Minutes from 9th May 2022

This is a shorter version of the minutes: Merrylee parents can read the full version via SeeSaw

1. Welcome and introductions

Stephen (chair) welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Approval of minutes and update on actions

The minutes of the previous meeting were proposed by Yvonne and seconded by Laura.

3. Headteacher Update

Three new members of staff started after the Easter break and Colette has been pleased to welcome them. Colette reminded PC members that the school chaplain Wilma Pearson is retiring at the end of this month and school plans to do a collection.

Colette provided some points from the recent parent consultation survey, which received 85 responses:

  • 92% of respondents agreed that planning for learning and teaching at Merrylee includes opportunities to make links with real life learning. Parents would like more opportunities for trips and links with the wider community and Colette reported that these are now underway, following the lifting of Covid restrictions. 
  • Most parents agreed that parents can contribute to the life of the school and wider community. Some parents were unsure about how to do this, particularly leadership opportunities for children: the school will make a specific effort to communicate about this. 
  • Outdoor learning was seen as a key strength of the school. Some parents felt that children should be out in all weathers, others only when the weather is favourable. School will do its best to balance these views. 
  • There was concern about the cost of the school day, which staff will consider.
  • 91% of respondents agreed that interdisciplinary learning such as STEM was a strength. 
  • Most parents agreed that the ability to assess and talk about learning was positive, but views were mixed: some parents were strongly opposed to assessing children especially at early stages, while others want more testing. The school will try to seek a balance. 
  • Some parents felt homework should be optional: Colette reported that this was tried a few years ago but parents found it confusing. 
  • Most respondents agreed that children were well supported in school, though there were lots of comments reflecting the lack of in-person communication due to Covid. Colette confirmed that this is very much on the school improvement plan for next session.
  • There was a suggestion to have a therapy pet in the school: Colette reported that they would love to do this, if any parent can provide links to a suitably trained pet. 
  • There were comments about consistency of staffing – Colette reported that this has been unavoidable as there is a severe shortage of supply teachers across Glasgow. 

Finally, Colette reported that the girls’ P6 and P7 football team has been very successful. She thanked Frankie’s dad, who has sponsored and designed their strips, and Audrey and Alice’s mum who has offered to teach the girls yoga and has also provided shinpads. Colette also thanked Miss Reeves, who has led the team. 

Questions on Headteachers Report

  • Q: Do we have a clear view on what if any similar funding will be available for next year?
  • A: the school gets PEF funding of £60-70k: this is used to buy in extra staff. There is no expectation of further Covid recovery funding. 
  • Q: Will paired reading resume?
  • A – yes, this should resume in August. 
  • Q – Are assessments required by Government?
  • A – Scottish National Assessments take place at P1, P4 and P7 and these are set nationally and done annually. 

Update on assessment from Julie.

Julie explained that the school is developing its approach to assessment and reported that:

  • In Scotland, assessment for learning shapes the learning and is also there for accountability. 
  • Merrylee wants to take a holistic view of assessment that incorporates learning progress and attainment as well as opportunities to develop skills which will be useful in later life. 
  • Merrylee will track literacy and numeracy but also wants to put the child at the centre – other elements of learning are also important. 
  • Julie also wants to look at how assessment will be reported to parents to ensure the learners’ voice is reflected. 

Julie would like to hold a focus group in person with parents to get views on assessment and reporting. Information about this will be posted on Seesaw: parents can contact Julie if interested.

4. PA Update

Yla gave an update:

  • The Greenfingers gardening initiative has now spent the money passed over from the PC last quarter. A new shed is still required to store all equipment on site now that the allotment has closed. 
  • The bulbs donated by Morrisons look great and the seedling kits were really successful. The hanging baskets have been moved to the school garden and planted with strawberries at child height so children can water and pick them. 
  • The Council now requires the Greenfingers volunteers to arrange a formal “let” every time they want access to the school, including to water plants. This has required a lot of administration in organising a let for every single day of the school holidays. This doesn’t cost money but makes things harder: they are working with Colette to try to hand over more of the responsibility for watering plants to the school. 
  • There has previously been an issue with the council spraying weedkiller on fruit and vegetables in the grounds, which means they cannot be eaten. The janitor prevented this from happening recently: Colette and Greenfingers have been trying to communicate with the council to prevent it from happening in the future. 
  • The PC has provided a clothes rail at the front of the school for people to donate and take second-hand uniform: this has proved really popular. The PA will see whether they can arrange for parents to swap and donate outdoor items for the Kelburn school trip, so parents don’t have to buy new items. 
  • A new parent volunteer will now be keeping the school noticeboards up to date.
  •  Sarah (treasurer) is stepping down after six years: please contact PA if interested in taking on this role.

Upcoming dates:

  • The virtual book fair will take place in the week beginning 21st May. 
  • Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th May have been confirmed for school photos. Parent volunteers are needed to help on those days: parents should contact the PA if able to help. There will be fewer, more traditional poses which allows us to get the photographer in for fewer days, which reduces the cost. Mel will also do informal class photos as has happened in the last couple of years, 
  • Party on the pitch will be held on 1st June – this will use the money raised at the Break the Rules day last year. There will be play resources, inflatables, refreshments etc: parent volunteers are needed. 
  • Saturday 27th August is the provisional date for the summer fair.

The PA can be contacted at merryleepa@hotmail.com 

5. Treasurer’s report

Laura gave a financial update on the Parent Council.

6. AOB

  • School grounds security

Recent incident discussed.

  • Lost property

Some parents have raised questions about lost property: this will now be available at the community entrance every Friday. The PA will post pics of lost property rail every week on Facebook to help parents identify items. The PA has also bought 24 Sharpie pens for the school so classes can take it in turns to write names on jackets. Parents are reminded that they can support the school when buying stickers and labels:

  • at www.easy2name.com, enter Merrylee Primary at the checkout when buying washable stickers that can be attached to almost anything, and a percentage of your spend will be donated to the school
  • at www.stamptastic.co.uk, buy a School Name Labels Delux Bundle and the school will receive 15% commission.
  • P7 transition days

Unfortunately the school trip to Kelburn clashes with one of the P7 secondary induction visits to Hillpark and Williamwood: the trip was booked before the school was given the dates. Carolyn has been in touch with secondary school Parent Councils to establish links and try to prevent this happening in future. 

  • P7 leavers’ assembly and sports day

Colette confirmed that P7 parents will be invited to attend the leavers’ assembly and that parents will be very welcome to come and watch on Sports Day.

  • Street Play 2-5th June

Carolyn advised that the Council is once again running its Street Play initiative, when the Council will cover the costs of closing a street to allow children to play out. This will take place over 2-5 June. Parents can apply to close their street here: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=44646&p=0.

7. Date of next meeting: Monday 12th September (AGM and elections) IN PERSON AT SCHOOL

  • Stephen advised that the roles of Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the PC will all be up for election at the AGM in September. He asked parents to please consider standing for one of these roles and to contact us if you would like to know more, at merryleepc@gmail.com
  • There was a discussion about whether PC meetings should now be in person, as this is now possible. Members noted that attendance has increased since meetings became digital, but that this may be excluding some people. AGREED the AGM will be held in person at the school and a decision on future meetings will be taken at that time.