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Q: What is the school’s policy about supporting charities?
There is no East Lothian Council policy which schools have to follow. Pencaitland Primary does not have an official policy but it aims to support one main charity each year. The school also support seasonal events such as Children in Need, Comic / Sport Relief and each year the produce from the Harvest Assembly is donated to a suitable cause / charity. Often a charitable cause is highlighted by pupils.
Q: How does the school choose which charity it will support?
The school is approached by various charities each year. The school makes a decision about which one to support by looking at the merits of the charity. The school involves the children in making its decision.
Q:What is the Parent Council?
A: Parents mostly make up this team which represents the views of parents to the school, but there are also teacher and co-opted community representatives. The Head Teacher also attends meetings and local councillors are invited. It also has a paid Clerk. Our role is advisory and consultative. We input into school policies and plans. We work in partnership with the school and its development plan. We actively encourage the involvement of parents with school life and seek to improve communications between the school and parents. The parent council is supported by the Local Authority to develop, understand roles and ensure relevant training is available.
In some schools the PC and the PTA have merged into one body with a sub-committee of the PC taking responsibility for fund-raising. At PPS, the PC and the PTA still remain two separate bodies, both working with and supporting the school.
Q: What can parents talk to the PC about?
A: Anything to do with the school – sharing new ideas, exploring issues and raising concerns. The Parent Council is not just a place to make complaints.
Recently, issues around scheduling of literacy and maths workshops for parents, and distribution of notices to pupils for parents’ attention have been explored; parents have given feedback on PI induction and matters relating to transition from P7 to S1. Travelling safely to school and health and safety issues in the playground are examples of other issues which might need discussing from time to time.
Parents can bring new ideas to the Parent Council for consideration such as social events, new ways to communicate or new ways to strengthen links with local businesses. Anything that gets parents more involved with their children’s education is welcomed. After all we now have Curriculum for Excellence and we all want to support our children’s education as best we can.
Q: What types of thing does the PC not deal with?
The PC cannot deal with particular concerns about a child’s specific needs. If a parent has a particular concern this should be raised with the Head Teacher directly. The Head Teacher operates an Open Door policy and wants all parents to feel they can speak to her at any time.
The PC does not have any say in the make-up of the classes, the number of composite classes nor the timetabling. The PC cannot deal with any complaints about a specific teacher or other staff members.
The PC has no remit over the After School Club.
Q: What is the PTA?
A: This is the abbreviation of the Parent Teachers Association. This group organises events and fundraises for the school. The PTA at PPS has organised various events over the years, including the main sources of income to the school year after year. As well as events, there is now also The School Lottery which can be subscribed too very simply. The PTA pays for important extras that the school cannot, but more than that, they bring the current, future and past school community together with events like the Family Fun Day (previously known as The Spring Fayre) and formerly, the annual Fireworks display. Sadly, the latter was negatively affected by other free fireworks displays in the surrounding towns and the difficult problem of people watching but not buying tickets to enter the field and so this event no longer happens. Undeterred, the PTA has continued to create great fundraisers and also works closely with the Parent Council. Both collaborated very closely for the 40th Anniversary in May 2016 – resulting in a week and more of wonderful, meaningful and happy events. So – they also “make memories’!
Q:What is the PPS tuck shop? [Old information, now only available on Fri break and supported through staff member].
A: The tuck shop is separate from the school canteen. It is operated by the pupils and mainly sells “healthy” snacks – oatcakes, breadsticks, fresh fruit and veg. Wikipedia tells us that the term “tuck” meaning food, is slang and probably originates from such phrases as “to tuck into a meal”. The menu and prices of the school’s Tuck Shop are now published on the blog as we thought this information would be useful to you.