Muthill Primary School – Parent Council AGM
Thursday 27 August 2020 – remote meeting via Zoom
Attendees: Curstaidh Robertson (CR), Anna Wilson (AW), Emma Hepburn (EH), Claire Scott (CS), Fiona Cannon (FC), Rachel Bell (RB), Chris Flower (CF), Vivienne Whyte (VW), Fiona Kimber (FK), Lisa Kelly (LK), Jennifer McRae (JMcR), Richard Boddy (RB)
Apologies:Debra Lamont (DL), Helen White (HW), Greg Sutcliffe (GS), Nicki Sutcliffe (NS), Keri Reid (KR)
CR opened the AGM by thanking everyone for attending and acknowledged that the constraints of reliable internet service meant some parents were unable to join. She advised that a Parent Council email has now been set up email@example.com to allow any parent/carer to contact the parent council more easily. Even in these uncertain times the Parent Council needs to be a voice for all parents and carers. She noted that several parents/carers had already been in touch with regards to various issues and Mrs Bell would address those at the end of her report.
Curstaidh then delivered the Chairperson’s Report as noted below.
Chairperson’s Report – AGM of Muthill Primary School Parent Council
Firstly, I would like to thank you all for coming along this evening. In case we haven’t already met, I’m Curstaidh Robertson and have been Chair for the last two years. I am sure you will all agree it has been a particularly challenging few months and it feels a little strange to be having our AGM like this although it is lovely to see you. I am delighted to see some new faces and happy to see some of you have come back. Unfortunately, our meetings are usually a great opportunity to eat cake, but we will need to wait a wee bit longer for the cake to return!
I would like to thank all those who were involved in the Parent Council for the 2019/2020 year, a small group of people worked very hard to support the school, the staff and the children and it was much appreciated. Personally, I would like to say thank you for carrying on in my extended absence after breaking my back at the start of the year. In what has turned out to be another incredibly hard year I would like to thank the truly wonderful staff at Muthill Primary School. Being on the Parent Council allows me to see a little of the behind the scenes goings on and our dedicated teachers, as always, go the extra mile for our children. The return to school has been a difficult balancing act and as usual the teachers made it as positive as possible. It was certainly a relief to me to have two very happy girls coming out at the end of the first day. I also wish to mention many of our parents who did an absolutely fabulous job home schooling. It was brilliant to see so many great ideas and children making wonderful memories in what was a difficult time for many families. It is so hard now to be so uninvolved and we miss our daily wee chats with the teachers at the end of the day.
Throughout the 2019/2020 school year we held monthly meetings and the after-school meetings worked particularly well, allowing staff to attend who always have such valuable input. Obviously COVID 19 ended our meetings early but we did mange a Zoom meeting before the end of term which takes some getting used to. It was generally felt that it was not a great way to have the meetings as it was hard to hear everyone’s opinions.
We continued to use our Facebook page to send communications and also provide useful links and information. This again has seen a rise in users. Sadly, we have made no progress on the new website despite Greg being very keen to push it forward. During lockdown and school closure we have tried to maintain contact with as many parents as possible and to pass on information. I have attended several online Connect meetings and PKC Parent Chair meetings which have been incredibly helpful. I would like to thank those who helped tidy the playground before the pupils returned. Jen, Claire and Lily- it was very much appreciated along with Muthill in Bloom and my husband Ewan. Also, thanks to Mrs Hendry for clearing up the pile of cuttings and leaves before I got the chance.
The Parent Council have paid for the gazebo roof to be fixed and for the pitch to be tidied up with shrubs planted and Mrs McGregor’s tree moved to a better location. We also purchased new brooms. The teachers were again all gifted £50 Tesco vouchers to use for expenses. Christmas show costumes were funded and we paid for the school to have a pantomime trip to Sinbad in Perth. We donated £225 to the African drumming day and donated money to the Ghana video for the outstanding amount. We also funded the p3/4 trip to Discovery Point.
We have continued to campaign for improved road safety around the school. Emails have again been sent to our MP and Tayside Police. We are waiting response from both but this needs to be continued until something is done. It is an accident waiting to happen and my own family have had a near miss already this term due to inconsiderate parking across pavements. We ask the school to help continue chasing this with Perth and Kinross Council. Parents have been fantastic in supporting safe parking around the school and its important that this continues. The Pop Up bairns are still incredibly useful and are currently all standing together to slow cars coming of the main road towards the crossing. We must ensure the leaflet is kept up to date and that all new families receive one.
