Reps in attendance
Apologies Vicky, Danielle & Vicki
Claire - A few parents have voiced their disappointment with ReadiWriter no longer being available. Parents felt it worked well for their children regarding their learning and spelling. Whilst it is very early days, the feeling with the new homework timetable is it seems less structured.
Parent Council would like to know the follow:
Mrs Curtis: Readiwriter had been raised on many occasions as being problematic and unreliable, we had spoken with the company on many occasions asking for help and they couldn’t fix it; so, we have ceased using this and will use Marvellous Me to share spellings as we do weekly. We are currently looking to see if we can find an alternative.
In terms of the reasoning behind the overall change was the lack of motivation by children. The structure was very repetitive, and the children were just working through, ticking things off not expressing enjoyment.
In terms of reading: Key Stage 1 children bring their Little Wandle books home; however, we also want them reading other books. The children are not talking about reading books, so we want to have weeks where we discuss, how many and what books they have read. This will look different in different years, e.g. Year 1 are currently reviewing the books they have read adding little “Post Its” to motivate other children. The older children are doing book reviews and leaving them inside for the next reader.
It doesn’t have specific amounts, 30 minutes is the ideal average, we want the children to enjoy reading without it feeling like a task.
On a maths week the children will have specific challenges.
So as a parent we are just encouraging our children to read?
Mrs Curtis: Yes exactly that. I have been speaking with staff and we talked about what parents might appreciate is a “10 Fun Things to Do This Week”, Parent Council said this may be helpful.
I saw on the list one week is a dedicated week for projects, does that mean we do the project homework that week as opposed to other weeks?
Mrs Curtis: Yes, it gives children a whole week to work on something special. It will be interesting to see what the impact is going to be. We don’t want homework to be a babysitting activity we want it to be fun. A time to show adults at home all the lovely things they have been learning throughout the week.
We have had lots of positive feedback so far, interestingly for the younger children’s parents, hopefully by having this week on, week on children will be excited about maths week, or spelling week!
There seems to be a little bit of confusion around the “Invite only” clubs, as soon as it is seen on an email, parents are asking where is my child’s invite? Why haven’t I had one? How do I find out about it?
Mrs Curtis: The children have trials, all trials are published so all have an opportunity to attend. If children do not attend, they cannot be considered.
Would it be possible to change the “Invite only to something else?
Mrs Curtis: Maybe we could re word “From trials your child has been selected". It is interesting that parents are not understanding the process. Everyone is invited to attend trials, obviously if a trial is for a specific year group it would be send to the selected year groups only. Most of the trials tend to be KS2
Moving forward we will change the language.
Some parents are raising that there are a lot of emails, is this because it is the first week back? Some parents preferred the weekly newsletter.
Mrs Curtis: That is interesting, maybe we need to assign certain days for example Monday and Wednesdays to send out emails. Obviously if there is an important message, we will send it immediately. Some of the reasoning behind duplicate emails is because parents are asking questions about previous emails, then reminders are sent and so on.
In terms of the newsletter, it has moved to 3 weekly as very few read it on a weekly basis. I was able to counter it to see how many parents opened and read it, on average 20 people were reading it, so at that point we thought we will email notifications and news to parents. Mrs Curtis asked the group for their opinions.
Is it possible to send out one email a day rather than several?
Mrs Curtis: The problem with only sending one generic email is everyone is going receive information that might not be relevant to their child’s class or year group.
Can we use Marvellous Me as an alternative?
That wouldn’t work because parents would still receive the same quantity.
As it was the first week back and clubs restarted maybe we should leave it
Mrs Curtis: Maybe on a Friday we could send “The Week Ahead” bulletin, then nothing else comes out about those events again. I will talk to the Office team to discuss ways to reduce the amount. On reflection this would not work and we are not helping parents to use the calendar and school systems.
Parents have requested more recognisable foods like Shepherd’s Pie, Lasagne as some of the menu’s feel a bit unrecognisable.
