Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope that you have all had the opportunity to have a break with your family and had some rest and relaxation. With two full weeks of the summer break to go, I want to give you an important update on the activities of the Parent Council over the last month. As you will see, there’s a lot to cover between now and 12 August. Be patient and please, if you think you can help us cover more ground, get in touch.

Back to School
Currently we are anticipating that primary schools will return to school without the need for pupils to social distance. This is expected to be confirmed by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on Thursday 30th July. Following this, I will be attending the parental consultation committee with the Head of Education and Lifelong Learning and elected representatives on Monday 3rd August where I expect more detail on the return to school.

I anticipate that classes will still have staggered start and end times as well as staggered break times. Once we have more concrete information, I will be following up with Carol and the senior team on how we best manage this for our Bruntsfield families after the guidelines and details are published. Please bear with us as we navigate this complex jigsaw.

Traffic and Travel
I have had many meetings with the Safer streets for People and the Safer Schools teams over the last month to ensure that the main arterial routes to school as as safe as possible to allow the children to travel to and from school safely. I anticipate changes to the roads in Bruntsfield and Morningside high streets will begin to be laid down in the next ten days but I remain concerned that these may be less safe for children in the short term as drivers adapt.

It will become even more important that access to Montpelier and Bruntsfield Avenue are as car-free as possible. We will continue to ask you to avoid these busy streets with vehicles and if you must drop your children off, that you use adjacent streets to park safely on. There is still a possibility that these roads will be closed to traffic at the start and end of the school day but this has not yet been approved.

Wrap Around Care
The wrap around care providers are also awaiting guidance from SG on their functioning. Kidzcare, for example, may have their access to school space limited but this is as yet still unknown. I appreciate this is frustrating in terms of allowing you to plan your own commitments and have asked the wrap around providers to communicate with their families as regularly as possible.

Parent Council Clubs
Like Kidzcare, we are still waiting to hear on the situation with running clubs and our access to in-school space. Given this and the required registration processes, we are not planning any clubs (including those with online clubs) will run until September at the earliest. Our clubs network is complicated and requires significant input from many people to get up and running. It is possible that clubs will not be functioning until after October half-term.

As you know, prior to lockdown, we had planned to migrate our clubs registration system across to Class4Kids and with it move away from our WildApricot system. We are now pressing forward with this and thanks to Jenni, our new website will hopefully be online for the return of school. This has taken a huge effort from Jenni, supported by the rest of the office bearers. We hope that it will make it easier to navigate and a little more ‘user friendly’. We will continue to update the content and add links to increase its usability over the next term. Thanks to Jenni for updating this and for Jay Feeney for you assistance in hosting and getting us up and running.

Mailing Lists
Without wanting to bore you with the details, currently all our emails are generated through your registration for the Clubs system (via Wild Apricot). Since we are moving away from this, it’s important that we build a new mailing system which will allow us more control over who receives what information from the Parent Council. As such, we will be migrating our current mailing lists onto a new platform. You will be given the opportunity to opt out of these emails and unsubscribe at any point. This new system means that you do not have to re-register every year and it should be easier for us to manage going forward. We will ensure a password system is in place to ‘vet’ new subscribers.

At this stage, it is still unlikely that we will be in a position to run our large scale fundraising events this year. Our P1 welcome event, the teddy bear picnic may still take place towards the end of August subject to changing regulations. Following this, our next event would be the P5/6 Halloween Party. We will take these events under advisement so please watch this space for more information.

St Oswald’s Hall
The team working on the community purchase of St Oswald’s Hall is now a full constituted company. Our request to buy the hall has been acknowledged by the Council and now runs into a period whereby no-one else can enter into negotiation to purchase it. It is planned to go to a council committee meeting at the end of August and in advance of this we will have a meeting with our ward councillors later this week to determine their support of the business plan.

Dates of Next Meetings
The meetings for the next session for your diary are below. It is our intention to run these all on Zoom dependent on how the social distancing regulations evolve across the next year. All will be 7pm-8.30pm.

2020: 26 August; 23 September (AGM); 18 November;
2021: 3 February; 17 March; 19 May, 16 June.

As per our constitution, we are preparing our accounts for their independent inspection and these will be available at our AGM in September.

Volunteers Needed
A number of our office bearers will be standing-down in September and it is essential for the continued function of our parent council that we have individuals or teams step up to take on board these OB roles. For example our treasurers both have severed their tenure and will be standing down as well as our clubs teams. If you are interested in these roles please get in touch.

As I have said in my previous updates, it is my intention to serve only two years as Chair meaning that I will be stepping down in September 2021. Spending a year as vice-chair gives you the opportunity to get involved, see what we do and to contribute to a great team. If you think this is for you, please drop me a note and we can meet for a socially distanced chat about what it involves.

I hope you all enjoy the remainder of the break and that the sun shines for us some more.

With my very best wishes. Stay safe.

Karen Galloway
Bruntsfield Parent Council