Minutes of Invergordon Academy Parent Council meeting – 4th February 2020
Depute Head Scott Houston
Apologies were received from:
Councillor Carolyn Wilson
Councillor Pauline Munro
Councillor Michael Finlayson
Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as accurate.
Discussion was held regarding sharing minutes of meetings before being agreed by the Parent Council Committee as accurate. Therefore, prior to circulation, the minutes shall be agreed first.
Staffing: 1 x vacancy for a mathematics teacher remains; it was recently re-advertised. Currently being covered by an existing member of staff.
Concerns were raised regarding the Virtual Distance Learning courses taken by some pupils and supervision. SH stated school are aware of the difficulties that this type of course can present and ongoing discussions are attempting to rectify them.
1 x PSA has been recruited however there remains 2 x positions still to be advertised in due course by the local authority who hold the final decision on when a post is advertised.
The Parent Council Committee wish to minute that they are aware of the amount of strain staff are under and the effects on pupils. The hard work of staff is noticed and appreciated. The Senior Management Team acknowledge the hard work of all staff and especially PSA’s who lead by Mrs Urquhart, are often going above and beyond to meet the needs of pupils and the Committee wishes to add their appreciation also.
Prelims: Study Leave was discussed, it has been noted that pupils at another local school were granted leave during prelims however, this was an exception specific to this school.
Passive Exclusion: Further discussion was had around this issue. SH not aware of this happening at the Academy, highlighting that the Academy’s aim is to ensure pupil numbers are kept as high as possible. The Parent Council and Academy acknowledge the frustration felt by many regarding subject options and staffing levels.
Courses: SH informed the Committee that 2 x staff members have signed up to learn and teach British Sign Language to pupils. This course may be selected in place of other more traditional language subject choices. Initially it will be offered as a choice for the next school year for S3 pupils.
Windows: There is no further update at present.
Raising Teens with Confidence: This event was postponed last month due to low uptake. It has been extended to invite Primary school parents to try and increase numbers and ensure it can run again.
Pathway: This remains an ongoing concern; pupils at present do not have a safe and purpose-built access and egress pathway from the school site. Despite several suggestions spanning several Parent Council Committee meetings, there has been no progress. Suggestions made during this meeting include; pupils engaging in a short‘Path Building’ course to assist with building a path, approaching Global to ask for donations of building materials/manpower/machinery and, requesting a formal risk assessment from Highland Council to highlight the current dangers pupil are exposed to and hopefully as a result, funding allocated to construct a path. It was raised that at present the school is not disabled friendly in respect of this particular situation.
HPV vaccine: Confusion surrounding the age of the new roll-out of this vaccination for boys was voiced. Some members stated texts received by the Academy about this were confusing. SH will investigate and clarify the current advice and schedule.
ICT: ICT systems within the Academy have had a ‘refresh’ recently to speed up staff computers.
SH advised that social media platforms have now been barred on Chromebooks within the school premises.
Parental Engagement: The Academy and Parent Council continues to seek ways in which to engage with parents and carers however, it is recognised that this continues to be difficult. SH to discuss with the SMT and feedback to the Committee in due course.
Breakfast Club: This was launched by a PSA and uptake is steady at this time.
Treasurer Update: The balance of the InvergordonAcademy Parent Council account, to date is £420.07.
Any Other Business:
ASD Peer Support meeting: This was launched by Academy teacher Mrs Urquhart and aims to engage parents and carers of children who are on the Autism Spectrum. It is held on the last Wednesday of every month. A member of the Parent Council attended the most recent session and found it really helpful. A suggestion was made about potentially having a similar meeting of children with an ASD diagnosis to facilitate, encourage and support friendship and discussion.
The date of the next meeting is 14th April 2020 at 7pm at the school – please pass on any apologies or agenda items to Hazel, the Parent Council secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org