24.11.2021 – Minutes of Parent Council Meeting

Gelston Primary School Parent Council Minutes

Wednesday 24th November 2021 7:30pm via Facebook Messenger Room Facility



Mary Cruickshanks

Pam Shuttleworth

Emma Howard

Abbie Robertson

Justine Hunter-Brown


Apologies: Kay Davies.

  1. Approve minutes of previous meeting and any matters arising

Annual return has been submitted and all PC details updates sent to Vanessa Morris & team. Annual Return should be submitted in around May each year, in line with the Council financial year.

Online banking protocol – covered in Treasurer report

Pam looked into date for next Coop grants scheme -May 2022

Pam emailed Larann Foss for advice on how to proceed with the outdoor classroom authorisation

and process. He sent a flow chart with the various steps we need to take which has made it clearer.

Pam to update him with more detailed information to establish next steps we need to take.

Pam will update on progress at next meeting


  1. Chairperson report


Parent Council Chairs received an email on 29th October 2021 on behalf of John Thin Head of

Education (learning & Resources) detailing the guidance for schools on mitigations in relation to


After discussing the guidance with Mary, the decision was made to cancel the Christmas Market. One of the main reasons for cancelling the event was that we could still raise a significant amount of funds to go towards our Outdoor Classroom by having the raffle. This would minimise the risk while adhering to the guidelines.  More details to follow later on in the minutes.

Using guidance from Connect and Early Years Scotland I have compiled an online banking policy for us all to agree on. This will allow us to have access to our account via online banking and minimising the need for visits to the branch and also the use of cheques. I felt it important to have clear guidelines before we start the process so there is no confusion.  Two people are required to approve purchases under £40, this can be done via email. Purchases above £40 must be discussed at a committee meeting, and approved via inclusion in the minutes.

Pam to email/whatsapp committee the online banking policy.


I updated the PC contact details for our Insurers- Zurich. They required a Key contact name for the Parent Council. Anyone contacting our insurers will have to be able to name the key contact. It’s Pam. All information is saved in the PC email account to make handover of Chair at a later date much simpler.


I shared DGC Catering services survey for the Primary menus we spoke about last term.

Pam was unable to attend DGPCF meeting on 17th November – yet to receive minutes so will feedback next term.  Main item on agenda was a presentation from the school nurse team about their restructure.

Pam share minutes next meeting.



4.Treasurer Report


Treasurer was unable to attend so a detailed report was not given

Kay to deliver treasurer report next meeting.

Balance: £2,327.01

Expenditure: £40 license for raffle.

Income : £360


5.Head Teacher Report

 Mary asked if the parent council would consider paying for a tube of sweets for each child, Christmas crackers for the Christmas dance (16th Dec.), the hire of a Christmas Movie, and party prizes. The committee approved the purchase of these items as per Online Banking policy as these purchases will total more than £40. Teachers will purchase these items and provide us with the receipt for Kay to pay them back.


  1. Grant Applications/Fundraising for Outdoor Classroom update

Total so far- £6617.82

£360 Co op book stall

£5000 Mr & Mrs Scott of Gelston Castle Estate donation- Justine kindly spoke to Lucinda and then asked me to put together a letter describing our intentions and how we plan to achieve our goal of £10,000

£1175.60 sponsored walk

Christmas cards commission – £82.22 – last order day is 8th December to arrive before Christmas.


  1. Christmas raffle

Pam was approved for gambling license from the Council allowing us to sell raffle tickets prior to the draw day. This cost £40. (approved at previous meeting)

After discussions via PC WhatsApp group Pam ordered 100 books of 10 tickets at a cost of 43.2p per book- £43.20 in total. Approval was granted by the committee for the purchase of these tickets in line with Online Banking policy.

Kay composed a letter for us to give to local businesses when asking for a donation for the Christmas Hampers. Mary kindly printed letters on headed paper for us.

We were able to discuss a list of businesses that had previously been contacted for our Summer Fete.

Donations we already have – some marmalade from The Red Kite Kitchen and three Chocolate Bomb gift sets from Pretty Little Designs.

Galloway Stitch (Emma) is donating a hand embroidered snowflake decoration. Nigel Robertson is donating the money from the sale of a lamb at market – cash donation towards our outdoor classroom


List of businesses to approach for donations:

JSF – Abbie

Ernespie – Lesley (Kali’s mum)?

