November Update

Welcome to our November update! The Parent Council meeting on Monday night was busy with lots of members and guests present. There were several big topics discussed but thankfully Brexit wasn’t one of them!

❄️ Winter Fair

It’s full steam ahead for the fair! It’s one of our biggest fundraising events of the year and it’s this coming Saturday 30th November from 10am until 1pm at Greenbank Church. We have relocated this year because of the building works and we would like to say a huge thank you to Rev Dr Martin Ritchie and everyone at Greenbank Church for being so accommodating and generous with the use of the halls and staff. We are very grateful! 

There is a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure the fair is a success, but we need your help! We are in desperate need of more helpers to lend a hand on stalls.  Please have a look at the sign up and see what you could help with.

Whilst I’m on the theme of helping… we also need donations for the hampers, home baking and a little help moving tables at the end of the fair! The wonderful local scouts are helping set up the tables before the fair but it’ll be all hands on deck at the end.

We are hoping it’ll be great fun for all and raise lots of money so we can continue to support and enrich our children’s education.

🎓 New School  

Work has started on demolishing Oakland’s Care Home. Despite delays to the project, the council are still stating that the first cohort of pupils to move into the new school will be on schedule in August 2021. While there will be no immediate disruption to Deanbank before Christmas, we expect access to Deanbank to be restricted to the lane leading from Woodburn Terrace by St Peter’s Park and from Falcon Road in the new year. The Accommodation group are now seeking further details of the construction schedule and to ensure that regular meetings take place with the contractor, parent council and school management as works progress.

👷‍♀️ Main School Renovation Works  

The works are well underway and you may have seen some of the lovely new double glazed windows and the pipes are in the process of being lagged.  Mr Urquhart and Mrs Moore commented that the works have caused minimal disruption and the building team have been working well with the school. Roll on the rest of the works!

🗓 School Calendar  

We’ve seen a brilliant new 2020 School Calendar fundraising initiative this term organised by Alice Nelson, and it’s a project that has involved all the pupils in the school with their wonderful drawings! The calendars are being printed this month and we’re excited to see the physical copies.  We’ll be selling them at the Winter Fair if you haven’t made a pre-order, or you can still email calendar@sm-pc.org. We’ve had well over 200 pre-orders from 150 parents which is just fantastic! Thanks to everyone involved.

🥅 Playground  

We’re also grateful to Simon Crunden, Anna Carson, Mrs Richmond and everyone else from the playground and fundraising groups who have pitched in to help with preparing for a request for up to £5,000 of Council funding to help pay for a new Multi-Use Games Area. This will take some time yet to complete because it requires considerable detail which will necessitate further liaison with contractors and the council.

👫 Afterschool Care Club Proposal  

The Chair and several members of the board of trustees for SMASCC came along to the meeting to discuss a proposed change to the After School Club. They provide an invaluable service to allow many families at the school to continue to work. They have 365 children on their books and up to 175 children in attendance at peak times! 

Unfortunately due to issues around recruitment and retention of staff, and changes to care inspectorate requirements, it is becoming increasingly challenging to operate a two site club at the main school. They are proposing that they take over the let of the main (upper) gym hall as well as the lower hall which they currently use on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after school. This may impact on the ability to run school clubs and active school classes on these days. Obviously our clubs are very important for inclusion, health and enriching the children’s school experience. It was agreed that trustees from the After School Club, the Clubs team and a representative from Active Schools would meet to see if a solution can be found. 

If the after school club cannot take over the let they may have to reduce the number of children they care for by potentially 20 per session. Once we have more information regarding the potential impact of this the Parent Council will consult the wider parent community.

🗳 School as a Polling Station  

The Parent Council are against the school being used as a polling station for obvious reasons. This is being investigated by the council and we hope to be introduced to the council member responsible for this so we can discuss other options. We will keep you posted!

🎄 Christmas Lights Switch On! 

And finally… remember to come along to the big switch on! Friday 6th December at 5.15pm in Morningside Parish Church.  

A few years ago the council sadly stopped funding this event, but thanks to the amazing work and fundraising by Debbie Murphy, the £300 budget has been crowdfunded and we’ll have both the SMPS and St. Peter’s choirs singing carols and the fabulous Dougie Robertson as the host of the event. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud and clear for all to hear!!


On behalf of the Parent Council we wish you all a wonderful festive season!

