October 2016



Minutes of meeting on Tuesday 25 October 2016 at 7pm 

Present: Rachel Lytollis, Jenny Sandeman, Jackie Wake, Emma Hughes, Lisa McCarthy, Karen Borthwick, Cécile Robertson, Lizzie Booden, Jen Adams, Catherine Shaw and Neil McCallum (Guest). 

Apologies: Michael Lloyd, Louise Lloyd, Sam Mitchel, Claire Baker, Annette Wilson, Helen Morris, Gillian Fraser, Neil Langhorn, Vicki Wallace, Michaela Muir, Morag MacLachlan, Rachel Woods, Jennie Edmondson, Leanne Horsburgh, Jayne Smith and Christina Enever 

1. Welcome new head at Balerno HS 

Neil McCallum introduced himself, as the new Head Teacher of Balerno High School. He has been in post since August and previously was at James Gillespie High School. He answered questions on the rising role, but confirmed we are ok for the moment. Rachel observed there is still a lot more ‘give’ in the infrastructure at Balerno HS. Neil is hoping to develop closer links with the feeder primary schools (Ratho, Dean Park & Kirknewton). One of the high school’s language teachers (Spanish) will be coming down to work part-time at Ratho Primary School. An enhanced transition process (across the board) was discussed a few years ago (with previous heads on both sides), but this is not happening at any of the feeder schools. There will be exceptions for children who are identified as needing additional support in the transition. Rachel and Jenny (last year’s P7 teacher) believe the existing P7 transition process is working well. There was a recent P7 open evening at the High School. In response to interest from P5 & P6 parents, Neil advised anyone who wants to come and see how good the school is, would be welcome. Just get in touch with him direct to arrange. 

2. Staffing update 

  • Chris Welander’s baby arrived in the October break – Luna, born on 19 October 
  • Mrs McMurray, will take over STEM lessons. 
  • Caroline Simpson, will teach P4/5 on a Wednesday. 
  • Julie Allsop, is the new Pupil Support Assistant. 

3. Playground improvement 

Updates have been sent out to RSV members between meetings, but below is current status from Neil Langhorn: ‘We’ve received proposals from Gus for what we could do in the playground. I think it looks good but much of what’s proposed needs to wait for the go ahead from the Council due to their blanket ban on taking things forward at present. I think it also has to be run by the RAG group (+ perhaps back to RSV for another go). However, we should be able to take forward the purchase of materials and then potentially construction and installation of some planters for the playground – which will, in time, be incorporated into a bigger structure as and when we get the go ahead for these from the Council. This will allow us to use the small grant we have and get some momentum going In terms of reporting on the initial £1,000 grant we got from the CSGN Community Projects Fund I just about have what I think I need now from Gus to complete reporting on this. My aim is to complete the report by the end of the month. Part of this will mean commissioning Gus to purchase materials for the planters with the remainder of the grant In terms of the larger £15,000 set aside by the Council for grounds development following the extension my understanding is that we can’t access this just yet (because of above Council veto on school grounds development) but that it is still being held for us. Even if we did everything that Gus has proposed this would not use up the whole £15,000 so there is a discussion to be had about what (if we’re allowed) else we would want to do to the grounds with this money. 

4. School Improvement Projects 

Volunteers have come forward for all the improvement projects below. All the projects are underway, though not all groups have contacted parent volunteers yet. The groups normally meet on a Tuesday & Thursday within school hours. Anyone is welcome to get involved at any point. Please get in touch with Rachel if this is something you are interested in. 
  • STEM 
  • Restorative Behaviour/Building Resilience 
  • Family Engagement incl homework, transitions, open afternoons etc.

5. School Admin post-box 

Yay! It’s here, in position and working well. Claire is very happy. It will be emptied throughout the day and a note will go on it to remind people not to post anything after 3:15pm. 

6. School website 

This is Claire’s next priority and she hopes to get this moving now. She will follow up with volunteers. Lizzie had not received info from Claire, but will follow up with her direct. 

7. School dinners 

Thanks for all parental feedback. This was sent to the facilities manager who has set up a meeting tomorrow at 1:30pm. Can anyone come? Rachel advised that small improvements have been made following our feedback. We’ve now got a bigger hotplate in place, so the food is warmer, which may make it more appetising. The kids have also been conducting a survey themselves and it’s interesting that 50% can hate something, and another 50% can love the same thing. 

8. Nativity performances 

There are nativity performances scheduled for Nursery and P1-P2. Given the rising role and scheduling of halls for rehearsals etc there will be no P3-P7 nativity/panto etc. That’s not to say a show of some kind could not be put on at another time of year, as having the opportunity to perform is part of the curriculum. All parents present thought this seemed a reasonable approach at such a busy time of year. Cécile noted that as a working parent, who can’t take time off, she would appreciate the opportunity to see a show outwith school hours. RSV bought a video camera (in the past) which could be used to video performances for those who cannot attend such events. 

9. Parent Consultations 

Parent consultation slips came out today. The notice period was discussed, i.e. could parents have got slips out earlier, but there was an admin concern that the slips would be lost over the October break. What will be different next year is the ‘key dates’ doc should be out earlier, so parents would have dates in the diary sooner. Claire D also suggested we have the same slot for every parent’s night to reduce the admin burden of slotting in siblings at similar times. This might be useful for both parents evening in the one year, where number of siblings and clubs might not change that much, but not sure how well it would work year on year, thinking of how much could change. Not all schools give the option of choosing a slot, so this flexibility is much appreciated. Note, the spring parents consultations have been brought forward to March following RSV parental feedback that previously they were held too late in the school calendar to be beneficial. 

