Volunteers needed to save Duke of Edinburgh

Breadalbane pupils set to miss out on Duke of Edinburgh awards places: school calls for adult volunteers

Breadalbane Academy’s Duke of Edinburgh scheme is the victim of its own success. Under the leadership of languages teacher Mr Gus Clarke, and his predecessor PE teacher Mrs Sheila Burrell , the scheme has been such a hit that the school no longer has enough mentors for all the pupils who want to take part.  It desperately needs adult volunteers, otherwise lots of enthusiastic young people will miss out.

“For each team of up to seven pupils that goes out on expedition, we need one qualified adult”, explains Gus Clarke.  “If we are to continue supporting those pupils already enrolled in the Award at Breadalbane, I think it will be necessary to cut this year’s intake to 14 or even seven pupils.  Such a shame when we have just won £5,000 from Lloyd’s bank to buy new tents!”

Can you help?

Can you help? We are looking for adult volunteers who:

  • enjoy working with young people and would like the opportunity to pass on their knowledge,
  • have time to give over the summer to help with the expedition section of the Award.

If you have outdoor experience, that’s great. If you don’t, don’t worry, you’ll get all the training you need. The most important thing we’re looking for is enthusiasm and a level-headed approach to life.

It won’t cost you a penny

Don’t worry, it won’t cost you a penny.  The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Association, in partnership with Perth & Kinross Council, will provide any necessary training, and where practicable will cover the cost of the trips and other expenses.

“The Association is keen to help volunteers and to make sure that any available funding is brought to the volunteer’s attention”, says Steve McQueen, Senior Development Officer at Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Association, Perth and Kinross. “We also work very closely with Perth & Kinross Council to provide the necessary training and resources for volunteers.  All new volunteers receive guidance and also a personal welcome from an area co-ordinator, who will help and support the groups, their leaders and most importantly, the volunteer.

Get in touch

Breadalbane Academy desperately wants every child who applies to have the chance of taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme next summer. But at the moment that doesn’t look like it will be possible.

Could you volunteer to be a Duke of Edinburgh mentor? To find out more, email Steve McQueen.

What’s the Parent Council for?

One of the things we discussed at the last meeting, was what the Parent Council is for and what it should be doing for you and your kids.

We’ve drawn up a draft explanation of what we think the council should do. We plan to use this as the text of a new page on this website. Before we make the page live, we’d like to know what you think.

Are you happy with it? Is anything unclear? Do you disagree with anything? Can you suggest any improvements?

Download the draft text, have a read and let us know what you think.

Thank you, Dunkeld!

Thanks to all the parents who turned up to the Dunkeld session of the Breadalbane Academy Parent Council tonight. It was great to have so many of your there, and to have such a lively discussion.

Over the next week or two we’ll be posting the minutes of the meeting and updates on many of the issues we discussed, so watch this space!

Proposed agenda for Parent Council meeting, 26th September

Here’s the proposed agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Parent Council. If you have a question or there’s something you’d like to add, drop us a line or leave a comment at the end of this article.

Remember, the meeting is at 7pm, on Wednesday 26th of September Royal School of Dunkeld

Agenda

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

2. What is the Parent Council for?

3. Updates on issues from last meeting:

  • No 23 bus
  • Communication initiative so far

4. Head Teacher’s report

5. Standards and Quality report – any questions?

6. Duke of Edinburgh: what we’re doing and does anyone know any sporty types who could help?

7. Fundraising Ideas – especially low maintenance ones!

8. Dunkeld/Birnam Parents – do you have anything you want to raise?

9. Communication with the Comann nam Pàrant: establishing the Gaelic council’s wishes.

10. Any other business.

The next meeting

Get involved! The next meeting of the Parent Council takes place at 7pm, on Wednesday 26th of September at Dunkeld primary school. Arrive any time after 6.30pm if you want to chat before the meeting.

The address is:

The Royal School of Dunkeld
Perth Road
Dunkeld
PH8 0AB

If you’re not sure where that is, check out the location on Google Maps.

