Pencaitland Parent Council

Date | time28/8/201719:00| Meeting chaired byC. Snow

In Attendance

Carol Snow (CS) Chair, Dave Osborne (DO), Erica Burberry (EB), Flor Jackman (FJ), Neill Russell (NR), Jim Fraser (JF), Loreen Pardoe (LP), Ralph Averbuch (RA).

Others Present: Nicola Wilson (NW) Head Teacher, Shamin Ahktar (SA) Local Councillor, Katharine Ranyard (KR) Teacher representative.

Apologies noted from: Parent:Vivien Dykes,Local Councillors; John McMillan (JM), Tom Trotter (TT), Brian Small (BS)

Carol opened meeting and thanked all for attending the first meeting of new session.Introductions made andKatharine Ranyard welcomed as new teacher representative, with special thanks noted for all Kirsty Robertson’s support, interest and involvement in PC until summer. Laurie Dabornfrom Active Schools Haddington Cluster also welcomed along as he has shared responsibility for PPS also and some individual schools in N. Berwick cluster to complement cluster work of colleague Adam Martin.

Following invitation to join PC by LP – Vivien Dykes has been in touch about volunteering to become parent member and rep for Nursery, but unable to attend meeting due to seasonal demands. CS will be meeting with her in a couple of weeks to discuss the role more fully. It would be ideal to also have a class rep for P6 and CS will cover this in meantime. Another recruitment post would be good on Pencaitland Parents.

Standing Items: Approval of Minutes & Review

1. Agenda and Minutes were circulated. The Minutes from May were approved and adopted with no changes.Carol suggested we quickly move on to evening’s agenda and invited LD to share information regarding Active Schools in Pencaitland. See notes later in Minute.(8)

2) Head Teacher Report: Nicola shared both Cluster focus and PPS focus. PEEP in Nursery is to be run weekly. SIP has Maths focus leading to PEF supporting “Maths Recovery,” with Soraya Gibson and Alison Mathieson leading these 1:1 sessions for identified children following training. Community focus for the year starting with “Wombling Free”. Develop creativity and outdoor play. BIG WRITING focus – working with parental support. Focus on language structure for writing. Continue to develop Growth Mindset, Dementia Friendly and Intergenerational Work. NW also awaiting costs and information for running “Show Racism the Red Card” training. Cluster focus includes Developing Science following £10000 funding from Schools Education Research Centre. 1+2 Languages will involve a push for French throughout school and P5-7 introduction to Spanish (connects to choices at RHS). Anne Robertson engaged by ELC to further develop 1+2 Languages programme. Rights Respecting Schools programme will start in 2018/19 session.

On Friday mornings children will “STEAM into Fridays”. Children throughout school placed into levels and introduced to groups based on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths.Children’s groups will be rotated fortnightly. Members reported children being excited about the new programme. P7s also working with Edinburgh College on STEM. Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) testing will happen in P1, P4 and P7 – probably around May. (Some discussion ensued again regarding the negative spin-off, of creating league tables – members felt this was not desirable at all). Visit from new QIO manager expected very soon following contact from Karen Haspolat.

Staffing. Nursery will require new member of staff from Oct break, recruitment will start soon. Julie Grant covering Mon in P3 until staff can be sourced, then will cover Tues-Fri as planned. P4 will have Mondays with Jane Burns and remainder of week with Lauren Berry.

Open WELCOME evening for all parents on Wed evening (30th Aug).The school will be offering more one-hour open sessions, most likely starting in January 2018– details will be share in next newsletter, which will have a year calendar. Plans to hold an open MacMillan Coffee Morning late Sept (national fundraiser) with a view to community and intergenerational focus.

Painting by ELC over summer did not happen, delayed until Oct break. R. Golightly pursuing more info around paint etc. Possible contribution of acrylic paints may be made from community member. New toilets were installed – staff and children happy with look, though initial problems regarding water pressure etc. New path to rear doors (P3/4) installed, but problem with water pooling where it meets slabbed area to be rectified. ELC will be addressing the problems. Path from Church grounds will have gate locked again during school hours. Reminder to all to walk around school and not through carpark was issued.

FUNDING: Not discussed in meeting, but has been shared separately – funding around play, Year of Young People and Library system, noted prior to meeting.

CS also noted, and complimented, the new changes for school library. See later Minutes (7).

3) Email Review. Consultation re East Lothian Local Plan and Winter Menu circulated. Comments to Clerk pre deadlines.

4) PC Training –Equalities training opportunity discussed. See later comments.No new courses shared meantime.

5) Learning Council – 1st meeting of new Learning Council scheduled for 1/9, invite to join will happen for next meeting. FJ and CS noted interest in attending the later meeting.