Mrs Curtis: The numbers are getting lower, that tells me the children aren’t eating the food, the school is currently subsidising the canteen which is not sustainable long term. So, I am exploring alternative options, my difficulty being what is available. The problem we have is we are a small Primary, we tried employing a cook, that was unsuccessful, which means we are going to be forced to get an organisation in. We are exploring alternatives.
It is such a shame because my children are loving the food. Yes, I went through a stage of persevering when they said they didn’t want to eat it and now they love it.
Mrs Curtis: We review each menu to adjust more and more but we need more.
What was the reasoning for moving away from the last catering company?
Mrs Curtis: The last company could not deliver to us as we needed, the parents complained about the quality of food. I have been trying to find other alternatives. I have looked at other companies that can sent meals in but again it would be the same system with sauce. We know we must come up with a better solution.
What portals did you try advertising on?
Mrs Curtis: We tried several, some over a £1000 per advert on the national Grocer. We thought it would be a fantastic business opportunity. We could offer Breakfast and Afterschool Club. The Friday menu for parents where you pick you Friday Lasagne, Pizza so I’m left wondering what are we missing?
An email went out to children who have P.E first thing on Friday requesting children wear their P.E kit to school then change into their costume.
Mrs Curtis: I will discuss with Mr Barnett the plan for Friday’s lesson and if the children can take part wearing their costumes. My intention children will wear their costume and bring or wear their trainers with them.
The overall cost for the fence and gates is a whopping 135k, over the last five years we have been saving for this as have had trespassing issues and we also want more access points. We are still waiting for Council approval due to a slight increase in the height of the fencing. We will also be replacing the fencing at the front of the school. We know it is a very large sum of which the Local authority are not contributing as not their priority.
Was this put out to tender?
Mrs Curtis: Yes, all work is, the company we are using have done other work around the school and they have priced largely at cost.
We will find out in the next couple of weeks if the Local Authority want us to take a bulge class in Reception. All the application are in so we will know more about the numbers. We have offered places to a lot of new children as places become available. There are very few places available now.
One of our Governor’s has sent a link for supporting Ukraine, a local cricket ground is taking in donations. I am going to put that out to parents if they would like to donate.
Are the children being told about what is happening in the Ukraine.
Mrs Curtis: Yes, but on a class-by-class age appropriate level. As many children were asking, we did discuss a little in assembly but with no details except not at war and far away.
We have Polish children who know much more due to family coming over the borders as well as staff who have friends in Ukraine.
The group discussed the success of the sale, Mrs Curtis explained the children had expressed how difficult it was to obtain purple hair accessories. So, we purchased several items not for profit just access. Our lovely Year 5 girls who are running it want to run it maybe every three weeks. Moving forward we will make it part of the uniform so you can pop in in-between for stock.
We discussed the code red and purple with the children this week. I was doing something with the Year 4 children and suddenly realised we haven’t done a code red or purple for two years because if lockdown. So, we have a whole group of children who do not know about it.
What is it?
Mrs Curtis: Basically it is different levels of an emergency. A Code Red would only be called if for example a child or adult collapses in the playground during breaktime and we need emergency services. A child may be asked to collect the school defibrillator while the children make their way with the adults to the hall to restrict what they view.
A Code Purple is when they shelter in the classroom because of an intruder. When we practice this scenario, it is always about “a dog”. So, if a dog got into school and we didn’t know if it was friendly or not, the staff blow their whistles and the children lock their classroom doors, drop their blinds and go quiet. We have a safe sentence to inform staff the drill is over.
The plan is this week to also do a fire alarm when some of the doors won’t be working so the children understand they need to go through an alternate door; the fire drill happens termly, code red and purple annually.
With no restrictions we will continue to treat it as an illness, we did have staff down with it last week so we are keeping to the five days, after five days I am allowing staff to return even if they have a marker on their lateral flow test, but they have to wear a mask until they have 2 days of clear lateral flow result.
Staff are no longer testing twice a week as the government are no longer supplying us with the testing kits.
When does swimming start?
Mrs Curtis: Swimming will start after Easter as normal; we are making repairs to pool and roof from the storm damage.
Date of next meeting 26th April 2022
Minutes kindly written by Mrs Taylor.