Minutes 1st September 2008

Ratho Primary Parent Council


01 September 2008






Liz Walshe (Ratho Primary HT), Sarah Dignan (Ratho Primary Teacher),

George Grant - Chair, Councillor Alistair Paisley, Councillor Ron Cairns,

Mike Humphries, Viv Bowden, Angie Muir, Pat Robertson, Pamela Souter, Shona Johnson, Graham Muir, Annette Wilson, Gillian Brown


Apologies – Catriona Black


1.      Update on School Roof


Unfortunately the work on a new school roof has not started due to a variety of problems, including the quotes being too high and procurement not receiving some of the more reasonable quotes due to changes in procedures at that department.  There have subsequently been many more notes of interest for the tender, up to 20 companies being involved. The tender process closed roughly 5 weeks ago and is now in the hands of council procurement again.  There is now a time limit within the city council to go through tenders so hopefully the process will not take long.


Mrs Walshe has been assured the roof replacement will go ahead and both Councillor Alistair Paisley and Councillor Ron Cairns assured the Parent Council that the money was still available for the job to be done as it is in the capital budget. Alistair and Ron said they would press the council the next day for more assurances on the roof.  When Ron writes to the relevant people within the council, his letter has to be responded to within a certain period of time as he is a member of the administration of the council. 


There is the possibility of the school getting “sun tubes” throughout the whole school, to channel natural light, which would do away with the need for skylights where some of the roof leaks originate.  Again, at the time of the meeting, this job was on hold but if it were to go ahead in the near future, it would be hoped to be done during a holiday period, such as the October break.  The final decision will again lie with council procurement department.  Ron is going to chase up the sun tube issue.


George said he would write to the Edinburgh City Council to ask for definite assurances that the money will still be guaranteed for the roof, a timeline for the job, spanning the tender process to eventual completion, and to ask for regular email updates on the whole process.



School Fence

The new school fence has been completed.  Overall comments from parents seem to be favourable although there were concerns raised about the narrow entrance and the problems with mud running down from the banking onto the pavement and the risks associated with this, especially with winter approaching.  The Parent Council felt these concerns should be raised with the Community Council.




2.      Standards and Quality Report

Mrs Walshe distributed and summarised the report that will be forthcoming to parents in the near future.  


Priorities for the school include: Curriculum for Excellence; Literacy; English; Science; Numeracy; Active Learning and the Outdoor Classroom.


There is now a smart board in every classroom, apart from the nursery.


The school will also be concentrating on Active Learning that will help to strengthen links between the Nursery and Primary 1.


Miss Allen, the primary 1 teacher, is now a permanent member of staff.


Two new committees are to be set up with the pupils, including a Wildlife ranger Committee for P4 – P7 and an amalgamation of the Health and Eco committees into a new committee called the Ratho Action Group.


The Wildlife ranger Committee will keep a wildlife journal for the school and will use Power point presentations to keep the school informed at Assemblies.  This will help towards the school’s work towards gaining the Green Flag.


A company had been lined up to come in and measure the school’s carbon footprint.


Gus, from Earth Calling, has been taking children out into the school surroundings to work with them on environmental issues.



3.      Standard Life Achievement Awards

Council members can see details of this on the recent email from George. If forum members would like details, please contact a member of the council.


Recruitment and Selection – Annette has completed the training and Pat is waiting for a space on the next available course.



4. Edinburgh Parent Council Network

 An invitation has been received for Ratho to send a representative to this group, which will involve the parent councils from the Edinburgh area.  Anyone volunteering to go should contact George. 



5.      Breakfast Club

The breakfast club is up and running thanks to funding from BAA.  The club is free although donations have been asked for and are being received.  The way the funding is working, the club is now under the auspices of the local authority and no longer run directly by the school.  BAA are funding the club until the end of the session.









6.      Healthy Eating

The issue of the quantity of food children should be allowed to eat at break time was once again raised.  There were repeated concerns about some children feeling hungry when they were only having one item of food for their morning snack.


Mrs Walshe suggested that the issue be passed onto to the new Ratho Action Group Committee for discussion by the children.


The school policy on Nut Allergies is to be checked and updated if necessary to include nut products such as peanut butter.  The policy will be reinforced with children and parents over the coming weeks.




Garden Project

The garden project is waiting for some grant applications to be submitted before next steps can be taken.  The parent council were shown the most up-to-date plan.  Some rough costings have been put together which some of the parent council thought were a bit high, so it was felt it would be of benefit at some point of having a meeting to look at a breakdown of the costs and to receive a funding update from Esperanza, the project leader, on progress.


Bank Account

The paper work from the initial application for a Parent Council bank account has disappeared into the ether at the bank, so another application will have to be submitted by Angie, with George co-signing.


P3/4 Playground

A concern was raised over the lack of access to the rear playground for the P3 part of the P3/4 composite.  In previous years, the P3 children were allowed to choose which playground they wanted to play in at break and lunchtimes.


Mrs Walshe indicated that this year there is an issue of supervision due the small number of P3 children in the class, and it was decided that on health and safety reasons the P3 children were only allowed to play in the front infant playground.


Debating Competition

Councillor Cairns explained to the parent council that several schools were organising an in-school debating competition, the winners of which would have the chance to some to the City Chambers in Edinburgh to see the workings of the city council.  He suggested Ratho become involved in this also.  Mrs Walshe will take the idea to the staff.



Next Meeting: Monday 3rd November, 7pm, Ratho Primary School