A number of Parent Council working groups have been meeting with key partners within Hermitage Academy to discuss Communications and the Library review. As you’ll have seen the Library has already starting to transform, firstly with its name change to the Hub. We hope more progress in transforming this space into a true hub for learning and development continues and the PC will be ensuring the parent and pupil views are at the heart of the review.
The Communications group has met and made good first steps, asking the school for consistency in school trip information and having this information readily available for parents to view the types of excursions and longer stays that are available, generally each year and within the usual year group. Working with the school office staff to develop this, we hope that the school website will provide a great first point of contact for this type of information. Its expected that more communications will be provided through the Xpressions app and as its a key tool in the communication from school as a PC we fully support its use as the consistent method of parental communication, thus ensuring all parents receive messages either via the app or parents email address, with a final paper based communication method made available where necessary and generally on request.
With this focus on consistency of communication, Parents Evenings will include a ‘Genius Bar’ available to assist with any technical issues relating to Xpressions or ShowMyHomework. It’s will be a drop-In service so any parent from any year group can pop in for some assistance. So, if you don’t have the Xpressions app and don’t know where to start, bring your phone with you and school staff will set you up. Office staff will also be on hand for log-ins etc. We see this as a very positive move and hope you do too.
If there’s anything here you think you’d like to know more about or to get involved in the work of the Parent Council please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have representatives at most parents evenings and information events, we’d be happy to chat through anything or to simply hear your comments and views.
Best wishes, Donna Hicks Chair – HAPC
September 2019 Update
So the new school year is off and running as is the Parent Council. Delighted to see so many new faces at our AGM and first public meeting of the year.
You’ll see all our year group representatives via our Meet the Parent Council page.
Key priorities for htis year include seeing progress within the school library to offer a better mix of use and open access at key times for pupils.
The PC will be representing parents on a number of working groups including the communication group, as well as our contributions towards the school improvement plan.
The PC are pleased to see the recent changes in visitor policy and the installation of a new window at the school reception. Its great news that parents are given a warm first point of contact welcome when arriving at HA. However more importantly that security is not compromised by visitor access to pupils areas without authority.
The new Homework Policy provides a framework for teachers, parents and pupils with clear use of Show My Homework and google classroom. We hope to see the further rollout of this key monitoring tool that helps parents see pupil engagement and progress with work completed at home.
The school insight data, which is the record of how well the school is performing in terms of exam rates, will be visited at our next public meeting with the Headteacher providing context.
The Parent Council will have a stall with reps in attendance at all Parents Evenings so please pop over and stop for a chat to find out more about the PC and its work or provide feedback on what else you’dl like to see progressed at HA. Or if you’d just like to get some support to download apps or have a general query please don’t hesitate to ask.
Next PC Meeting: 4th Nov- 7pm – School Library.
Best Wishes, Donna Hicks – PC Chair
June 2019 Update
The Parent Council have been working with the school over the last few months to support committments to a school Homework policy linking to improvements in the use of the Show My Homework tool. Ongoing discussions about the improvements to use of the School Library and linking with the Community based Library Services to provide a tailored solution for Hermitage Academy.
The Parent Council Information Evening held in May heard from Argyll and Bute Youth Services, the great partnerships they have with the school and how we see these stregthening. A flavour of the discussion and the information presented is available from our Videos and Presentations section. With thanks to Ruth Cairns for giving us an insight into the valuable work they do with our young people and the opportunites for young people who become involved in the various groups.
The school provided a great overview of the support they have in place with school policy and particular focus on Rights Respecting School and FAB.
Education Scotland will be completing their return visit to the school week commencing 10th June and have supplied parent questionnaires and welcome requests to meet with inspectors during this week. The outcome of the visit will of course be shared with parents as soon as this becomes available.
In this final month of this session we take the opportunity to wish all pupils well with their recent exams and thank our Teachers for their ongoing support by providing study clubs and open door policies throughout the exam period.
Delighted to be reading headlines showing our school hitting the top 100 in the country’s exam results league tables. Clearly showing an improvement journey.
Special thanks to all members of the Parent Council who have committed to meetings, working groups and various information evenings helping to support the parents and the school as it continues to develop and engage with parents to ensure improvement priorites are clearly defined and achieved.
The parent council wish you all a lovely summer and hope we have some great weather and to all our pupils, all the very best in your new year ahead.
Our first meeting of the new year took the form of an Information Evening focusing on Online Safety and the use of Social Media. There was lots of great discussion and advice with particular support from Inspector MacNeil from Police Scotland who provided a good insight into the supports that parents can receive from the force and will see more of this with the appointment of the new Youth Engagement Officer.
Headteacher Mr Williamson provided information on the school policies and Friends Against Bullying (FAB) which is an ongoing support and network available through the school.
Parents commented that “knowing if your child is swept up in an incident Police Scotland and the school are supportive.”
