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Hermitage Academy Parent Council

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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.

Best wishes

Stella Kinloch

HAPC Chair

January 2019 Update

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.

November 2018 Update

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.

Thank you

Stella Kinloch

Chair

Sept 2018- Welcome Back

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.

Best wishes

Stella Kinloch

HAPC Chair

June 2018 Update

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!

Image result for shoot for the moon even if you miss you'll land among the stars

April 2018 Update

We hope you all enjoyed the time off over the Easter Holidays, over March and April the PC have met with Mr Williamson and Mr Hotchkiss to discuss a number of matters covering school improvements and providing general updates.

Firstly, the Parent Council would wish to extend a very big THANK YOU to all the teaching staff who committed to the Easter Study Programme for pupils in the Senior School, providing your time and ongoing support is very much appreciated.

Over the next few months the PC will be working with the Senior Leadership Team to develop aspects of the School Improvement Plan for the next school year.  The PC will ensure a focus on parental/carer communication as this remains a key priority for the parent forum, based on feedback to date.

We’re delighted to hear that work to finalise the administration of pupil lockers is well underway and the school will be providing the details on how to sign up and pay for pupil lockers in the next school year, hopefully before the end of the summer term…..stay tuned!

Miss Baird has been instrumental in the development of the schools use of online methods for signing up for senior study sessions as well as updating the school website.  If you have any further improvements or suggestions you’d like to see please let the school know directly or feel free to contact the PC via our facebook pages or our year group reps.

Recent discussions have also focused on the use of a Homework App  ‘Show My Homework’ to again improve communications with home in respect of homework.  Work between the school and the PC is ongoing to ensure an easy to understand Parental guide is available.

In light of the recent the recent statement “School libraries play a vital role in supporting literacy & improving attainment” – Deputy First Minister John Swinney, the PC continue to press for improved use of our School Library.  Mr Williamson will be reviewing the funding available to schools; we look forward to hearing what new formats and improvements the pupils can expect from the start of the new term.  You can read more about the scheme via https://scottishlibraries.org/about-us/news/school-library-fund-opens-for-bids/

Improvements to the seating available in the school canteen will be addressed by a proposal to have additional outdoor seating.  Further details will be available once the final decisions on the seating design and outdoor ‘coffee barrel’ are nearer completion. .

The next public meeting of the Parent Council will be held in the final June term, to which all parents are warmly invited.  Date to be confirmed due to a number of school commitments.

Finally, the PC would like to wish all Senior Phase pupils the very best of luck as they approach their exams and final unit assessments.

Dream Big!

If you can dream it, you can do it.”  — Walt Disney

February 2018 Update

February has been a busy month for Hermitage Academy Parent Council, we participated in the mid-point Local Authority Review providing feedback on the school website, handbook and general communication strategy.  

We continue to highlight parental views on the use of a homework app to provide a much needed overview of the homework expected across all departments within the Academy.   This will remain an agenda item through our monthly meetings.

The Parent Council were delighted to welcome Mr Hotchkiss to the school as DHT for S2/S3.  We look forward to working with Mr Hotchkiss and the Senior Leadership Team as we finalise areas for review from this year. 

The Committee have agreed to amend the format of our monthly meetings to hold public meetings every second month and allow working group meetings to operate inbetween.  We hope this new format provides the school and the committee more opportunity to roll out any actions.  Happy to hear forum feedback on the structure and frequency of our meetings.