30th April 2012



Minutes of meeting on Monday 30th April 2012 at 7pm

Present: Bobby Smith (“BS”), Ruth Gillan (“RG”), Annette Wilson (“AW”), Christine Paterson (“CP”), Helen MacGregor (“HM”), Angie Muir (“AM”), Mrs Claire McGlynn (“CM”), Councillor Ricky Henderson (“RH”), Nicola Mowat, Shona Johnson (“SJ”) & Kirsteen Scott, Award Officer for JASS (“KS”).

Apologies: Ms Denise Penrose, Mrs Sarah Hall, Neil Langhorn, Councillor Alastair Paisley & Councillor Ronald Cairns.

1. JASS Report (Kirsteen Scott)

Kirsteen Scott (“KS”), an Award Officer for Junior Award Scheme Scotland (“JASS”) attended the meeting to tell us about this scheme.

KS has recently taken on her role as Award Officer. She explained that JASS is a City of Edinburgh Council award scheme, designed to cover the transition from Primary to Secondary education and lead on to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme (“D of E”). With JASS the Council hopes to provide continuity and encourage participation in the D of E.

JASS covers P6 to S2; D of E covers from age 14 to 25.

Each child taking part in JASS receives a folder and sets their own targets. There are 4 sections to the award:

  1. Get Active, Stay Active: sport

  2. Me & My World: connecting with the wider community

  3. My Interest: pursuing a personal interest or a new one

  4. Adventure: an outdoor experience

Like the D of E there are Bronze, Silver & Gold stages: usually done at P6/P7/S1 & 2 respectively.

JASS is designed to inspire; also to encourage partnerships with the community and with voluntary organisations. It can be delivered in schools as part of the curriculum or in eg youth groups. There has been fantastic feedback from schools taking part.

Over 3,000 young people took part in the pilot in Edinburgh. It covered 35 primary schools, 4 secondary schools (but not Balerno CHS) and 4 youth groups.

How is JASS funded? £6 is payable for the Bronze folder; no-one present knew if the school had paid this at Ratho. Certainly parents said they did not. [A further £4 is payable for each of the Silver & Gold packs.]

There was some dismay expressed by SJ & AM about the lack of continuity with Balerno and how it would be shame if participation in JASS fizzles out when the P7s go to High School. Could Balerno be encouraged to continue the scheme once the children go up there? KS explained that class teachers need to volunteer their time because an adult needs to verify the work done by the child to achieve the award at each level.

RH said he was happy to raise the issue with Balerno CHS.

HM also asked about how JASS works for P6 children in the P5/6 composite (as it is only children in the P6/7 composite class who have taken part so far?).

[KS left.]

2. Councillors’ report

RH was happy to answer any questions we had.

CP asked if there was any update on the Council’s proposed changes to janitorial cover? RH said this proposal was budget-driven and he has not heard anything recently. It was agreed best to let sleeping dogs lie.

RH mentioned that there is an initiative on at the moment to co-ordinate activities in Ratho Library to try to provide an interest for children who might otherwise be involved in antisocial behaviour. Probably this is more relevant to older children than those attending our school.

There was some discussion about Ratho & District Community Council and the fact that a representative from the PC is invited to sit on this Council. BS is to try to attend a meeting. RH advised these take place in the Community Centre on the 3rd Monday of each month.

[RH left.]

3. Minutes of last meeting

We talked about action points arising from these as follows:

  • Christmas lights for Ratho: CM explained that various avenues had been pursued on this. At the moment it looks as if there will not be any Christmas lights in Ratho this year but she continues to work on it. The local Councillors & the RDCC were brought into discussions and ultimately BS was also asked to get involved. A cost per light of £2,500 has been quoted. Some of the cost is upfront, connected to fitting appropriate electrical points in lampposts. The question is how to obtain funding? SJ suggested approaching Pentland Neighbourhood Partnership? How are other local Christmas tree light displays funded? CM suggested that other displays date from a time when the Council had more spare money for these types of projects.

  • Football pitch: The waterlogging problems were dealt with successfully.

4. School report (including update from CM on behalf of Ms Penrose)

  • The Parent Consultations are on 10 & 11 May. At these PC members will hand out the Homework Survey (see below) and thus also hope to draw attention to the work of the PC. CP agreed to co-ordinate a rota for PC members to be in attendance on 10 May and encourage parents to fill in the survey. We could also hand out a newsletter explaining what issues and activities the PC has been involved in during the past year. As Chair, AW drafted this last year so she will send her last one to BS to assist him to produce a newsletter this year.

  • Is there to be another Sports day? It is hoped that there will be another opportunity for parents to see the Olympics opening ceremony which the children created.

  • Homework Survey: RG tabled the survey which she has drafted. It was agreed that this should be completed anonymously and should specify the child’s class. It was suggested there should be an option to add comments. RG should also explain why the survey is being done, please.

  • A second green flag has been achieved. Next year there will be more topics within the green flag programme: sustainable development and global citizenship. Ratho will try to develop a link with another school. There will also be another litter pick and there will be a celebration of the second award. AW advised that Ratho is near to the Scottish Agricultural Scientific Agency (“SASA”) at Roddinglaw and suggested that perhaps links with SASA could be forged?

