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Minutes 2007-09

First Meeting of the Parent Forum and Council  12 Sep 2007

On Wednesday 12 September 2007 the Rector chaired a meeting of the Madras College Parent Forum.  he outlined how schools were moving to the new Parent Forums and Councils under recent legislation.  The meeting approved a constitution with some small amendments to the tabled draft.  Up to 30 parents can be on the Council, with the possibility of co-opting other members.

The first meeting of the new Parent Council will be in the Kilrymont Road building on 3 October at 7.30 pm.  This meeting, in common with most other meetings of the Parent Council is a public meeting, and all parents will be welcome to attend.

The Rector reported that Historic Scotland has recently classified the Kilrymont Road School buildings as Grade B listed buildings.  This brought gasps of astonishment from many at the meeting.

There were not as yet any obvious developments from Fife Council in the push for ending the split-site Madras College.  We hope that the new administration will soon move to progress this.

Final Meeting of the School Board  24 April 2007

Minutes to come.
Major items included

  • Welcome to the incoming rector, and thanks to the current rector
  • Thanks to pupil members and to councillors
  • Note of celebrations of the Kiel Exchange 50th anniversary
  • Discussions on merging the PTA and Board into the required new body.  Information out to parents soon.  Meeting of PTA and Board hopefully in early June.
  • Meeting organised by the Board at which local Council candidates have been invited to speak.  They are asked to speak for 5 to 10 minutes on “The practical and financial solutions to the ‘unsatisfactory’ state of the learning environment at Madras College“.  This will be followed by a question and answer session.  All parents invited.  Kilrymont School Hall 7.30 pm May 1st.

Minutes 2005-05

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.

4. Correspondence.
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.

Temp Clerk
19 May 2005

Minutes 2005-03

Minutes of Meeting 10 March 2005

Meeting on 10 March 2005 at 7pm Staff room South Street Building

1. Present: P McKiernan (Chair), J Flegg, Cllr W Sangster, C Dunn, S Thomson, H Marriage, Cllr E Gunstone. Cllr J-A Liston, A Nisbet, I Falconer, G Murray, L Matheson. Apologies: D McGregor and N Mordi.

2. New member. The Chair welcomed new staff member, Graeme Murray (Acting PT of Art and Design). He also noted with regret the resignation of Mr Clive Palmer, whose other commitments on Thursdays rendered his further involvement impractical. He will write a letter expressing the thanks and good wishes of the Board to Clive.

3. Minute of meeting of 3rd February, ’05. The minute was approved after a correction under Item 4 concerning the Street Trader’s licence restrictions. Adoption was proposed by C Dunn seconded by I Falconer.

4. Matters arising. Item 3: C Dunn will liaise with K Pitman of the PTA with regard to a joint meeting. Item 10: I Falconer was assured by the rector that past papers should be available on loan to pupils in all subjects. Item 14: J Flegg would represent the Board on the forthcoming Continental Day Steering Committtee, and H Marriage would deputise if required

5. Correspondence. Various items were circulated for members’ interest.

6. Position of Clerk. Katy’s letter of resignation was read. The rector explained that she had left school. The Chair asked that she be thanked and wished well in her career.

7. Future of School Boards. A general exchange of views took place on the draft proposals of the Scottish Executive that Boards be made less formal. On balance the Board was of the view that advantages currently outweighed disadvantages, that communication by the Boards could certainly improve, that elections could be much less formal, but that as a forum offering strong input to school, council and national debate, we still had an important role to play. The Chair will write in these terms to the Executive. H Marriage will write a paragraph for the Easter Newsletter outlining the activities of the Board. A stall will be manned at forthcoming parents’ meetings (S1 on Monday 30th May and S3 on Tuesday 7th June).

8. Estates Strategy. Various rumours about how the Strategy would affect Madras had been heard, and some of these were shared. We have to wait until the meeting of the Children’s Services Committee in May to learn of the outcome for this school. An important issue was the one raised by W Sangster concerning the timescale for any changes. Meantime it was agreed that we keep up the pressure to achieve a solution to the school that does not involve the problematic split-site.

9. School Buses. It was agreed that the introduction of single-decker coaches was a considerable benefit to order and safety. The Board should take some credit for its campaigning in this aspect. A new bus-bay was urgently needed. The present arrangement at Kilrymont was not satisfactory at all. There was now a good chance that a proper bus-bay will be constructed. The promised “clearway” in the existing bay is still awaited. Senior pupils often report concerns to staff that they have noticed on particular buses. This works better than the identification of seniors as bus prefects.

10. School closure. The rector explained the circumstances of the recent (1st March) closure. Buses were unavailable and many staff could not get to school. An early decision had been made. The communication system had shown up some flaws, which had been noted and passed to the Council.

