8th November 2010



Minutes of meeting on Monday 8th November 2010

Present: Annette Wilson, Ruth Gillan, Kim Craven, Christine Paterson, Ms Denise Penrose, Mrs Sarah Hall, Councillor Ronald Cairns

Apologies: Councillor Alastair Paisley, Councillor Ricky Henderson, Mike Humphries, Graham Muir, Angie Muir, Gillian Brown, Pat Robertson & Bobby Smith.

1. Budget Update

The sum of £10.5million is to be cut from the Children & Families budget. There are various proposals as to how that money could be saved.

Gillian Tee, the Council’s Director of Children & Families has got parents involved in the consultation process – so Annette for instance has attended an event at which there was a brainstorming session about where the cuts should fall.

Councillor Cairns mentioned that if we have particular points about where the cuts should/should not fall, we should let him (or indeed another Councillor) know, so that he can fight it on our behalf.

2. Uniform Survey

Ms Penrose has included some guidance about uniform in recent weekly notes, and separately the Parent Council has been consulting to obtain parents’ views on uniform. Ms Penrose has not so far made any changes to existing uniform, nor has she yet taken any decisions about uniform for the next school session (2011/2012). She does however want to see more consistency in the uniform which the children wear. She strongly believes in school uniform as instilling worth and value in the children.

Turning to the survey results (collated by Annette):

Question 1: polo shirts: Ms Penrose wants to see one colour. She notes that you can’t get black polo shirts from a superstore. It was noted that the Council’s schoolwear vouchers can be used in school (not just in shops) to purchase uniform – this fact should be promoted.

Ms Penrose has looked into different school uniform manufacturers and her view is that the one we have at the moment offers the best quality for the cheapest price, so she is not inclined to move. She is however looking into whether the manufacturer can supply cardigans with school badge on for next year, as various people have suggested that a cardigan looks better than a sweatshirt with pinafores or school dresses.

Some people have pointed out that the current white school polo shirts with badge do not wash well.

A suggestion re uniform is that once your child has grown out of any item of uniform, if it can be reused, it could be donated to the school. The school would have a cupboard where any donations of clean, ironed uniform are kept and anyone needing uniform would be welcome to look through the cupboard and take items in return for a donation to school funds.

Also to assist with budgeting, Ms Penrose has introduced a system where uniform can be ordered monthly rather than annually.

Question 2: guidelines for uniform: No decisions have been taken on this area yet. Ms Penrose is still consulting & considering. Any decisions made to change uniform/as to uniform for 2011/2012 will be notified well in advance and will have to be clearly expressed.

On school photo day it was suggested that all children should wear the sweatshirts.

Question 3: items available for purchase: Ms Penrose will look into getting samples brought into the school of items that might be made available for purchase eg fleeces, waterproof jackets & book bags.

As an aside it was noted that having the uniform survey to talk to people about greatly raised the profile of the Parent Council at the Parents’ Consultation night. The tea & coffee was probably not worthwhile although appreciated by teachers – but they can always have coffee made for them in the staff room kitchen. For Parent Council members, the lesson to take from the evening is how helpful it was to have something to do or promote on the night.

3. Christmas dinner at school

Ms Penrose is planning to encourage the children to have a Christmas dinner, and hopes to make a special event of it for the school.

Annette suggested that if extra people are required to serve the food, then parents could be recruited to do that.

4. Vandalism to school property

Just before the October week, when everyone arrived at school on a Monday morning, it was found that over the weekend the pumpkins from the school garden had been taken and speared on the railings. The children were horrified and upset.

Councillor Cairns encouraged Ms Penrose to report such incidents to the police and to keep a log, as otherwise the extent of any problem will not be known.


