23 November 2009

Minutes of Ratho Primary Parent Council Meeting
Monday 23rd November 2009

Attendees: Annette Wilson, Mike Humphries, Graham Muir, Mrs Walshe (HT), Gillian Brown, Catriona Black, Christine Paterson, Ruth Gillan, Miss Souza.

Apologies: Angie Muir, Pat Robertson, Euan Maxwell, Mrs Pettit, Miss Dignan, Viv Bowden, Cllr Ricky Henderson

1. Head Teacher Transition Update

Mrs Walshe confirmed that she will be leaving Ratho Primary School on the last day of term - 22nd December.  Mrs Pettit will be Acting Head Teacher and a supply teacher will be in P4/5.  Head Teacher’s job has been advertised both locally and nationally with closing date of 4th December.  Short-leat and long-leat interview dates have also now been set for Jan/Feb of next year.  Annette and Viv to sit on interview panel.  At the time of meeting Mrs Walshe was still trying to find a suitable supply teacher for P4/5. 

The school’s new business manager will be starting in school on 5th January.  She will work 2 days a week.

2. Health Promoting Schools (Miss Souza)

Miss Souza reported that Ratho Primary has now achieved stage 3 Health Promoting Schools, which is a great achievement!

So, what’s next?  Parents and pupils filled out a questionnaire last term which highlighted the following areas of concern:
- communication of good behaviour to parents
- clearing of glass and litter from the school playground
- after school activities for boys
- lower school toilets
- boys feeling unsafe in school/safe areas
- the wall at the entrance to the school
- responding to what pupils already know
- healthy snacks
- outdoor shelter
- hand washing
- communication about health education

From this came the following Action Plan:

Developing Buddy System - this will start with nursery and P6.  P6 are also being trained as playground friends.  Ms Allan has also proposed starting a dyslexia support club in school.
Hand washing - a newsletter will be produced, P1 and 2 are being sent to wash their hands before lunch, and other classes are being given reminders by staff to do so.
Judo Club has started in the school.  The Active Schools Co-ordinator is going to start a football club after school and there’s the possibility of a construction club.  Those present were also asked to think about whether they, or other parents they know would be willing to offer the school some time to run a club of some sort, even just for a block of time?
Children to have more say - this is happening more due to Curriculum for Excellence.  There is more discussion about what children want to know.
Eco Schools.  Miss Souza and Mrs Pettit are working together on this:
    - walking to school (JRSO)
    - fruit and veg - to have vegetable group after Christmas to work with     Shona Johnson to grow vegetables for tasting etc in school. Fruit -     School is not now able to have healthy tuck shop in school due to the     very tight new legislation.  There are plans to have lunch time reward     system for having fruit in lunch boxes.
Garden Project - coming along brilliantly.  Gus in school next week to work with children to plant willow tunnel etc.
School Wall - removed and new box panel fence erected instead. 
Litter - P6s doing litter picks which is associated with their current topic.
Communication about Health Promotion - will be done through annual newsletter.
Communication of good behaviour - perhaps parents need to be more aware of what systems are in place from day one and have the vocabulary explained, eg: floppies, BCAs etc.

From now on HMI will be responsible for looking into healthy schools.
3. Garden Project

Gus in school next week for three days to do plant willow tunnel etc.

4. Parent Council Website

Photos taken at meeting of members for website.

Contacts Page - will organise that emails to the site can automatically be forwarded to Annette/Mike.

Launch to Parents - Parent mail (with link to website) to be sent to inform all parents of new website.

Any thoughts on anything else to add to the site, please speak to Gillian Brown.

5. Budget

Next year’s school budgets are to have an average of 2½% cut.  These cuts will probably have to come out of staffing.  Parent Council to discuss budget at next meeting.

6. Curriculum for Excellence Conference

This was run by the Children and Families Department.  The focus was on numeracy and literacy.  Annette met other parents and felt that the parents at Ratho Primary are comparatively very well informed about C for E.  (Thanks to the school for this!)  Annette is trying to make better links with Balerno High School as changes made there will affect our children.  (Link to their website to be put on ours.)

APCN Question Time.  Christine and Annette attended.  Very strong views voiced by groups of people from other schools.  Lots of negative comments about consultative committee.  Not very well attended.

(Annette will put in writing some notes on both meetings and put on website.)

National Parent Forum

This has now been formed.  One parent to represent each authority.  Any thoughts to be passed to Annette to pass on to our representative.

School Term Dates

St Andrew’s Day holiday to be introduced next year.  This will mean one less day in the Christmas holidays.

Talent Show

Date for this is Saturday 6th March 2010.  Diane, at library, to organise poster campaign and to speak to Mrs Walshe about this.

School Dinners

Any thoughts on these to Annette.  Annette to look into whether parents could visit to see school dinners.  Christine to speak to new Head Teacher to discuss possibility of trying out school dinners.


Graham Muir is now on the Community Council so they now need a representative from the parent forum.  Please email Graham if you are interested in this role.  They meet on the 3rd Monday of the month in the Church Hall.

The school breakfast club has been funded for another year - until January 2011.  But, remember this is funding dependant and not a given!