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More nursery time on the way for Renfrewshire 3 and 4 year olds

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More nursery time on the way for Renfrewshire 3 and 4 year olds.

Renfrewshire Council has launched a new consultation for parents about changes to nursery provision.

Currently every three and four year old in Scotland is entitled to 475 hours of government funded pre-school education each year. The Scottish Government is increasing this annual entitlement to 600 hours from August 2014.

KE 600hrs consultation 211013

Families in Renfrewshire with children under four have six weeks to tell the council what nursery arrangements suit their needs best so the council can plan for this change.

Whether it’s longer days or more days at nursery for their child, parents can register their views online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board: “It’s necessary that we plan and develop a nursery provision that meets the Scottish Government’s commitment, but more importantly, also suits the needs of children and families within Renfrewshire.

“This change complements the work already underway to give children in Renfrewshire a great start in life.

“Our £7 million Families First programme is improving access to early learning and supporting families to deal with the issues that impact on their youngster’s ability to learn and develop or which prevents them for reaching their potential.

“A nursery provision that meets the needs of families will give parents the option to participate in work, training or education and the opportunity to build a better future for their family”.

Parents have until 1 December to take part in the consultation, which can they do online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst or by calling 0300 300 0300 to arrange for a paper copy to be sent to them.

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Renfrewshire Council Must Follow Legal Standards

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Renfrewshire Council Must Follow Legal Standards

The re-organisation of school estates in Renfrewshire was discussed in the Scottish Parliament this week.  The Cabinet Secretary for education, Mike Russell MSP, was questioned by Paisley’s MSP about the proper process that should be followed when local authorities are reviewing educational facilities.

george-abbeyAfter questioning the Cabinet secretary George said;

‘It is essential that full scrutiny and all relevant statutory processes are followed when reviewing local authorities educational estates.  The Cabinet Secretary agreed with me and I have voiced my concerns on the record in Parliament about what is happening within Renfrewshire Council.

‘The review and council consultation being undertaken by Labour in Renfrewshire must ensure that correct procedures are adhered to.  This is not only to ensure that parents and the children have full confidence in any of the proposed changes but to ensure that legal challenges do not emerge.

‘The information that I have had to gather myself from the council has raised some questions.

‘There are claims that shutting a school and moving the pupils to another school is not actually a school closure.

‘There are also concerns that the pupils being moved in to an existing school is not the model of shared campuses that we know.  Here in Renfrewshire purpose built schools were built to house shared campuses, differing educational facilities with other shared aspects.

‘These concerns are troubling.

‘We must ensure that any consultation is a real consultation, I would advise every parent to follow what is happening to their school, do not get caught out by changes that surprise you when the consultation process ends.’

For more information please visit www.paisleysmsp.org

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PlayTalkRead bus back in Paisley

PlayTalkRead bus

PlayTalkRead bus back in Paisley

The PlayTalkRead bus returns to Renfrewshire during July, encouraging families to get creative, sing songs, clap hands and tell stories.

The big purple bus will be calling at County Square in Paisley on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th July before touring Renfrewshire for a week from Monday 22nd July.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the PlayTalkRead bus travels the length and breadth of the country demonstrating the positive impact of play and introducing parents and carers to fun activities they can try at home with their child.
Linda Stevenson, Renfrewshire Council’s Childcare Information Officer said, “Often the best play ideas are simple and don’t cost a penny – a bottle can be transformed into a rocket, add some rice and it becomes a musical shaker. Kids love using their imagination!

“Admission to the bus is free for Renfrewshire families and there’s no need to book. Whenever and wherever parents and carers see the bus they can hop on board with their wee ones to discover a world of fun and engaging activities to do together”.

The PlayTalkRead bus offers parents and children the opportunity to join in with BookBug storytelling, rhymes and songs sessions with young passengers also receiving a free book or playcube to take home.

Details of the tour can be found at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk and for hundreds of playtime ideas visit: www.playtalkread.org

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Take part in the Mini Game Jam University of the West of Scotland

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Take part in the Mini Game Jam University of the West of Scotland

On 19th June 2013, 56 Primary 7 children from Royston and Carntyne Primary will be visiting the University of the West of Scotland to take part in the Mini Game Jam.

mini-game-jamAmanda Wilson a PHD student from UWS and Gavin Divers from XBLGamerhub a Paisley based XBox online community who are running the event said.

“After almost 3 years researching games construction with children I thought it would be a good idea to get a couple of schools together and let the children spend the day working on games, while at the same time spending time in a university environment and getting the chance to work with lecturers and others from the games industry.”

If you would like to find our more about the Mini Game Jam then please visit the Facebook page by clicking here..

If you would like to visit and join the Xbox Live community of XBLGamerhub then please click here..

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Fun on the PlayTalkRead bus

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Fun on the PlayTalkRead bus

Tiny tots and their parents showed it’s good to talk when a special bus toured Renfrewshire for a week of fun and games.

