Updates

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….