Last week an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Elphinstone Primary School Parent Council was held. This was an unusual situation which came about because the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) had too few parents and carers there to formally elect a new Parent Council. Thanks to all the parents who attended last week, Here’s an update of what happens next:
What is a Parent Council?
The Parent Council is a group of parents selected by the “parent forum” to represent all the parents of children at the school, plus the head teacher and sometimes other school staff or local councillors attend too. The parent forum is every parent, carer or guardian of children who attend the school – i.e. YOU!
Nearly all schools in Scotland have a Parent Council and you can find out more via this link– type all the letters into your browser to use the tinyurl shortcut. tinyurl.com/hx4s83p
When does it meet?
At Elphinstone, the Parent Council meets once per term in the early evening. Childcare is provided to help parents and carers to attend. The meetings are short and a great chance to hear more as well as support and give your views.
Any parent or carer can attend the Parent Council meetings. To take forward the business of the Parent Council, at Elphinstone there are at least six members elected, usually two representatives per class. The Parent Council is there to support and help the school, it welcomes the views of all parents. It does not discuss individual children.
Elphinstone has had no Parent Council at all for a few months. We were the only school in East Lothian without one so it is good to get it back up and running. Members elected at the EGM on Wednesday 24 February will hold these positions until September 2016 when the usual AGM will be held and new people can be elected. Although these are the named representatives, more people are always welcomed to get involved.
P1/2 – Helen Spencer (Leah, Matthew and Jessica) & Nicola Gregory (Evie)
P3/4 – Rob Moore (Jamie) & space available
P5/6/7 Judith Dunn (Alistair) & Katharina (Kat) Skwara (Huw and Leon)
Kat has also agreed to continue as Treasurer for the year. Judith Dunn and Helen Spencer will be joint chairpersons.
What will the Parent Council do this year?
Well, that is up to the parents who come along to the next meeting and decide this. There is a funding application in for grant funding to pay for Play Pod equipment for the school playground but please parents come along and give your ideas and volunteer to help to do what you think needs done.
In past years, in addition to supporting the school and sharing parents’ views with Mrs Williams and Mrs Thomson at our meetings, we have organised fun events such as discos and Burns suppers. There has also been a huge effort on fundraising via grant applications for big developments like the Trim Trail in the playground in recent years, as decided by the parents.
When there have been enough parents getting involved a fundraising sub-group has also in the past organised sponsored events like the Mini-Mudder, supermarket bag packing, raffles, selling tea towels and bags, and running stalls at the Elphinstone summer fair. Those funds then belong to the Parent Council and Elphinstone parents, at the Parent Council decide how the funds are spent.
In the past some examples of this have been subsidising or paying the transport for school trips, paying for the school to parent text messaging service, buying gardening equipment, and contributing towards p7 leavers hoodies as some examples. Currently the parent council has very little funds so it will be up to parents to attend the next meeting and form a fundraising group if parents want this to happen.
Next meeting: Wednesday 23 March 5.00-6.30pm in the school. Please pop along, have a cuppa and say what you want to see happening at our great wee school. You will be made very welcome and don’t worry you don’t need to speak there and you will not be asked to DO anything unless you want to.
Judith Dunn, co-chair