Month: January 2016

Do you value the IMS? Tell your councillor


The Perth and Kinross Instrumental Music Service is one of the best in Scotland.

On March 9 the council votes on the future shape and budget of the Perth and Kinross Instrumental Music Service (IMS). The IMS provides travelling music teachers, giving kids the chance to learn a far greater range of musical instruments than any single school’s music department could offer. Without the IMS, kids at rural schools such as Breadalbane Academy, just wouldn’t have the chance to learn as many instruments.

There is no suggestion that the IMS is going to suffer cuts or be changed in some way that might undermine the good work it does in Breadalbane. But there’s also no guarantee that that won’t happen. So if you feel strongly that you want our children to carry on having the opportunity to develop a love of and talent for instrumental music, then now’s the time to write to your councillors — before March 9.

Let your representatives in Perth and Kinross know that, whatever the future holds for the IMS, it’s important to you that it continues to be able to offer children in rural schools access to as wide a range and high a quality of instrumental music lessons as possible.

Here are the names and email addresses of your elected representatives:

Ward 4 – Highland

Ward 5 – Strathtay

You’ll find further details, including postal addresses and phone numbers, on the council website.

Thanks to Rok1966 for making the photo used above available under a Creative Commons licence. 

What parents really think about school communications

In May 2015 the school and parent council decided to work together, to ask parents what they thought of school communications: what was working, what wasn’t, and how they’d like the school to communicate with them in the future.

We ran the survey during the first two weeks in October. 17% of parents took part; enough for us to be confident that the survey properly represents parents’ views. This is what you told us.

A mixed experience

The survey asked parents to rate various aspects of school communications — for instance, whether the school kept them up to date on their child’s learning, whether the parents felt well informed about school events, and so on — on a scale of 1 to 6, in which 1 was good and 6 was bad.

Almost all of the answers clustered around the midway mark, indication of an experience that was neither particularly good nor particularly bad. However, when asked if they were satisfied with school communications, 70% of respondents said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

What parents want

In the survey, we asked parents how they would like the school to communicate with them in future, asking them to choose what they thought were the three best means of communication for the school.

Nearly 80% of respondents chose Group-call texts, over 70% wanted the school to use email more, and just under 50% said the school website was an important means of communication. Bucking the digital trend, around 65% of parents wanted the school to carry on using letters and forms sent home with their children. Almost no one liked Twitter, with fewer than 5% of respondents saying they thought it would be useful in future communications.

What next?

Under the new management, the school has started work to improve communications, producing a regular newsletter. The parent council has formed a communications subgroup; composed of the team who ran the survey and representatives from nursery, primary, secondary, Gaelic Medium and parents of children with additional support needs.

This group is working with the school management team and will help the school with the drafting of a communications strategy. When the strategy is ready, it will be made available for parents to read and comment upon. We’ll post further news on the communications strategy to this website.

Thank you

Running this survey and collating the results has taken over half a year. During this time, the school’s senior management team has been commendably open minded in taking on board criticism and new ideas and has dedicated a lot of time and resources to working with the parent council. We thank them.

Thank you, too, to you — the parents who’ve taken the time to complete the survey, to contribute to meetings or to give us your input and ideas in other ways. Keep it coming!

You can download the full communications report from our website. If you want to provide input to the communications group, as it draws up the strategy, email