Picnic – Emma

In House Chocolates – Mary

Blackburns – Kay

Griersons  – Pam

Hendersons – Pam

Ballards – Pam

Hallmark – Justine

Barstobrick coffee shop – Justine

Cally Palace – Pam

Natalie ( hair) – Pam

Eleven – Justine

Harris & Co – Mary

Co-op – Kay

Wilko – Kay

Tesco – Emma

WCF – Justine

Tarff – Kay

Pate factory – Kay

Boots – Abbie

The Look- Abbie


Each child will be given one book of tickets, more can be requested. The raffle will be drawn on 20th December. All donations to be handed in by 8th December, this includes local businesses and donations from parents. All unsold tickets must be returned to school to be counted after the event. Mary agreed to send out a group text asking for donations.

It was agreed that all donations should be collected by 8th December 2021 to allow us time to put the hampers together, photograph them and publicise. We are aiming to have all tickets sold & unsold returned to Pam(via school) by Friday 17th to allow us time to prepare the tickets for the draw.

Kay to speak to Colin at post office to leave some on counter.




No other business




Next meeting


Wednesday 8th December 7:30pm. – to discuss Christmas Raffle matters arising


Next Full meeting – date to be arranged by Pam for January 2022

Minutes of Parent Council Meeting – 22.09.2021

Minutes of Gelston Parent Council Meeting

Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 7.30pm via Facebook Messenger Room Facility


  1. Welcome/Apologies


Pam Shuttleworth

Kay Davies

Emma Howard

Justine Hunter- Brown

Abbie Robertson

Mary Cruickshanks


  1. AGM – see separate minutes


  1. Approve previous minutes and any matters arising

Only outstanding items –

Online banking protocol – has been compiled ready for committee approval

Finalising Christmas Market Plan

All other matters have been closed


  1. Chairperson Report


Advice from Education and Learning Directorate remains that Parent Council meetings should continue to take place online where possible.


Partnership Update from previous meeting is the paper is going to committee in October 2021 to review. No changes will take place this academic year but any changes will be in place for August 2022.

DGPCF meeting Tuesday 21st September 2021


  • Return to school Covid guidelines covered in brief- regarding vaccinations for 12-15 year old as well as 16/17 year olds
  • SQA update- secondary schools
  • School meals – DGPCF have been liaising with DG First regarding common complaints about school meals

Quality of the meat- same supplier of meat so as far as they are concerned the quality hasn’t changed- supplier Pioneer based in Carlisle

Lack of local produce – it has been difficult to use Scottish meats due to the tender process in bidding for the school meals contract as it favours larger producers. This has been addressed and a simpler tender process is being developed to make it simpler for smaller producers to bid.

Lack of red meat on the menu- In April this year the Government Nutritional guidelines changed favouring a reduction of red meat- climate change being part of that decision.

DGPCF and DG First are coming together to compile a survey for all parents prior to the menu changing after the October break to gain feedback on any issues they might have around the school meals – let’s get behind it

There were conversations around the uptake of school meals and the wider implications for the school.

Subject of online payment for primary school meals was brought up as it seems to be making slow progress –

Update from DGPCF since our meeting –

‘there will be a phased approach to this initiative and all Head Teachers will be notified in due course. Monday 27th September 2021 will see Penninghame and St Ninians Primaries, Gretna and Kirkcudbright Primary Schools going live. All families will be notified in due course’

  • Carol Broll DGC Services Manager for Facilities Services, Catering, Cleaning & Janitorial within Economy & Development


  • Mental Health in schools group have been developing a document which will clearly signpost where to go for the right help for specific mental health issues children are dealing with.

The aim is to be able to get the right help for the child at the right time eg child may wait 6-9 months if not more after a CAHMS referral only to discover that they weren’t the right agency to help them and are then referred on to someone else with another waiting list and the child being no further forward. Initially the document will be tailored to school staff and teachers then a parent/pupil edition will follow.

  • School nursing team to attend DGPCF meeting in November to explain how their role has changed and how they fit into the school structure
  • Brilliant response to the outdoor learning survey – around 300 responses- I shared results but can do again if it is of interest
  • DGPCF can set up zoom meeting for us if we need to use the facility
  • How the PC allocation of funding has changed. Vanessa Morris has taken over this – process explained later.

Pam to follow up on the email when received in order to receive the allowance for this year- this will be fed back at next meeting in the autumn term.


Sadly Pam had hoped to be able to feedback on the Respect Me Training but she was unable to attend due to illness.

