30th January 2012



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

Present: Bobby Smith (“BS”), Ms Denise Penrose, Ruth Gillan (“RG”), Christine Paterson, Helen MacGregor (“HM”), Neil Langhorn (“NL”), Louise Lloyd (“LL”), Mrs Sarah Hall, Mrs Claire McGlynn (“CM”), Councillor Alastair Paisley (“AP”) & Derrick Bruce of Education Scotland.

Apologies: Annette Wilson (“AW”), Graham Muir, Angie Muir, Councillor Ricky Henderson & Councillor Ronald Cairns.

1. Minutes of last meeting

We talked about action points arising from these as follows:

  • Winter weather preparations: Our plans have not really been relevant so far but the winter is not over yet!

  • Janitorial support: The Council decision is that janitorial support is to stay in-house ie not be outsourced. More detail on this is awaited, however.

  • Miss Souza: She is staying at Fox Covert Primary School for the meantime, pending arrival of a new head teacher there. Ms Penrose therefore does not have a date for her return to Ratho at the moment.

2. Councillors’ report


Action points

Councillor Paisley advised that he was happy to take any questions.

He is dealing with Mrs McGlynn as regards a request from Ratho Action Group for our village to have Christmas lights. Apparently other villages of a similar size have some.

Councillor Paisley noted that within Ratho there are current planning applications for both the Bridge Inn car park and for eco-housing & a care home at the old cement works on Baird Road. There was some discussion about the capacity of the doctor’s surgery if the village continues to expand and other possible sites for this were mentioned.

Councillor Paisley was asked if there was anything he could do as regards assisting in upgrading the football pitch so that Gus the janitor can run his football club there. At the moment the pitch is very muddy & a quantity of sand is needed to improve the surface. BS is working on this and will keep Councillor Paisley informed about efforts to source this, perhaps from Cala?

[Councillor Paisley left.]



3. Derrick Bruce: Restorative Approaches

Derrick Bruce is a Positive Behaviour Officer at Education Scotland. He gave a presentation about his role.

He works to support schools within 4 local authority areas, including City of Edinburgh Council.

He has already worked with all staff at Ratho for one day (including Sandra Clelland & Gus), training them on Restorative Approaches. He is coming back to do more training in May.

Restorative Approaches are based on the ideas that relationships are fundamental; that those most directly involved should sort out issues, and that each person should take responsibility for their own behaviour. In practice it means getting children who are involved in a dispute to discuss and verbalise their problem and then to try and sort it out with each other. This is done in a safe place, with a supportive adult present. A key principle however is that the adults remain in overall charge.

The general evidence is that Restorative Approaches lead to various improvements, including a reduction in exclusions from schools.

Another positive approach in school is the modelling of good behaviour and that is something which the staff seeks to do.

4. School report (Ms Penrose)

Ms Penrose spoke about various points:

Staffing: Ms Penrose is pleased to report that she has received authorisation to advertise for a new permanent member of staff, to replace one of the temporary members of staff. The position is currently being advertised. RG has done the recruitment training and will sit in on interviews.

IT Refresh: From August this year, computer systems in schools will be refreshed. Currently we have one managed network from BT, which is secure. From August there will be two: a secure network as above plus a wireless network, which will not be secure. The school will be able to run any device on it. The vision of City of Edinburgh Council is that in future every child will have their own IT device in school.

HM asked how this is to be afforded? Ms Penrose agreed it will be a challenge.

In future therefore the school might want to put aside part of its budget to buy appropriate devices – and this need not be from BT. The school will have to consider this carefully and would consult with staff & parents.

BS offered to input his expertise.

NL asked why the policy on this is not to be consistent across Edinburgh. Ms Penrose explained that this is because every school is different with its own unique requirements.

GLOW: Mrs Hall gave a presentation about Glow. She explained that class teachers can set up a Glow Group for class learning. Children can log in & discuss their learning, both at school and from home. Of course we must remember that not all children have access to the internet out of school.

Also available on Glow is information about the school, a school calendar & weblinks.

Mrs Hall showed us a Glow page called Edinburgh Schools in Union. The idea is to link various schools lying along the Union Canal. Each can upload & share information about their own local area.

It was agreed that navigating Glow can be a bit tricky until you are used to it.

Other interesting points about Glow:

  • P5/6 did an online meeting with Fox Covert using a webcam. They discussed their rainforest topic.

  • P2 has its own Glow Group.

  • 2 teachers have done Glow training.

  • Children are encouraged to use Glow as a search engine. Parents can also encourage that at home, as Glow is entirely safe for children to use.

There are plans to upgrade Glow.

School headcount: the nursery is now full. Over 20 children have registered to enter P1 in August this year. There is however still plenty of space in the school itself.

5. PC Accounts

Accounts prepared by AW were tabled.

At the moment there is a credit of £2.95 in the general account. AW has applied for a clerk payment of £240.



Action points

  • HM confirmed that the Spring Fair usually takes place the day before Mothers’ Day. This year that means the Fair is on Saturday 17 March. BS suggested that the school could also have a Christmas Fair: he thought this might be a good opportunity to raise extra funds. Of course we do have the Book Night in early November which is useful for generating credit to restock the school library.

  • Recorders are to be taught in school from after the February break.

  • Lollipop service: Carol who normally covers the Baird Road crossing will be absent from work for some months. The situation was risk-assessed with Council people: as the Baird Road crossing is a blind corner it was judged to be more dangerous than the School Wynd crossing. Lorraine has therefore been moved to the Baird Road crossing. Ms Penrose is chasing the Council for supply cover but there is a shortage of suitable supply staff and to give us a lollipop person would basically mean taking someone from another school. She also explained that she has checked and there is no right to have lollipop people; it is just a service which the Council may choose to provide.

  • The next Parents’ Consultations will be 10 & 11 May. Our next scheduled meeting is not until 30 April, which is very close to that date, so we should have an interim meeting before then to discuss any plans to promote the PC on the evening of 10 May.

  • Crackers at school Christmas lunch: Ms Penrose asked that if the PC decides to provide these again this year, we give clear instructions on who they are to be given to etc. Also please note that last year the hats were too small!

  • School dinner plates & trays: cleanliness has been raised as an issue and this will be looked into. As the school kitchen is largely mothballed, the plates and trays have to be handwashed.

  • Ms Penrose noted that the school website is being worked on and so is currently not online. HM noted that the school is no longer using ParentMail. She quite likes having a paper copy of the weekly note at the moment!

  • Mrs McGlynn advised that the school is now working towards its second eco-flag.

  • The orchard is doing well. More trees are due soon from the Woodland Trust.

  • It was agreed that we should try to get the agenda for future meetings agreed further in advance. Ms Penrose asked that we aim to have it with her one week before the meeting. BS suggested that we could use the PC website to create a rolling agenda section to which PC members could contribute as and when points come up; then it would just be a case of pulling out points already raised at the relevant time. CP is to speak to AW re this.

  • LL had various questions about the nursery. Ms Penrose is speaking to the Early Years team about increasing the number of places temporarily. There are strict Council guidelines on when letters offering places can be sent out. From now on parents will be given a choice of a morning or afternoon place and the school will try to accommodate their request. There will not be the previous practice of having 3 year olds attend in the afternoon; 4 year olds in the morning. The rule about nursery places is that there is a guarantee of a place for each 3 year old child, but not of a particular session or school.





7. Date and time of next meeting

AGM: Monday 30 April 2012 at 7pm.