Hello, we hope everyone had a lovely February break and are enjoying the first signs of spring! The parent council met via TEAMs on Monday night and our Co-Chairs gave a brief update on what has been keeping them busy. Our Chairs attended the meetings held by Edinburgh Council regarding the impact of COVID related restrictions on schools and we should hear an outcome from these meetings soon. They have been in discussions with Mr Urquhart regarding the future of Comiston Road. It’s been many years since the “big” school has welcomed P1’s and P2’s, so planning for the future when the younger members of our school return to the site is starting already. We are all excited that the Stage Club production of Ollie T has started. We wish the cast and crew lots of luck and we hope you all enjoy the show! There are still tickets available so please invite friends and family!! https://fienta.com/ollie-t
Mr Urquhart updated us on the progress with Canaan Lane Primary. He was lucky enough to be allowed into the school along with Mrs Morgan and Mrs Richmond to have a look around and see the new space for the children. It sounds like it’s going to be amazing, lots of break out spaces, a large atrium, and a cooking kitchen onsite for freshly made meals! Mr Urquhart is in consultation with our Co-Chairs regarding planning for the transition and as mentioned above the eventual accommodation of P1 and P2 in Comiston Road.
Mr Urquhart reiterated the reasoning for SMPS reducing COVID restrictions more slowly than advertised by Edinburgh Council. The school has seen a large rise in numbers (you may have noticed the abundance of warn and inform emails!). They are reviewing this regularly and making decisions based on what’s right for our school community. There have been benefits to some of the restrictions, for example the staff have noticed children have more room in the playground because of reduced numbers and fewer accidents!
Our Accommodation subgroup continue to have regular meetings with the contractor of the new school and Edinburgh Council. SMPS P1 and P2 will relocate there after the Easter break (dates to be confirmed) all being well, and the new nursery will move to the site after the summer break (again not confirmed so don’t quote us!).
Regarding the renovation of Deanbank house, it is unlikely to be the same contractor doing the works that has been building the new school. The team are going to suggest that the Council use the same agreed ways of working for the new contractors regarding the safety of the children and times unsuitable for heavy vehicles etc.
Concerns have been raised regarding traffic on Canaan Lane with the building works on the site of the old public toilets. Vehicles have been driving both ways as the Morningside Road end is blocked off. Edinburgh Council are taking these concerns seriously. Please do get in touch if you have any concerns or questions.
Lots to update you on here! Guitar Club started in February and there are now 4 classes with a total of 34 children learning guitar with Paul from Morningside School of Music at Greenbank Church Halls weekly, thanks to the amazing efforts of the new convenor. Other clubs running this term are Recorder, Friday Night Football, Stage Club, Creative Writing, Judo, Chanter and Drumming.
Recorder Club are taking a group of P7s to perform at Edinburgh Music Competitions Festival this month. The school cannot take responsibility for children for this type of trip so Recorder Club have risk assessed, produced permission slips and asked parents to approve absence with the school. This is the first time the current team of clubs’ admin/convenors have done this so many thanks to Sue Hoole and Elaine Jones for paperwork. We wish them lots of luck!
You may have seen on classlist that Ski Club has been offered a reduced number of places at Hillend. The terms will run from April to June, and August to October. Hillend can accommodate 7 groups of 10 children. Last term there were 103 children taking part so it may come down to a ballot if there are as many children wishing to ski as last time.
Clubs is hoping to meet with Mrs Richmond and the team to discuss formalising Pupil Equity Fund requests for access to Parent Council clubs, so we can ensure that families requiring financial support to attend clubs receive help appropriately.
Going forward this term the Clubs team are looking for people to volunteer a small amount of time (2 x 1-hour sessions) to support a safeguarding review. If anyone has any experience or interest your help would be most appreciated. Please do get in touch.
Canaan Lane Subgroup
Hopefully everyone has seen the excellent news that Mrs Richmond has been appointed as Head Teacher for the new school. Congratulations Mrs Richmond.
The Council are still hopeful that children and staff will be able to visit the new school before moving in but unfortunately parents will not be able to visit. There are plans to make a video tour that can be shared with parents though. We have been informed that Edinburgh Council are intending on sending out communication to parents soon regarding school places, and they are also hoping to tell families who have made out of catchment requests the outcomes of their applications soon. They also plan to phone families who have made out of catchment requests to discuss each situation and their needs, to plan for the kind of support and mitigation that may be needed for families caught across two schools
The subgroup will be meeting again with the Education Dept on 25th March, so any further questions that people have then please do get in touch.
There is lots going on for the transport team too just now. They are working on a plan for the upcoming School Travel Review. All parents will be receiving a survey in April asking for details of how they currently travel to school, how they’d like to travel to school, and what changes they’d like to see to make travel easier. They are hoping to prepare some materials for parents with suggestions that they can make. This survey will form the basis of a 5-year plan for the school and is our best opportunity to get some physical infrastructure built to enable safer travel to school, including possible crossing points and walking/cycle segregation. More information is available at
Schools – Streets Ahead (streetsaheadedinburgh.org.uk)
Have you seen the road safety banners? They seem to be making a difference and we are grateful for all in our community for considering the safety of our children and parking safely. Community Police are monitoring parking and will be getting in touch with illegally parked cars.
If you have any questions, suggestions or are keen to be involved please get in touch.
HELP NEEDED! Every year the Parent Council accounts require to be independently examined and the current independent examiner has stepped down. Do you know someone who might be interested in helping us with the role? It does not need to be an accountant but a suitably skilled parent or community volunteer who is not on the PC or related to anyone on the PC.
The role involves….
- Checking the accounts against main bank statements at the end of the year
- Liaising with the treasurer regarding invoices and details for selected large transactions
- All information is provided by email attachments and correspondence
- The role typically involves no more than a few hours and usually takes place in July or August
- No qualifications are required and there is no liability.
If you would like more information please get in touch.
Potential New Subgroup – Supporting Neurodiversity
A parent highlighted the need to support children and families who may be struggling with neurodiversity and the process of being diagnosed and supported. This was discussed at the meeting and felt it could be a huge source of support for parents and the school. Would you be interested in joining the Subgroup? If so please email our Chairs for more information.
Next SMPC Meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 25th April, where we will have an update from Mrs Jones regarding outdoor learning.
As always, we welcome as many parents as possible to attend! Our Parent Council and sub-groups are run by volunteer parents who do their best to try and help enrich our children’s lives. If you think you could help at all, or would like to know more about our subgroups, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
South Morningside Parent Council