11. Accessibility. J Flegg raised the issue of accessibility to the buildings. The rector replied that a lift was being planned this year for installation by October. There did not appear to be any prospect of a lift in South Street, however.

12. Activities. J Flegg also asked how we coped with those pupils who were disappointed in not being chosen for their preferred 3-Day activity. LM will raise this with the organising staff, but pointed out that we depended totally on staff volunteering to offer activities, and some pupils were bound to be disappointed. A similar disappointment could be felt by those who wished to go on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, but for whom there were insufficient places. On the issue of risk the rector replied that all activities were covered by risk assessments and that we were very keen as a school not to reduce our range of activities through fear of litigation.

13. Car parking. S Thomson noted that learner drivers used the car park as a starting point, occasionally causing inconvenience to hard-pressed teachers travelling between the buildings. The rector agreed to speak to the tutors.

14. UCAS rejection. C Dunn noted the deep trauma felt by some pupils experiencing rejection by HE institutions. I Falconer raised a query about how Guidance staff tracked those who had experienced disappointment.

15. Lockers. The first 200 lockers for Kilrymont have been ordered.

16. Date of next meeting. Thursday 12th May, ’05. Agenda items (via Temp Clerk meantime) by 5th May.

Temp Clerk
15 March 2005

Minutes 2005-02

Minutes of Meeting 3 February 2005

Meeting on 3rd February 2005 at 7pm Staff room South Street Building

1. The chair opened the meeting and welcomed members to the first meeting of the new year. Present: P McKiernan (chair), I Falconer, C Dunn, S Thomson, A Nisbet, J Liston, H Marriage, E Rogerson, L Matheson. Apologies from: W Sangster, K Balfour, N Mordi, A Liggatt.

2. The minute of the meeting of 22nd November was read. Acceptance was proposed by I Falconer seconded by H Marriage.

3. Under Matters Arising the chair stated that a date (possibly late in February) would be agreed with the Parent Teacher Association for a joint evening between the organisations. He felt that a showing of one of the pupil plays about the Tsunami might open the event.

4. Other matters arising concerned the public meeting about the Estates Strategy and the Street Trader’s Licence application. There was some discussion about the public meeting, including the possible options that might be considered. When the outline plans were unveiled (“in the spring” it has been stated) a fuller discussion should take place. The Street Trader issue seemed to have been resolved at last, since the planning committee had turned down the application. The bus bay would also soon be marked out by the Roads department as a “clearway” during school hours. Councillor Liston, however, later noted that an appeal had been lodged against the sub-committee’s decision.

5. There were two items of correspondence. Firstly, a request from Ian Robertson, Senior Manager in the Education Department, that Boards use email for communication within Fife Council, this being agreed. Secondly, copies of both the national “Curriculum for Excellence” and the mission statements of the Fife Partnership were issued to members for information.

6. Mrs Thomson spoke to the item on Eco Schools, deferred from the previous meeting. She reiterated her strong commitment to the principles of the scheme but advised that the timing had to be right to mobilise pupils and staff in the project. Owing to the current overwhelming interest in the Tsunami relief campaign it might be best to wait for a few months before considering a start to the project. Meantime, however, Alastair Nisbet will raise the issue with the Whole-School Council, so that the pupil view of when to start the scheme can be gauged. Mrs Thomson will circulate the Fife publicity regarding Eco Schools to members.

7. The poor state of the girls’ toilets in Kilrymont Road was again raised, on the request of Mr Liggatt. It was felt that there had been excessive delay in bringing forward the promised plans for making the toilets capable of entry only from within the building. Councillor Liston will look into this aspect. The rector explained that one factor was the unfortunate illness since November of the designated school architect. The two pupil support posts currently being filled would also aid site supervision. Advertisements for a toilet attendant had not produced any interest.

8. There was extended discussion about the use of video and photography in school. It was felt that we should not regulate too closely the wide variety of useful educational and recreational activities that involved pictures of pupils. Particular care, however, should be taken in the use of pictures or names on the school website. Alastair will raise this matter at the Whole-School Council to assess the general pupil view of this matter.

9. The Estates Strategy release date is not yet known. Councillor Liston will request this date from senior officers.

10. Dr Falconer asked whether past papers were available in all subjects for revision purposes. The rector will check on the example given of one subject where these had not been offered.

11. Dr Falconer also asked whether pupils could take their own food into canteens. The rector explained that current policy was to allow pupils to eat their packed lunches in canteens, and he will speak to the supervisors to clarify the issue.

12. Councillor Liston noted that the licence of the ice-cream van currently trading near the Kilrymont building came up for renewal in November. The national “Hungry for Success” initiative proposed free school meals or at least fruit drinks, taking inspiration from the successful Finnish model.