Pam to post links & info when received on Parent Council Facebook page


School Meals update –

P1-4 school meals are now funded

P5 will be funded from January 2022

P6-7 will be funded from August 2022



  1. Treasurers Report

As per AGM report. Kay has sourced the correct forms to apply for online banking access. Once the Online Banking protocol has been signed off by the committee Kay will complete the forms and return to the Bank of Scotland for processing.


  1. Head Teacher Report

The Lockerbie Manor trip for P6/7 in February 2022 has been provisionally booked. Under the current COVID restrictions this trip would not be able to go ahead but hopefully by the time February comes around  the restrictions will be such that the trip can go ahead. Lockerbie Manor has agreed a full refund in the event of cancellation due to COVID restrictions. This will be at a cost of £156.61 per pupil. Mary asked if the Parent Council would be happy to pay for the excess if the cost was rounded to £150 per pupil. The committee agreed to this – total contribution being  £59.49.



  1. Grant Applications for Outdoor Classroom update


  • Contacted Cash for kids – had to raise £1000 in 5 weeks to keep half of it- school that raised the most would get cash prize – too small to make it worth entering
  • Rotary are hoping to be able to donate after their race night in October
  • Currently applying for Tesco grant – up to £5000 plus ‘token’ thing- that could take up to a year to come around to us. Part of the application requires a permission to build statement from the council. Mary supplied the email address of best contact.

Pam to email Larann Foss for help with this and update PC at next meeting


  • Pam spoke to Galloway Glens re their Heritage grants. We need to work on heritage links and how we incorporate that into our outdoor classroom. They are hopeful the heritage grants will be open again next year as the uptake has been considerably smaller due to the impact of COVID. Anna is going to keep Pam updated.
  • Kay approached Co-op concerning their grant scheme but the closing date had already past but they agreed to donate their book takings for August & September 2021

Pam to look into new date for Co-op grant scheme- Kay to keep us updated on Co-op donation


  • The Old Mill in Palnackie – exhibition space, bookshop & art studios got in touch with Pam over the summer looking for the best way to reach the Gelston community with the free workshops for children they were running. Pam has kept in contact with them as a possible interested party in using our outdoor classroom. Lucy has also offered any help they can be to the school with any art projects that they may need.


We discussed opportunities that our local area may present to help the school make links with the local heritage. We came up with a few avenues to explore

  • Moat at Ingleston Farm
  • Stewartry Museum in Kircudbright may be able to help
  • Gelston Castle – local knowledge


  1. Christmas Market Plans

We discussed the format of the Christmas Market and came up with a few ideas.

  • To be held in Castle Douglas Parish Church Hall as higher footfall

Update – hall now booked for Saturday 27th November 2021 10am-2pm at a cost of £8 per hour

  • To be held on a Saturday as opposed to mid week evening
  • Ask local businesses to donate to hampers to be raffled off

Pam to apply for licence to sell tickets prior to the day from the council


  • Festive photobooth – email photos

Kay to ask Mandy to help? Emma offered to help with photos too


  • Charge entry fee with mince pie & non alcoholic mulled wine?£3? TBC
  • Sell churros / other Christmas food? Ideas?
  • Charge £10 per table for craft/Christmas gifts

One table booked already- hall fits 8 in total

  • Children to design poster to be distributed around the various notice boards around Castle Douglas/Gelston as well as Facebook.


  • Children singing carols with donation bucket at the entrance?


Another fundraising idea suggested by a parent was Christmas cards made by the children. Pam sourced a printer who has sent a pack already to be completed. Once they have received the drawings they send us a link to a unique portal for Gelston School where parents & friends can order a variety of gifts (including packs of cards) with their child’s design. The items are paid for at the time of ordering via the portal. The school receives 20% of the sales. There is a possibility that the Parent Council could order some cards and sell them at the Market too but this has yet to be decided.

All proceeds of the fundraising around Christmas will go towards the outdoor classroom fund.

Minutes of Meeting – Tuesday 9th June 2020

Gelston Primary School Parent Council Minutes

Tuesday 9th June 2020( via Zoom app)




Abby,Mary,Emma,Kay,Tanya,Abbie, Pam





Previous minutes reviewed and agreed no issues




Head Teacher’s report


Thank You to our P7 Parents

I would like to thank our P7 parents for their support over the years.   I have really enjoyed getting to know you and wish you all the best when your children move on the secondary school.  Our loss is their gain!



