PTA PARENT MEETING
DATE: 7TH February 2023
TIME: 8 A.M.
LOCATION: Nick’s Coffee Bike
The meeting began with brief introductions and an explanation of the planned Valentine’s day fundraising. It was noted that the Minutes from November 2022 have still not been posted to parents or addressed by the school.
Concerns discussed by parents and PTA members are listed below:
- The lack of communication regarding Tsiknopemti, which is due to take place on the 16th February 2023. It was noted that Pascal School PTA is working with teachers to arrange family run BBQ’s and that the American Academy has organised a food truck to cater on the school premises. At present Med High parents and PTA are unclear as to what our school plans are. Parent’s felt this was a clear example of lack of communication and lack of adequate notice for planned events.
Reply from school: This event is always organised by the year 6 leavers committee as it enables them to raise funds for the school leavers trip abroad. The school recognises that after 2 years of Covid this particular year group has struggled slightly with organisation, however this event was a success and was enjoyed by the entire school community. Moving forward next year the school will aim to make this event include parents who can volunteer assistance and the PTA. It was also agreed that pricing of items sold by future year 6 students would be monitored more closely.
- The PTA has been discussing the Cultural Food event and would like to begin preparing but as yet no date has been communicated from the school and so nothing can be finalised yet.
Reply from school: The PTA will open the planned cultural events with an after school ‘cultural afternoon’ this is an opportunity for families to showcase the countries they are from and offer their traditional cuisines and dessert. The PTA will also be looking for families, students and businesses to showcase traditional dancing and singing performances.
- Parents raised concerns over the lack of changes made to the school in recent years and the on-going issues with communication and last-minute notices to events. No large-scale refurbishments or improvements have been seen.
Reply from school: The school acknowledges that space remains an issue however all teachers and staff are always implementing exciting new learning objectives. At present the school are working with the space that is available, however they have raised parent feedback with the owner and shareholders.
- Parents in attendance asked if more languages could be offered in the curriculum, or in the after-school sessions at the main school such as German and Spanish. For the pre-school it was suggested that there is a demand for private Arabic lessons and parents wondered if this could be offered once a week.
Reply from school: Arabic has now been offered as a private lesson at the main school and at present no extra languages will be offered at preschool level. On the advice from language specialists most pre-schoolers are already learning English and Greek at the school and then speaking their ‘home’ languages as well, at this age it would become overwhelming to introduce further languages.
- Uniform is still a frustrating and on-going issue (this is raised at every PTA meeting) and yet no resolve has been found. Parents want to know what they can do with faulty items, as the uniform shop is not always willing to exchange even though there are obvious faults with holes, poor quality and zips breaking. The winter jogging trousers are of very low quality and parents are experiencing them ripping on the knees very easily and washing poorly. Parents have still not received any communication regarding this matter from the school, not even an acknowledgement of the problem. Med High uniform is not a cheap item and as a private school the children should be advertising the brand instead we are advertising poor quality!
Reply from school: The supplier is making changes and quality is improving. Name labels have now also been added following parent feedback. All round collar t-shirts that developed holes where allowed to be exchanged and the newer designs are much thicker material. The new supplier is willing to continue making improvements and feedback is always welcome.
- A suggestion was also made that the school does not need such a large uniform shop. Once parents purchase the initial uniform they know their child’s sizes and a simple ordering form could be obtained from the school office and used instead. The uniform could then be arranged and collected.
This would free up a large room in the school that could be used as a library or classroom space.
Reply from school: This is a prefabricated room so is not very well sound proofed. At present it works best as a uniform space and no changes will be made.
- Playground space, timetabling and equipment were discussed yet again. The current PTA are aware that this was an issue for the previous committee as well who made many suggestions to have games such as Hop Scotch painted on the school playground floor etc.
The PTA advised parents that we have approached the school and are happy to purchase each junior class a box with supplies or even larger outdoor boxes for the actual playground. The PTA had been advised to email all teachers to see what they felt would benefit their students but no reply has ever been received. It was agreed that the PTA would yet again approach management regarding this matter.
