Note: the full minutes are circulated via SeeSaw to all parents, and include a list of parents and staff who attended. If you would like to attend future Parent Council meetings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Welcome and introductions
Stephen welcomed everyone to the meeting.
- Approval of minutes and update on actions
Phil proposed minutes, Stephen seconded.
- Film relating to dogs on school grounds. No update. Action to be carried over
- Headteacher’s report
- Home learning.
Colette reported that the school is continuing to provide places for children of keyworkers: there is much higher demand this time. The school has to be very careful to minimise contact and stem the spread of the virus, particularly given the new variant. It has never been more important for the school community to support each other: school staff are still here for anyone who needs support, there is always someone in the school to listen. Teachers are working hard to come up with home learning activities and there has been lots of positive feedback, as well as some negative comments based on what other areas are doing. Colette asked for parents to be aware of demands on teachers at the moment and to rest assured that information about how children are doing will be available as soon as possible. Several parents have mentioned that they have heard of other schools doing online meetings with parents and live lessons with children. This is something we would take advice on as a city wide approach. Other authorities have developed systems to facilitate this (parent meetings) and I am sure Glasgow will be working on this too. They have already responded to the need for staff training to develop skills in preparing and delivering recorded lessons which many of our teachers have signed up for. We have developed and will continue to develop our remote learning provision. Several Merrylee teachers are already signed up for training in delivering recorded lessons. This training takes place out of hours and Colette noted her gratitude to teachers for giving up their time. Several classes have started doing live check-ins using Teams: Colette acknowledged that this can be difficult for some families but encouraged parents to help their children be online at that time if possible.Teachers are also providing individual and group support where necessary especially for those with particular needs. Last week the school was able to issue a number of school ipads to families who were struggling with access to devices: Colette advised that parents should get in touch with the school if they need help with devices. On residential visits, sadly these are not going ahead. It is possible we will be offered an alternative date for the planned p6 trip to Blairvaddoch but this won’t be at least until October. Parents will have the option for a full refund or to transfer the payment till p7. The p7 trip to Galloway is also being cancelled. We are working on an alternative but unfortunately many centres are already booked up. A day visit on a Saturday in June at Blairvaddoch might be possible but this is not confirmed. If no alternative can be found then the school will come up with a local plan.
2. School resources
The school has bought some new play resources and other resources for home learning, using funds raised by the PA. These will be very useful.
3.Fundraising and community involvement
Colette thanked everyone involved in Merrylee Green Fingers, which is now developing the area near the Trim Trail. She noted that there is a huge amount of work going on which will make a huge difference and provide a fantastic learning space for both the school and local community. Parents should contact the PA if they would like to get involved (email@example.com).
There was a spate of vandalism before Christmas. Colette hopes this was a one-off. It was reported to the police but there is little they can do. There are regular “visitors” to the school after hours who leave litter but usually there is no damage. Tommy the janitor is vigilant in removing any litter left behind.
Stephen invited questions to Collette. Phil asked how the staff team are feeling: Colette confirmed that the team are supporting each other and managing as well as possible, and appreciate the support from the wider school community.
- Home learning and wellbeing
Sarah thanked all the teachers for all the effort they are putting in and raised a few issues:
- new concepts being explained through recorded lessons is really helpful
- Different teachers seem to be doing this on SeeSaw in different ways. It would be helpful for all children to have access to recorded lessons so they can consider and reflect.
- Can we have advice on different ways to respond on SeeSaw? Some parents are finding it difficult to know all the possible ways eg taking photos and uploading them, using text boxes to answer questions.
Julia advised that the school could share info on responding on SeeSaw. Recorded lessons will be the topic of an upcoming In Service day but they are quite time-consuming.
Rajat asked whether teachers could do regular video calls with children. Colette confirmed that these have started with some of the older classes: this will gradually be set up for all children but the process of setting this up involves a lot of logistics. Colette hopes to have a weekly live check-in for all children in the not too distant future, now that children who need ipads have been provided with them.
Colin thanked all the staff for the engaging lessons so far. He asked if there could be short videos from each of the teachers regularly, to help maintain a connection. He also asked if there could be a volume check on SeeSaw lessons, some have been very quiet.
Susie suggested that we could buddy up parents or set up online help sessions to help parents get used to using Teams, given that lots of us are using it a lot at work. Julie said they are planning some how-to videos for the YouTube channel and would love help from parents. Susie also reported that it can be difficult to get through the volume of activities and it can be worrying to feel that children are falling behind. It would be helpful to get a steer from teachers on which areas to focus on for a particular child. The reporting process didn’t help to narrow this down. Julie suggested getting in touch directly with the management team or class teacher to ask for this help: they will be happy to help.
Stephen recorded the thanks of the PC to all the teachers for their work at this extremely difficult time.
- PA Update
Yla gave an update. The PA is looking to set up subgroups which could provide free, local activities for children during the holidays. Merrylee Green Fingers is doing very well and has received a grant of £4,549 from Keep Scotland Beautiful – they had applied for £5,000. The team are grateful to teachers for guidance on making this application. Work started today on the Trim Trail and outdoor classroom. This work needs to be completed by the end of March. All volunteering is in household groups and follows all current social distancing requirements.
Stephen thanked all involved for the fantastic work that the Green FIngers group is doing. Colette and Catriona added their thanks and noted that the school is extremely grateful.
- Treasurer’s report
Laura gave a report. There is £815 in the account. Stephen confirmed that we are updating the bank account so there are three named signatories. Sarah asked whether the £400 grant is recent: Stephen confirmed that this is the annual grant so was received around August 2020.
- New website and Facebook page.
Tommy gave an update on the new Merrylee PC website, which he has built. This is now easier for PC volunteers to update. The site is at https://www.merryleeprimarypc.org/. Any feedback on the site is welcome: there is a comment form on the website. Colette thanked Tommy for his work, which has been excellent.
Rubina reported that a new Parent Council Facebook page has been set up: parents can search Facebook for Merrylee Parent Council to find the page. The page currently has 72 likes. Julie offered to promote the new page and website on the school Twitter feed.
AOB 2. Physical noticeboards at school
Stephen reported that the noticeboards at school need to be updated. Jacqui will lead on this
AOB 3. Nutrition
Alan followed up on the action from the previous meeting. Alan and Colette have had some discussion about ways to ensure that sweets are not the default option for treats. Colette is happy to try to involve children in this discussion once schools go back.
AOB 4. Funding
Sarah asked if some PC funding could be used towards items that the PA would otherwise be fundraising for. Most costs relate to improving the school grounds, particularly given that outdoor learning is especially important during the pandemic and that the school is committed to outdoor learning in general. Other issues requiring expenditure include drainage at the Crannog. The PA is looking to raise about £650 all in. Stephen proposed that £500 of PC money could go towards this work. This would leave £130 in the PC account: no substantial outgoings are anticipated before the end of the term. Stephen proposed, Laura seconded. DECISION: PC approved a payment of £500 to the PA for those works. ACTION: Laura to take forward with the PA.
Phil asked if the school needed extra help with the cost of wifi. Colette advised that there isn’t anything else that could enhance that, it’s all looked after by one central company that deals with all the schools.
AOB 5. Education Services
Colette had circulated a link to a Q&A with Maureen McKenna, head of Education at GCC. Colette will share this on SeeSaw tomorrow with all parents.
AOB 6. Parent Council chinwag
Glasgow City Council is holding a “chinwag” event on 10 February at 7pm on Zoom, for officebearers or nominated reps of PCs. Stephen and Carolyn will discuss attendance.
Date of next meeting
6.30pm Monday 19 April.