Learning at Home

I would like to thank all parents for your engagement with us during the school closures.  The closed class Facebook pages have proved popular with us all and have been particularly useful for parents/ carers with younger children.  Older children have become very adept at using GLOW email groups and Microsoft TEAMS to access weekly activities.



Pupil Health and Wellbeing (HWB) Surveys

Each week we send a questionnaire to older pupils via their GLOW email address. We email this to all parents too and parents help younger children to complete it.  We have had a return of approximately 75% each week.  Each week, I speak to staff and we identify any pupils and families who may need our support.  The Principal Teachers and I then contact families to see what we can do to help. 



Digital Devices

So far, we have distributed nine devices across the partnership for pupils.



Stationery Packs

Crossmichael opened for a few hours and I handed out packs to families who dropped by to collect them.  Would Gelston like something similar?



Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) in 2020/2021

Allocations are:

Crossmichael = £18,797

Gelston = £4,699

 (We are also carrying forward £6,645.59 at Crossmichael and £534.03 at Gelston)


In session 2020/2021 we plan to employ a full time Learning Assistant for PEF interventions – Closing the Literacy Gap (CLG), Closing the Numeracy Gap (CNG) and Fastlane (P4-7 Literacy intervention)


The remainder of this money to support equity for all pupils during Covid-19. 





DSM = £2495

School Fund = £2149.45



DSM = £2612.99

School Fund = £1609.32


Staffing in August

We are still working through a number of vacancies across the partnership schools. 


At Gelston, we are delighted to announce that Miss Scott is expecting a baby in October.  We wish her and her family well.  Due to the current circumstances it is unlikely that she will physically return to the building, but she will continue to prepare work from home until her Maternity Leave commences.  I am delighted to announce that we are welcoming Miss Nicole Drummond to the partnership as a full time, permanent member of staff.  She will teach P1-3 in Gelston next year.


I am also pleased to announce that Mrs Stevens will be increasing her contract to five days a week on a full time, permanent basis.  She will be based in Crossmichael next session.


We are advertising a full time, temporary vacancy for the 4th teacher Crossmichael and I hope to conduct interviews before the end of June.


Congratulations to Miss Campbell (Clerical Assistant at Crossmichael) who is expecting a baby in September.  Lovely news!  This temporary Maternity cover post of 16.5 hours is now advertised.


In August, our classes are going to be:


P1/2 = Vacancy (currently advertised)

P2-4 = Mrs Burton (4 days) and Vacancy (1 day)

P4/5 = Mrs Glover

P6/7 = Mrs Stevens



P1-3 = Miss Drummond / Miss Scott (from home until Maternity Leave commences)

P4-7 = Miss Reid and Mrs Maxwell


(I will be contacting parents/carers who have children in P2 and P4 at Crossmichael to discuss classes.)  It is worth noting that it may be some time before children attend their normal registration classes and I will explain this further when I provide an update on the re-opening of schools.




An Update on the Re-Opening of Schools

I completed a walk around of the school buildings on Friday along with three people – H&S, Property Services and Clerk of Works.  They were looking at the layout of the building and have put up signage and cordoned off areas to ensure we are following social distancing guidelines.


It is now possible for staff to return where necessary to carry out risk assessments in their own rooms and in communal areas.  One of our priorities is in looking at the capacity of our classrooms.


It will not be possible or prudent to enable all pupils to return to school each day.  We are looking at a mixture of learning in school and learning at home.  Unfortunately, I am unable to state what this will look like and await confirmation from the Local Authority.


We need to maximise the number of pupils who can attend school each day whilst maintaining social distancing.  We are also aware that it makes sense for siblings to attend on the same days. 


We envisage that each classroom will contain a group of approximately 10+ pupils.  Each group will contain a mixture of pupils from different classes and siblings will be together.  Your child may not be taught by their class teacher until things return to normal.


It is understandable that we have many questions but until I receive clarity from the Local Authority it would not be helpful to speculate.


Summer term finishes as planned on 3rd July and the 10th and 11th of August are INSET days with some pupils returning on 12th August.




Treasurer’s report


The last fundraiser was the Burn’s Supper held in January where £445.33 was raised in total.


Summary of what reopening of school will look like from Mary


After a walk around the school buildings with H&S, Property Services and Clerk of works, the staff can now access the buildings in order to prepare for the school to reopen on 12th August 2020.

The following guidelines have been agreed so far but things are changing so frequently these could look slightly different by the time we come to open.