13. Mrs Marriage and Dr Rogerson asked for information about the Tsunami appeal in school. Mrs Thomson, Alastair and the rector gave information. This led to a very animated discussion about the potential for parental involvement, by financial donation or in other ways. The possible link with a community close to Madras (Chennai) was thought most exciting. The rector will discuss with Mr Mackay, Depute Rector, how best to brief parents.

14. The rector outlined his personal ambition to institute a “continental day” in Madras College. At this stage he has offered outline plans to Fife Council and the Scottish Executive. Councillor Liston mentioned that she had heard of these plans from her Fife colleagues. The chair agreed that Board members should begin thinking about this matter.

15. The chair noted that Graeme Murray, Acting Principal Teacher of Art, would be joining the Board as a teacher representative.

16. To warm acclamation of all present a valedictory letter was read from the retiring Clerk, Morag Wilson. The chair was heard to whisper “What a woman!”.

17. The date of the next meeting was fixed for March 10th, 7.00 pm in SOUTH STREET.

18. The chair thanked colleagues for their attendance and contributions, and closed the meeting at 8.30 pm.

Hon Temp Clerk
3 Feb 2005

Minutes 2004-09

Minutes of Meeting 16 September 2004

Meeting on 16 September 2004 at 7pm Staff room South Street Building

Welcome and apologies. The chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the new session and gave apologies for the following: Mrs Rogerson, Mrs Thomson, Councillor Liston, Mrs Brown, Mrs Marriage and Miss Mordy.

Present: Prof. McKiernan (chair), Mr Liggat, Mr McGregor, Mrs Dunn, Dr Falconer, Mr Nisbet, Mr Flegg, Mr Matheson, Mr Jessop, Councillor Sangster.

Minute of meeting of 24th June 2004. Accepted for accuracy and approved.

Matters arising:
Mr Matheson gave a verbal report of the meeting on 12th July with Mr McLauchlin of Fife Council Education Department in connection with proposed works and refurbishments at Kilrymont Road. The appointment of an architect to advise the council on work that would be necessary to bring the building up to a good modern standard was welcomed by members. Several of the Board’s recent detailed concerns would be included in this comprehensive survey. In the discussion that followed this report it was proposed and agreed that the architect, Mr Bruce Kennedy, be invited to the next meeting (24th November).
The Chair will circulate an invitation to members to a forthcoming meeting with Mr Tom Dair, chair of the Children’s Services Committee, to discuss the state and adequacy of accommodation at Madras.

Budget. It was agreed that a sufficient sum should be retained for administration costs and the remainder gifted to the Locker Fund. The sum involved, £800 at this stage, will pay for approximately 25 lockers.

Clerk. Through rector and pupil representatives approaches will be made to senior pupils who may be willing and capable to take on this duty.

“Stargazers” show on 30th September as a fund-raiser for the locker fund.
“As You Like It” fliers were distributed (21st – 24th September)
Mr Nisbet reported on the two meetings this session of the Whole-School Council, at which there had been a lively debate about uniform, consideration of the locker issue for Kilrymont Road, and proposals for links with other Fife secondary schools, perhaps by hosting a conference on a topic of general interest. Members of the Board commended the start that the pupils had made to their duties.

Objection to Chip Van Licence Application. There was a full discussion about the possibility of objecting to the renewal of leases for street traders who operated near to the Kilrymont Road building. Grounds for objection included safety, health and litter. The positioning of street-traders so close to the school building flew in the face of the Council’s own policies on health and diet. Councillor Sangster felt that the school could ask that the bus bay should be reserved for bus parking during school hours, which would at least keep the traders away from the immediate precincts of the school. The Board will lodge an objection in principle to the Licensing Sub-Committee* against the renewal of a licence to the current applicant, on the grounds stated above. Individuals may wish to add their own particular objections. The rector will object on behalf of the school.

Timing of national examinations. A very full discussion took place about the existing flexibility and future “free-for-all” being heralded by the Education Minister on the timing of certificate examinations. Concerns were raised that concentration on exams alone could do a disservice to pupils, whose broader achievements and social development might suffer. If a modest move to certification at the end of S3 took place, however, it might fit well with the existing arrangement of the split-site and might also produce a sustained pace of learning for pupils. Particular attention, however would have to be given to those who chose to leave at the end of S4 and S5, to whom an appropriate curriculum should be on offer. It was accepted that any such major change would have to be carefully prepared.

Next Meeting. Wednesday 24th November at 7.00 pm was agreed.

The chair informed members of the exceptional plaudits he had received in respect of the Madras College Pipe Band performances at two recent major international conferences he had organised in St Andrews. The rector was asked to convey his congratulations to the band.
On the rector’s suggestion the Board chair will approach the chair of the PTA (Mrs Katy Pitman) to propose an informal reception to which members and other interested parents would be invited.
Mr Jessop intimated his forthcoming retiral (December). School staff will be invited to consider filling the resultant vacancy for a teacher representative.
Following the publication of this year’s examination statistics Mr Urquhart, Depute Rector, will survey with Dr Falconer the impact of the move to eight Standard Grade courses as the norm in Madras College.
Councillor Sangster noted that at the Community Safety Panel of 15th September the four pupil representatives had been commissioned to take on two safety projects, advised by PC Mark Anderson. They were commended for their initiative.