10. Kick Pitch 

Lisa noted her boys have been getting nasty gravel burns from the surface of the kick pitch. So much so, that they remarked they were scared to run at full pace. Accidents are all recorded, but not perhaps specifically against the kick pitch. Jenny confirmed that the surface is damaging other school equipment. There may be a large cost to re-surface, but first step is to do an assessment. Actions: Rachel L to investigate. 

11. School Library Books 

Library Lynn has been in touch to say that she is still in need of books for the school library and could RSV help. The following was proposed: 
  • Ask Lynn which titles/series she is after, so we can publish ahead of book night asking people to donate during book week. 
  • From the book swap, it was suggested any leftover books could be donated to the library. 
  • We are holding a sponsored read-a-thon during book week and asking parents for a donation. It seemed fitting that some or all of the proceeds should go towards library books. 
Actions: Jackie to follow up with Library Lynn, with the above. 

12. Subsidising new Wildlife Club 

A new Wildlife Club is being investigated, but to ensure it is accessible by all, use of the RSV hardship fund was discussed (£500). Various views were held on whether the club should be discounted across the board or just for those who need it. Also it was important to ensure it wasn’t all used on a wildlife club, as there would be other costs e.g. camp, that might need subsidised. Identifying those who need it and when, would be something the school would do. As this is a tricky area, it is at the head’s discretion as to if and when the school wants to tap into this fund. Actions: Rachel L to follow up with Nicola on best way to work this. 

13. Film Nights 

Our last Film Night was our most successful in terms of how many people came along and how much we raised, but there were a few behavioural issues, which spoiled the enjoyment for some. There was also a higher level of noise, excitement and moving around; we did struggle to achieve a ‘quality audience’ . Things we can do differently next time are someone (strict) manages doors with new registration form (similar to soft-play – adult name & number of kids). We need to know accurately how many people are in the hall for Health & Safety and fire regulations. Children without an adult present, will not be allowed in. Having a teacher present (from the school) was discussed, but as the parents are there, it would be a bit confusing for all. Hopefully some parents, who are teachers, can help us out a bit more with crowd control. Rachel was asked to give a reminder to pupils about good behaviour in assembly on Thursday prior to the film night. Next film night proposed is 25 November, Jackie & Cécile to lead. 
  • Emma to review tasks that need done, so we don’t miss anything. 
  • Lizzie to create new registration/sign-in form, so we know who is in the building 
  • Jackie to do a sound check with Gus, to see if we can raise volume slightly. 

14. Muddy Clothes 

The majority of school kids seemed to be quite muddy today. Rachel advised that as the school grounds are open, kids have come in over the holidays and created mud slides. The kids today, didn’t seem to differentiate that they were now at school, in school clothes and by all accounts loved playing in the mud. This creates a lot more washing for busy parents, so the option of a black/dark coloured polo was discussed. Not to replace the white, but as an alternative option. Rachel to consider. FINAL 5 Actions:  Jackie to find out why previous black polo was taken away. 

15. School Lottery 

£270 raised so far for the school. Bit more than last year. First Draw is on Thursday, 3pm at the school. 2 RSV kids, whose parents are happy for them to be involved will be help with the draw. Thinking is to take photo/video and include on RSV FB page. Lizzie, Karen, Emma & Lisa agreed it was ok for their kids to do this. Cath advised that she is not sure the forms got handed out in the nursery. 
  • Cath to put something out to nursery parents to see if anyone wants to join in. 
  • Jackie to ask Claire D to email out a reminder to parents. 

16. Sponsored Read-a-thon 

The format will be more of a reading marathon, for each class (P3-P7), asking parents for donations rather than a rate per page. All children would take part and perhaps older ones might read to younger ones. Children might get a certificate at the end. Actions:  Jackie to look into sponsorship type form. 

17. Book night (10 Nov) 

The following parental involvement would be appreciated: 
  • Home-baking donations 
  • 4 volunteers to support Heather & P7 in the book night café (monitoring hot water, ovens & knives). 
  • 2 volunteers to support P6 with the Book Swap in the STEM HUB. 
  • Possibly volunteers to bake with P7 in school (not sure if this will happen or not) Note, a calendar stall will be there again. 
Actions: Jackie to ask for volunteers. 

18. Bag2School Dates 

Will get bags out just after Cubs Jumble sale, so as not to confuse folk. Cubs will pass us anything left over from the jumble sale as well. Note, uplift scheduled 23 Nov. 

19. Xmas Cards 

Jen received last class drawings today and hopes to have them all posted off this week. We should be well within the cut off dates. There is some fantastic artwork .

20. School Calendar 

Aongus hopes to have the tea-towel & calendar ready for proofing next week (if anyone available to help with this). There will be a stall at book night (10 Nov) and pre-orders will be taken again, similar to last year. Work on gathering sponsors has begun. Agreed we should approach hairdressers to see if they want to sponsor a page and remove ChildLine advert. 
  • Jackie send pre-order form to Emma. 
  • Emma to check in with Claire D re front cover entries, and send out reminder. 

21. Xmas Fair 

Christina is running a craft night on Wed 16 Nov at Vicki’s house. You can come to work, or you can come up with ideas or both. But please do help . 

22. Secrets Room 

We will start to roll out the communication for this now, so we can start to get donations in. 

23. Family Photography Session 

Pre-Christmas dates were not available, so we are seeking dates in February to tie in with Mother’s Day. 

24. Next Meeting 

Tuesday 22 November, 7pm in the School.