March 2015

RATHO PRIMARY SCHOOL 
PARENT COUNCIL & PTA

Minutes of joint meeting on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 at 7pm & PC meeting following

Present: Neil Langhorn (“NL”), Mrs McGlynn (“CM”), Gemma Hill, Annette Wilson, Chris Cartwright, Lisa McCarthy, Mrs Nicholson, Sarah Chisnall (“SC”), Morag Dalton, Jackie Wake, Karen Borthwick, Elaine Martin, Joanne Simpson & Christine Paterson.
Apologies: Councillors Bill Henderson, Ricky Henderson & Dominic Heslop & Melanie McAllan.

Joint meeting

1. PC Update (NL)

NL asked that people make an effort to complete the Reporting Survey.  CM is finding the responses really helpful.  The deadline for completion has been extended.
In the PC meeting to follow, NL will talk further about the Christmas tree project.

2. PTA update (SC)

At their meeting to follow, the PTA will be discussing what their next events should be.  The Ceilidh was held in early February and about £300 was raised – although this event is primarily about fun rather than fundraising.  The PTA is finding that it’s the same few people doing all the organising each time and in future it may not be possible to have so many events.

3. Head Teacher Update (CM)

Programme to replace furniture: the top 3 classrooms have all been refurbished.  The Council will provide furniture for the school extension classrooms.  CM is hoping to find money to refurbish the rest of the classrooms.
Classes for next year: CM has argued strongly to the Council that the size of the school roll and the fact it is rising should mean that the school has straight classes next year (no composites), and she has succeeded on this.  Next year there will be 9 classes: 2xP1, 2xP2 & each of P3 to P7.  This means additional members of staff will be needed and CM hopes to recruit those teachers soon.
Modern Languages Development: Our school is being held up as an example of excellent practice in modern languages (and is also being praised for our use of Sumdog). 
Positive Behaviour Policy: This has been completed. The new school newspaper is being used to promote and launch the policy.
RME information booklet: This has been sent out to parents and carers. 
School grounds: CM wants to develop these further in consultation with the children.
School extension: work begins 16 March on the 20 week project, which is scheduled to complete in the last week of July.  The construction site will be safely fenced off, but visits to it will be arranged for the children.  The school car park will be completely closed to parents & carers for the duration of the works.  CM will have weekly meetings with the site manager and the children will also receive safety talks.  Information about the works will be posted on the website. The contractors, Morrison Construction, have quite a lot of experience in building these extensions for City of Edinburgh Council.

Future of the PC & PTA

There was a discussion about whether the PC & PTA should merge.
This was last discussed about three and a half years ago.  At that time the majority of the PTA were against the idea.  Now things have changed and the PTA people feel that a small group of them are doing all the work of planning and organising the events, even although many people do help on the day.  Many other schools have only one parent organisation; having two organisations is confusing and does not help with recruitment to either organisation.  Having one parent body might mean that we can get more people involved.  The new merged body would still need a focus on fundraising, perhaps through a sub-group.  We could have special teams to raise money for specific projects.  That might help with making it transparent to parents & carers what is needed and how the money raised will be used.

CM is happy for there to be one parent body.  It would help with her time management for there to be only one set of meetings to attend.  Her concern would be whether good aspects of either organisation might get lost in a merger?  How would meetings be scheduled and agendas compiled, so as to make the best use of everyone’s time?
No-one present was against the idea of a merger.  It was agreed that a working group, consisting of office bearers/significant people in each of the PC & PTA should get together and see if they can plan a way forward, with a view to re-launching a joint parent body for the next school year in August 2015.  Each body’s AGM, due late April/early May, should still go ahead.  Ideally new P1 parents would get information about the new parent body in their information packs, sent out in June.  NB we should also use the website to disseminate information.
PC meeting
  1. Other ideas for fundraising - Ideas mentioned: there could be: an Easter party, a Christmas disco (though the Community Centre tend to organise these) a beetle drive, a parent levy.
  2. Development of the school grounds
CM would like to see further development of the school grounds, and would like to see the children involved in planning this.  She suggests installing a sandpit.  A crate is being purchased for storing the materials required for loose parts play.  The development plan could be a good project to draw in new parents & carers to a new parent body: there would be various aspects that people could help with, including fundraising. 

3. Village Christmas Tree

NL spoke to the Currie Community Council Chair, Alistair McKillop (“AM”), about this.  AM confirmed that in Currie they purchased their own lights and installed them themselves.  So the costs could be lower than previously thought.  At Currie the lights are permanently installed and just switched on at Christmas.

NL will try to put something about this on the Ratho Village Facebook page and in the school newsletter, to seek a volunteer to take on the co-ordination of this project.

4. Dog fouling posters

Many of these posters have become damaged.  AW will find out about costs for alternative materials and advise CM.  Could RDCC contribute to the cost?  Last time the PC paid for the laminated signs which can be seen around the village.

5. AOB

The PC can give support to CM with any steps she wants to take to keep parents’ cars out of the school car park.  All agreed that having cars manoeuvring there is dangerous and during school hours we’d like parents and carers either to drop children off further away or to park elsewhere and walk a bit further.
Enhanced transition: this is not happening this session.  The promised explanatory letter has never been received from Karen Prophet.
RME booklet: feedback on this booklet was generally good.  CM gave further information about what are the 6 instances of religious observance.
CM has received 49 applications for the school administrator post and will be interviewing soon.

6. Date of next meeting

PC AGM: Monday 27 April at 7pm
Working Group on PC/PTA merger to meet meantime.

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