Later in todays meeting all our office bearers will be standing down as we have all served for two years as stated in the constitution. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Debra for her time served as she steps down from the Parent Council. I arranged for some flowers to be delivered earlier to show our appreciation.
I would like to ask anyone considering a role to consider their abilities to attend meetings as we need a quorum of 5 to make decisions as per our constitution and this has been a real struggle over the last year.
Rachel then delivered the Headteacher’s Report as noted below.
Muthill Parent Council AGM – Thursday 29thAugust 2020
Head Teacher’s Report 2019 – 2020
Good evening and thank you to everyone for attending using digital methods – although this is not the preferred or most convenient method for some of us, it is the necessary method at present to meet current Scottish Government requirements.
Last year was an unusual and challenging year for pupils, families and staff alike at Muthill Primary, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and home learning.
Our Standards and Quality Report, shared with parents / carers prior to the summer holidays, included information of progress and developments until lockdown in March 2020. Our pupils across the school continue to make good progress in their learning across most areas, with a few exceeding national expectations. We directed last year’s Pupil Equity Funding towards the purchase of further reading books, including dyslexia-friendly materials, and digital learning devices in order to extend access for pupils to a range of resources, apps and websites for practising core numeracy and literacy skills, and to continue to reduce identified gaps and raise overall attainment in both numeracy and literacy.
Our pupils’ attendance was just above the national average at 93.1%; this was a very slight decrease compared to the previous session, reflective of a very small number of pupils, and is something we will continue to monitor on an ongoing basis.
Inclusion, equity and wellbeing are central themes in our school ethos, relationships and learning approaches. Children and staff all worked very hard to prepare for our Rights Respecting Schools Gold Level re-accreditation and were delighted their efforts were recognised by receiving this award for a second time, as well as also achieving a second Fair Achiever Fair-trade Award.
Just prior to lockdown we celebrated a highlight in Muthill’s learning in partnership with the Juliet Johnson School in Ghana, funded through the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms, when we were hosts for three of their teachers. During ‘Ghana Week’ pupils and staff shared the learning of the Global Goals in both schools and involved parents / carers and the wider Muthill community in experiencing and comparing Scottish and Ghanaian singing, music, dance, games and stories, a Fair-trade Day and a Community Ceilidh.
The school is very much at the centre of the Muthill community and we fully appreciate the valuable help and support of parents and community members, without whom we would be unable to provide the current breadth of opportunities and experiences. Pupil learning has been enhanced through a variety of initiatives and activities, including I-Bike events, class and residential trips, and a range of sports opportunities to name just a few.
We are fortunate to have staff at Muthill who model the skill of lifelong learning to our pupils, whether they are at the start of their teaching career or further along that pathway. Mrs Swan continues her secondment at RDM School and Mrs Hepburn continues as part-time Acting PT, working with Mrs Reid. We are delighted that Mrs Kimber and Mrs McShane both remain with us part-time, and also to welcome our Probationer Teacher, Mr Boddy, to our team for the forthcoming year. We also look forward to a new member of staff joining our school office shortly, following Mrs. Hine’s retirement.
Last year, all pupils continued to participate in one of our school committees. Groups of pupils were able to promote and share their experiences to support other local schools, with some older pupils confident enough to share their learning with an adult audience at lectures and presentations.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought immediate and unforeseen changes to us all from March 2020, with the move to home learning with virtually no notice or preparation time. This presented a huge number of challenges to parents and staff alike, many of whom quickly recognised the limitations of their broadband services, whether it be their physical connection, the number of family members trying to share it, or devices and time to address home learning.
Everyone worked really hard to respond to feedback from our families by adjusting the timings and methods in which learning was provided, facilitating communication pathways, sharing resources (often in the polytunnel!) and regularly checking in with families to make sure everyone was okay. Once we knew we would be returning to classrooms in some form, a huge amount of discussion, planning and preparation went into our recovery planning to ensure a safe learning environment for all of our pupils, parents and staff.
We were pleased to welcome our pupils back into school earlier this month, albeit it in a rather new and strange type of setting. Our pupils have initially adjusted well to our new procedures and routines, all of which are in place in the way that they are to address the health and safety guidance we must adhere to.
School priorities this session will focus on the implementation of our recovery plan, in line with and in response to any changes in Scottish Government guidance, initially concentrating firmly on numeracy, literacy and health & wellbeing, with learning taking place outdoors where we can.
