Note the full minutes of meetings are circulated to all parents via Seesaw. These include a list of those attending the meeting. If you would like to attend a future meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Welcome and introductions
Stephen welcomed everyone to the meeting.
- Approval of minutes and update on actions
The minutes of the previous meeting were proposed by Stephen and seconded by Laura.
- Elspeth and Colette to coordinate leaflets about vandalism: leaflet drop was done and prompted some positive responses from neighbours who are now reporting incidents to the police
- Laura to arrange bank transfer for Zoom account: done
- Yvonne to take forward oral history project about Covid: carry forward
- Yla and Stephen to link in with Mrs Mort next term about Eco School: done: Mrs Mort will follow up once she is more settled in her role.
- All to look at the Glasgow and Clyde Parents for the Future group: Clara updated: Most schools are now using plastic water bottles again because of Covid. Colette advised that the school can now address this: ACTION: Colette to pick this up within the school.
- Rubina to become Volunteer Scotland lead: done
- Yvonne to work with Colette and Mrs McElhone to create a parent survey about views and knowledge of Hillpark: carry forward
- Cara to coordinate with Colette on an opportunity for children to meet herself and fellow Hillpark Chaplain colleague: carry forward
- Colette to review the homework policy: staff have begun looking at homework policy. Elspeth reported that homework has been shared in advance and this is extremely helpful.
- Headteacher Update
Colette welcomed everyone to the AGM and is looking forward to getting to know the new families. She outlined the strengths and areas for development this year, and noted that schools continue to be very affected by safety restrictions for Covid. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of Covid notifications across the whole city. Demand for tests has increased and it can take more than 2 days for results to come back, which has an impact on staffing. This means that the leadership team is having to cover absences at short notice so may take longer to get back to parents with queries. She assured everyone that the school is doing everything they can to ensure minimal disruption. Colette also expressed her thanks to the office staff Mrs McGrory and Mrs Provan who have become real experts in interpreting Covid guidance, which is often complicated. Unfortunately the school still can’t facilitate parent volunteers in school. However, Colette is delighted that the parent body continues to come up with innovative ways to keep the partnership with parents going, such as the Merrylee Green Fingers initiative, which transformed the school last year. Colette expressed her gratitude to the Parent Association for all their fantastic ideas and efforts. She also thanked parents who volunteer to run the Saturday morning football, which has now resumed. She encouraged parents to get involved in these activities and to contact either the PC or PA to find out how to get involved. P7 buddies are back and are now operating in groups on a rota basis and hope to introduce more opportunities for the P7 buddies to support younger pupils. Lunchtime clubs are also now resumed and will be advertised on SeeSaw.
School continues to focus on raising attainment and learning and teaching, as well as digital skills. Mrs Mort leads on learning and teaching and is looking forward to working with P5 and P6s pupils this year: this will include offering clubs and activities. The idea is to engage children really positively with their learning. The whole school focus for this term includes learning for sustainability and preparing for COP26: the Glasgow priorities are climate action, reduced inequalities and peace, justice and strong institutions. Pupils will have opportunities to learn about global issues and bring about change: for example P7s will work towards achieving the John Muir award. Other pupils are involved in STEM activities. The school is looking forward to working with parents to use the school facilities to promote learning for sustainability. Colette thanked everyone who has already been in touch to offer their time and skills: she will respond as soon as possible.
Colette noted that the janitor Tommy will retire this Friday. He has been with the school for many years and has been a constant source of support for everyone. No job is too big or too small and he always has time for everyone. He is a much loved figure in our community and Colette thanked all parents who had contributed to his collection. Stephen agreed on behalf of the Parent Council that Tommy will be much missed and has made an enormous contribution to the school.
A new janitor has now been appointed and will take up post shortly.
Finally, Colette thanked all the parents at Merrylee for their commitment, and for the hard work of the PA and PC. SHe looked forward to continuing to work together.
Alan noted his thanks to the P7 buddies: his P1 daughter has found the buddy system extremely helpful.
- Parent Council Office Bearers – confirmation of roles and formal appointment
Stephen noted that the constitution specifies a two-year period for office bearers: all of the PC office bearers are halfway through their term so will continue for a further year. This was agreed.