The PlayTalkRead buses offered parents and carers of children aged three-and-under the chance to climb aboard and find out how to give youngsters the best start.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, the Convener of the Education Policy Board and Councillor Mark Macmillan, the Leader of Renfrewshire Council, hopped on board the bus to speak to some of the parents and children – and take part in a very enthusiastic Bookbug session.
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Councillor Henry said: “Simple easy steps, such as reading books together, singing songs and playing together, aid a child’s development.

“The PlayTalkRead bus is inspirational in its approach. I would encourage parents or carers to check out the PlayTalkRead website for more ideas if they were unable to catch the bus this time.”

Councillor Macmillan added: “We are determined to give Renfrewshire’s children the best possible start in life and the PlayTalkRead bus is one way in which we can support parents and young children to make the most of their early years.”

The Scottish Government’s PlayTalkRead campaign is in collaboration with Working on Wheels, a charity which manages the Scotland-wide PlayTalkRead bus tour. In partnership, Renfrewshire Council supplied information packs, and were on hand to support and publicise the events. Library staff promoted the Bookbug programme and gave out free books provided by Scottish Book Trust. Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership also provided information on their services to families.
For more details visit: www.playtalkread.org or facebook.com/playtalkread , and Twitter @playtalkread

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Schools issue pupil registration reminder to Renfrewshire parents

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Schools issue pupil registration reminder to Renfrewshire parents

Parents of Renfrewshire kids due to start school in 2013 are being issued a reminder to register next week.

Arrangements have been made in Renfrewshire schools to register all children who reach five years of age between 1 March 2013 and 28 February 2014.

Pupils whose surnames begin with the initials A-L should be registered at their catchment school on Wednesday 16 January.

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1Pupils with surnames starting M-Z should be registered on Thursday 17 January. On both dates, registration will take place between 1 and 3pm.

Parents are required to produce their child’s birth certificate and two proofs of residence.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “Sending your little one to school is always a big moment, so it’s worth getting things off on the right foot by registering correctly.

“Registration with your catchment school is a fairly simple process so please make sure you go along on the right date and have all the necessary documentation.”

Parents wishing their child to attend a school outwith their catchment area need to make a placing request. Placing request forms are available from catchment schools upon registration.

For more information on school registration, call 0300 300 0170 or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Renfrewshire School Pupils ‘Trial’ Criminal Justice Project

Brediland PS pupils visit Paisley Sheriff Court
Pupils from a Renfrewshire primary school have been getting familiar with the long arm of the law thanks to an educational criminal justice project.

The ‘Bringing Learning to Life’ event saw the P6 pupils from Brediland Primary School, in Paisley, work with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), Strathclyde Police and the Scottish Court Service to learn all about the justice system.

The first part of the event took place at the school itself with a crime being acted out in front of the school, police being called and pupils having to give witness statements with the help of officers and staff from the Procurator Fiscal’s Service.

Criminal Justice partners then explained to pupils about the different roles of the Crown, the Defence, the Sheriff and the Jury, after which they were split into groups and each assigned one of these roles themselves.

Each group then had to analyse the case and their own roles within it, before having to take part in a mock trial at Paisley Sheriff Court based on the ‘crime’ they had witnessed earlier. The trial was presided over by a real Sheriff and Sheriff Clerk, with members of the Procurators Fiscal’s Service leading both the defence and prosecution with the help of pupils acting as junior counsel.

District Procurator Fiscal at Paisley, Kenny Donnelly, said: “Once again, we are delighted to be taking part in this project, which is aimed at teaching young people about the criminal justice system.
“The role-play exercises they undertake really do engage their analytical, observation, team-building and communication skills.
“It is always a pleasure to see how much the children enjoy the day, and perhaps some of them may be inspired to work in the criminal justice system themselves in the future.”

The aim of the project was to give young people an understanding of the different roles of the criminal justice partners and develop their analytical, observational, team-building and communication skills.
Inspector Joe Thomson, Safer Communities, Paisley Police Office, said: “It’s a great opportunity for the police to engage with these young people and provide them with an insight into the criminal justice system. This project is very much hands on and allows the young people to gain an understanding of the role that the police have when dealing with acts of criminality. The young participants are shown how to take statements, carry out enquiries and report offenders to our colleagues at the Crown Office. This exciting day was planned to ensure that the pupils have fun whilst learning important life skills.”
The project was run as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Marie Claire Temple, head teacher of Brediland Primary, said: “In collaboration with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), we have organised a very exciting mini project for Primary six, entitled Bringing Learning to Life. The project has been planned in line with Curriculum for Excellence; the aim of the project is to provide opportunities for our children to learn through a variety of experiences, within contexts, out with the confines of the school or classroom.  It is through this kind of excellent partnership work that we are able to provide our pupils with high quality learning experiences, designed to equip our children with essential sustainable skills for life and work.”

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£700,000 Investment In School Computers

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Renfrewshire Council is to spend £700,000 on improving computer technology and internet access in the area’s schools.

The new investment will see the replacement of older computers, as well as improved access to wireless internet.

The cash – to be spent in the next 12 months – will also allow the council to invest in new methods of internet-based learning and teaching in the area’s schools.

Councillor Lorraine Cameron, Convener of the Education Policy Board, said: “We are delighted to be able to spend such a significant sum of money on what we believe is a crucial area for our children’s futures.

