Deanbank Update 16 Jan 2020

We wanted to keep the parent community updated with information about progress relating to the ongoing Deanbank issues. 

There was an incident yesterday witnessed by several parents around pick-up time, where there were a number of tipper trucks at the Woodburn Terrace junction, and one reversed hitting the pole on the island at the zebra crossing as parents and kids were crossing the road. The PC sent an urgent communication to the council and our councillors to raise awareness of the issue. The senior manager in charge at the council has been very responsive and helpful, and has updated us as follows:  


I wanted to let you know that I will be on site tomorrow morning from about 0845 along with other colleagues from the Council. 
 
The Managing Director of Morgan Sindall has tonight instructed his team to communicate with all their subcontractors that as well as restrictions on deliveries and access / egress they are not to have any vehicles sitting stationary in the vicinity within these times. Furthermore Morgan Sindall will prohibit any deliveries to the site before 0915. This communication may not have been received by all subcontractors before tomorrow morning so we can’t guarantee 100% that there won’t be any deliveries to the site tomorrow morning before the restricted times. 
 
The Managing Director has also re-iterated that there is no greater priority to Morgan Sindall, and indeed himself personally, than the health, safety and welfare of everyone in and around their sites – particularly children. They are always happy to listen to concerns, take on board any feedback and act accordingly.
In relation to the photographs which have come through, I have had some information back from the Managing Director. The first image isn’t a vehicle that would be going to our site. The site team did notice increased traffic running along Canaan Lane today that was not related to our works. All large vehicles servicing our site today were  branded from one specific company. Some of the vehicles in the photograph are not from this company. 
 
It has been re-iterated to all subcontractors with vehicles visiting our site that sitting stationary with hazard lights on, as shown in one of the photographs is not acceptable.
 
All the Heras fencing has been subject to a temporary works design and has been installed and inspected in line with that design and is not unsafe. In addition, the Morgan Sindall Safety Director will attend site tomorrow and carry out a comprehensive inspection of the Heras fencing in order to provide reassurance to the parents and school.


In addition, our councillors continue to support us and you will likely see them at drop-off this morning. Please take this time and opportunity to share your concerns directly with all of these representatives.

The Parent Council will continue to communicate with the school and Edinburgh Council to make sure that parent voices are heard, so please do keep your feedback coming and we will do our best to help influence matters as much as we can. 

January 2020 Update

Hello and Happy New Year!

We had a bumper of a Parent Council meeting on Monday night! It was great to welcome so many parents from our school community. The hot topic was obviously the impact of the new school on Deanbank and it was good to hear from our accommodation group on what has been happening, and from Mrs Richmond and Mr Urquhart. We are hoping to be able to give you regular updates via this mailing list from our Accommodation subgroup and co-chairs as the situation progresses.

🏫 Deanbank

Last year the Parent Council asked parents to write to the council with our suggested concerns over the planning application of the new school. The concerns mainly centred around safety of the site (access roads, fencing etc), consideration (or lack of) that P1 and P2 children will be next to the site, traffic management, and the installation of a new substation and air source heat pumps in the existing Deanbank playground and the effect of this on the children. There was no reply to this letter to the Parent Council  and planning was subsequently granted in November 2019. 

The main concerns of the many parents who have emailed the Parent Council, and from Mrs Richmond, is obviously the safety of the children being so close to a construction site with only Heras (temporary metal) fencing separating them from HGVs, demolition etc! Pick up and drop off access is very limited. The children have very little space now because of the grass being too slippy in the winter to be used. The poor communication from the contractors and the council is causing much frustration. 

