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St Francis Church of England Aided Junior School

"To be the best we can be"

REMINDER : Aycliffe Care Home has invited all children to meet Santa on Saturday 7th December 1-4pm.

Parent Council

Welcome to the St Francis' Parent Council. We were formed in September 2018 and aim to help the School Senior Management Team improve children's experiences in St Francis' alongside the School Council. 


Our Aims and Values


We value the development of all round, confident individuals. 


When our children leave St Francis' we want them to:

  • Achieve their full potential
  • Be confident to speak with a wide range of people in the community
  • Understand that home and school work together to ensure they become the best they can be
  • Are prepared for transition to KS3
  • Are resilient, determined and will approach anything with a positive mind-set
  • Are willing to develop new friendships and understand the different levels of friendship
  • Have the knowledge to keep themselves safe online

Meeting 5: 14/5/19


Agreed Actions from our March Meeting 



To feedback to the Senior Management Team parental feedback on the suggested ways we can save parents money related to school costs e.g.  PE Kit / Uniform and Photos 

The Parent Council would like parents to have the choice between logo and unbranded uniform and PE kit. They have suggested that the current guidance for uniform remains in place. This has been passed on to the Senior Management Team.  

Individual school photos will remain in the Autumn Term ready for Christmas and a whole class Y6 leavers photo will be taken in the Spring/Summer Term.  

Senior Management Team to send out the curriculum maps to parents. The more complex overview should be available on the website. The covering letter will have the DfE  Activity Booklet ist on the back for the relevant year group.  

4/4/19 this information was sent out with a covering letter from Mrs Wilkinson.  


After School Club Attendance 

We have had to cancel Summer 1 after-school clubs due to a lack of interest. Miss Fahey came to speak with the parent council to see if there were any possible reasons for this. Next half-term there will be a Makaton club on offer. There was no reason that the Parents could think about.  

Parents said that there are a lot of children attending clubs outside of school. A lot of the girls go dancing and gymnastics.  

Parents wondered if art club could be on and include parents. Could parents be part of the sign language one? Miss Fahey explained that it would need to be limited for children if it is as popular as we anticipate. We can look for parents being included too.  

Summer Fayre / 50-year Anniversary Celebration 

The Senior Management Team would like to consult with parents about the upcoming 50 Year Anniversary and Summer Fayre.   Parents would like a celebration of children’s talents – maybe a 'St Francis has got talent.' They thought that children making stalls would again work well, we discussed inviting staff that have left the school. The possibility of a burger / ice cream van was discussed.  

Autumn Term Weekly Assemblies / Achievement / Outstanding Pupils 

The children have enjoyed the House Team Challenge assemblies this year but these have failed to bring in members of the community. We would like your ideas about the best way forward next academic year.    

Parents thought that a weekly assembly with one of the awards and Star Pupil would be best, then one assembly per half term for outstanding pupils and once a term attendance (including the raffle). 

New Starter Parent / Teacher Appointments 

Do you have any suggestions for improving these sessions? 

The Parent Council will host a ‘drink, snack and chat’ in the hall. They will bring their own children’s homework / reading books so they can discuss these with parents. It was felt that due to the change in expectations this would be useful for new parents.  

Any Other business 

Autism coffee afternoon – Miss Mason – Parent Council think this would be a good idea.  

Peer pressure KS3 – Katie brought Body Image resource ideas – Recovery College Online, Rollercoaster – Parent Support Group, Investing in children – young peoples page 

Parent craft groups – There used to be a lady who ran a 10 week course – some had to pay and some didn’t. There was also one with handouts where parents did parenting skills and it was really good. It was a Family Learning course. (One point)  Could this be a session offered again?

Prom – Some parents are concerned that the children are focusing on having a date / special outfit. Mrs Lakey will pass the information on to Mrs Pickett. Our school view of Prom is that it is a celebration of the year group. We do not promote special cars / clothing etc.  

Meeting 4: 21/3/19


Agreed Actions from the January Meeting 




Look at the DfE Activity booklet and send any suggested changes to Mrs Lakey by Thursday 17/1/19 3pm.

No suggestions sent in and staff made no amendments so the original documents will be sent to parents.

A fundraising letter to be sent to all parents from the parent council members present to inform them of the fundraiser.

Parent Council fundraiser invitations have been sent out and the Parent Council raised a further £50 in the ‘change challenge’ for playground equipment. The Children’s Council put together a list of items that have been ordered.