  • CM spoke about how the RAG children within the school are planning for a British Waterways Canal Adoption Scheme. Every class will be involved in an activity by the canal. There are lots of suggestions so far.

Update on behalf of Ms Penrose

CM spoke about the School’s targets in the School Quality & Improvement Plan:

Additional support for learning: we have new robust systems in place. Pupils are regularly reviewed. Paperwork documents the child’s needs, how parents’ views have been taken on board and also the child’s views.

AW asked if all children who need it get additional support? CM confirmed yes.

Science curriculum: this is delivered to each class by CM as part of the teachers’ non class contact time. There is a broad and balanced programme of progressive study.

Health & Wellbeing: The school is almost ready to hold a parent information event and a letter has been issued about creating a focus group on teaching sexual health & wellbeing. HM asked for reassurance about when P6s will get their sex education (before the end of term) and CM will check this with Ms Penrose.

[AM left.]

IT refresh: the school needs to submit a vision to the Council. The school is hoping to acquire a flip camera (which takes video and has a pen drive). To a great extent the Council is not prescribing to schools what is required in the IT refresh and instead it is up to the school to come up with its own vision. This in turn depends on having knowledgeable people to advise the school. The school hopes to tie in whatever we do in Ratho with Balerno’s strategy.

CM is running a homework club for a specific group of children. This might be opened up in future but at the moment is by invitation only.

5. Garden report (Shona Johnson)

The Garden Group worked on the garden until October last year. This included a daffodil plant with P1s & P7s.

The Dobbies’ person who provided funding was invited to the garden to see what we had done with their money.

In November there was a tallest sunflower prize – won by P6/7.

In March a stall was run at the Spring Fair selling mainly pansies & perennials. The sum of £280 was taken resulting in a profit of £185.

SJ uses a website called Wiggly Wigglers to buy garden products and received a £100 voucher from them. With this RAG has bought bird food & wild flower seed.

The P3s made rain gauges which are attached to the garden railings.

The wormery is back in the garden. SJ suggested that a specific class should be responsible for it? P3 was suggested, or perhaps P1 & 2; they are doing a mini beast project.

Finances: garden money is held in the PC account.

The Group is talking about enhancing the quiet area. Gus is making trellising for the garden.

6. PTA report (Helen MacGregor)

HM most helpfully provided her own written report as follows:

We had a few new members from the AGM last October and now have 8 parent members, with all classes except P4 represented, and 2 teachers – Mrs Fleming and Mrs McAndrew.

We still meet the first Tuesday evening of the month in the Community Centre during term time but have changed the time to 7.30pm.

We started the PTA year in October with our annual race night which raised approximately £800.00, we sold calendars, reindeer dust and Christmas cards in November, and in January had the family Ceilidh which raised just over £500.00. The Spring Fair raised £720.00 which was a bit less than usual but a great amount none the less.

We spent about £1300 on 3 OHPs and their set up for the smartboards in the school and the usual payments for the bus for school camp and the pantomime. There haven't been any other large expenditures at the moment.

In the pipeline we are looking at options for the P7 end of year celebration. We were planning a sponsored event in the theme of the Queen's Jubilee for 30th May but this may not go ahead due to another sponsored event less than 2 weeks before.

The bank balance is approx £5,000.00 at present, £1,000 of that is ring fenced for playground improvements, and £1,000 for this year’s panto.

Chair – Helen MacGregor

Secretary – Rachel Tulloch

Treasurer – Sarah Chisnall – from May

50:50 club - Brenda Binnie


Shona Johnson

Jackie Wake

Leesa Roy

Jayne Smith

7. Treasurer’s report (Annette Wilson)

AW explained that usually the PC operates so as to donate regularly to the school any money which it holds in its accounts. We should wait for the May/June grant and then decide what we want to do with the money, which will be around £500 at that stage. A flip camera was mentioned? We need ideas from the school please.

The strimmer and petrol can are to be depreciated in the accounts at 20% per year.

8. Appointments

It was agreed previously that the Chair should stay in post for 2 years, so BS remains as Chair.

Each of RG, AW & CP indicated willingness to continue in their posts. They were proposed by HM & seconded by BS and thus duly re-appointed.



Action points

  • AW thinks we should look at the the role of the PC in communicating with the school. She suggested that we hold an extra meeting before the end of this term to discuss this further.

  • There was also discussion about how to recruit new PC members. The obvious place to look for new recruits is within the nursery parents, who are about to be P1 parents. Should we try to engage them by organising an event for them to welcome them to the school? This could be linked to their meeting within the school on 6 June? Or we could hold a different event that evening? Or on the evening of 13 June? This could be a garden event, linked to the raising of the second green flag? Or a cheese and wine? Different opinions were expressed between those who wanted to try to catch such parents before the end of term and others who thought they might forget about the PC August and that they would be better approached early in the next academic year once they’ve actually got their children started and settled in at the school. This is to be discussed further.

  • A meeting of the PC to discuss these issues was provisionally set for the evening of Tuesday 29 May.



10. Date and time of next meeting

TBC – but see provisional date above.