Reply from school: The school can not change the time tabling of breaks due to the fact that juniors and high school are offered different break times and the scheduling of PE lessons in the yard. However they fully support the ideas of classroom playtime boxes and have approved the paintings of hopscotch and games on the yard flooring. The PTA is now looking for companies that can offer this service.
- The lack of school workshops regarding cyber bullying, safeguarding, abuse of alcohol and drugs along with sexual education was raised. It is of utmost importance that school be a place that prepares young people for peer pressure and exposures that may happen in life and online. This is an issue that needs to be well structured and implemented within the curriculum. Parents would like to see professional run workshops booked into the school calendar. Parent workshops were also mentioned so that parents can be educated in the ever-changing world of social media, online games and so they can be more aware of online dangers such as grooming.
Reply from school: The management has been working hard to implement a new Sexual health programme for high school students to learn about important issues such as consent and sexually transmitted diseases. These will be delivered as structured lessons with girls and boys separated.
Miss Theodora is also offering monthly lessons to the junior students to work on positive friendships, bullying , peer pressure etc.
The subject of online dangers and grooming are covered as part of the high school curriculum and for the junior school they are delivered as learning topics with the ICT lessons. The school is aware that more workshops can be offered to students and are exploring new ideas and approaches.
The civil defence team will also be visiting the students to discuss what to do in the event of an earthquake.
- Canteen cleanliness was raised and the PTA, having been in the canteen on many occasions now also agrees that a deep clean is needed. The ceiling fans are thick with built up dirt and dust. When furniture is moved there is also a build up of grim and dirt underneath.
The canteen is a small area with high traffic, which has not been refurbished for many years. It is not a space that reflects the social hub of the children’s school day and is extremely uninspiring. Parent’s that were at the meeting are happy to be involved, the PTA and parents can coordinate a deep clean of the space and possible repainting of the walls and changing the décor slightly. What is of utmost importance is that over 400 children use this space daily and it is not always cleaned after each meal sitting which results in a mess left for the next shift of children. The PTA have even heard complaints from children especially grade 5-6 and high school students that they often avoid eating in the canteen and prefer to stand out in the cold playground than eat on tables that have mess and food on them from the previous year groups.
Reply from school: The school has acknowledged this complaint and put things into motion. An additional cleaner has been hired to monitor the canteen and toilets. Updates are also happening in February to modernise the kitchen area of the canteen and install new stainless steel equipment and worktop surfaces. Once this is completed the PTA will be contacted to discuss removing the old wall decorations, repainting the canteen and then the art department will work on a wall collage with the art students.
- Sun sails and exposure to harmful UV rays was raised as the final matter of the meeting. The PTA have raised this previously with school management and put them in touch with a company, which has covered most schools in Cyprus. The PTA advised parents that they would bring this matter to school management yet again as they are aware that this concerns both schools. Parents are aware that there are often times that the pre-school classes do not go out for play when temperatures are high due to how hot the space is and how hot the artificial grass becomes. In the main school parents have often voiced concerns with the previous PTA committee and especially the summer school children who are using the playground in the months of June and July.
Reply from school: The school have received quotes for UV sails at the preschool and will now get written quotations for covering some of the playground areas at the main school.
Minutes of Med High School PTA Parent Meeting & Responses from school management
Date of meeting: 1st November 2022
Location Coffee & More Larnaca
Present from committee:
Item 1) Book Drive Donations 8th November. This was briefly explained and discussed and a request for parent volunteers was put forward.
Item 2) Christmas Carols Event scheduled for the 3rd December.
It was explained that the PTA committee have recently held discussions focused on arranging the Christmas Carols event that was scheduled by the school for the 3rd December 2022. Unfortunately, we have concluded that this event needs planning time that we just don’t have. The current PTA committee has only just been established. However, the PTA have had some other ideas as to how to keep the festive spirit going and still raise some funds.