If you don’t live in Dunkeld but you want to attend, drop us a line. We’ll try to fix as many people as we can up with car shares.

What we talked about in August 2012

The first Parent Council meeting of the new school year was a heated affair, with a couple of issues arousing really strong feelings. Here’s a run down of what the council members discussed.

The cancellation of the number 23 bus from Bankfoot to Aberfeldy

This has really upset a lot of parents. Until this school year, out-of-area pupils who had chosen to attended Breadalbane Academy travelled as normal fare-paying passengers on the number 23. But in the recent years, demand for the no 23 service has increased.

Under normal circumstances, you might expect a bus company—or any company—faced with rising demand to provide extra services. In this case, Perth and Kinross Council decided to cancel the number 23 bus service to Bankfoot, replacing it with the new 823 bus. On this bus, and this bus only, children must pay 75% of the adult fare. This is a 50% increase over the cost of a normal children’s bus fare.

This issue is so complicated, and has such a profound impact on the families affected, that we’ll post a separate article about it soon. So we won’t go into detail here. But as you can imagine, this decision has imposed financial hardship on those families; some children have had to move to a new school, leaving all their friends; and even those children still coming to Breadalbane don’t know for how much longer the council will offer even the higher-priced 823 service.

Getting more parents involved

We want to make the Parent Council useful and welcoming for all parents, so that more of you feel like getting involved. We’ve been discussing how to make this happen. Ideas we’ve come up with so far include:

  • holding some meetings outside Aberfeldy, in Dunkeld, Pitlochry and other locations, to make it easier for parents from those places to attend.
  • setting up this website, to keep you informed and to give you an easy way of getting in touch (just leave a comment or send us a mail).
  • creating a Facebook page, so that you can get the latest news, links and updates from the Parent Council direct to your Facebook feed.
  • sending out an e-mail newsletter to give you the latest news. We’re not doing this yet, first we’ll see how we get on with Facebook and the web page.
  • continuing to use the Big Tent members forums for in-depth discussions and feedback.
  • increased Parent Council representation at school events such as parents’ evenings, concerts, prize-giving and so on.

Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? We’d love to hear them. Drop us a line or leave a comment after this article.

Fund raising

Our big priority for this year is to get more parents involved in the council. While we’re concentrating on this, fund raising might have to take a back seat.But we don’t want to stop altogether, so we’re looking for some great fund-raising ideas.

Suggestions for far include:

  • a pub quiz—come along, have a few pints and a laugh and see if you can beat last year’s champions.
  • a monthly 50/50 raffle: we sell raffle tickets and each month 50% of the takings go into the Parent Council funds, the other 50% is prize money.
  • a car-boot sale: a chance to grab a bargain and just have a nosey at what your neighbours have been hiding in the attic all these years.

All the money raised by the Parent Council is spent on the school and the pupils, funding things such as chanter lessons, school trips, warm clothes for the kids who are helping out at the community gardens and so on.

The Breadalbane Community Campus crèche

Every Thursday morning at the Community Campus, from 10 to 12 o’clock, there’s a crèche for children who are three years old or younger. Until recently, this has been open to any child of the right age.

In August, however, parents arriving to use the crèche were told that it was only open to children whose parents were enrolled in parenting classes at the campus. Parent Council members felt strongly that this was unfair. Although this facility isn’t provided by the school, the Headteacher Linda Swan agreed to look into the matter to see if some arrangement could be made for parents who weren’t attending the classes.

Tell us what you want to see here

The Parent Council has created this website to help keep you, parents—but also teachers and pupils— informed and involved. The kind of things we plan to post here include:

  • details of what the Parent Council is doing.
  • information about Parent Council and school activities.
  • current issues and campaigns.
  • updates on important events in the school calendar.

But what we want to know, is what do you want to see here? Is there important information about the council or the school that you feel it would be useful for us to post on this website.

We want to hear from everyone involved with the school: parents, teachers, pupils, the volunteers who run after-school clubs, everyone. If you have a suggestion, we want to know about it. Either leave a comment after this article, or send an email to contact@breadalbaneparents.com.