Muthill Primary School – Parent Council Meeting
Thursday 17 September 2020 – remote meeting via Teams
Attendees:Curstaidh Robertson (CR), Anna Wilson (AW), Claire Scott (CS), Fiona Cannon (FC), Rachel Bell (RB), Chris Flower (CF), Richard Boddy (RBo), Nicki Sutcliffe (NS), Keri Reid (KR)
Apologies:Emma Hepburn, Vivienne Whyte, Lisa Kelly
CR opened the meeting by welcoming and thanking everyone for attending. She gave the apologies as noted above.
Curstaidh then gave the following updates:
· Connect Membership has been confirmed again for this year. This is provided for us by PKC and Connect offer very useful support for Parent Councils – especially at this time.
· Pantomime – Perth Theatre have offered to either refund our money or apply it against a performance next year. All agreed to opt for applying the money against a future performance. CR to respond to Perth Theatre
· Tayside Contracts – following on from the concern raised at the previous meeting about sugar content in the packed lunches Claire Eddie from Tayside Contracts sent CR the following response - Unfortunately the use of milkshakes was a last minute decision that was out of our control. We had planned to offer individual cartons of milk with straws, however, when the milk was delivered they didn’t have a straw and could only be opened with scissors making them impractical especially for younger pupils. Currently we are using a reduced sugar flavoured milk (6.6g sugar/100ml – 4.8g sugar will be natural milk sugars) but we will be moving to a no added sugar version (4.8g sugar/100ml – this will be natural milk sugars). We hope to return to milk and water as soon as feasibly possible.
· Update from Emma who was unable to attend the meeting - As I won’t be able to attend the parent council meeting, I just wanted to give you a quick update on what we are doing with Seesaw, as promised.
At our staff meeting after school today, staff were able to put all pupils onto Seesaw. The plan is that both teachers and pupils will explore how to upload photos and class work onto Seesaw over the next few weeks. This will allow us to create some introductory content on each child’s journal page.
We will soon send out a letter to parents to gain permission for their child to use Seesaw and plan to send out family invitations, along with instructions, for Seesaw after the October break. There is an app for mobile phone as well as a unique code for use on a pc to be able to access your child’s journal.
As we are unable to use our home/school diaries at present, we are looking forward to being able to communicate with parents using the app and it is planned that homework will be sent via Seesaw also.
Staff are looking forward to using this new tool to share pupil work with families.
· Covid Update – hygiene measures and routines will stay in place. The school is continuing to work on contingency plans should blended or home learning be necessary. Outside learning will continue as much as possible – staff are indentifying any children that require waterproofs and a drying system is now in place. PE must continue outdoors for now.
· School Meals – New menus will be coming home soon, these will include some hot items although they will still be bagged and served in disposable packaging. The environmental impact of this has been acknowledged. Lunches will continue to take place in the classrooms.
· School Risk Assessment – This is going through the final check with PKC and will be made available to parents/carers as soon as possible.
· Recovery Plan – this was in place for the first term. The School Improvement Plan will now be produced for each term.
· Digital Devices – PKC have received government funding for devices for pupils. School is waiting to hear what it is eligible for. Funding is also available for COVID 19-related additional staffing (to cover HT teaching commitments and provide necessary support for identified pupils) - the school will apply for this too.
· Plumbing Issues – the school has been beset by several plumbing issues recently. Hopefully these issues have now been resolved.
· Timetabling – Changes were made for the first term to breaks and lunches and teaching staff supervised the classrooms at lunchtime. Rachel is going to look at different options for support and office staff to supervise lunches and breaks to free up teaching staff and allow Mrs Hendry more time in classes to support. Pupil Support Teacher – Margaret Gibson will be in school every 3rd week and will be working with pupils on Weds/Thurs. A new area support teacher, Ailie Davidson, has also been appointed.
· Visitors In School – Until now no visitors have been allowed in school without local authority approval. Some visitors will now be allowed at Headteacher’s discretion but it is important that this is done cautiously and specifically to deliver learning and essential support to pupils.
· Digital Learning Update – see Emma’s update on Seesaw
· Parentpay – will continue to be used for emails.
· Website – Rachel wished to thank Greg, Curstaidh and all the staff involved in setting up the new Parent Council website for all their hard work. The new site is looking great.
· Support Staff – Lots of interviews took place and Rachel was pleased to share that Mrs Lesley Wright has been appointed as the new Primary School Support Assistant. Lesley worked in a similar role at Dunblane High and she should be able to join the team after the Oct hols once all checks and paperwork have been completed.
Nicki gave an update on the handover from Debra which is ongoing. Necessary paperwork for change of signatories is underway. Nicki also thanked Curstaidh for helping to facilitate the signing off of last year’s accounts.