- Parent Association Office Bearers – confirmation of roles and formal appointment
Yla noted that she is in her first year as solo chair. Sarah is the Treasurer and Shona is now learning about this role with a view to taking it on in future. The co-secretaries Julie and Melissa are also halfway through a two-year term.
- Report on the work of the PC
Carolyn gave a report.
Report on the work of the PA
Yla gave a report which is summarised below.
The PA is run by a voluntary parent committee which plans, co-ordinates and manages a calendar of fundraising and social events. All parents are encouraged to get involved. In 2020/21, the PA looked closely at the cost of participation and moved from a “pay to play” model to a “donations welcome” one. Yla noted that the PA does not only evaluate its activities on the basis of funds raised but also numbers participating and feedback received.
- Halloween decorations and monster march
- Christmas and winter decorations, seasonal products and star trail
- Torch to Tokyo
- Spring treasure hunt
- School garden group, which gained a grant from Keep Scotland Beautiful
Yla also mentioned Merrylee FC Saturday morning football, which is led by parents and is all about encouraging the love of football. Parents can get involved by contacting email@example.com and each session costs £1.
PA meetings are usually on the last Wednesday of the month from 7pm onwards. The PA is on Facebook and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next meeting is Wednesday 29 September.
- Report of PC Accounts and formal approval
Laura gave a report. Sarah proposed the accounts and Alan seconded.
- Report of PA Accounts and formal approval
Sarah gave a report. Laura proposed the accounts and Alan seconded.
- Couper Library campaign
Carolyn gave an update on the campaign to save the Couper Library, which is one of five libraries in Glasgow which still has no reopening date following Covid. She invited Merrylee families to take part in the read-in, every Saturday between 11-12 outside the library, to demonstrate support for reopening it. The campaign can also support families to write to their councillors and can be contacted on email@example.com.
Parking in Mochrum Road
Elspeth raised this issue. There is an increase in the number of people parking on Mochrum Road, at the entrance to the tennis club. There are lots of vehicles parking on the pavement and turning in the road, and she is hearing concerns from residents about the potential for an accident. Colette encouraged everyone to report concerns to the police on 101, as they will respond. ACTION: Parent Council to write to Council to ask whether the lollipop person currently on Clarkston Road, where there is a crossing facility, could be moved to Mochrum Road. Colette also mentioned Walk to School Week in September as an opportunity to get the children involved in encouraging parents to drive and park safely.
- Teenagers in playground in evenings
Elspeth raised this issue, which is again being raised by local residents. Teenagers have always used the school in the evenings and this has not been a problem before, but recently the janitor has had to clear up bottles, vomit etc and there has been extremely loud music. Colette advised that the best course of action would be to continue to contact the police and also local councillors. The school will continue to alert the police to these incidents.
- Fuel Zone
Clara raised an upcoming focus group on the Fuel Zone being run by the Glasgow City Parents Group on the Fuel Zone: she had hoped to join but it is oversubscribed. There is an upcoming survey about the Fuel Zone so she will share details of this with the PC once this is live.
Yla reported that weedkiller has been put in various areas around the school, which means that fruit bushes can’t be harvested as there are now pesticides on it, and this goes against the ecological focus that the school has. The Green Fingers group is bitterly disappointed about this. ACTION: Colette will pick up with Yla on this and contact the Council to find out why this has happened.
- Welcoming P1 children
Cara had raised this: a P1 parent has asked if videos could be made of the classrooms to help parents who have no previous connection with the school to get a sense of the environment the children are in. Colette confirmed that videos of all the classrooms will be out by the end of the weekend.
- Parent Council links with Hillpark and Shawlands
Yla raised this. Dates for Hillpark PC clashed with this one so parents with children at both couldn’t attend. She suggested that we make links with the PCs at Shawlands and Hillpark.ACTION: Yla will ask the parent to get in touch so we can make links.
- Cash payments for school lunches
Tommy asked why payments can only be made by cash, given Covid hygiene concerns. He has checked with the school who advise it is a Glasgow City Council decision. Colette advised that this will move to Parent Pay and that this is in process, and will hopefully happen soon.
- Date of next meeting
6.30pm Monday 6 November.