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.
1. Welcome and introductions
Colin welcomed everyone to the meeting, extending a special welcome to Councillor Sean Ferguson.
2. Approval of 21 November 2022 minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were proposed by Yla and seconded by Nicole.
3. Actions from 21 November 2022
It was confirmed that the Zoom account has been renewed.
Colin attended the Cathcart Community Council meeting in January to talk about some of the continued issues around traffic at drop-off and pick-up. Police have since been out to patrol at these times and feedback from parents suggests that it has had a positive impact.
4. Headteacher’s Report
Merrylee Primary is currently overstaffed by 1.2 positions and all remaining PEF money, as well as PEF money from next year, has been used to pay for that staffing. There are many Glasgow schools in the same position. This does not allow for any additionality for teachers to support improvements or possibly provide support for children with English as a second language as all teachers are class committed.
There are just under 50 children currently enrolled for P1 in August, which allows for two classes. If more than 50 P1 students enroll, that could be tricky logistically as it would require another P1 class.
In terms of the cost of the school day, there has been a change of contract for transport that can be accessed for schools. This increases the cost for transport by nearly double and will restrict the impact of the school.
Councillor Ferguson noted that Merrylee Primary could also apply for grants for school trips a few times a year through the Newlands Area Partnership. He agreed to email Colette with the information for who to contact.
The new Deputy Head Teacher, Mrs McLaughlin, has started and is getting to know the students and their families.
Mrs Yacomine has had a baby boy. Mrs Whyte will return at 0.6 from her maternity leave so a post of 0.4 will be advertised in addition to Mrs Yacomine’s full time vacancy. Both will be advertised as temporary. Colette thanked Mrs Mort for taking on the role of acting PT while Mrs Whyte was on leave., Mrs Kirk will be taking over until a new permanent PT is identified. Mrs Mort will be taking her maternity leave beginning in March, and cover for her class has not yet been identified.
5. Report on the work of the PC
Laura provided an update on the PC finances.
6. Report on the work of the PA
Yla gave an update on the work of the Parent Association, which undertakes fundraising and activities for the school. Key points were:
- Since the last Parent Council meeting in November, the PA has provided over £7500 to the school while retaining enough to fund future events.
- The PA is on the lookout for a new supplier of Christmas products and any help researching that would be appreciated.
- There is an upcoming vacancy for PA treasurer as Shona steps back. Yla noted that the role is time consuming given the amount of money being handled and that someone with a background in accounts or bookkeeping would be best to help out. Anyone who is interested should reach out to Yla.
- At their January meeting, the PA agreed the calendar of activities for the term. Parent volunteers are being sought for the following:
- At the March parents’ evenings, there will be a Guess the Baby competition. Participation will be donation based. A volunteer is needed to collect baby photos of teachers and staff.
- Volunteers are needed for tidying the garden beds in March.
- Volunteers are needed to help run the School Disco in April.
- In May there will be a sponsored obstacle course as well as formal photographs, and parent volunteers are needed to help run both of those events.
- Volunteers are needed to help with various aspects of the June Summer Fair.
- A group of volunteers is needed to prepare seed kits for Green Fingers. These kits are expected to be £80 and have always been paid for by the PC.
- Other events planned by the PA for the coming term include clothing rails for outdoor clothes and World Book Day costumes in February and a Break the Rules Day in June.
- Yla noted that it had previously been agreed that the PC would cover the cost of lets for the PA meetings, but that the cost of lets for all activities have increased both for the space and for support staff.
- Susan highlighted the success of the Christmas Fair, which raised £4506 pounds. Some of those funds are going towards the P6/7 residentials and the rest will be used for further fundraising.
- Susan encouraged parents, where possible, to follow the PA Facebook page for further information on how to get involved in events as the majority of things are advertised there.
- Phil noted an upcoming opportunity to get students involved in the environment with the Keeping Scotland Beautiful Spring Campaign starting on the 17th of March. He noted an increase in litter around the school, as well as some overgrown trees on Friarton Road, which Councillor Ferguson agreed to investigate. Colette agreed to research how to get involved with the Keeping Scotland Beautiful Campaign.
7. Parent feedback
Parents noted their enjoyment of the performing arts focus last term and queried whether there were other opportunities for students to be involved in those types of activities. Colette noted that any volunteers who could commit to running clubs focused on creativity and the performing arts after school were more than welcome to get in touch. A call for volunteers will be sent out via Seesaw.
Status of the pitch
Colette has not been provided with any further information on the status of the pitch. She assured parents that any work agreed will not be done imminently. Councillor Ferguson agreed to seek further information, particularly in terms of the timescale for any work, and follow-up with Colette offline.
Colette noted that there are frequent supply issues for school lunches that cause confusion as the menu options change. She asked that if anyone’s child is having repeated issues that they contact her directly.
Concerns have previously been raised about school lunch portion sizes. Colette attended an information session as the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator for Merrylee and feedback was that all portions are agreed centrally by Scottish Government and not within the Council’s control. The serving sizes are the same for all pupils, but meals can be supplemented with fruit, yoghurt, soup etc.
8. Cathcart Community Council feedback
Louisa provided an introduction to the Cathcart Community Council (CCC) as well as an update on what work was currently being taken forward.
The CCC was reformed last year, with Carolyn as Chair. It is comprised of an elected committee of volunteers, and all are welcome to attend meetings. In November, the CCC undertook a priority setting exercise to determine the local wishes and priorities of community members, these have recently been online for consultation.
Louisa noted that the CCC have a mailing list she would be happy to add the Parent Council to as well as any other parents at the school to be kept informed on projects and issues in the community as they arise. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month (excluding July, August and December) from 7pm at Cathcart Baptist Church.
Further information can be found at the CCC website (currently in progress): https://cathcartdistrict.org.uk/. They can also be found on the following social media platforms:
Facebook: Cathcart & District Community Council
iPads at home
Parents have been discussing the use of iPads and there have been concerns raised about what the children are able to access on their iPads in their spare time. Colette confirmed that she and Ms. Timoney have been discussing similar concerns and will put out a formal communication once they decide on what filters will be in place.
International Day to Combat Islamophobia
Bilal noted that the United Nations have set the 15th March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia and queried whether or not the school had any education in place for the students in relation to this.
10. Date of next meeting: Monday 15th May 2023 6:30pm – 8:00pm via ZOOM