17 Sept ’04

* Law and Administration Department, County Buildings, St Catherine’s Street, Cupar, KY15 4TA, for the attention of Mrs Margaret Mitchell

Minutes 2004-05

Draft Minutes of Meeting 10 May 2004

Meeting on Wednesday 10th May 2004 at 7pm Staff room South Street Building

Present: Mr A Ayton, Mrs M Brown, Dr C Dunn, Dr I Falconer, Mr J Flegg, Mr D Macgregor, Mrs H Marriage, Prof P McKiernan, Mr C Palmer, Miss S Purves, Mrs E Rogerson, Mrs S Thomson, Mrs M Wilson

In Attendance: Mr L S G Matheson (Rector), Cllr J A Liston and Cllr W Sangster

1. Apologies: Cllr T Brett, Mr A Liggat, Mr C Jessop

2. Previous Minutes (Meeting 31/03/04) were approved, by E Rogerson and I Falconer

3. Matters arising: Lockers Help from local Trust Funds for Lockers. Cllr Sangster advised that that there wasn’t much hope there. He said that the school could possibly apply to the ‘Common Good Fund’ who may give a contribution. Most felt that the money should come from the Education Budget.

Mr Matheson advise the Board that the Tuck Shop in Kilrymont Road was closing and that this would free up an area in Kilrymont building for lockers. Perhaps the Anniversary Fund may be used for some of the money towards lockers? He also advised that the canteen staff would be supplying more nutritional snacks.

Licensing of Vans Board to write to Licensing Department at Cupar prior to renewal. Also to write to police regarding changing regulations. ‘Buses Only’ and to have yellow lines installed.

Blackfriars Lights Cnllr Sangster advised that L Hughes Locality manager of Fife Council might be able to help in this. The Trust felt that the power comes from the school grounds and that it should be a Fife Council matter. Peter Milne of Fife Council looking into costing.

The Chair advised that the project that was carried out by St Andrews’s University Department of Management Students re ‘Scenarios on the future of Education in East Fife’ was presented by himself to Head of Education of Fife Council, Roger Stewart, and was supported by 3 Councillors including Tim Brett. It was received very well – some of the points taken on board and others added. The outcome:
1. Promise of more constructive dialogue from now on.
2. Though they recognise the problems they feel there are more problems elsewhere in West and Central of Fife.
Dougie Miller has done a number of articles – Fri/Sat/Mon including leader on Saturday – we are now in a position of waiting to see how our reports comes into the political machinery. Falling rolls in the next ten years are also a factor.

D Macgregor advised the Board that there was a feedback meeting on 20th May 2004 regarding the local plan/transport plan.

Report from Groups:

Group A: New School/Transport – Dr Falconer; Over the past couple of years we have gathered a lot of data re split site schools etc. What to do now? Show clear opinion from School Board. Statutory obligation to work with parents/ staff/community. Children Services Meeting 09/06/04 Cllr Liston will try to get this on Agenda. Discuss among school board members preferred solution Kilrymont Road site be refurbished as a smaller school and S/Street be sold. K/Rd 2020 – build new school first then sell. Fife Council is looking at optimum size of schools 8-1200 as a size of a secondary.

Group B: Facilities – C Palmer S Purves will gather information re questions raised in the letter about Kilrymont toilets (see attached) and Mr Palmer will reply. Mr Matheson said that they were currently carrying out a review of the situation and that he was having meetings with Mrs Brown to work out a way forward. There is an advert going in the local press for a lavatory attendant, as funding was available.

C: Communication – D Macgregor – We need to continue to project the school image positively. The public is unclear what the school can and can’t do in regard to pupils’ behaviour, e.g. outside the grounds. How can the matter of unruly pupils on the street best be dealt with?
Mr Matheson said that he would be prepared to address the Community Council at some future date (first Monday of every month, 7 pm, Town Hall Council Chamber, open to public/press). Obviously we require to stress the good things about the school. Cllr Liston asked if school would be interested in sending a co-opted pupil to the Community Council meetings Mr Matheson said that we had a very successful whole school council and that he would see if any member of this would like to attend a Community Council Meeting. The School Council might decide to invite a member of the Community Council to their next meeting.