  • Communication: Kim Craven made the point that some parents are still adjusting to the new form of communication. Some parents need to be regularly bombarded with information and a weekly note doesn’t do the job of reminding you daily. In the past ParentMail operated not just as information but also as a reminder system. Ms Penrose agreed that communication is going out less often but said it is instead all collated into one weekly note. Neither she nor her administrator has time to issue daily emails. Other parents do like knowing that information goes out on a Friday and that on that day, you need to check the website for the newsletter. Annette suggested there is a place for both ParentMail and the weekly note.

  • Ms Penrose is looking into the cost of the ParentMail system. At the moment we are signed up till October 2011; she wants to run a trial of a Council texting service, the intention being to use this for emergencies eg a lollipop lady not on duty or a school closure. If it doesn’t work well we’d still have ParentMail. Some admin is needed to set up the texting service eg collating mobile numbers, so this is something to be tried out in the New Year.

  • Ms Penrose also pointed out there is a calendar (of events, in addition to the term dates calendar) on the school website. She is keen to encourage parents to make more use of the school website.

  • Councillor Cairns enquired whether the school has a projector. Ms Penrose confirmed we have a visualiser.

  • Councillor Cairns also drew our attention to funding available from various Partnerships, in our case probably the Pentland Partnership. They provide grants for eg newsletters or for interiors of buildings (not the fabric). The Partnership meets 6 times a year. Ratho has historically not obtained much funding from this route. Ms Penrose immediately thought of a few ideas! The next Partnership meeting will be in January 2011.

  • Ms Penrose advised that interviews are taking place for a teacher for P3/4 to cover Miss Souza’s temporary absence and she hopes to make an announcement in the Friday note [now done]. Any gap in cover will be covered by a supply teacher.

  • Next week is Book Fair week. Ms Penrose has decided to open the school for the Book Fair at certain times during the day. Any book donations to the school are welcome. Mrs Hall will look into finding book plates to mark such donations.

  • Ms Penrose is keen to obtain a grant from the Foyle Foundation who might donate money to improve our school library. Ms Penrose would like us to have an electronic library system which would record what books the children are reading, how long they are taking etc. This has to be applied for by a Parent Council or PTA & Kim is looking into it.

  • Ruth asked if anything can be done about mud in the P1-P3 playground. Ms Penrose is looking into getting funding for next session, probably to install matting. Unfortunately the problem is due to the geographic situation of certain areas of the school grounds.

  • On equipment for the P1-P3 playground, a sub-committee is to be set up to devise a 3 year plan. Annette suggested that nursery be consulted as those currently attending will be some of the main ones to benefit.

  • Ms Penrose mentioned that funding is available through the Creating Confident Kids initiative. A meeting is to be organised about creating a “Ratho Through the Ages” mural, again in the P1-P3 playground (behind the hippo bin).

  • Ms Penrose has been asking Cala whether they will support the community here by supporting the school. So far they have offered £1,000 which is not enough for the trim trail Ms Penrose was hoping to create (that would cost £7,500). So she is thinking maybe a pirate ship could be installed in the P1-P3 playground, so that it has a structure. Also the surface games could be repainted.

  • Annette mentioned a CCWP meeting on Thursday 25 November at Waverley Court. We are looking for volunteers to attend.

  • The CCWP pre-budget meeting is on Wednesday 15 December at 6.30pm at Broughton High School. Annette is looking for a deputy to attend as she cannot.

  • The breakfast club is currently running well. Ms Penrose thinks it is beneficial for the children who attend as they have a good breakfast and then a wee play before school so they start work in a relaxed frame of mind. It has been confirmed since the meeting that Aegon currently provide the funding for the breakfast club.

  • Kim was pleased to report a profit of £789.73 from the Race Night on 6th November at the Bowling Club. It was noted that Councillors should be advised of such events in future please. Results will be on the Parent Council website.

  • The PTA is also planning to hold a family ceilidh on Friday 28th January 2011 in the Community Centre.

NEXT MEETING: Monday 31st January 2011 at 7pm

AGM: Monday 9th May 2011 at 7pm