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SBC Parent Council News - Issue 4

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I hope that you have all enjoyed a well-deserved break, and that term is starting smoothly. 

This is an updated version of the newsletter sent out at the end of July, with revised dates and confirmed venues for some of the training courses.  Please could you  circulate it through your normal distribution systems, or put a copy on your school noticeboard for other parents to read. 

Gillian Simmons, Parental Involvement Officer

Email:            Tel: 01835 826814      Mobile: 077853 05888


Parent Council Chairs Group

meeting dates 2011-12

 The dates for meetings with the Director of Education and the Chair of the Education Executive for the 2011-12 school session are:

Thursday 27 October 2011

NB: Assembly Hall, Earlston Primary School

Tuesday  7 February 2012

Council Chamber, Council HQ, Newtown St Boswells

Thursday 10 May 2012

Council Chamber, Council HQ, Newtown St Boswells

 The meetings will begin at 6.30pm (with refreshments available from 6.00pm).

Please note – your parent council can send another representative (or even two), not only the Chair. Perhaps we should rename the group to make this more obvious. My suggestion would be Scottish Borders Parent Council ForumBut what do you think?

 The following papers from the previous meeting are now available on Glow (if your Parent Council does not have a Glow representative, please contact me for an application form).  If you need a hard copy or to have a document emailed to you, please contact me:

·        Presentation : “Scottish Borders Youth Commission on Bullying”

·        Presentation : National Grid for Learning Refresh – Update

·        Presentation : National Parent Forum of Scotland - Update

Carbon Reduction Officer

now in post

 Fiona Munro started her new 2-year post as Carbon Reduction Officer on 25th July 2011. 

 Fiona has been appointed following the Council’s successful bid to Leader for funding, which many of you enthusiastically supported. 

 The aim of the project is to support linkages between schools and organisations in the wider community which have similar interests in reducing energy use and carbon emissions.  Parent Councils are seen as having a central role in helping to make those links, which is one of their duties as set out in the Parental Involvement Act 2006.

Fiona will be holding workshops for parents across the region, and will also be able to advise on and support individual projects which link the energy and waste themes of the Eco-schools programme to activities in the community.  However, she is only one person so there will be a limit to the number of activities she can get involved with each year. 

Fiona has been invited to attend the October meeting of the Parent Council Chairs Group, and will also be at some of the more locally based Parent Forums which will start up in September/October.  However, if you wish to speak to her about a specific project, please contact her directly:


Telephone:  01835 824000

Secondary School Parent Councils Meeting

 Following a successful first meeting in March, it was agreed that we should hold regular meetings for representatives from the Secondary School Parent Councils.  This will give the secondary school reps an opportunity to consider in detail some of the issues which are quite specifically related to secondary schools and which are therefore not appropriate for detailed discussion at the wider Parent Council Chairs Group meetings.  Currently these include:

 ·         33 period week

·         Changes to SQA Appeals process

·         SCHOLAR (distance learning)

·         Parental involvement / engagement in secondary schools

 The next meeting of the Secondary School Parent Councils will be on Thursday 1st September at 6.30pm, in Committee Room 2 at Council Headquarters.


Parent Council Grants

 Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation on how Parent Council support grants should be paid in future.  The results were as follows:

 Option 1 (no change):               7

Option 2 (based on roll)          14

Option 3 (same for all)              6

 I have therefore arranged payment based on school roll, but with no differentiation between primary and secondary schools.

 Some Parent Councils will see an increase in their grant, but for many there will be a reduction due either to the 10% cut in grants overall, or because they have moved into a new payment block under the new system.  I have therefore adjusted the payment of those who were going to lose the most (up to 33% in some cases) so that the reduction this year will not be too great, although it is likely to fall again next year.

 I will contact every Parent Council directly to confirm the grant which has been paid, the bank account it has been paid into (some Parent Councils are still receiving their grant via the school, rather than directly into their own bank account).

Parent Council Resources Working Group

The Parent Council Resources Working Group was set up in June 2010 to enable the Director of Education and Lifelong Learning to discuss options and priorities with a group of representative parents as part of the budget setting process.   The group has met 4 times in the past year, and has been a valuable forum.  It has also advised on how parents should be involved and informed in the process, and items discussed at these meetings have, where relevant, been taken forward to the wider Parent Council Forum meetings.

 As some people have dropped out of the group over the year, we are keen to recruit some new members now.  We hope to keep the membership to about 8-10 people, and to have a balance of primary and secondary representatives.

If you would be interested in becoming a member of this group or if you would like further information, please contact me:


Telephone:  01835 826814

 Meetings are held at Council Headquarters in Newtown St Boswells, and start at 6.30pm.  The next meeting will be in mid-September.

