Renfrew High School Parent Council Meeting
Minutes Wednesday 27 April 2016
NB This was held as a single subject closed meeting
In attendance: L Jack (Chair), B Burke (Head Teacher), J Aitken, J Hogg, J Shaw, M Hunter, A Lay, J Kennedy, W Arbuckle, A Howat, C Stewart, L O’Neill, C Calderwood.
Apologies: F. James, M. Timlin
Local Authority Representatives: Anne Smith, Louise McCrory, Susan Bell and John Trainor
Minutes of previous meeting: The minutes of the previous meeting were proposed by J Aitken and seconded by A Howat as a true reflection of the meeting. L Jack thanked M Hunter for capturing a complex meeting clearly and succinctly.
Lydia informed the meeting that the school had been approached by a number of parents raising concerns about a “secure unit” being hosted in the school. Lydia expressed her disappointment that this information had been discussed outwith the PC meeting when the request had been made by the head teacher that this remain confidential to the PC until the PC had formally agreed the proposal and were in a position to inform staff and parents. This unfortunately means that the school and PC will now have to alleviate some unfounded concerns from parents. Moving forward the PC agreed that discussions at PC meeting should remain confidential until such times as the minute is published.
Single item Agenda: location of Flexible Learning Base within Renfrew High school campus.
Feedback from RHS PC visit to Paisley Grammar (PG)
John Shaw, John Aitken and Lydia visited the facility at PG and then met with their parent council. Interestingly many of the PG PC members were unaware of the existence of the facility and following this meeting that were going to invite Anne Smith to their meeting to explain the role of the facility.
In general the visit was successful and allayed many of the PC’s concerns, John Shaw commented that he felt that planned well the facility could not only be a suitable addition to the school but actually an asset.
The sub group noted however that there was concerns raised by PG parents when the facility was first introduced which was believed to be because of a lack of understanding about the role and purpose of the facility, highlighting the importance of communication to staff and parents including the language used within that communication to ensure a common understanding is held by all.
The PC had an opportunity to walk through the proposed classes that would be used for the facility and Billy talked us through the proposed new design classroom. The PC agreed that the schools technical department’s facilities would actually be improved by the change. Scanned copies of current and proposed plans are attached.
Ethos and delivery of the ISF at Paisley Grammar
Anne Smith Principal Teacher of the ISF in PG explained that the ISF supports young people in the junior phase of secondary that are struggling to cope in mainstream education due to high levels of anxiety. By providing a safe place and teaching the pupils strategies to identify and reduce their anxiety the pupils are able to reach their academic and social potential. Anne explained that each young person that attends the ISF is unique as is their support needs. Anne works with a team of skilled learning support staff who also provide CPD support to mainstream teaching staff.
Louise McCrory, ASN manager Renfrewshire council shared the draft plan for the new base and outlined the planned timescale for opening.
Building work would be tendered for delivery throughout the summer with internal fit out August-October. The local authority hopes to appoint the staffing for the new unit which will include a manager with responsibility for all of the ISF units and a principal teacher for RHS to be in place for the start of the new academic term.
It is hoped that pupils can begin attending the base from October 2016.
Louise also discussed the plans to re brand this service, the terminology ISF (used at Paisley Grammar) is historic and no longer truly reflects the service. A consultation is taking place which includes service users.
Following discussions with the local authority representatives and clarity in relation to line management of base staff the parent council voted in favour of the locating of a flexible learning base in RHS campus. The vote was Yes-12 No-0 with 1 abstention.
Whilst the PC are supportive of the locating the base here we still have concerns about the communication to parents and in particular the use of language such as “secure” and the negative connotations that brings, therefore the PC have requested that we are given the time to compose a suitable communication for parents and staff before any further developments take place. This was agreed.
A small sub group of the PC members present at the 27th April meeting will meet to compose a communication to parents. We will refer to the unit as a Flexible learning base. Parents will be given a short period of time to raise and questions or concerns in relation to the flexible learning base, Louise McCrory will prepare an FAQ to assist with this.
Head Teacher update
Billy will email the Head teachers update in relation to staff appointments and vacancies. In terms of recent school events and activities he reminded members to follow school activity via the twitter feed https://twitter.com/renfrew_high
The HT was asked about the new school fence and gates around the playground area. Billy explained that they has become necessary due to increase in cars etc using the playground as a car park during the school day. The current access for pupils entering the school via KGV’s is not suitable and the contactors will be returning to construct suitable pupil access.
John Aitken reminded the PC that Lydia will be leaving the PC at the end of this academic year and therefore we will need to elect a new Chairperson. John (vice chair) informed the meeting that he will not be putting himself forward for the role and has therefore suggested that anyone that would like to be considered for the role of chairperson email him prior to the next meeting. John will compile a list of nominees and a vote can be arranged at the next committee meeting.
Wednesday 8th June 2016