6) Class Reps

LP. P3: Parental feedback – Could parents / carers / children be encouraged to use more reusable food containers throughout school? Could there be a tray / container by exits for pupils to leave/depositcontainers and such-like pre-entering playground. Clarification / Reassurance re Minute Silences post terrorist attacks also requested.(Water collecting at end of new path by rear entrance also noted as a problem). Further frank discussion around Minute Silence with views shared relevant to previous discussion. It was agreed that staff wishing to observe could do so, but that this would not be rolled out to the pupils as it was neither age appropriate nor meaningful, had risk of escalating anxiety and showed no Attachment based practice. Some children may well comment on attacks and items being reported in news or heard in family or playground contexts and staff would continue to support this with care and sensitivity. Parents and Carers would however prefer to be partners in the dealing with these issues and good communication key.

NW/DO and others – Concern from parents re last minute closure of school – communication regarding this and general milling / circulating in playground. All felt children being lined up and then information shared more clearly would have been better, with staff manning exits from school grounds to catch adults prior to leaving if not in ear shot of the lines. School staff explained they had a minute to quickly respond to notification school could not open (no flushing toilets / running water). Despite Nicola’s communication with ELC they were given decision at 8:49. All staff also had discussed better ways of dealing with this. CS suggested it may be advisable to create an Emergency Closure policy, which dealt with not only process for staff but also including the school having a plan for winter closures (where children are to go etc) as it can be distressing for children. Secondary schools use such plans.General appreciation for staff having to deal with situation with one minute to school bell – very difficult circumstance.

AP: CS and NW to discuss closure policy suggestion / create if required.

Other general feedback – a lot of positive comment re nursery set up and daily challenge / question. Positive comment re early newsletter from teachers shared and blog use noted and approved of also.

RA shared that P7 will have own blog, working with Peter Kingsbury. Notifications to parents to be addressed in some way, but both NR and LP noted that this has already been resolved on school blog with help of David Gilmour. Feedburner being used successfully – any and all parents / carers / staff can subscribe and be notified of updates.

DO. P1: Issue re school meals / small portions / lack of choice, difficulty for P1 child to get water (not juice) and no appropriately sized spoons for yoghurts / younger children. KR asked if she could be told about child reticent to ask for assistance, so that child can be best supported. DO asked for clarification around the Welcome Evening – unable to attend and wondered about filming / recording for sharing purposes. KR explained that P1 presentation re new Reading Programme will include useful video clips for parents to see and she can share those to Dave – for wider circulation. LP noted that several links about new Reading Programme were already uploaded to school blog also.

AP: KR & DOliaise re presentation on Read Write Inc. Share with P1 parents / parent council members as appropriate.

Forward Planning

7) Sub Groups:

Lunch Clubs–Maths..Book club (Reflective Reading)– NW unsure yet if staff are able to continue these, will update PC once she has discussed this. MB who was helping deliver the Reading lunchtime group, has left school, meaning that it might be difficult for one staff member to cover the group

Jargon Busting - See Edubuzz. More issues reported again re terminology such as Big Writing, Number bonds, blends.

Intergenerational Work - LP and teacher Kayla Smith booked on Generations Working Together Tues 29/8. Will look to develop some discussion around ideas shared via email over summer following this and meet with NW and EK. DF work will be integrated into these discussions. Macmillan Coffee morning in plans also. Generations Together chat was informative in June, with some Penc residents showing interest in using Music, Dementia Friendly approaches in particular – offers around music and Birds / Nature from some also. Scottish Country Dancing another discussion.

Play. Sub group (members from PC and PTA). Powerpoint was requested from Sanderson’s Wynd as suggested. Problem re accessing this meantime as key staff member on maternity leave. New shed was built. Storystones started – many more required. Doors not painted by parents over summer as undercoating not yet done by ELC. Review of blue sky sharing also to take place. Buddy Bench – No update re siting of bench / buddyroo ideas currently.

A.R. / Library Review. JF shared the flier to explain changes to AR system. Note to be added to highlight new library then circulated with NW’s approval (given during meeting) Tues 29th. Library looks wonderful, room for some more categorising and re-organisation over coming months also, with PC / parent forum help. 14+ books removed from shelves following staff discussion. NW keen on investigating a Junior Library system and some other improvements, but all very appreciative of the better resource and setting / plans (including muting school bell in that area). Thanks to JF and Papiya Russell for leading on work to date and interest in continuing.Papilya to write blog post.

PC to share initiative with ELAPCM in the autumn when the initiative has been communicated to parents at PPS.

All GOOD PRACTICE to be intimated to ELC for sharing.

AP: Subgroups to plan/execute next stages.