 To download this newsletter please click here

 National Parent Forum Conference

Curriculum for Excellence -

One Year On

Saturday 1st October 2011

 Places are available at the NPFoS Conference at Bishopbriggs Academy on Saturday 1st October 2011.  There will be a range of seminars looking at different aspects of Curriculum for Excellence and how it is bedding in across the country – and this will be very much from a parent’s perspective.

 There are also excellent keynote speakers : Angela Constance, MSP, Minister for Children and Young People; and “Scotland’s own” David Cameron who is an educational consultant and a key advisor to the Scottish Government.

 To book a place, please contact: (0141 282 5019)

Parent Council Member Training 2011-12

 The following training has been arranged for the coming school session.  If you are interested in attending any of the sessions, please contact Gillian Simmons directly.

 1.  Parent Council Induction Training

Background information about the role of Parent Councils, how they can support developments in school, and where they fit into policy making - for Parent Council members, old or new, and for those who are thinking about joining a Parent Council.   

Tuesday 27th September 2011                         7.00 – 8.30pm

Venue:  East (probably Chirnside)

 Thursday 29th September 2011                        7.00 – 8.30pm

Venue:  West (Innerleithen / Peebles)

 Thursday 6th October 2011                               7.00 – 8.30pm

Venue:  Tweed Room, Langlee Centre, Marigold Drive, Galashiels

 If there is sufficient demand, an additional session could be held in Hawick.

 2.  Running a successful meeting

Advice and guidance on planning and running meetings aimed at Parent Council Chairs and Clerks, or anyone who is thinking of taking on either role.

 Tuesday 18th October 2011                              7.00 – 8.30pm

Venue:  Tweed Room, Langlee Centre, Marigold Drive, Galashiels

 4.  Tips for treasurers

What is the role of the treasurer, and what are the particular regulations around Parent Council accounts?  Advice and guidance for Parent Council Treasurers, and anyone who is thinking of taking on the role.

       Thursday 20th October 2011                              7.00 – 8.00pm

      Venue:  Tweed Room, Langlee Centre, Marigold Drive, Galashiels

5.   Protecting vulnerable groups – child protection for volunteers

With recent changes to the arrangements for police checks for those working with children and vulnerable adults, many Parent Councils have asked for clarity about who needs to be registered through the new process and when.  The Scottish Parent Teacher Council have developed a training course specifically for Parent Councils and PTAs and have agreed to run a session for us.

Tuesday 15th November 2011                          

Venue: Committee Room 2, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

 6.  Running a successful event

From education information evenings through to fundraising and social activities, events need to be planned, risks assessed, insurance checked, licences obtained and costs paid for.  This training session will include input from the SBC licensing department and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council

 Wednesday 1st February 2012

Venue:  to be confirmed

 Demand-led courses

Other courses which we hope to offer should there be sufficient demand include:

 ·   Desktop publishing – some tips for producing effective newsletters, posters, adverts etc.

 ·   Basic website design – a beginner’s session for Parent Councils who would like to set up a simple on-line presence

 ·   Equality and diversity – does your Parent Council actively encourage every parent in the school to take an active part if they want to, and do you communicate well with all the parents at your school, no matter what restrictions they may have?

 If there is any other training you would like us to provide, please contact:

 Gillian Simmons, Parental Involvement and Complaints Officer 


Telephone: 01835 826814

School Dress Code Policy

 The Education Executive approved a new School Dress Code Policy at its meeting in June, following consideration of the comments made by Parent Councils, headteachers, school staff, parents and pupils during the consultation period.

 The new policy is now available in the documents section on Glow (if your Parent Council does not have a Glow representative, please contact me for an application form).  If you need a hard copy or to have a document emailed to you, please contact me.


 Membership of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council

 Scottish Borders Council has renewed its group membership of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) on behalf of all Parent Councils at Borders schools.

 Membership entitles Parent Councils to use the SPTC advice and information service as well as providing insurance cover for Parent Council events and activities.  Further information on these can be obtained from the SPTC website: 

Please note that whilst membership covers Parent Councils and any fundraising sub-committees they may have, it does not cover separate PTAs which are not part of the Parent Council.  These PTAs will need to arrange their own insurance cover for events and activities.


Parent Council Advocates

One of the best parts of my job is meeting Parent Council members, and this is often when I am invited to come along to a Parent Council meeting.  I learn a lot from these meetings, and I think the most valuable thing I can do is to share your good ideas and ways of working from one Parent Council to another.

 I did wonder, however, if there would be an additional benefit in inviting Parent Council advocates to come with me, to share their ideas and experiences and to learn from others. Indeed, when we have had events like our Conference, or last year’s meeting with Swedish education directors, Parent Council members have said that sharing information was the thing they enjoyed most about these activities.

 I am not envisaging anything onerous – I would not ask the same advocate to attend more than one meeting in a school session, and I would make sure it was reasonably local – but if you think this is something you’d like to do, please let me know.

 And if you’d like me to come and meet with your Parent Council in the next session, please get in touch.

 Best wishes


 01835 826814

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