Group D: Health & Safety: three areas to explore!) Politics of health in schools. Tayside Health Board has come up with a good project – awarding school s that have a good health initiative. Encourage physical activities/ discourage smoking. ER to write to Fife to see if they have a similar scheme.
It would be helpful to know they date of the licensing board and also the situation regarding the double yellow lines. L A Liston will advise the Chair.
We also felt that alcohol is a major problem and that a project to bring this to light might be a good idea. We felt there was a need for a full-time school nurse who not only dealt with medical needs but also had a health promotional role within the school. If there was some extra money it could fund a project to encourage pupils re health.
Cllr Liston said that the issue of free school meals to all pupils was being raised in Scottish Parliament again.
Serious problems with smoking in toilets at Kilrymont Road. Pupils too scared to use the facility. Cllr Sangster suggested that smoke alarms be fitted inn the toilets.

The Chair said that the Board would take on a new life between meetings with the development of the sub groups. We would be working out with meeting and be able to cover more issues as a board. He encouraged the board members to e-mail each other.

Correspondence: Letter from R Stewart Head of Education asking us to nominate a volunteer to join a working group – merits further discussion.

Mr Palmer advised the Board that tonight was the last meeting for Samantha Purves and Andrew Ayton our pupil representatives. He would like to thank them on behalf of the Board for their sterling contribution to the meeting and wished them well in their future careers.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 24th June 2004 at 7pm in Staff Room at South Street.

Morag Wilson

Minutes 2004-03

Minutes of Meeting 31 March 2004

Meeting on Wednesday, 31 March 2004, at 7.00pm in the Staff Room, South Street Building.

Present: Mr A Ayton, Mrs M Brown, Dr C Dunn, Dr I Falconer, Mr J Flegg, Mr A Liggat, Mr D Macgregor, Mrs H Marriage, Prof P McKiernan, Mr C Palmer, Miss S Purves, Mrs E Rogerson, Mrs S Thomson.
In attendance: Mr LSG Matheson (Rector), Cllr W Sangster

1. Apologies: Cllr J A Liston, Mrs M Wilson (Clerk)

2. Previous Minutes (Meeting of 4/2/04) were approved, with the addition of Dr C Dunn to list of apologies.

3. Matters arising:
(i)School Bags/Lockers: Mr Palmer reported on a meeting with Mr J McLaughlin (Fife Council). A revised circular on weight of schoolbags was in preparation. Discussion on locker provision at Kilrymont Road ensued: Mr Matheson said Fife Council had offered £1 per pupil (£1800) towards such provision. Support had been offered by the PTA and pupil events might provide more. In all he hoped for between £4-5000 towards KR lockers – ‘a modest start’. The Chairman’s proposal to add any SB surplus was agreed.
The two pupil representatives agreed that S3 lockers should be provided first. Also raised was the possibility of parental sponsorship of individual lockers, which would be still available for rent at £5 per session. The unit cost of new lockers was £30. Cllr Sangster offered to investigate local trust funds for possible help.
(ii)Licensing of Vans: Cllr Sangster reported that the possibility of marking the KR bus bay ‘BUSES ONLY’ was being investigated by Fife Council Transportation Department. Existing chip van licences come up for renewal in July.
(iii) Blackfriars Pavement Lights: these are connected to the Madras College circuit. Money for repairs may be found by Fife Council which was costing the repairs. Mr Matheson reported that the Roads Department was thought to have taken over the matter. Cllr Sangster agreed to approach the Locality Manager for assistance from her budget if necessary.
(iv) Litter: Cllr Sangster said that the new wardens were working round the town centre and that Mr Roy Stewart (Env. Services) would be contacting the school. Mr A Liggat referred to the West Fife anti-graffiti campaign as a possible model.
(v) Draft Inclusion Policy: letters had been sent.
(vi) Meeting of School Board reps with Education officials, 17/03/04:
Mr Palmer reported on this useful meeting, at which the Education Service Plan 2004-8 had been presented. Officials had been asked difficult questions from the floor on various matters, including teacher recruitment/retention- there is a strong correlation between this and performance-and the role of Special Schools – the latter will stay open in Fife as will offsite centres for disruptive pupils. Questions from SBs of feeder primaries relating to the future of Madras College had been ‘robust’ and officials had struggled to give full answers, taking the line that they could only respond after the conclusion of the current review of educational provision.
Complaints were made about the high costs of Works Department repairs vis-à-vis private contractors. SBs were advised to write to Fife Council about this – probably the best time will be when the exercise on best value is being conducted, perhaps a year from now.
A document on SB training was to be issued.
(vii) Resignation of clerk: the Board wished to add to the minute its expression of great regret at the future loss to the Board.

4. Multi-cultural/anti-racist issues:
Mr Matheson reported on current arrangement for the recording of any such issues. There is now a standard database (diary) in both buildings for staff to record any issue that might arise. This procedure was also open to the SB. Pupils would normally report any issue to their guidance teacher.

