Parent Forum Minutes – October 2016

Attendees:

Ruth Doughty (Head Teacher)

Asman Ali

Gail Cox (Parent Governor –  CGPS, Director – The Pathway Academy Trust)

Tash Etherton

Helena Gula (Parent Governor – CGPS, Director – The Pathway Academy Trust)

Kate Henderson

Anna Roberts

Nicola Vincent (Parent Governor – CGPS)

Apologies for absence: none received

Mrs Doughty welcomed parents to the first Parent Forum of the 2016/2017 academic year and explained the format.  The minutes of the meeting will be reported back to the local CGPS Governing Body at their next full meeting. Each parent in attendance introduced themselves.  Mrs Gula agreed to take the minutes and these will be published on the school website.

  1. Two Parent Forum ‘Your Say’ forms were submitted both on the topic of school lunches:

Both forms referenced the perceived small size of school lunches.

Discussion by the forum:

Two parents at the forum raised that their children had also said they were still hungry after having school dinners and felt a notable difference between the old and new catering company.  Other feedback on school dinners was that the pizzas were better but the overall meal quality was felt to be down on last year.

Mrs Doughty explained that there had been a new catering company in place since September and the school still buys into the Kent County Council (KCC) service to manage the catering. The school dinners are batch cooked and the class order for having lunch first is rotated.  Reception Class go first at 11.50am, followed by KS1 and then KS2 – these three sessions are necessary to accommodate the children in a relatively small hall space.  Dinners are presented on ‘airline’ plates (main and pudding together), so that all meals can be given out in the time available – there is not time to queue up again for pudding.

The following actions will be taken in response to parents’ queries:

A1: Andrya Norris (School Business Manager) will check portion size is in line with the national framework.

A2: Mrs Doughty will speak directly with the kitchen staff (who remain the same as last year) for their feedback.  In response to a query by a parent at the forum, she will ask how the kitchen deals with online orders for specific meals.

A3: Mrs Doughty will check the following regarding the meals:

  • whether portion sizes are different for KS1 and KS2 given the different physical sizes and appetites of the children?
  • whether the salad cart is replenished?
  • whether jacket potatoes ever run out and how many are cooked each day?

A4: Mrs Doughty will ask teachers for their feedback on whether children appear to be hungry in the afternoon.

A5: Mrs Doughty will ask KCC for a catering audit.

A6: Mrs Doughty will consider talking to the new catering company, Principals Catering, once the above actions have taken place and it was discussed that it might be appropriate for a representative to come to the next meeting of the Parent Forum.

The forum considered sending out an e-mail to parents for more feedback, but it was decided that there was sufficient feedback in this meeting to undertake the actions.

  1. Feedback questionnaire for parents and carers

The Parent Forum discussed the findings of the parent/carer survey which was undertaken in July 2016 and is part of the school’s ongoing self-evaluation process.

Mrs Doughty said that she was very happy with the findings with the headline overall being that 100% of parents feel that their overall experience with the school is ‘good or better’.

This year 69 questionnaire were returned by parents. The forum discussed how the response rate could be boosted and when the best time is to give the questionnaire out.  One parent had experience at another school where it was given out at parents’ evening, however at CGPS the parents’ evenings occur earlier in the school year and the aim of the questionnaire is for a ‘full year’ evaluation. Parents discussed whether moving the questionnaire online might be easier for parents/ carers and may in turn boost the response rate.  One suggested it could be given out at the school disco that occurs towards the end of the year.  It was noted that the 2016 questionnaire had been given out with the school reports and this had potentially informed the year on year improvement in the attribute ‘The school informs me of my child’s progress’.  Mrs Gula who had processed the findings and prepared the results noted that there were very few handwritten comments in the comments box and Mrs Doughty confirmed that she had read all of these.

The results of the survey were e-mailed to parents/ carers shortly after this meeting.

Actions:

A7: The 2017 questionnaire will be given out at the end of the year (July)

A8: Mrs Doughty will look at hand written comments and see if any can be used as ‘testimonials’

A9: Mrs Gula will investigate ‘free’ online survey options and will report back to the parent forum before Easter 2017

  1. Any other business

Some parents had come to the meeting with issues to raise.  Mrs Doughty welcomed these and encouraged use of the ‘Your Say’ form as it allows her time to pull relevant information to hand before the meeting.

Issue 1 – The format of homework has changed. Those present discussed how useful the homework was, with some parents feeling the change was for the positive and others were less happy with the changes (those feeling less happy felt there was less homework than last year and that it was not challenging enough. For example one parent preferred the maths and comprehension tasks given last year.).  There were differences between the experiences of parents with children in different year groups.

Mrs Doughty explained that the format of the homework has changed following a review with teachers on the impact of the homework on pupil attainment and progress.  The homework now includes spellings and Growth Mindset which are areas of focus for the school this year.  More generally, the forum acknowledged that homework tends to be a polarising subject amongst parents with some wanting more homework and other wanting less or none at primary school age.

Actions:

A10: Mrs Doughty will continue to review the homework content of each year group and will monitor consistency.

Issue 2 – The role of Mrs Edwards in Year 2 was asked to be clarified

Mrs Doughty clarified that Mrs Edwards works one day a week and she covers Miss Donovan during Miss Donovan’s senior leadership time and provides expertise in delivering the KS1 SATS. Mrs Doughty will communicate this information to Year 2 parents.

Issue 3 – A couple of parents raised that their children had been upset or worried about bible stories they had been told at school

Mrs Doughty explained that the National Curriculum requires schools to cover areas of Christianity.  Years 5 & 6 also do Bible Explorers with a lady who visits the school. Mrs Doughty will explore the areas that may have caused upset with teachers.

Issue 4 – Money at school discos.

The forum discussed how children can keep their money safe at school discos, especially the younger children.  It is not feasible for adults at the disco to look after money so it is up to parents to make sure their children know how to look after their money and provide a suitable purse or pocket.

Issue 5 – Maths

A parent asked for supporting material so that they can help their children at home with maths – particularly around methods that may have changed since they were at school

Action:

A11: Mrs Doughty said she would be happy to arrange a Maths Workshop for parents.

Issue 6 – Parent forum – class representatives

A parent asked whether a parent representative from each class could be present at Parent Forum. Mrs Doughty confirmed that this idea has been put to parents in the past but with little interest but is happy to ask again.

Action:

A12: Mrs Doughty will ask parents if they would like to be a class representative.

Issue 7 – ‘Your Say’ form submitted July 2016

A parent checked whether their ‘Your Say’ form submitted last term regarding Catering Company arrears letters being given directly to pupils had been addressed. Mrs Doughty confirmed that these will be given directly to parents in future.

Next meeting of the CGPS Parent Forum:

Reviewing the Pupil Progress slip was added to the agenda for the next meeting

Date of Next Meeting: Thursday 1st December @ 2pm

 

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