The following ideas where proposed and discussed:
- Pre School fete – inflatables, face painting, games, etc for pre-school families one afternoon. Is this possible? Could we get the children to perform the Xmas carols at this event or something similar?
Response from school: This event has now been scheduled for the 16th December after school from 2pm-4.30pm. PTA will liaise with Ms Fotini regarding Christmas Carols.
- Cosy Festive Day at the junior school– children can have a day of festive fun and wear red or green clothing. Teachers would be asked to do crafting activities along with a Christmas movie. Pupils could pre order popcorn, cookies, drinks and hot chocolate which the PTA will deliver- we would approach the school canteen for support with this.
Response from school: School where happy for this event to go ahead and this has been scheduled for the 20th December.
An after-school event will also take place on the same day in the main yard in front of reception. Parents will be invited to attend from 1pm onwards to watch each grade perform Christmas carols and the PTA will offer mulled wine, hot drinks, cakes etc to raise some funds. The main purpose of this event is to build a parent community within Med High so that large scale events can be arranged in 2023.
- An evening at the movies- This would need access to a screen and projector for the playground. Students would attend in cosy warm clothes, bring a pillow and blanket and watch a movie. PTA would charge for tickets, drinks and snacks.
Response from school: The school are happy to support this event and will arrange all of the technical equipment. This will be in our 2023 calendar of events.
4) Santa visit to pre-school– already in discussions with Ms Fotini
Response from School: This event has been arranged with the pre-school and is in progress.
All other matters:
- Feedback at meeting was that parents are happy with proposed ideas however they would like more communication from the school and PTA as to what the money raised would be supporting.
Response from school: The school have agreed that the owner and board of directors of Med High will fund match all large events such as a spring fete, Summer ball, Christmas Fete etc.
- The PTA Facebook page was announced and it was requested that the PTA ask the school to send out an SMS with a link to make it easier for parents to follow the page. This has been done and the page has good engagement so far.
- Communication with parents remains a concern and parents have said that they feel reminders by the school regarding events are very last minute and not always very clear. The PTA agreed to share this feedback with school management whilst also looking at ways that the PTA could improve its own communication with parents. All PTA events will be advertised to parents via:
Posters at school
Response from school: More notice with SMS reminders and school Facebook page. The school are looking at creating a newsletter to keep parents updated on upcoming events and school news.
- Parents have requested support with using the Google Classroom platform and accessing test schedules (High School & A-Level). The PTA agreed to inform the school and see if it was possible for a workshop to be set up or an online tutorial video made for parents especially these that are new to the school.
Response from school: The school will organise tutorials for parents and will also use this opportunity to show High School parents and A-Level parents how to access school test dates and revision sessions. Information will be sent out by the school soon.
- Parent request that the PTA look into providing/fundraising for UV Sun Shades to protect children in the playgrounds and during PE lessons.
Response from school: The school are currently obtaining quotes and information regarding UV sails. The main issue at present is that no posting be used that can cause accidents amongst the children especially at the pre-school who have a large open playground. The main school does benefit from some shaded areas and due to the older school building UV sails cannot be anchored to the actual building. A UV sail did used to be present in the past but was removed due to health and safety legislation due to the older brickwork.
- Harrys run communication needs to be improved for parents, the do not always understand the running distances, the age groups and where the money is going that is raised. PTA will ask the school if the require any help with selling T shirts at the pre-school.
Response from school: They will post more regularly on Facebook regarding charity fundraising and this year they also went to the pre-school to sign up parents so they could explain the race and its importance.
- Can the school address quality issues with uniform and update parents on how the situation will be rectified?
Response from school: The school will send out formal information to parents explaining that they are aware of the issues surrounding the uniform. All issues have been addressed to the supplier and new orders are now showing and reflecting better quality control. The school have requested labels in the hooded cardigans so parents can add their children’s names.
Elena and Yiannis appreciate parent’s patience with this situation and have assured the PTA that the uniform issue has been of high importance.