5(a) Proposed staffing changes within ‘A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century’:
Mr Matheson said the school response was at a draft stage. Scotland was moving towards a quite radical change, whereby the ratio of promoted to non-promoted staff would drop from around 50% to around 25%. There would thus be fewer opportunities for promotion but the ‘baseline status’ of teachers should rise. The policy encourages teachers to become ‘Chartered’ which will result in a higher salary. This is good in theory but is (a) funded by the teacher him/herself [12x£600 modules] and (b) is done in the teacher’s own time. One member of the SB had started such a course but had been unable to continue because of time commitments. ‘Chartered Teacher’ courses cannot be started until after 7 years experience. Mr Matheson said that the initial difficulties required to be addressed if the scheme was ultimately to prove successful.

5(b) Loches Twinning:
This had been raised by Cllr Liston. Mr Macgregor said it was a complicated matter which perhaps did not directly concern the Board. Cllr Sangster concurred, and the meeting agreed to leave the item.

6. Correspondence:
Alcohol/Drugs booklets – ‘What Every Parent Should Know’. It was agreed that the Board write to obtain sufficient booklets for all Madras parents.
SSBA membership: it was agreed not to continue membership (£45).
A Consultation on the future of age and Stage Regulations(Scottish Executive): it was agreed to write supporting the school’s approval of Option C.
Being Well- Doing Well: this was a draft document at present.
Anti-Bullying Working Group: a Fife Council group, to meet every 6 weeks, to be formed from across SBs in Fife. No one was currently available to sit on the group.

7. Future Structure of Board: following on from the last meeting the Chairman asked for suggestions for sub-groups. Groups on New School Initiative & Transport, on Facilities, on Communication and on Health and Safety were provisionally formed. [A list has been given to the Clerk for circulation with e-mail addresses.] Future meetings would deal with introductory items, then adjourn into groups as required, to re-form as a plenum for the final items.

8. A.O.B. :
Mrs Marriage asked about limitations of choice for students starting AH courses. The Rector outlined the policy and accepted that sometimes numbers made course choice hard.
Dr Falconer asked if the Careers Fair should be timed to precede the S4/S5 choice deadlines.
She also asked if the Duke of Edinburgh Award presentations could be given a higher profile.
Mrs L Brown presented a paper about the staff overload which would be caused if (as an example) the Modern Studies Department lost one of its four members of staff. The remaining teachers would be enormously stressed. Any such staffing reduction could only impact adversely on Fife Council’s policy of raising attainment.
Mr Matheson said he recognised the ‘horrendous figures’ circulated. He explained the financial background, i.e. that the school had over the past two years run over budget on staffing costs because of absence and supply cover, and the school roll had now dropped below 1800, so that for the first time in his 18 year career as a head teacher he had to consider reducing staff numbers by transfer. In addition, Fife Council had agreed an 0.5% overall budget cut for education. He would however make use of the document in discussions with the head of Education. Mr Matheson indicated his great regret at having to consider staff reductions.
Mr J Flegg asked how smoking and drug abuse were policed at Kilrymont Road. Mr Matheson outlined the position, though pointing out that he was unaware of any sale of drugs there. Should a pupil be found with drugs, he/she would be excluded. On the question of smoking, there was discussion about the difficulties of enforcement.
Mr A Liggat expressed concern that the toilets should not be seen as ‘No Go’ area by some pupils because of other pupils illicitly smoking there.

Peter McKiernan, Chairman
Monday 10 May 2004
South Street Staff Room
At 7pm

Minutes 2003-02

Minutes of Meeting 5 Feb 2003

Meeting on Wednesday, 5th February 2003, at 7.00pm in the Staff Room, South Street Building.

Present: Mr A Ayton, Mrs M Brown, Mrs C Dunn, Mrs I Falconer, Mr J Flegg, Mr C Jessop, Mr D Macgregor, Prof P McKiernan (Chair), Mr C Palmer, Miss S Purves, Mrs E Rogerson, Mr S Simpson, Mrs S Thomson, Mrs M Wilson (Clerk)

In Attendance: Mr L S G Matheson, Rector,

The Chair started the meeting by welcoming new members to the Board, Mr R Simpson, Head Janitor at Madras, Miss S Purves and Mr A Ayton, S5 Pupil Council Representatives.

Apologies: Mr A Liggat, Councillor J A Liston, (Clerk received apologies from Cllr Bell on Thursday morning (6/2/03)

Minutes of previous meeting 20th November 2002 accepted by C Palmer, seconded I Falconer with change to item Matters arising from previous meeting – ‘Dr Falconer asked if …..’ should be changed to ‘It was requested that a copy of the maps could be scanned and placed on the Madras Website?’

Matters arising from previous meeting: Forum – The Chair felt that it would be a good idea to bring the Chairs of School Boards /PTA of Bell Baxter, Waid and local primaries for a special meeting of the School Board.

Parking problems at South Street: The Chair apologised for not writing to the Roads Department requesting double yellow lines outside the rear gates of South Street. He said he would rectify this tomorrow. Mr Matheson said that the proposed car par at the back of South Street building should be starting in March.