HAPC felt this was such an important message we grabbed an opportunity to have these messages available online. (Apologies for technique, it was off the cuff, but hope parents find this advice helpful.) You can find these over on our Facebook page. (We’ll be updating our webpage with links – when i can figure out how! LOL)
The Parent Council will have stalls available at Parent’s Evenings throughout the rest of the school year hoping to hear more parent and pupil views on what you’d like to see progressed with the Library space. Pop over and give us your thoughts and pick up a sweetie too!!
Stella Kinloch – HAPC Chair
***NEW*** Please see our new Video & Presentations menu which will feature links to our published information videos.
Thank you to all who have attended our Parent Council meetings it great to see you and a great opportunity for you to take part in dicussions. At our November meeting the Head Teacher took the Parent Council through the most recent Insight Data which shows the journey of improvement the school is taking and clearly displayed the improvements since the changes to the Pathway choices. Whilst there are some further areas of improvement overall our school is achieving good results particularly in relation to its virtual comparitor which is a key indicator in reviewing the school performance.
The parent council are keen to work in partnership with the school to see a rejuvination of the School Library area to offer a flexible learning hub. The Parent Council will undertake some pulse surveys and work with Pupil Council reps to provide a base line for the development.
Further reviews of the school timetable and curriculum choices are also a key priority for the work of the Parent Council over the coming months. Again the PC will be supporting the school to undertake consultation with the parent forum to gather views.
The Communication Working Group will meet again before the end of the year to consider areas for improvement and generally review parent feedback from the use of the Xpressions app; tracking and reporting methods and all other means of communication between the school and parents/carers.
Welcome back – and a special welcome to all parents of S1’s embarking on this next chapter!
The next meeting of the Parent Council will include our AGM which takes place on Monday 10th September at 7pm in the School Library. Once the formalities of the AGM take place we’ll proceed to usual PC business.
So for anyone who would be interested in becoming a year group representative please drop us an email or use the ‘contact us’ form here on our webpage. The Parent Council would be delighted to hear from anyone who takes an interest in the work the committee do in partnership with the school to progress opportunities for the pupils at Hermitage. The committee require nominations before the AGM so we can arrange proposals.
A new session for us all and as a PC we want to hear from you the Parent Forum on what matters most! The PC are ready to listen and learn what priorites you’re hoping for in this next year ahead. You can contact us by email or by using our closed Facebook page which is open to members of the parent forum. That’s any parent or carer who has a child attending Hermitage Academy, simply request to join and answer the joining questions and admin will get back to you.
Looking forward to getting more developments actioned with the school, which help parents engagement with their childs learning and as well as providing regular updates on their progress.
Hard to believe that’s the end of the Exams and the pupils are now all back to classes in their new year groups! So firstly the PC would like to wish pupils who’ve sat exams, completed coursework, portfolios and unit assessments all the very best with their results. We know you and your Teachers have worked hard this year to achieve the very best. For those leaving Hermitage Academy we wish you good luck with which ever destination awaits you as you leave your time at Hermitage Academy, you are a special year group who deserve an exceptional well done this wasn’t the easiest of journeys, but you did it!!
The Parent Council were delighted to welcome Mrs Lindsay Purves who presented information on HA’s Rights Respecting School journey (HA now holds a Silver Award) and how the work of this group will be at the centre of all we see being progressed at Hermitage Academy. This is a core requirement of being a Rights Respecting school which involves the school’s ethos and practices to make sure they embed the principles of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. The school will be reviewing all its policies to ensure these rights feature and are core to the school day. More information on steering group can be found via the school website. Click here to open the RRS page.
The RRS group are keen to hear from parents about any of the work being completed and importantly their new ‘branding’ which will detail the commitments to be made from teachers, pupils and parents naturally reflecting the Articles which make up the rights of the child. The choice of poster will be made available for the immediate school community to review and provide comment. The PC will publish to our website and the Facebook page as soon as we have the choices available electronically.
The work of the Parent Council has in the main been to review and work with the Head Teacher as he drafts the school improvement plan for the year ahead. Obviously key priorities are those identified by Education Scotlands last report but that doesn’t take away from the other areas that parents are highlighting. Argyll and Bute Council completed their interim review of the School following the inspection report and have made a number of positive statements about the improvements and impact the new Head Teacher and SLT are making as well as some recommendations. The Parent Council have been provided with this document and will work to offer parents an easy to read insight as it is a rather lengthly document.
Ongoing agenda items are; reviewing the use of the School Library; Lockers and Showmyhomework commitments; Staffing updates and use of i-time. The Head Teacher was able to confirm that information about school lockers and the showmyhomework app will be made available before the end of the term so we look forward to seeing these important improvements which parents have been in discussion with the school about for some time.
That only leaves me to personally Thank all the members who make up the Parent Council as their committment to meetings and on-going discussions with the school has been intrinsic to the improvements and outcomes that pupils and parents are now seeing. It has been your dedication to supporting the changes and seeking the improvements which is seeing Hermitage Academy on a now positive journey.
Final thanks go to our new Head Teacher and all the Teachers at Hermitage Academy for another year of achievements and opportunities which are just our launch pad!