Next meeting: 13th January 2020 18:45 – 20:20, Main School

Contact us: chair@sm-pc.org or check out our webpage https://sm-pc.org/

Please like us on Facebook:  South Morningside Primary Parent Community

October Update

Hello and welcome to our first newsletter of this academic year!

The Parent Council met on Monday night and it was great to meet so many new members and our new co-chairs did a great job! Brendan and Olly kept us on track and we even finished 10 minutes early!

Head Teacher’s Update
We started the evening with an update from Mr Urquhart on the school’s attainment and achievement in numeracy and literacy compared to our other cluster schools, Bruntsfield and Buckstone. There was very high attainment in literacy and numeracy over all the stages looked at. In previous years it was noted that there was a dip in numeracy in P7 learners, but thanks to an intervention by the support for learning teachers this attainment was improved, with a majority reaching the expected level. Mr Urquhart also updated us on the school’s equity for all learners plan and how they look at the spread of engagement in activities outside school, and how they can support this with the pupil equity fund if some children don’t have access to these activities.

Jill, our new treasurer, explained there is ~£6,000 available to spend in the parent council pot! Every year we have £15,000 of recurring spend that we commit to, so fundraising is vital to continue to support the school in this way.

Fundraising
Speaking of which, we have a brand new fundraising team! This is an enormously important role so thank you to all the volunteers! We are always looking for more volunteers to help with fundraising though – so if you’re keen to help at all, in any way, big or small, please email fundraising@sm-pc.org. We are currently planning the Winter Fair and a “save the date” message will be coming out soon, and we’ll have the Signup Genius form going out asking for parent helpers at the fair! Start dusting off those face paints and look out your left over tokens!

Clubs
A hot topic for us at the end of last year was Clubs and the fact no clubs could run in the main school. Massive thanks to the clubs team especially Lisa Fletcher and Louisa Dall for their hard work and dedication to clubs over the past few years. Despite the difficulties we now have 15 out of 22 clubs running thanks to them and their team, and with support from Greenbank Church, Morningside Library and The Open Door. Thank you to them too. There is still a lot of work to be done, especially with the transition of these clubs back to the main school next year. Our Clubs team need help though, and they appreciate “clubs” seems like a huge task to sign up for so they will be advertising smaller “bite-size” jobs, so keep your eye out for these and if you think you could help please get in touch with them – clubs@sm-pc.org.

Accomodation
We had representatives from the accommodation group come along and give us an update on the progression of the new school… although there isn’t technically an update! The plan had been that Oakland’s Nursing Home would be demolished over the summer but the Nursing Home is still very much there! Mr Urquhart is having a meeting this week to find out more about it, so watch this space! We do know, however, that the new school will share the St. Peters field and a new group is being formed called “Friends of the Field Committee” which they hope will have members from the local community and from both schools to help look after and coordinate the sharing of the field.

Morningside Community Council Did you know that the Parent Council tries to send a representative to Morningside Community Council meetings? There are lots of interesting snippets of information about what’s happening in our local area, and it’s good to have a voice from the school there. If you fancy going to one of these meetings and feeding back to us, we’d love to hear from you. The next meeting is on 16th October at the Open Door so please email us if you can help!

Transport
Our Transport team have been working on making the walking buses from the main school to Deanbank work. The route has been agreed, it has been risk assessed and the next step is to confirm parent interest and get a parent rota set up. An online survey will be coming soon so if this is something that would be of interest, please keep an eye out for it. Parent helpers will need to be PVG’d which leads me to the next topic which was our Lead signatory for PVG desperately needs help. If you could spare a couple of hours a month to get involved (especially if you have any experience with PVG, child protection or being a co-signatory), please contact the Parent Council.

Playground
Last but not least…..the playground! Mrs Richmond has new parents joining her on the playground committee and as all the allocated funds for the playground have been spent, we are now focusing our fundraising efforts on the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and astroturf surface for the main school. A rough estimate of cost is an eye-watering £25,000. We think this is totally achievable though! We have our amazing fairs, but if you have any good ideas to fundraise please get in touch, or just start your own initiative! The fundraising team are more than welcoming of ideas that you can bring and take forward. Currently a parent is working on a fab new school wall calendar, which will have key dates and our children’s art work on it! What about a sponsored sports event, cinema evening, fashion show or all of the above?! All ideas welcome!

All email addresses for the subgroups can be found on our website, and please remember to like us on Facebook!

Pre-order your SMPS Calendar here!

Next Parent Council Meeting
Our next meeting is November 25th, 18:45 at the main school.

Have a very happy and restful October break