Update from Forum 5: Board members had all received a very comprehensive report on the Forum by D Macgregor. I Falconer suggested to the Chair that he may wish to explain to the new board members what the Forums were about. The Chair gave a brief summary of what the Forums were and a discussion followed regarding these. It was felt that the feelings of the parents were very evenly divided as to a bridgehead school. I Falconer was surprised that only one person had raised the issue that if they split the school would it be equally good? C Palmer said that the content of the next forum was very important. We must present a context for people to see. D Macgregor said that the Courier were interested in doing a series of articles on this subject. The Rector advised the Board of the Scottish Executives decision to give £110 million towards the repair of schools in Scotland and that Fife seemed to be getting a generous share. His main concern was that the school might lose out. Fife Council mig ht feel that there is no point in refurbishing the buildings as a new school is a possibility. He said that the Board must keep the initiative going and perhaps write to the Council requesting that they hold a proper debate into the long-term future of Madras.

The Chairman summed up by saying that the Board were in agreement that we must proceed with caution. The Forums in their present format had run their course and that we needed to deepen the debate, and follow up with a forum outlining different scenarios, for example what would a bridgehead school look like, what size etc, statistics, facts, figures. The debate on a new school had now turned into an election issue. It was agreed that we must act quickly and the Chair would be meeting with the Rector later this week to arrange a timetable of meetings and would e-mail the Board members accordingly.

The Chair asked what the teaching staff of Madras felt about a new school. M Brown advised the Board that there was a whole different set of issues as regards a new school. What would be the impact on existing and any future staff at Madras? . Would the staff automatically go to the new school? To be perfectly honest the staff did not concern themselves too much with the promise of a new school they were more concerned about teaching from day to day. R Simpson (Head Janitor of Madras) felt the same, his main concern was to make sure that the school was running efficiently every day.

It was agreed that perhaps an informative document be issued to all staff and ask for their input. The Board thought that the website could be used for this. The Chair asked our new pupil members Andrew Ayton and Samantha Purves what they thought. They said that it wouldn’t really affect them as they would soon be leaving but that it was a very important issue for their brothers, sisters and that they would help in getting some feedback from the pupils. The Chair to liase with the Rector and pupil reps regarding this.

Update regarding Swimming Pools: the Rector reported that as of today the South Street Pool was back in use and a lot of money had been spent on this. The Kilrymont road PE block is still closed. The games Hall is completed but the changing rooms are not, as the wiring for the pool goes through the changing rooms. It may be another two weeks before this is open. He also said that the University, East Sands Leisure Centre, Cosmos Centre and St Leonards had be extremely helpful and that we had taken up some of the offers. PE was badly affected. I Falconer asked the Rector what the cause had been? He advised that the cause of the problem was ancient wiring and that he had requested that the Council check the wiring on the whole site. The heater that went on fire last week was caused by the thermostat jamming and the heat building up. The S5 pupil reps felt that the PE staff had handled the situation really well.

Correspondence: The Bank Report ‘Support for School Boards’ – proposals for more effective School Boards – I Falconer to post text on School Board website.

Letter from Linlathen Developments re bridgehead school – Board members agreed that this could be used as a scenario together with the findings of the Students’ Scenario of Education in East Fife Schools

A.O.C.B. A Liggat in his absence had asked the Chair to raise the matter of school bags. He was deeply concerned on the effect that heavy school bags had on pupils and suggested that perhaps Mathematics/Modern Languages could issue work sheets instead of the heavy textbooks. Could a locker not be provided for each child? The chair advised that lockers had been on the agenda in past Board Meetings. The Rector said that in South Street there were lockers available for each pupil. He did appreciate the problem in Kilrymont Road; perhaps this would be one way of using the money from the Scottish Executive. This also could be a Health issue. E Rogerson advised that there was information regarding lockers for pupils. The Chair asked if she could furnish the Board with this. J Flegg advised the Board that another of the problems at Kilrymont road were the girls’ toilets. The Rector agreed, these toilets were situated outside which was not an ideal situation. They were being painted soon this be ing the second time in four years.

M Brown: She would at a later stage be bringing up CPD and the implications for Fife Council this will have.

C Palmer: Advised that Iain Smith MSP had put out a statement today regarding schools. It would probably be in the press tomorrow.

He felt that all parties would use the ‘new school in Fife’ as an election matter.

The Rector: We keep our eye on the present. We don’t drop our guard but we must keep an eye on the future.

I Falconer: The Madras School Board Website was up and running and that she depended on Board members to give her information for it. The Chair wished it to be recorded that a vote of thanks was given to Isobel for all her hard work on the creating of the website.