Training Opportunities. Unconscious Bias training event with Changing Mindzdiscussed. “Challenging, enjoyable, interesting” – more thought will be needed about how / when to carry this forward. Wide issues including basics around gender exist. Linked to GIRFEC and SHANARRI – and company keen to receive feedback and be involved, if we would like this developed. More thought required around this, as all attendees felt it was worthwhile.NW shared that Rights Respecting Schools work will start next session, with focus around *Giving Racism the Red Card this year if possible. The combination of other ideas alongside school’s plans for celebrating diversity and equality were thought to be a good approach.

AP: NW to investigate costs*.

Community Garden (school grounds) also noted as an area needing work and support. School staff would be very keen for support from parent/carer forum and wider community. Some conversation happened over the summer with regard to this – including growing veg/fruit and an Honesty Box system – as in Elphinstone. Community tended beds similar to the Ormiston Grows project was also mentioned over summer.

8) Active Schools. “More children, More active, More Often”. Laurie shared information to demonstrate the number of children accessing Active Schools (AS) activities over past 3 years. Dramatic drop off which relates to activities no longer being available in village as After School events. There is a problem when paid specialised instructors or coaches need to be brought in, as children need to attend in sufficient numbers to make it ‘break even’. AS programme prefers option of training / supporting volunteers to deliver activities and supports locally, to be universally free of charge and accessible. Discussion ensued regarding activities quoted and members’ memories, but it was understood that the logic of utilizing school and running activities / sports in Pencaitland was highly desirable. CS suggested a survey for Parents and Carers to establish ‘best days’ and ‘what kind of activities / appetite’ exists – and requested some help from LD to consider any surveys carried out previously and type of questions to include. EB asked if activities offered had to be long-term with commitment from pupils and families. Laurie took on board Erica’s suggestion that Taster sessions be offered in small blocks. LD to explore this, however likelihood is that this would still have to have a number of volunteers. Comment also linked the advantage in girls and boys seeing women coaches. Following discussion, Actions Points were identified. NW also noted interest of local parent is running yoga for children. Approval for this noted. LD also explained that classes being run need to be possible, sustainable, inclusive and cover minimum of 4 weeks. He also noted that an ideal goal currently would be to have a P1-3 activity and another P4-7. LP also shared the clear link for school and active school co-ordinator to work together to tackle the dementia friendly ‘proof your life’ ideas – and also the links for community and intergenerational support.

AP: LD to investigate a suitable survey / questions as well as options for Tasters session

AP: Survey to be created.

Next ELAPCM meeting is to be held on 20th Sept. Volunteer required to represent PPS PC.

AP: LP to create new rota sheet. (More dates required for this purpose).

9). No PTA update.

Updates & Action Plan Review

10). Community Update – SA shared a picture of park layout local residents chose for Woodhall Park. (2 were presented). Traffic Orders through ELC have been grouped together and should happen over Autumn, including double yellow lines in The Glebe as previously discussed. “Next Steps” following Governance Review will be shared as information. Education Regions are to be created, all line management will be dealt with by Region and not local authority. Regions not known as yet and legislation currently requires the system we have in place at the moment. Additional Support Needs and Early Years responsibility are to stay with Local Authorities meantime. Fiona Robertson’s team is working on a presentation to help understand the differences. Shamin urged as many PC members as possible to see this, when available. FR’s team are also creating a consultation on FAIR FUNDING also. Local Authorities will maintain key individual, though this is seen to be more of an administrative role. SA also shared she and colleagues are working on a campaign to reject these changes. She also noted that Glasgow Administration have created own structure.

Area Partnership – no update re shared representation at this point.

Next Meeting

2ndOct19:00 hrs.PC meeting,Pencaitland Primary School.

Diary Dates

23.8.17Raising Children with Confidence Course starting. Poldrate Mill, Haddington.

30.8.17Welcome Evening – PPS – for parents and carers.

03.9.17Tour of Britain Cycle Race

15.9.17September weekend starts. Return Tues 19.9.17


25.9.17PTA AGM

29.9.17Macmillan Coffee Morning

04.10.17Generations Working Together network meeting.

05/10/17Play Scotland – 1st Play Convention.

07.10.17East Lothian Play – Training Day.

Nov. 17Launch of Year of Young People. YoYP2018(Date to be confirmed).


East Lothian Council Consultation Hub – Citizen Space online. Opportunity to share your views on Scot Gov consultation (Fracking) and more.East Lothian School Uniform Bank, Freecycle East Lothian and Children’s Bursary are all open to referral. Parents can request pre-worn school clothing through facebook page, but otherwise all requests should be referrals to Carefree Kids, from appropriate professionals.Carefree Kids also deal with Bursary referrals and Active Schools are partnering too. Active Schools also partnering with Children’s Bursary.


Carol Snow:Discuss / formulate Closure Policy with NW.

Share Chair’s report with Clerk from AGM.