We are reviewing and introducing resources and learning approaches in school that we would also be able to make accessible to families if we should need to move to a blended learning approach at any time in the future, including Big Maths, Active Maths, Google Classroom, Seesaw and Sumdog.
I should like to thank Curstaidh and the Parent Council, as well as the wider parent forum for your help, hard work and support over the past year. The forthcoming session will no doubt bring a whole new blend of unique challenges, but we will continue to put achieving the best for our pupils at the centre of all that we do, and I look forward to working with you all as we move forward into another year at Muthill Primary.
To conclude, I should like to address a few queries that have been put forward via the Parent Council:
· Separating Class Groups – Current Scottish Government guidance is to group pupils in school in such a way to minimise the risk of passing on infection and to be able to track where an infection may possibly have been passed between pupils / staff. Depending on the individual school, its size and how it is able to operate, this might be in year groups, class groups, smaller groups or wider groups e.g. several year groups in a secondary school. At Muthill, this is most easily achieved by grouping pupils according to their class – for their learning, at breaktimes and where possible when using the toilets and washing hands. This has been carefully planned and timetabled to minimise risk at our school – this is also why we have kept our start and end of the day routines as they are, in family groups and socially distanced, so parents with more than one child can pick up from one place, but without class groups mixing.
· Running vehicle engines at drop-off and pick-up times, specifically the school transport – this has now been addressed.
· Excess vehicles in the school car park – this was a one-off due to contractors in school and has been addressed, however, if there were to be a problem again, we would welcome a parent telephoning into the school office so that a member of staff can come out and assist with this.
· Communications with Staff – Current guidance means that we are simply not allowed to have the informal chats that we all miss with parents at the start and end of the day. Home-school diaries are also a bit of a problem due to quarantining guidance. We do encourage parents to get in touch via telephone or an email to the school if you need to get in contact with your child’s teacher; we will pass on any emails and your child’s teacher will phone you back. Your child’s teacher may also phone you on other occasions if they have something important to share. We are in the process of setting up a trial period with Seesaw – this is a user-friendly app which allows photographing and sharing an individual pupil’s work with parents – parents / pupils can also upload photos of work completed at home – teachers can send out group or individual messages to parents – parents can also send messages to the teacher. We will get information out to parents about this shortly – Parent Plans will also be emailed out next week.
· Website – we were at a point going into lockdown where the website was going through the PKC approval process and was subsequently approved. Thank you to Greg Sutcliffe for his work with this. We did not progress further during lockdown as our focus was required on home learning provision and recovery planning. Now we are back in school it will be good to move forwards; we need to find a way for the key parties to liaise regarding this, also being mindful that the staff’s main focus needs to be on our recovery phase rather than populating the website. I am happy to liaise with the Parent Council to move this forward.
· Prizegiving – this was unable to take place but was not forgotten; all Primary 7 pupils were recognised by receiving a gift voucher and presentation pack containing gifts from the Parent Council, Parish Church and school. The ‘promise’ to reschedule was made under the premise that guidance allows us to do so, which is clearly not possible at the current time. Neither are we able to sing or to hold assemblies. Pupils’ achievements will continue to be recognised in their classes – I spend time with each class on a Monday, which is a combination of music activities and also HWB themes that we would usually address through an assembly – we will continue to award certificates e.g. Star of the Week, virtual sports day etc though this venue for the time being until, if and when, things can change. We have to accept that we must adjust the way things were done to fit the new normal – we are considering how to reorganise pupil leadership – committees and houses – to suit the way things are at present and we will also look at our competitions and prizes under this umbrella.
· Water bottles – dental health guidance is that children should have access to milk or water throughout the day but not juice. Juice may be provided as part of a packed lunch. Water is best for other times during the day – milk and water are provided with school lunches. This has always been our guidance and has not changed in any way due to COVID-19.
· Waterproofs – we are currently trying to ensure that every child has waterproofs to use during school time. These can be left at school in a named bag, but if they are required at home or for Kiddy Club, they can go home and come back each day – this is at parental discretion. Pupils need a spare pair of shoes in case of wet feet; they may bring wellies on wet days but should not really be wearing these all day in school – again, this is at parental discretion.
It is important to make the point that any arrangements we put in place are completely driven by our need to keep pupils, staff and parents looked after, comfortable and safe – we are following the guidance which informs our risk assessments – making adjustments as we go if we find a better way or if the guidance changes. We always welcome queries or ideas from parents and pupils, but in the current climate there may be reasons we have to do things a certain way and we appreciate your recognition of this.
Curstaidh then read out the Treasurer’s report as Debra was unable to attend.
