Your Say

Text Box:           Marine Park First School

Your Say

Marine Park First School
Park Road
Whitley Bay
United Kingdom, NE26 1LT

Tel: 0191 2534343

[email protected]

Back to Your Say PageParents' Forum Meeting 13/3/12
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Parents’ Forum 13.3.12

At the start of the meeting: Background to the formation of the group set out. Roles and expectations identified. Attendees made aware that they had no decision making authority and were representing their own opinion and not that of parents/carer not at the meeting. Notes were kept by Mr. Easton and will be shared with staff, governors and the wider school community via the website.


Session 1 2.15– 3.15 p.m.

Session 2 4.45-5.45 p.m.


In attendance:

Hannah Fuller (Parent/carer of  children in N, Y1 and Y4)

Mairead Kirby (Parent/carer of a child in Y4)

Angela Malan Revell (Parent/carer of a child in YR)

Stephen Easton (Headteacher)

In attendance:

Andrew Sugden (Parent/carer on a children in Y2 and Y4)

Wendy Ritson (Parent/carer of children in Y1 and Y4)

Gigi Herbert (Parent/carer of  child in Y1)

Matt Leach (Parent/carer of a child in YR)

Jill Bates (Assistant Headteacher and Reception class teacher)

Sally Williams (HLTA and staff governor)

Stephen Easton (Headteacher)

Homework and opportunities to support learning at home

Consensus that the quantity  of homework was right.

Opportunities to find out what learning is taking place and how to support learning outside of school in informal ways would be welcomed especially in relation to the curricular areas of maths and handwriting.

Discussion about best way to provide this. Short video clips online were suggested that are generated by staff or better still by children.

Consensus that quantity of homework was right. Positive response to the curriculum information sheets and the development of resources in the parentzone of the website. Query raised as to whether there could be more balance to homework e.g. maths.

Appetite for more information on how to support learning at home e.g. things to do at the weekend.


Mr. Easton to discuss this with relevant members of staff and develop this . In the short term, videos could be developed by staff and, in the longer term, by pupils.

As a longer term project (probably 12-13 academic year) school will look at the content of the parent information sheets to incorporate things to do to support learning.

Extra Curricular Activities

Uncertainty about the coordination and equality of opportunity of current provision e.g. how places are allocated, who gets what, when and why. This was particularly so for parents of younger children.

Provision map shared which shows that last week more than 220 pupils attended an extra curricular club (not including after school club) which equates to more than 50% of R-Y4 pupils.

Capacity issues discussed– the hall is used every night for a club as are many other areas of the school e.g. ICT suite, dining hall.

General support for the principle of number of clubs being proportionate to the age of pupils. Information on newsletters that described provision had caused some confusion though most present were aware of sign up process for clubs. Query about consistency and communication from football club. Some sessions had been cancelled at short notice which was related to capacity as the hall/astro was already booked.

Suggestion that there was forward plan of what was coming so parents could plan ahead. This acknowledge but may not include all activities and could be subject to change.


Mr. Easton has spoken to Mrs. Milburn about the forthcoming sports’ clubs. Some clubs have age restrictions e.g. skateboarding and fencing. Historically, reception pupils have been offered the opportunity to attend some clubs in the summer term and this will be offered again this year.

Mrs. Milburn explained that places are offered on a very systematic basis and pupils that do not gain places on an after school sports club are given priority if the same club is offered again later in the year.

 Mr. Easton will speak to the staff that voluntarily run the football club and ask them to give as much notice as possible if cancelling and to indicate in any future letters offering places that the club could be cancelled at short notice due to capacity issues.

In the mid-term we will create an annual plan which shows which clubs are likely to be offered to year groups across the year. This plan will not be definitive but will serve as a useful guide to parents/carers.

RE/collective worship

Lengthy discussion about the character and ethos of the school and a perceived weighting towards Christianity. Feeling that teaching about other faiths and religions was being outbalanced by customs and events. Examples cited included harvest festival, Christmas concerts, hymn practice, shoebox appeal.

Mr. Easton outlined the assembly themes he had covered this year which overwhelmingly related to personal, social and emotional development and included non religious songs.

Surprise within this group that this had been raised as an issue. Support, trust and evidence shared by parents that the school provides a broad education. One parent based this evaluation over a longer time period as his child was in Y4 and recalled that his child’s best trip was to the synagogue. A reception parent found this reassuring as he felt that he had  limited evidence on which to base his judgement but hoped that the school would offer a balanced and broad religious education. Another talked about celebration of Chinese New Year, languages day, themed lunch events and felt that the school was fantastically diverse.


Given the contrasting feedback heard in the two groups, Mr. Easton will share the notes of this meeting with staff and governors and will consider if wider consultation should be undertaken. Policy and practice will be evaluated (both curricular provision and custom and practices). 


Support for current uniform policy on basis of functionality and choice. View that policy should not be overly prescriptive as is the case at some middle schools.

Support for current uniform policy on basis of functionality and choice.

Discussion about staff preference to have one colour on the basis of safety but in particular, because of the feeling that the appearance does not reflect the high standards and ambitions staff have for the school.

Some discussion around difficultly of staying within/enforcing such a broad palate of uniform for both staff and parents.

General perception that parents liked currently uniform system because it was familiar. However, a change to one colour (if phased in for new admits over a long period) was unlikely to be rejected by parents


A summary of the points raised at the forum was shared with the curriculum sub committee on the 13/3/12. Given the desire from some staff and the limited representation from the forum it was decided that a case be made alongside a proposal to change to one colour. A consultation exercise would be undertaken with both pupils and parents within the next month.  

Summing up

Parent/carers were thanked for attending. They were asked if they found the forum worthwhile and if they would consider attending future meetings. The consensus agreed and welcomed the opportunity to offer their views. Attendance was much lower than anticipated so, in all probability,  one meeting rather than two would be offered next term.


Notes of the meeting were sent to parents/carers, staff that attended before they were published on the school website and shared with Governors/staff.