  • 50% of pupils on Monday& Tuesday each week
  • Other 50% of pupils on Wednesday & Thursday each week
  • School closed to pupils on a Friday
  • Pupils will stay in the same group ie Mon/Tues or Wed/Thurs
  • Each room has an estimated capacity of 13 pupils
  • Tape every 2 metres has been placed along the corridor
  • Siblings can sit together as they have no need to social distance
  • School will be deep cleaned in the evening with some cleaning every hour during the day
  • Still unsure how lunches will be dealt with -packed lunch or cold school lunch at desk?


Parents will be kept up to date with developments as and when things are finalised.

Parents can keep in touch with their child’s teacher via email, Facebook pages and can also phone or email Mary directly if they have any issues.


P1 and P7 Transition Arrangements


P7 have been sent a letter from Castle Douglas High School this week regarding transitions.

The aim is to have a pre recorded leavers assembly where the P7s have an opportunity to record a video of themselves describing their time at Gelston just as they would have done. Mary is also hoping to have a ‘virtual’ meal on zoom but the details of this will follow.


The new P1’s will be invited to school for a visit – probably the last week of term.


Date of Next Meeting

We decided not to have another meeting before the summer holidays as parents felt that sufficient detail was provided in the weekly school newsletters on the Blog.

Parental Support from Connect Scotland and D&G – 15th July 2020

  1. Connect Scotlandhttps://www.connect.scot/

Connect Survey: What’s Next and How are you Doing? https://bit.ly/ConnectNextStepsSurvey – live now until the end of June.

Interim findings of the survey so far: https://bit.ly/ConnectNextStepsInterim

Additional support: Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning, managed by Children in Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government. Enquire offers extensive support and information to families about anything relating to additional support for learning. https://enquire.org.uk/

Talking about Transitions – which can also be accessed through Connect http://www.talkingabouttomorrow.org.uk/

Education Scotland also provide the following support

A reminder of the weekly newsletter for parents: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/scotland-learns/a-weekly-newsletter-for-parents-and-carers/

Save the Children – resources to help support parents and kids during Lockdown https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/what-we-do/coronavirus-information-advice/resources-parents-kids


  1. Respect Me:Positive relationships are hugely important to a child’s health and wellbeing and bullying can  have negative impacts on both mental and physical health. We all have an important role to play in helping children deal with and cope with bullying behaviour when it happens but also to help children learn all about positive relationships.


In our summer 2020 webinar series we will be guiding you through important topics related to bullying. We’ll bring you up to date guidance, resources, and organisations that can help you support a child  to deal with bullying behaviour whether it’s happening online or face to face.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact us: enquire@respectme.org.uk


Detailed Programme Descriptions:

Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 6.30-7.30pm

Getting ready for High School. Transitions, Friendships and Positive Relationships

Moving to high school is an exciting time but for some children worries about bullying can feature at this time. Positive relationships play an important part in everyone’s health and wellbeing. Find out more about  how you can help children enjoy positive relationships, be respectful of others and prevent bullying behaviour.


Wednesday, 26 August 2020, 6.30-7.30pm

Online Bullying

Children are spending more time than ever before online.  In the most part they enjoy positive experiences of learning and connection but find out more about what can be done when children experience bullying online


Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 6.30-7.30pm

Helping Children Develop Resilience


We are all currently experiencing unprecedented changes to our daily lives and there is much we can learn from research on resilience to support ourselves and our loved ones through this experience. Find out more about what resilience is and how we can help children to develop their resilience in order to be able to cope with life’s challenges and adverse experiences such as bullying. w: www.respectme.org.uk



  1. Chat with Us – Dumfries and Galloway Council – Deadline Monday at 9.00am for Questions 


Chat With Us….

We are hosting a series of public online Q&A events focused on Community Support, Business Support and Children, Young People and Parents.  Further information about the latest events can be found below:

Our eighth Children and Young People online Q&A will be available to view on Thursday 18 June.

The topic for this event is “Chat with us on…Helping each other and your friends”.  For this event we will have Councillor Ros Surtees, Vice Chair of Education and Learning Committee, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Audrey Lowrie, Safeguarding Manager, and Gayle Finlay, Youth Worker answering your questions.

If you have a question about this topic you can submit it advance by 9am on Monday 15 June, and can do so anonymously if you wish. Responses will be pre-recorded and published online on Thursday 18 June.

To submit a question, or for further information please see https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20849/Chat-with-us-on-Children-Young-People-and-Parents-

Here is the video from our seventh Children and Young People online Q&A.


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