D Macgregor: Message to parents/pupils re Web Site to be placed in Town News in Citizen newspaper

P McKiernan
6th February 2003

Minutes 2002-11

Minutes of Meeting 20 Nov 2002

Meeting on Wednesday, 20th November 2002, at 7.00pm in the Staff Room, South Street Building.

Present: Mrs M Brown, Mrs C Dunn, Mrs I Falconer, Mr J Flegg, Mr C Jessop,

Prof P McKiernan (Chair), Mr C Palmer, Mrs S Thomson, Mrs M Wilson (Clerk)

In Attendance: Mr L S G Matheson, Rector, Councillor John Bell

Apologies: Mr A Liggat, Dr E Atkins, Councillor J A Liston, Mr D Macgregor

Minutes of previous meeting (30/10/020 accepted as read.

Matters arising from previous meeting: Headon Development Meeting- attended by Professor McKiernan and Mr Matheson. Professor McKiernan advised the Board that the meeting had been attended by 30/35 people including David Corner University of St Andrews Secretary. It was stressed at the meeting that this was a long-term project out towards the west of the town. Though had been given to a school, a shopping mall, public buildings etc. There had been a model of the plans and a map showing the proposed site. Dr Falconer asked if perhaps the maps could be scanned and put on the Madras website?

Forum: The Chair felt it would be a good idea after the next Forum to bring all interested parties together in the spring.

Correspondence: Letter from Fife Council advising that the new Head of Education Mr Roger Stewart would be starting in January 2003. Mr A Mackay leaves in December. Invitation from the School Board to Mr Stewart?

Letter from the Locality Manager, Fife Council, re consultation meeting on 3rd December 2002 at Burgh Chambers 7-9pm. Councillor Bell recommended these meetings strongly as they dealt with road safety – transport services etc.

Fife Council Education Service – A Strategy for School Inclusion in Fife Consultation: John Flegg to collate responses from Board Members and Clerk to type and send to D Mackenzie, Acting Senior Manager Support for Learning, Education Service.

AOCB: Mr Matheson read Mr MacKay’s press statement regarding the situation following the incident at Madras Kilrymont Road swimming pool yesterday afternoon. The Chair had spoken to Cllr Helen Law, Cllr Drew Edwards, Cllr Jane Ann Liston. He had also taken calls from the Courier/Evening Telegraph saying that ‘ it was dangerous to lay blame for this incident while enquiries were being carried out’.

Councillor Bell asked ‘What does Madras School Board want for the school?’ The Chair replied that they wished to stimulate interest in a number of options – the building of two schools or the building of one large school. The Chair said that the ‘status quo’ was not an option. Councillor Bell said that Councillors in East Fife were very much in favour of a new school and that they would discuss any proposals the Board might have – they wished to be part of the consultation.

Mr Matheson said that there were no contingency arrangements – at present the PE department were using the Cosmos Centre on a regular basis due to lack of space and that we would have to consider hiring the University playing fields and other local facilities. . There were 6 class-teaching areas out of use in K/Road and 2 in South Street. He said that he and the staff were sympathetic and supportive of their Community Use Colleagues, Mr Herd, Head of Centre and his staff and Mr David Somerville Head of Community Services.

Mr Palmer asked Mr Matheson if there was any follow-up after his meeting with Mr MacKay. Mr Matheson said that they had had an interesting exchange of views but he awaited any clear outcome.

Mrs Thomson asked if the Students’ Scenario of Education in East Fife Schools was completed. Dr Falconer advised no. Mrs Thomson would like a copy of the information when published.

Mrs Brown brought the Board’s attention to the problem of parking in South Street and the accessibility of the back car park at South Street. You couldn’t park on the grass and this was not allowed due to Health & Safety. The Council Bin lorry parks in the entranceway and staff have to wait up to 15mins for them to move while a class is waiting at the other building.

Mr Matheson said that he had asked for a costing to remove the remaining grass at the back of the school and tar it to allow cars to part. The cost in the region of £30,000.

The Chair asked if it would help to write to the Cleansing Department or Roads and request that double yellow lines be painted?

Mrs Dunn said that she would like to state how well the situation regarding the swimming pool had been handled by staff in school today. Her daughter had just been told that swimming had been cancelled and that they would be going into the hall to watch a video.

Mr Matheson advised the Board that Chief Executive Douglas Sinclair had visited the school about lunchtime and was shocked at the lack of space. He spoke to a number of pupils and staff. He said a single site would be better – no travelling between buildings. He visited K/Rd PE block and was horrified at the lack of games/changing /shower facilities for the number of pupils. Mr Matheson stated that this was not a sustainable situation and all that staff needed to know what the plan is for the future.

There being no further business the Chair closed the meeting by thanking all the Board for their attendance on what had been a sad day for us all. He said that we must use the opportunity to accelerate the process of change.

Peter McKiernan, Chairman
Wednesday, 5th February 2003
South Street Staff Room
At 7pm