“We now live in a digital age and it is important to keep our technology up to date if we are to equip our children with the skills they will need in the years ahead.

“In particular, the internet is now playing an increasingly important role in schools, and the investment in wifi access will put Renfrewshire’s pupils and teachers a mouse-click away from the world of learning that exists online.”

Councillor Cameron visited St James’s Primary School in Paisley to meet some of the pupils and teachers who will benefit from the investment.

Lorna Murray, the school’s acting head teacher, said: “This will really increase the opportunities available to our pupils as it will give them better access to computers than they have just now.

“Computers are becoming more important as a tool for learning all the time. It will be great to have some new laptops for the pupils and teachers.”

Money will be targeted at the replacement of older computers in Renfrewshire’s schools. This will help the council bring down its maintenance costs, as these bills increase with the age of the hardware.

The investment will also allow the council to enhance its provision of innovative internet-based teaching and learning methods.

The council is forming a working group – featuring head teachers and pupils as well as council IT staff – to work out where best to spend the money, with detailed proposals to be produced later this year.

The money was made available as part of an additional £1million investment across education and leisure services, announced as part of the council’s budget in January.

The remaining £300,000 is to be spent on extending free wifi internet coverage in Renfrewshire’s town halls, libraries, museums and schools. This investment was agreed by the Community and Family Care Policy Board in February.

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St Paul’s Primary celebrates Golden Jubilee

St Paul’s Primary celebrates Golden Jubilee

A Paisley primary school has ended a year of outstanding achievement with a celebration of 50 years of service to its community.

St Paul’s Primary in Foxbar was recently praised in a report to Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board.

The review found “significant progress” among staff, pupils and in the level of parental involvement.

St Paul’s has followed that success with a Golden Jubilee Mass and reception for current and former staff and pupils, parents, church representatives, and councillors.

St Paul’s Church in Brediland Road was the venue for the Mass which was concelebrated by Bishop Philip Tartaglia, Father Frank Hannigan and Father Eddie Cameron.

Then it was on to the school for a reception where memories could be swapped and friendships revived.

“The whole day was a marvellous occasion and reflected all aspects of the school’s life and history,” said recently appointed head teacher Claire Giudici.

“St Paul’s has strong links with our community but equally the community we serve has clearly valued the work that everyone associated with the school has done over five decades.

“It was lovely to see people catching up again, celebrating what has been achieved and seeing young people and not so young former pupils telling each other about their school experiences.”

Councillor Lorraine Cameron, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, “This was a very special occasion and the school and the community really enjoyed their day.

“I’d like to add my congratulations and thanks to everyone who has given their support and commitment to the school over 50 years.”

courtesy of Renfrewshire Council

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Renfrewshire set to reconsider changes to primary school week.

Press Release: Renfrewshire set to reconsider changes to primary school week.

Renfrewshire Council is set to reconsider its proposed changes to the primary school week.

The Council had planned a pilot programme starting in August where specialist support staff would work with primary school classes for 2.5 hours a week on issues such as healthy lifestyle, citizenship, sport and culture.

Now councillors at the meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board on Thursday February 24 will be asked to suspend the new approach.

The council would instead raise issues such as affordability, teacher class contact time and the role of other staff in schools, in its formal submission to the McCormac Review on teacher employment.

As a result, the council is proposing to suspend the pilot scheme, and also the training and recruitment of the new employees who would have delivered it.

“How all councils deliver good quality education in this era of drastically reduced funding remains an issue,” said Councillor Lorraine Cameron, Convener of Renfrewshire

“We believe that our proposal has merit in taking an innovative approach to delivering learning experiences while avoiding damaging cuts.

“However, we know that it would be a major change. We have listened to the concerns of parents who felt that the pace and scope of that change was too much at this time.

“In the last few days, I have had the chance to consider the terms of reference of Professor McCormac’s review on teacher employment. On that basis, it seems best that the issues Renfrewshire has been exploring are considered in a national context. Those involved in education in Renfrewshire and in Scotland can then have their say before any new approaches are taken forward.

“I now think it is better that Renfrewshire doesn’t implement its own proposals when those could well be affected and shaped by the outcome of that national review so we won’t be proceeding with our original proposal at this time.

“I will be inviting all members of the Education Policy Board to work with the council to make a practical and effective submission to the review and on developing the future of primary education in Renfrewshire.”

Council Leader Derek Mackay said: “I will be meeting parent council chairs (on Tuesday February 22) along with Councillor Cameron and outlining to them in detail the reasons for suspending the programme. We want their input into how the education service in Renfrewshire can continue to maintain high standards while tackling the savings we will be forced to make.

“Renfrewshire has consistently prioritised education and the service has been asked to make half of the average savings asked of other departments in this year’s budget.

“The impact of reduced funding is here for the foreseeable future. Difficult choices will still need to be made.

“However, it’s now clear that the McCormac review will have a detailed look at teaching and the curriculum in Scotland when it reports in the summer.

“Once that review is published and considered fully, Renfrewshire will bring forward its response to the review’s findings.

“Should the national review recommend new options then we’ll discuss our approach with parents and others in advance.”

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk