Feedback on the Meeting with Paul Senior, 10 June 2020

Please see a letter from Paul Senior here

HPCP Secretary feedback on the Google Meet session with Paul Senior, ECO Education and Learning:

Thank you to all who got involved on Wednesday afternoon – a great turnout.

This was an event instigated by Highland Council that became a joint effort with HPCP; it was all organised at very short notice and not with the precision that we might have wanted, but it was better to get on with it than wait another couple of weeks.

The late arrival of the Agenda etc was not planned; it just took time for the many moving parts to align.  The meeting was intended to be primarily an information delivery event, but this was not made clear in the invitation, partly because the Agenda had not been developed when the invitation went out. Not ideal, but not much is at present, so we do what we can!      

Communications with Parent Councils have long been a challenge.  The request for pre-submitted questions came quite late on in the process and clearly many did not get the message or the opportunity to put forward what they wanted, other than on the chat line during the meeting.  However we did get quite a few submissions and already had a fair amount of knowledge from social media and other emails about parental concerns.  Imperfect, but a start; Highland Council will log all questions received, Jason Hasson from Tarradale Primary PC is collating the inputs we have had, and we will push for answers.  However, many of your questions simply cannot be answered yet.  Frustrating, but we must be realistic about the challenges.

Many of the answers that are available (or will be soon via the FAQ version one to be issued by Highland Council next week) are likely to change over the next two or three months.  This may be because problems have been solved, restrictions lifted, or perhaps because additional problems have arisen (eg locally due to staffing, illness, etc).   We hope that as more answers are available or change, you will be alerted by Highland Council (via schools or centrally) and/or by the HPCP – but do please check regularly yourselves and let other parents know.

Paul Senior has sent out a note of thanks that is posted above and on the HPCP facebook page, and I will also email it out to all the addresses we hold.  The exact timing of next steps is yet to be determined, but don’t let that stop you meeting via Google Meet (etc) as a PC, a group of PC Chairs in an Associated School Group (ASG), or even as a cluster of ASGs.  Please keep the communication with your Head Teachers going, and remember that they are probably just as worried, stressed and tired as you, so be gentle…….we need to keep them!

It will be no surprise to many of you that Paul is currently getting several hundred emails a day.  If you have more questions, if not answered next week by the FAQ, then perhaps start with your Head Teacher who can reach into the relevant Area Office for answers or support.  If that does not produce an acceptable result then you still have the option to take concerns to Nicky Grant or Paul Senior, and you can copy the HPCP in at any time.

Next week we will put out a list of those PC chairs or other parents that have already volunteered to get involved in sub-group and/or Area meetings, and any specific aspects of the return to education in schools they are interested in or have relevant expertise to bring with them.  Ideally we will have every one of the 29 ASGs represented and at least 3 parents involved in any group.

Thank you for your forbearance and for getting involved.  There is a huge pool of talent and knowledge out there in the parents and guardians of Highland children, and your schools are going to need all the help they can get, so they can help your children.    

Mark Gunn,
HPCP Secretary

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