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