Minutes of Meeting 18 May 2005
Meeting on 18 May 2005 at 7pm Staff room South Street Building
1. Apologies and welcomes. Apologies were received from Councillors Liston, Black and Sangster, Dr Rogerson, Nony Mordi and Alistair Nisbet. Professor McKiernan welcomed board members to the last formal meeting of the session: Mrs Marriage, Mr McGregor, Mrs Dunn, Mr Flegg, Dr Falconer, Mrs Thomson, Mr Murray and Mr Matheson.
2. Minute of meeting of 10th March. Acceptance of the minute of the March meeting was proposed by HM, seconded by JF
3. Matters arising.
i. CD raised the arrangements for a joint social meeting with the PTA and was deputed to continue discussions with Mrs Pitman (PTA chair) to find a suitable date, Tuesday 31st May being suggested as one possibility.
ii. JF gave a resume of his involvement with the Continental Day Steering Group: ideas are being explored; a consultant may soon be appointed; consultation with main interests will be a priority; no immediate impact is anticipated until the feasibility phase has been completed; strong interest starting to grow for the idea. JF will produce a summary paper for the next Board meeting.
iii. A Board stall will be manned at forthcoming Parents’ Evenings, the purpose of which is to invite interest and questions from parents, to give information, to relay issues back to the Board. LM will ensure that a stall and chair is available for the evenings concerned.
iv. PMcK confirmed that he had written to the Scottish Executive with members’ views on the future of School Boards, as discussed in March.
i. Expenses claim forms had been received by the clerk; members should ask him for copies as required.
ii. A letter from the president of the junior rugby group (Madrascals) using Station Park was considered. It strongly recommended the extension of speed restrictions well to the west of the entrance to our playing fields. The Chair will write to Fife Council in support of this submission, citing our previous letter on similar lines sent to the Council in 2002.
5. School Bullying Policy. There was considerable discussion about the sensitive issue of bullying. LM explained how difficult it sometimes was to convince parents that appropriate action had been taken in particular cases. The Data Protection legislation caused particular problems in this regard, which members recognised. It was requested by CD that the existing anti-bullying policy should be placed on the school website, that the Board might want to assist by newsletter or other means in explaining some of the sensitivities, and that future revisions of the policy might have the input of the Board. LM welcomed each of these points, and will discuss possible action with senior colleagues before reporting back to the Board.
6. Estates Strategy. Announcements were expected following the Children’s services meeting of 19th May. PMcK and others noted their delight in the key recommendation that Madras College should be located on one site. This alone was vindication of the five years of Board effort, discussion and consultation. DMcG commended the Chair on his reported comments in the “Courier” article of 18th May. Various ideas were mooted including: the possible connection between housing developments and catchment reviews/building plans for new schools; other options than Kilrymont for a single-site Madras; the sequence of committee proposals, principally the relocation and redesign of Kilrymont Road prior to the decision about a possible Bridgehead secondary; the parental absence of sentiment about the possible loss of the historic South Street site. LM will seek copies of the committee discussions taking place on 19th May and circulate these to members.
7. Transport issues. LM noted possible action by the Council on the creation of a turing circle for buses at Kilrymont. This would ease congestion in the town and speed the departure of some buses.
8. Healthy eating in schools. LM noted that councillors are due to visit Madras as part of a region-wide sampling of what is currently on offer in school canteens.
9. Lockers. PMcK reminded colleagues that we had donated £600 to support the Locker Fund.
10. Albanian Orphanage. PMcK proposed that we donate £200 from funds to support the costs of taking basic school equipment to Albania, where one Madras teacher is currently working in an orphanage while she is on sabbatical leave. Another colleague, also on sabbatical, was proposing to drive a lorry-load of goods to support the schooling needs of this group. Accepted unanimously.
11. Kiel Exchange. DMcG outlined the historic Kiel-Madras exchange. In 2007 the 50th anniversary of the first German exchange group’s visit would take place. He proposed that the Board might wish to support any celebrations of this event and the good public publicity that would inevitably arise. This was supported and noted by LM as a possible event to be discussed within the school for occasion.
12. Posters on sensitive issues. CD commended the school for its advertisement within the school of certain issues such as “self harm”, and asked how this was normally handled. LM explained the way many delicate issues were brought to pupils’ and teachers’ attention, usually with the object of informing those who might be affected of how they could make confidential contact with someone able to help.
13. Staffing Plan. IF asked for a progress report on the plan. LM outlined the changes made thus far, the reason for a slight delay (uncertainty about the future school size and location), and plans for possible new posts in the near future (once the strategic picture becomes clear).
14. Supply staff. GM alerted colleagues to current problems in covering the long-term absence of some colleagues, principally the expensive gap being funded by school budget between the first week of absence and the fifth (since only after four weeks – 20 working days) did the regional cover budget start to pick up the costs. PMcK agreed to write to the Head of Education to express concerns about this heavy penalty being met by school budgets.
15. Mr Donald McGregor. This being Donald’s final official Board meeting Professor McKiernan expressed the sincere thanks and best wishes of colleagues to someone he described as “a tower of strength” during his years of service to the Board. He particularly commended him for his efforts to give a positive image of the school and the Board, and for his Working Group input during crucial stages in the development of strategies for consultation and action.
16. Date of next meeting. The date for the first meeting of the new session was proposed as Wednesday 14th September, 2005.
19 May 2005