As a result, the Parent Council have now requested four-way, on-site meetings each month with the council, the contractor and the school leadership team in order to improve communications between everyone. Over the last week since the Parent Council and many parents have been emailing the relevant people at the council, as well as our councillors, we have already started to see action being taken such as:

  • Confirmation that the temporary access road is now available for use by parents until 9.15 am each day, and will be available until the end of the “Phase 1” works (which we believe is March)
  • The council have asked the contractor today to find a solution to the issues with the Heras fencing
  • We have had assurance that the lighting on the path is going to be improved
  • The council have asked the contractor to provide appropriate extracts from the Risk Assessment and will make these available to the school management team
  • The council are looking at different options for making the grassed area of Deanbank available. They have said they will discuss this further with the school

The situation is obviously changing daily so we will try and keep you updated. Please email any personal concerns to chair@sm-pc.org and we will field these accordingly.
 

🚙 Parking Issue!

One thing that we all can do to improve the safety of our children at Deanbank is to not double-park or park on yellow lines on Canaan Lane! This obstructs emergency access, reduces visibility at a very congested site and puts all our children at risk. PLEASE do not double park or park on yellow lines near the school.

Our Transport and Accommodation subgroups are understandably trying their best at this time to help support the school and our children. If you are able to spare some of your time to volunteer and help, please get in touch via accommodation@sm-pc.org or transport@sm-pc.org


🦺 After School Care Club proposal

Following from the last meeting, when the After School Care Club asked for access to the main hall at Comiston Road midweek, potentially displacing clubs and active schools, the clubs and ASCC teams are trying to work out a solution. Active Schools unfortunately hadn’t been involved, so a new meeting to discuss the impact on Active School clubs is happening soon. We’re hopeful a reasonable solution can be found although it is likely to mean some compromise!

🌻 Pupil Equity Fund

Thank you to SMPS teacher Mrs Agnes Campbell who spoke to us about the Pupil Equity Fund and the poverty related gap in our cluster. She has been taking a whole school approach to educate the staff and pupils about identifying poverty, reducing the stigma, what it means and what the PEF can do to help. In South Morningside, 30 families are supported to ease the financial burden and reduce inequality. Funds from the Parent Council have been very important as South Morningside doesn’t receive as much money to help as it needs from the council’s budget. School clubs and Active Schools make places available either at a reduced cost or for free. Every little helps, from the rag bag to Christmas jumper recycling. It’s great that we can support families when they need a little extra help.

🗓 Next SMPC Meeting

Our next meeting is Monday 2nd March, 18:45 – 20:20.

As always we welcome as many parents as possible to attend! Our Parent Council is 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, via email (chair@sm-pc.org), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/southmorningsidepc), or via our website at https://sm-pc.org

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

June Update

The last Parent Council meeting of the academic year saw quite a large turn out, probably thanks to the recent clubs announcement!  The estimated profit from last weekend’s Summer Fair is £6,600-7,000!A massive thank you to all who helped and all of you that braved the pouring rain to come and support the school!

 Accommodation
The big news is that the main school is receiving £450,000 for many building improvements, in particular refurbishment of the windows, a new heating system and an electrical rewire. This is fantastic news for staff and children alike!

 Clubs
So the burning question… what’s happening with our clubs?! Well our clubs admin team (parent volunteers) came along and filled us in. They, along with Mrs Morgan, have been working exceptionally hard on this for some time and are working through several scenarios to sort this out. The main issues are:Due to refurbishment the school at Comiston Road will be closed every evening from 3.25 pm for the entirety of next school year. Note: after school and breakfast clubs are NOT affected.After next year the council intend to charge for clubs use in the school. Helpfully, councillor Mandy Watt was present and she is keen to meet with clubs admin to understand the issues and hopefully secure non-commercial rates.If alternative accommodation is found for next year, this raises insurance issues and complications with moving kids from after-school club to the new venue. Paying for room lets, insurance, minders to transport kids all costs money. Hopefully these charges will be shared across the clubs and not be too financially onerous but it will likely mean a reduction in revenue from the clubs to the PC.It really is incredibly complex but thankfully we have some dedicated, hard working, amazing parents on it. They could always do with more parents to help out though, so please do get in touch (clubs@sm-pc.org) if you’d like to get involved. 