Precious to meet with Lisa Lakey to discuss the School Website


To be arranged.

See if there is a member of staff from Greenfield / Woodham / Nursing Team that can come and speak with parents regarding the challenges of growing up.

Mrs Lakey has contacted both Comprehensive schools , CAMHS, school nursing team and One Point and has been unsuccessful in getting a professional to come in to speak with the Parent Council.

Investigate any other pools that can be used for swimming lessons

Miss Fahey has investigated other pools and Woodham Academy pool offers the least safeguarding measures that need to be put into place so will continue to be used.

Set up and launch the school Facebook page

To be completed

Set up a Piota questionnaire regarding the timings of school fayres.


Parents have been asked over the past few months and there appears to be no preference.


We looked at the new curriculum Structure on the Year Group Curriculum Maps. Parents like the progression through the school and the themes used for termly topics.

Parents suggested other Educational Visits we could use and suggested that children go on educational experiences as opposed to the experiences being brought into school. 

Parents preferred the Termly Web and felt this would be useful to have at home before the topic begins, so they can start to discuss the content with their child(ren). Then parents who would like further information can look on the website at the Year Group Curriculum Map. 


Parents agreed with the school intent of the curriculum. 

Meeting 3: 14/1/19


Agreed Actions from our November Meeting 



Craig Brown to recruit Parent Council Representatives. 

None present today.  

Lisa Lakey to update the Parent Council page on the school website 


Lisa Lakey to set up Facebook for St Francis’. 

Not yet set up due to Christmas commitments, but planned to launch this term.  

Steph Harrison to ensure the Newsletter dates are also updated on the Website so Parents have a clear picture of what is happening when changes are made. 

Parents said that this has improved.  


Steph Harrison - Challenge Assembly to be explained on the Newsletter to address confusion. 

Parents said that this has improved 


Swimming Pool cleanliness to be investigated by Lisa Lakey. 

There have been no more reports of the cleanliness and Miss Fahey / Mr Baister will report any concerns to Woodham staff. We discussed the safeguarding issues surrounding using the Leisure Centre. Mrs Lakey is to investigate what other venues are available for the next academic year.  


To advise parents finding communication an issue to get in touch with school so we can work an effective method out.   

A few parents have been in touch.  


To find out people's views about parents meetings and how they could be improved 

Parents are happy with progress meetings and know to contact the school if they need to speak with the teacher, other than for this meeting. 

To support the school in setting up a Facebook page by discussing with parents the appropriate channels to communicate concerns.   

Launch to happen this term.  


To gather ideas for fund raising money to buy more playground equipment. 

The choir raised £150 at Tesco to use for equipment. The Parent Council would like this to be raised to £200 if they can. Planned Challenge Assembly fundraiser for 7/2/19.  


To advise parents with specific concerns over school dinners to contact Miss Pounder 

None been reported. 

Parents to gather information on issues surrounding keeping children safe online. Especially those that are happening for Upper Primary and leading into Secondary, so we have a clearer picture of the areas of concern in the community when developing lessons. 

Discussed at length – see notes below.  


Precious to meet with Lisa Lakey to discuss the School Website 

To be arranged.  


Children’s Council to meet to cost the ‘dream’ playground equipment 

They would like the big feet to walk on and the pots. 



We have re-written our Curriculum to allow for children being in single year group classes now and copies are on the website. After further work in the staff meeting this will be sent out, as a paper copy, to all parents.  

Playtime Equipment  

The parent council would like to raise money to try and get the total to £200 from the £150 raised by the Choir. It has been suggested that there will be a House Team playtime equipment money trail. Parents will be asked to send in change, like we did for Jeans for Genes and the House Teams will try and make: a skipping rope, football, foot and hoop with their change.  

Parent Progress Meetings 

These are working well to find out how children are getting on both academically and socially and emotionally. The sessions serve their purpose and further discussions needed with teachers can be booked. The Young Saver staff were engaging and talked with a lot of the parents. All parents were unaware that the School Nurses were present.  

School will continue to see if outside providers can be present to speak with parents during the sessions.  

Online Safety 

The main Apps being used are TicTok, Instagram and Snapchat. 

We discussed issues with children bypassing security on Xbox and using parent payment cards to make purchases, how parents check children’s devices and usage to ensure they’re safe.  