2019 – 2020 AGM Treasury Report We started the 19’-20’ school year with £3,137.52 and ended it with £3,051.23 in our account. Despite Covid-19 disrupting nearly half our school year, the parent council has done well, spending our time and money enhancing the learning experiences of our children. Our income this year totalled £1,823.95. This included Easyfundraising donations totalling £126.29, the Winter Fair takings of £651.29 and raffle £628, and the PKC Grant of £372. Our expenditure totalled £1,910.24. This included spending the PKC Grant money on the Gazebo roof, playground brooms and garden and property maintenance, including the work we had done on the pitch grounds. All of these totalled £382.96. We donated £150 to the teachers in the form of Tesco vouchers, and £291 was donated for the Ghana video recording and African Drumming Day. We spent £96.22 on the Christmas Show and costumes, hamper raffle and Winter Fair raffle. The entire school enjoyed their trip to the Panto this year and we only spent £12 on the refreshments. We purchased tickets for the 2020 Panto, totalling £584. If the Panto is cancelled because of Covid, we will either get refunded or will use it for when the show is rescheduled. The p3/4 class also enjoyed a trip to Discovery Point, which we contributed £80.75 towards. One of the things we decided to do this year, and those going forward, was to provide small “takehome" trophies for students who were awarded prizes at the Prize Giving Ceremony. These cost £68.73, which were for the 18’-19' school year. Because there were no prizes awarded during the 19’-20' year, we did not provide any. Lastly, we spent £204.58 on Get Well, Teacher Leaving and P7 Leavers gifts. And spent £40 on the small lottery licence. Overall, despite the disruption, I think we’ve had a successful year, and with the encouragement and support of parents and staff we can have an even better 20’-21' year. Debra Lamont
Curstaidh asked the meeting if there were any questions about any of the reports which had just been shared. There were none.
Election of officers:
Curstaidh then invited the current Parent Council to stand down and the following officers were elected:
|Chairperson||Curstaidh Robertson||FC proposed, AW seconded|
|Vice Chairperson||Anna Wilson||CR proposed, FC seconded|
|Secretary||Fiona Cannon||CR proposed, CS seconded|
|Treasurer||Nicki Sutcliffe||CR proposed, FC seconded|
Class representatives and a fundraising co-ordinator were then sought from those attending and the parent council for 2020/21 was formed as follows:
2020/21 Parent Council
|Vice Chair||Anna Wilson|
|Fundraising Co-ordinator||Vivienne Whyte|
|Teacher Representative||Rachel Bell|
|Technical Advisor||Greg Sutcliffe|
|P5/6/7||Curstaidh Robertson & Fiona Cannon|
CR advised that under the terms of the constitution the maximum number of people who may serve on the committee is 8 with 5 required at any meeting to be quorate.
The following parents have kindly offered to help in any way possible. Although not official members of the Parent Council they are welcome (as are all Parent/Carers) to attend the meetings and receive a copy of the minutes etc.
Jennifer McRae, Lily McCarthy, Debra Lamont
Ideas/Priorities for 2020/21
Some discussion then followed about priorities for this session. The following list was drawn up and CR has also requested that the staff make any further suggestions as they see fit.
· Teacher vouchers to continue but switch to Amazon rather than Tesco. £50 for Mrs Hepburn, £50 for Mr Boddy, £25 each for Mrs Reid and Mrs Kimber.
· Teacher’s Grant Applications to run again this year. CR to issue the forms to each member of staff.
· Website – Curstaidh suggested that, as the school website has not been progressed and staff are now very busy, the Parent Council could set up their own website as a resource for information from school, PKC, Scottish Government etc. In time, if circumstances allowed, this could be transferred to a school website. All agreed this was a good solution. CR and FC to action.
Anna raised a concern about unhealthy milkshake drinks in the school packed lunches. Rachel was unaware of the ingredients but will have a look. The lunches are supplied by Tayside Contracts who have a set of nutritional guidelines that they must adhere to. Any concerns should be raised directly with them.
Vivienne raised a query about a disclaimer sent out on behalf of Tayside Contracts to be signed by Dr/Paediatrician for children with food allergies. This is in relation to school meals. Rachel was unaware of the form but suspected it was introduced in response to a tightening of standards around food allergens.
Curstaidh reminded everyone that if they have any questions following the meeting they can see her at pick up/drop off or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Meeting – Date set as 17 September 2020 at 7pm. CR to investigate using Microsoft Teams for future meetings.