Grant Applications from Staff
One application has been received from Keri who would like to add a number of graphic novels to the P567 class library. These are a good resource for encouraging reluctant readers and are a good way to build reading stamina. The cost is £29 and all agreed to fund this. KR to action.
Curstaidh contacted John Nicholson our MP asking for a zoom meeting to update on progress. He did previously visit to see the problem for himself following a surgery where Anna spoke to him. He is going to contact the Chief Executive of PKC re lack of pavement and safe crossing options around the school. Chris offered to help with any lobbying that might need done. Rachel offered to follow up with another contact to help with road markings around the school. CF, RB and CR to action
This has now gone out to the children. Designs are due back by last day or term and then we can pick up the sheets to be judged after the hols.
Curstaidh said a huge thank you to Greg for all his hard work over the last few weeks. A small but mighty team has achieved a lot in a short space of time. Greg updated that the website is now all set up and now it’s needing content. Classroom landing pages are now set up for each member of staff to use. Greg will now focus on the integration side of things to ensure the smooth running of the site and will also work on formatting for mobiles which at the moment isn’t working that well. The Parent Council Who’s Who is up and it would be good to get something similar done for staff asap. Curstaidh made the point that parents new to the school may never have met their child’s teacher. If staff can write a piece about themselves, what they love about Muthill etc with pic and send to Greg that would be great. The possibility of a video clip was also discussed. STAFF and GS to action
Greg is happy to help with any queries and also advised that in the post section of Ghost there are guides to writing content for the site.
Keri is hoping to get some of the children involved in writing posts which all agreed would be great. KR to action
All agreed to discuss options at a later date. Curstaidh asked all to have a think about any creative ways we can raise funds going forward. Rachel mentioned there may be a way to use Parentpay to collect money on behalf of the parent council. Chris said he’d seen a monthly lottery run at another school where people could choose an amount to pay into a 50/50 type draw, everything done by direct debit with little work needed when it came to the organising. Nicki offered to look at options for setting this up and she’d seen something similar at a charity. Nicki also mentioned a Connect meeting on fundraising ideas and Curstaidh confirmed that she had already signed up. CR to feed back after Connect meeting, NS and CF to research lottery/50:50 options
Keri shared some news about awards and initiatives the school has been involved in. While not being part of the School Improvement Plan, everyone agreed that it was important to reapply for our awards as they make up the ethos of Muthill Primary.
· Reaccreditation of Fair Achiever Award
Our reaccreditation submission was successful and the school has been awarded our second Fair Achiever Award in recognition of its engagement with Fair Trade over the past three years. Many former pupils have contributed to this award through participating in lessons around Fair Trade issues, campaigning and running Fair Trade craft and food stalls. They were particularly impressed with our Ghana Fair Trade Day during our Ghana Week.
Former pupils, Jessica and Martha, co-presented extremely well at the Learning for Sustainability AGM in February. This resulted in us being interviewed for podcasts and being invited to speak at various webinars over lockdown. Mrs Reid would like to thank Martha for the videos she made and acknowledge how well they were received. There were many positive comments from attendees. Our song was also played at the end of webinars and I continue to speak about our partnership at upcoming webinars for teachers.
· Ghana Song
Mrs Reid was asked to speak again at the Scottish Learning Festival but this has been cancelled due to the pandemic. However, a new innovative festival (Create Bravery Festival) is running across the country this week and our song and partnership will feature in one of the seminars.
· International Schools Award
Mrs Reid submitted a reaccreditation application last session for the Full International Award. We should hear shortly if we have been successful in upholding our gold status. Similar to the Fair Trade award, schools must reapply every three years and it is based on the work carried out in that time.
· Stride on-line magazine film – Rachel suggested sharing this with parents via Parentpay and Curstaidh said she would add the link to the website (now done)
Rachel thanked Keri for all her hard work towards all of these achievements.
Since the meeting, the British Council have interviewed Mrs Reid and put together a media briefing document which will be used to promote the Connecting Classrooms programme on World Teacher’s Day on October 5, alongside a news release with the Foreign Secretary encouraging more Scottish schools to sign-up for CCGL.
There is also information about / recognition of this on the Standards & Quality Report 2019/20 which was emailed out to parents / carers and is also now on the website.
Curstaidh updated that there had been a few problems getting the children over to Kiddy Club safely. Rachel confirmed things are now better since the children attending are coming out last. It was agreed that a reminder to parents not to stand anywhere that blocks the children’s’ way or to gather for chat close to the school would be good. RB to action
Next Meeting – Date set as Wednesday 4 November 2020 at 7pm on Teams