The discussion then went onto the ‘in things’ for children growing up now and how intervention by medical practitioners, counsellors and agencies are worn as a badge by older children and children are aspiring to need this help. Vocabulary use of mental health related issues is commonplace between children outside of school and there are concerns that children want to experience these issues for acceptance by their peers.  Mrs Lakey will see if there is a professional who will be able to come to our next meeting to discuss this with parents.  

DfE Activity Booklet 

We looked at the DfE activity booklet and felt it was not relevant for school to be checking and providing the activities. Guidance on the DfE website was that these were activities children could do at home. However, we agreed to look at the activities and see what was relevant for our community. School will send a copy of this, with the Year group curriculum, to parents.  

Meeting 2: 5/11/18


We wrote our shared values and aims as a Parent Council. 



Homework - A positive impact on engagement and willingness to complete homework was fed back to school. 

                - There was not a great uptake on the optional holiday task so this was broadened for the Christmas holidays.

                - Christmas Holiday Optional Homework - A celebration of Christmas - children to complete a task that celebrates
                  Christmas time.

School Dinners - Miss Pounder has developed systems for school and these worked well last week. There has been an increase in 
                        the number of children having school dinners and less waste than on the previous menu arrangement.


Communication Discussion

The feedback from the communication survey was very positive with 95% of parents happy with the ways that school communicates with them. 


The App is not working for all parents so we are going to try using Facebook as well to communicate messages with parents. This will be developed over the coming months. 


It was recognised that the main ways of communication may not work for every parent - if our current systems are not working for you please speak with school staff so they can ensure you receive the information you need. 


Other Business

Parents were unsure about the Thursday Challenge Assemblies and who is invited. All parents are invited to help their child's House Team with the challenge. The Star Pupil Award continues to be given out this week. Mrs Harrison will ensure this is more explicit on our weekly Headteacher Newsletter. 


A parents asked if we could use the school BLOG again. This is in the process of being reinstated. 

A parent asked if we could investigate the cleanliness of the swimming pool.



Parents Councillors 

  • To advise parents finding communication an issue to get in touch with school so we can work an effective method out.  

  • To find out people's views about parents meetings and how they could be improved. 

  • To support the school in setting up a Facebook page by discussing with parents the appropriate channels to communicate concerns.  

  • To gather ideas for fund raising money to buy more playground equipment. 

  • To advise parents with specific concerns over school dinners to contact Miss Pounder. 

  • Parents to gather information on keeping children safe online that are happening for Primary and leading into Secondary so we have a clearer picture of the areas of concern in the community when developing lessons.  

  • Precious to meet with Lisa Lakey to discuss the School Website 

  • Children’s Council to meet to cost the ‘dream’ playground equipment


Craig Brown

  • to recruit Parent Council Representatives. 

Lisa Lakey

  • to update the Parent Council page on the school website 
  • to set up Facebook for St Francis’

School Office

  • to ensure the Newsletter dates are also updated on the Website so Parents have a clear picture of what is happening when changes are made. 
  • Challenge Assembly to be explained on the Newsletter to address confusion. 

  • Swimming Pool cleanliness to be investigated 




Meeting 1: 10/9/18


We established a shared Code of Conduct and spoke about homework.



Research shows that Homework does not add value to a child's education at KS2 and we were concerned about the conflict Homework can cause in the home. Mrs Lakey proposed that children are only given spellings, times tables and weekly reading for Homework as staff have seen how all of these help children achieve better.


After a lot of discussion, parents decided that they would prefer the children to continue with the weekly lesson based task, but staff could provide a broader range of subjects. Parents value the opportunity for children to be more creative so also thought that we could keep the 'grid based tasks' but set an open task as a holiday homework that can be displayed on the school website gallery. 


Follow-Up Actions:

  • Mrs Lakey spoke with the Senior Management Team and staff. Homework is to be changed based on Parent Council proposals from 18/10/18.
  • Mrs Lakey will ensure optional holiday tasks are displayed on the school website.


School Dinners

Parents asked if we could run a choice dinner option so that children were always able to have the meal they preferred each day of the week.  


Follow-up Actions

  • Mrs Lakey spoke with Taylor Shaw and Miss Pounder (Healthy Schools Leader). 
  • Miss Pounder discussed current systems with Horndale Infants.
  • Taylor Shaw provided a taster menu at Initial Concerns Parents Appointments
  • Miss Pounder organised and implemented the choice options for dinners from 29/11/18