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Earlston high school parent council core group meeting – wednesday 4TH. March,2009

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Present Michelle Strong – David McLean – John McLennan

Siobhan McDermott – Susan Sutherland – Trish Bilsland

George Runciman – Fiona McQueen – Mary Bell

Lyn Norman – Louise Ogilvie – Dean Sewell

Apologies High Chalmers – Scott Renwick
Susan welcomed Dean Sewell our new co-opted member from Carfraemill who is a lecturer at Heriot Watt, everyone in attendance introduced themselves to Dean.
Minutes – February: Matters Arising:

The minutes were agreed and there were no matters arising.

Headteacher’s Report

  • Jill MacDonald kept website updated with school news.

  • New School Prospectus – Michelle passed round another

draft of latest issue and thanked Mary Bell for successfully bidding for funding towards the cost of producing the prospectus. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the new format.

issue to all P7 pupils in May.

  • A large number of ‘pupil requests’ to transfer to Earlston

High School had been received from pupils of all ages. Guidance is being sought on whether limits for year groups can be set.

  • Cashless Catering had launched on 23rd. February which had

been a surprise to many but most of the early teething problems

had been sorted out.

Parents had enquired whether facility would be available on-line

to top up these cards, to limit the amounts and if it would be

possible to view what children were eating. Michelle said this would be a possibility in the future but not at present.

A discussion followed on falling numbers in the canteen and the opportunities which the new school canteen will present. It was decided to invite the Catering Manager along to a later

meeting to possible ways of ensuring that the new school canteen is utilised to the best possible potential.

Michelle and David both hoped that as the new canteen was double

the size of the present one that it would prove popular and there

was the opportunity for staff, teachers, visitors and pupils to be

able to use the canteen all day. They also hoped to obtain picnic

benches for outside areas at a later date. Michelle would contact

Catering Manager and invite him to our next meeting.

  • The Go Green Eco Club had been on a recent trip to Gordon.

  • S1 pupils had been involved in an enterprise event called ‘Freaky Fortress’, it had been very successful and it hoped that funds will be available to allow it to be repeated next year.

  • S2 course choices and Senior course choices had both started.

Michelle thanked David for an amazing course structure for all pupils, especially the Senior pupils. A number of requests have come in for pupils wishing to join our senior school because of the range of subjects on offer. This, however, is both a blessing and a curse.

  • Study Leave for 4th. 5th. and 6th years would happen in a few weeks.

  • Some departments such as Maths were offering revision clubs at all levels.

  • Forthcoming Events: P.E. – Dance Festival

School Concert / Show (Sound of Music)

  • Leaver’s Evening event - talks have commenced.

  • 4th. Year Leavers – Mrs. MacDonald arranging careers talks,

local businesses and Borders College spokesmen with view to

employment. Assistance with C.V.’s and mock interview techniques.

  • S1 Achievement Awards in process and preparing for end of term

Church Services.

  • Newsletter had been sent out for views on Ski Trip.

  • A consultation note to parents would be sent out to obtain parents

views on four top values for new school and school dress options.

A discussion followed on the results of a pupil questionnaire on school dress options regarding wearing of blazers, shirts and ties. Michelle informed meeting that she would like to see all the pupils

looking like they belonged to the school and taking a pride in what

uniform they wore. It was generally agreed that any decision had to be acceptable to pupils, or they would not adhere to the dress code, and also affordable to all parents to ensure it was inclusive.

Transforming Children’s Services Michelle stated that the implementation of this document was ongoing steadily.

Budget Heading towards the end of the financial year all was fine with the good news that the further 2% planned cuts for Devolved School Management had been scrapped.
New School Report David had been on site today and progress was constant. Internal scaffolding nearly all away and space evident now. Some rooms finished almost completely while other parts are only just starting with electrics. Assembly area plastering only started. Basically it is still a building site with a huge amount still to do but still ahead of schedule. Seating, sound and lighting in hall still to be resolved.

Decant plans to new school about to start with first draft of decant schedule ready next week or so. Date still set at 20th. July but this could change.

Next website update imminent which will show that Duns and Eyemouth both open and then the focus will fall on Earlston.
Sub Group Report Trish Bilsland reported that the Burns Night had been a good night and a small profit had been made.

Due to fact that none of the big stores were interested in running a Fashion Show this has been postponed.

A quiz night will now be held on Thursday 19th. March with teams of four at a cost of £8 per team.

Michelle thanked the Sub Group for helping fund the 6th. Year Yearbook and the Hospitality Group trip to Leith.

Ski Trip George informed the meeting that an item had been included in the school newsletter to parents and he was waiting to see what the interest/feedback was before reporting back to the group.

The estimated cost of the trip was £680 - £750 which included all costs.

The trip would probably be in January or February time for 3rd. year pupils and some parents.

Michelle stated that Jill MacDonald would be prepared to be the female staff member along with Scott Renwick as male representative.

Correspondence Susan had received the latest copy of ‘Backchat’ leaflet which ran an article on fact that ALL Edinburgh Schools had combined together to fight the budget cuts in schools.

Susan passed a letter from Scottish Borders Council- re Appointment of Headteachers and Depute Policy- to Mary Bell who would appraise the content and report at the next meeting.

Any Other Business Louise said as she had missed last meeting she had enquired about ‘Restorative Practices’ and had been impressed by the presentation. Louise also enquired if the Hall of Fame was still ongoing, which it is, and suggested that it was made the next focus on the website.

Mary Bell enquired if school timetable had definitely altered and Michelle confirmed that new timetable would be 6 x 54 minute periods throughout the school day.

Next Meeting Next meeting would be Thursday 2nd. April and a trip to the New School would take place before the May meeting.

Minutes Approved _____________________________Chairperson





  1. Apologies for Absence.

  2. Minutes of Previous Meeting.

  3. Matters Arising.

  4. Catering Manager – Canteen

  5. Headteacher’s Report.

  6. New School Report.

  7. Parent Feedback – School Values – School Dress.

  8. Sub Group Report.

  9. Ski Trip.

  10. Correspondence.

  11. Any Other Business.

  12. Date Next Meeting.

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