Playground
This year the playground works at the main school have finally been completed which is an amazing achievement but it has left our funds depleted. Basically every year the PC commits to many recurring spends (around £14,000) and our current funds for next year cover this with only a very small surplus, so we really need a big push on fundraising. The school and PC would like a multi-use games area (MUGA) for the main school playground – this is not cheap so it’s something we’d really like to focus our fundraising efforts on! 

Fundraising
Speaking of which… most of our fundraising team are retiring having raised a staggering amount (over £100k!) through fairs over the last few years! We need some new, amazing people to get involved and start a new fundraising movement! Our school community needs it so please, if you have fundraising ideas or you want to help with organising and promoting events, please email fundraising@sm-pc.org! We’d love to hear from you, it will make such a difference! 

Comms
Keep an eye on our website as we are hoping to update it over the next couple of months and make it more relevant. If you are a whizz with WordPress, Google Docs or email and you want to volunteer a bit if time for our very friendly Comms group, please get in touch (comms@sm-pc.org). 

New roles!
Lastly a few role changes. Our wonderful chair Brian Sharp is stepping down and we have Olly Headey and Brendan Paddy taking on co-chair roles. Chris Hebden has managed to pass the treasurer baton to Jill Dallas, and Fiona Kippax signs off from fundraising. THANK YOU all so much!   

AGM
Our AGM will be taking place on September 2nd at 6:45pm, at Deanbank. It’s an important event and we encourage as many parents to come along as possible, to hear about the brilliant things our parent volunteers do and how you can help! Please put the date in your diary. Have a wonderful summer everyone! 

April Update

IT refresh

There have been 20 new laptops purchased for pupils to use and an upgrade to windows 10 for the teachers.

Building work

Currently the main school is having some ceilings strengthened as part of a £450,000 building refresh by Edinburgh council.

Playground works

Playground hedges will be put in shortly along the Comiston Road boundary, paid for by parent council fundraising, and our next funding goal is to raise money for a multi-use games area (MUGA) for the playground.

Deanbank building works

Safety concerns raised regarding the building of the new school have been passed on to Edinburgh council and we are hoping for a more formal response soon.

Transport survey

Following the transport survey we are hoping to start walking buses next year.

Grants
Funding was approved for ski club kit, buses to theatre productions and more!

March update

Funding

We approved additional funding for Nursery, P1s and P2s at Deanbank. We also approved an additional £10,000 to complete Phase 1 of the playground improvements at Comiston Rd (exciting!). Once these works are complete, we will be consulting the parent body again on plans for Phase 2 (including sports facilities) – also VERY exciting!. Watch this space!

Deanbank works

Concerns were raised about provision for health and safety at the demolition site for the new school – mainly access and noise levels. There may be more to follow on this.

PVG checks

We discussed some of the teething problems and solutions with securing PVG status for all adults involved in our school’s clubs – a mammoth task. All in all, a very productive meeting!

Your Parent Council Needs YOU

Please help us to continue to support South Morningside Primary School, its Teachers’ and of course, all of the children. The Parent Council is down on numbers this year and we need to get some new volunteers. We need a new Secretary urgently and all you need for this are PC and organisation skills the rest you will learn.

We need help with the website and the administration we need to do to keep everything up to date, anyone who could help out with social media updates would be much appreciated too! We have spaces for the transport and accommodation groups also finance and fundraising – the fundraising team are meeting on Sunday 24th of September at 19.30 in the Merlin.  We always really appreciate help with club – the clubs take up a considerable amount of work and they are all arranged by fellow parents – they are a great group so please give it some thought.

Your help sis always appreciated. Whatever you can give.

Thank you!

Maths Week!

The school has a variety of activities taking place including, a group of P7s participating in a maths conference at Heriot Watt University on Wednesday with Mrs Murray.  The P3s getting a fabulous SMPS numeracy pack to help with mental agility (the P4 pupils are going to show them how to use the packs as they received them last year).
Some of the staff  will be visiting the Scottish Parliament on Thursday evening to find out about new maths resources…..
Find out more here….