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.