Parent Forum Minutes – February 2018
In attendance: Governors, parents and school staff
At the start of the meeting the Chair of Governors explained her role in organising and facilitating School Council meetings that give children from all year groups a platform to raise issues and suggestions.
Your Say 1
The school lunch portions are too small and my children now have packed lunches on most days to ensure that they are full at lunch times.
The parent forum discussed the portion sizes, availability and quality of school lunches:
Portion sizes: Mrs Doughty explained that portion sizes are set by guidelines and are the same regardless of the age of the child. Seconds are not currently offered for health reasons (national obesity crisis), so that children do not go back and choose an extra helping of carbohydrates. The forum discussed the pros and cons of offering seconds and agreed that it would be acceptable for children to be allowed seconds of vegetables or salad and this would also cut down on food waste. Mrs Doughty will action.
Availability: Concern was raised at the forum that items on the menu are sometimes not available and this has included Special Menu days where children have opted in to receiving a different meal. It was also discussed that non-vegetarians are not allowed to choose the vegetarian option, when they may have preferred that meal choice. Mrs Doughty will speak to Principals Catering about unscheduled changes to the menu, substitutes and choices.
Quality: There was general concern raised by the forum that there has been a decline in the quality of the school lunches based on feedback from their children. It was noted that school lunches are a recurring issue at these meetings.
The Chair of Governors informed the forum that school meals will be on the agenda for the next School Council meeting for the children to discuss and provide their feedback.
Your Say 2
My child has asked whether the ‘friendship bench” or similar can be reinstated?
Mrs Doughty explained that the ‘Friendship stop’ was a bench on the old playground that children could go to if they could not find someone to play with and a playtime supervisor would help them get involved. Parents recalled that seeing the friendship bench on the school’s Open Morning was a positive factor that stood out when comparing schools. Mrs Doughty agreed that it very clearly demonstrates the school’s ethos (“Caring, Confident, Creative”). Mrs Doughty will think about how it or something similar could be reinstated on the new playground.
Mrs Doughty explained to the forum that Lunchtime Club run by staff was originally set up for children who find the playground challenging (such as those with ASD, those experiencing emotional issues or those e.g. with an injury that means for a short amount of time they cannot go outside to play). Numbers are limited and it has proved very popular with the children. Mrs Doughty said she will check with the teachers on numbers and who is attending the club currently.
The CoG explained why the child may have felt that this time round they had not been given the opportunity to contribute to School Council: the most recent session had asked children what play equipment they would like. She said that children would be given the opportunity for open suggestions before the next meeting.
Wider discussion then followed: Mrs Doughty told the forum that children had been working hard on being more caring and ‘filling each other’s buckets’. Parents at the forum suggested that positive behaviour could also be recorded in the lunchtime book and not just negative incidents (that are then reported to the Head or Deputy Head Teachers). Mrs Doughty said that the children had been actively trying to have days where no negative incidents were recorded. Mrs Doughty said that in school they talk a lot about the school values and the children are displaying them in small spontaneous acts of courtesy or kindness and she gave an example from Year 6. The Parent Forum also acknowledged how much the children involved enjoyed the ‘buddy’ system between Year R and Year 5 pupils.
- Mrs Doughty explained how the new field, playground, parking and access will look when building works are completed.
- The forum noted the date of World Book Day at school.
- The forum noted that the organisation of school trips sits with class teacher who organises them in line with the curriculum.
- The feasibility of Sports Day was discussed and Mrs Doughty said that off site options were being looked at, as the new grass on the field will not be ready to go on until September.
- More support for parents with the Maths curriculum was also suggested. Mrs Doughty said they were looking into whether class assemblies could include/ be followed by a parent and child Maths workshop.