidence. Parents will also be able to see more of their children’s learning and therefore be more aware of what is going on in school. This programme will run alongside the Dojo already set up.
Amanda mentioned that she thought the ‘green, amber, red’ system in the Learning Logs had been useful for the children to say & show how they were getting on. However, Catherine explained that whilst they worked for some children, many others didn’t understand the system and just gave themselves green for everything! Seesaw will be more interactive and allow teachers/parents to see exactly how much a child has understood.
Mrs Dunnett said that the school was well aware that there will be “teething problems” with a new system but hopefully they can be worked on and ironed out. The school will give feedback opportunities to parents in due course. Parent/pupil assessments will be looked at in due course and may take the form of a questionnaire to parents.
In the meantime, Mrs Dunnett & Mrs Lowson (Newmore Pr.) are in the process of writing a new programme of work on Health & Wellbeing for both schools. Mrs Dunnett explained to the meeting that Highland Council had frameworks for programme content but that obviously it had to be tailored to meet the needs of composite classes with the differing age groups. She showed the meeting some examples of the work in progress & told everyone the intention is for a draft policy to be given out at the next meeting.
Any Other Business
- Fiona said nothing more had been done about organising a sponsored walk, as discussed at the last meeting. It was agreed that a Friday afternoon would be the best day for the school to do this. Abigail will ask Paco to come into school to discuss a suitable date with Gemma, as he had offered previously to organise this.
- Gemma informed the meeting that the School Handbook has just been refreshed and updated. It is available online for anyone to view.
- Gemma also informed the meeting that the Winter Show had been a huge success and raised a lot of money for School Funds. The school had put the show on once more for the Lunch Club at their January meeting; they had also loved the show and sent biscuits in for the children as a thank you.
The children thoroughly enjoyed doing the show but they also enjoy making crafts etc. for the Winter Fayre. It was agreed that to do both next year would be too much for the school to undertake but suggested that another show with some stalls again would be good. The school will discuss this in due course and look at diaries for nearer that time, as it is such a busy time of year. Fiona will liaise with Kelly over a hall date once decided.
The meeting then concluded at 3.45pm and Mrs Dunnett thanked everyone for attending.