6th September 2010



Minutes of meeting on Monday 6th September 2010

Present: Annette Wilson, Mike Humphries, Christine Paterson, Gillian Brown, Ruth Gillan, Shona Johnson, Angie Muir, Graham Muir, Pat Robertson, Bobby Smith, Ms Denise Penrose, Mrs Sarah Hall, Councillor Ricky Henderson & Councillor Alastair Paisley

Apologies: Councillor Cairns

1. Treasurer's Report (Mike Humphries)

Mike circulated a summary sheet showing monies held in the Parent Council account, divided into Parent Council monies and those in the Garden fund.

The current situation is fairly healthy: there are credits of £497.90 in the PC account and £1,559.94 in the garden fund and these match the latest bank statement. 3 items are yet to be accounted for:

  1. Cost of installing water tap for the garden. Estimate was £205.

  2. Mike is personally due about £60 for monies he paid out when the bank account was out of action.

  3. We have received a cheque from Anne Burton for £10.

Mike confirmed that operation of the account now appears to be sorted out following some difficulties arising after notification of new signatories to RBS.

Mike noted that a very small amount of interest is currently earned and offered to investigate options for a better rate. He will also make a claim for monies we are due for a Clerk.

The Parent Council accounts should be audited. Mike offered to find someone to do this.

There was some discussion about what to do with monies sitting to the credit of the PC account. It was agreed that subject to retaining a float of £50, these should go to school funds. Ms Penrose will let Mike know what the money is spent on.

2. CEC Budget Meeting Report (Annette Wilson)

Annette attended this meeting. Generally it is very bad news: massive cuts of £90 million have to be made by the Council over the next 3 years. The Council’s spending review is still underway but the Council says it will feed parents’ views from meetings such as this into the process of deciding where to make cuts. It seems that the Council is trying to be more open about how it is going about implementing cuts.

Councillor Henderson noted that efficiency savings of £91 million have been made over the past 4 year. The latest package of cuts is savings of £16 million to be made from "back office and management delayering".

3. Vandalism to school property

Last weekend the goalposts in the back playing field were brought down for the second time this school year. As a safety issue this has to be sorted out immediately and the repair monies come straight out of the school budget. This is frustrating at a time when monies are so tight.

Perhaps James the janitor could help with repairs?

Ms Penrose asked that people be vigilant and call the police if they are aware of any incidents. It was noted that one problem is that the area where the goalposts are is not overlooked.

If it happens again Ms Penrose may just have to remove the posts entirely. She understands portable posts to be very expensive, so not a practical alternative.

4. School uniform

Various parents have commented to Annette about the school uniform so she has compiled a list of these and at the meeting gave it to Ms Penrose. Some people would like to see more guidelines about school uniform. It was noted that parents of boys in particular would very much like to see black polo shirts return to the official school uniform list.

Ms Penrose had not previously seen the list of comments. She does not want to do anything which will incur costs unnecessarily for parents; also she wondered about views across the parent body as a whole. She offered to investigate and feedback at the next meeting.

5. School dinners

4 parents sampled the school dinners earlier this year. Most thought the food was fine (although on that occasion the fruit provided was not always very ripe). For a packed lunch as opposed to the hot meal it is quite expensive.

Ms Penrose will follow up on a request to find out if parents are permitted to use the school kitchens, which are not currently used as the meals are brought in from outside. Ms Penrose will also look into how the meals are served eg can something be done if children don't want certain food on their plate?

There was also discussion about making an event out of the Christmas dinner: allowing all children (whether or not they usually take school dinners) the opportunity to have it and trying to make that lunchtime a festive "whole school" occasion.

It was also suggested that nursery children be given the opportunity to sample the school lunches with their parents before they start P1.

6. Parental involvement

Ms Penrose explained that she wants to write to the parents weekly, so has started a “Friday note”. She would like to see more parents involved with the school and will be asking parents to offer their services to the school in relation to skills they have. While there is a lot of parental involvement in the school already, most of it is with younger children and she'd like to see more throughout the school, especially for the P6/7 age group. Given that apart from James the janitor, the staff in the school is all female, she'd particularly encourage men to take part.

We can expect her to be writing out, asking parents to let the school know about skills they have, so that a skills database can be compiled.

7. Parent Council website

Annette is going to take over the admin of this. Everyone on the PC is asked to look at it and feedback to Annette with any corrections needed and with ideas on how it can be added to or improved.

Once that feedback has been given, Bobby Smith, Neil Brown & Annette are to meet with a view to working on any changes suggested.

8. Recruitment of new members/plans for Parents' Night

Annette would like to display the Parent Council website at the Parents' Night on Thursday 7 October, ideally in the lobby area. Mrs Hall will arrange a laptop for that.

It was also suggested that as part of the Parent Council display on Parents’ Night, we could have a uniform exchange, in return for a donation to school funds. We could run a survey seeking views on the issues mentioned above on the school uniform. There could also be a wellie boot swap.

We should have refreshments also: juice, teas, coffees, biscuits, nibbles, wine?

Everyone present confirmed their willingness to do a slot manning the Parent Council area.

Interim meeting: Monday 27th September at 7pm in the Bridge Inn to agree arrangements for publicising the Parent Council at Parents' Night on 7 October.

Ruth reported that some parents are not sure about what the Parent Council does, so there was also discussion about how better to publicise the Parent Council generally and what it does, not just at the Parents' Night.

It was suggested that a laminated poster could be tied onto the school fence at the P1/2 entrance from time to time with any PC news. About 20% of parents do not receive parentmail, so we need to bear that in mind as regards any publicity.

Christine will write a synopsis of the main points covered at this meeting, to be sent out with the minutes themselves, to try to highlight what we do and encourage involvement by others.

Annette has prepared a summary about the PC which she will circulate, as we could make use of that more widely.

Annette will also arrange to add info re the Parent Council to next year's P1 handbook. A notice could also be placed on the nursery noticeboard.

Annette would like to see the Parent Council produce a newsletter, perhaps quarterly.


  • Shona presented a report on the school garden, with photographs explaining how the garden is changing, what work has been done, and how the various classes in the school have been involved. In particular she mentioned that produce is now available from the garden (eg beans, plums, tomatoes) and suggested that the individual classes could pick and use that. She will do a letter for the new P1 parents and other new children & their parents to let them know how they can get involved. Generally the Group meets every Tuesday evening in the garden at 6.30pm.

  • Ratho Action Group is to get involved in thinking about composting fruit scraps left over from lunchtime. There is now a composter in the school garden.

  • All parents can help to contribute to Garden funds by collecting Morrisons vouchers, enabling the Garden Group to buy more equipment and plants for the garden.

  • Graham noted that Cala should be in touch with the school to arrange school liaison re the building site on Freelands Road.

  • Mike has received an email about opportunities for the school in conjunction with the quarry at Hillwood, which he will pass on to Ms Penrose.

  • It was noted that there is a pitbull terrier being let out to roam unsupervised in the village. Children should be warned to stay away from it.

NEXT MEETING: Monday 8th November at 7pm

16 Sept 2010, 14:42