25th October 2012

DRAFT Minutes



Minutes of joint meeting on Thursday 25th October 2012 at 7.30pm

Present: Dave Siddle, Melanie McCallum, Pete Kulesza, Andrea Ramsay, Jackie Wake, Cecile Robertson, Pam Main, Christina Enever, Brenda Binnie, Lisa McCarthy, Ruth Gillan (Interim PC Chair), Helen MacGregor (PTA Chair), Neil Langhorn (PC member), Mrs Hall, Fiona Buchanan, Sarah Chisnall (PTA Treasurer), Morag Dalton, Annette Wilson (PC Treasurer), Bobby Smith (PC member), Leesa Roy, Ms Penrose (“DP”), Mrs McGlynn & Christine Paterson (PC Secretary).

Note: Councillors were not invited to this meeting.

1. Introduction

DP introduced the meeting. She mentioned various points: (a) the PC is struggling for members while the numbers at the PTA are quite healthy; (b) the PTA is very effective at fund raising; (c) the history and statutory backgrounds of PCs; and (d) how it is helpful for her as a head teacher to have an effective parent group. In a small school such as ours with 7 members of teaching staff, for staff to cover both PC & PTA is quite time-consuming and results in some duplication.

She posed some questions:

  • How can we encourage more parents and carers to become more involved with the school?

  • How can we better cover the diversity of our school population?

  • How can the PC better communicate with the parent forum?

DP would like to see one parent body which supports the management of the school and its strategic vision. There could be sub-groups so that people can get involved according to their interests and skills; sub-groups would feed back to the main body. Such a parent body could also forge stronger links with other schools in the cluster and RDCC.

2. Discussion

Some parents only want to fundraise. Others are more interested in the serious school business.

DP’s need for one point of contact was discussed and how best to achieve that.

Actually we are a small group of interested people with different interest: some can fund-raise while others might be more interested in working on eg communication between parents and the school or coming into the school to help with golden time, or assisting with developing the IT strategy, or attending Council meetings.

Why don’t people come to the PC meetings? Perhaps they don’t understand what the PC is for? Communication on that needs to improve. Or perhaps some parents are intimidated by the setting and the idea of speaking in front of a large group?

It was noted that no-one might want to chair a joint group!

The PC should be more proactive. It should enable a way of contributing to the school for parents/carers who want to be involved, in their own way. The PC should have a newsletter? It was noted however that the PC has tried various ways already to engage parents: being at the Parents Nights, organising the Family Fun day, handing out business cards with the website address, putting up posters, doing surveys – but still parents don’t want to join!

Would the PC & PTA working together be a stronger voice? The Family Fun Day was organised that way and worked really well.

The work on the orchard was mentioned as an example of a great initiative that really enhanced the children’s learning. That arose from a PC member’s specific skills and knowledge. Others might have wanted to get involved had they known? Having a specific issue helps to draw people in.

One role suggested for the PC was to create a link to RDCC,

How can the PC & PTA better work together? People already meet monthly on the PTA and give up a lot of time in addition; they can’t be expected to contribute more. How can the number of parent meetings overall be streamlined? Should the PC pitch in more to help with fund-raising?

In some schools the PC & PTA meet on the same night and spend some together, and then split off to pursue their own agendas.

3. Summary

DP summarised as follows: it seems that people are keen to keep the PC & PTA separate but there could be more joint working together and more of a united front. So could there be joint meetings on some days?

A period of meeting together more often was suggested.

Communication with the parent body is definitely an area to look at.

It was noted that some schools do not have a PC and those are deemed a failure. So we need to keep a PC but make it less off-putting.

4. Next meeting

It was agreed that the PC would fall in with the PTA meeting rota and so would next meet on the first Tuesday of each month, with the next meeting being in Tuesday 6th November. The meeting should start together and then split up for each group to follow its own agenda, then if appropriate we can meet again at the end together.

We can aim to follow this pattern (ie monthly meetings for the PC on the first Tuesday of each month, starting jointly with the PTA) for the next few months and see how that goes.

There should be a friendly open invitation to as many parents/carers as possible to come along.