Hundreds Zoom into virtual meeting for Falkirk area schools’ return

Nearly 600 people signed up for a Zoom meeting to give parents and carers more information about back-to-school arrangements.

Picture ; John Devlin

Organiser Margaret Wilson, who is the chairperson of Falkirk Area Parent Forum, was delighted with the response to the event.

Its aim was to let parents question the council’s education chiefs about what things will be like for pupils when they are back in the classroom. And the question and answer session formed the basis of a series FAQs that were published on Falkirk Council’s website last week.

Margaret said: “We just went through a typical school day and the directors answered questions about what was to happen.

“Robert Naylor and David McKay and other senior leaders were online for an hour and a half answering questions, and all of the feedback I’ve had has been really positive.

“I was absolutely delighted that so many people showed an interest in one of our meetings – it was an increase of 2000 per cent on the last meeting. I’m a volunteer and I just advertised it myself through my Facebook page and Twitter so to have 2200 people registered as interested was amazing.”

At the meeting, Margaret took the national guidance as a starting point for the discussion and felt the directors did their best to say how it would be implemented locally when pupils returned to school this week.

She does not underestimate the scale of the challenge – all of the national guidance has since had to be looked at for Falkirk as a whole and then for each individual school, at a time when staff are actually on holiday.

Education chiefs have come under fire from some parents over a lack of information about the return to school but Margaret says there is information out there.

“I get how parents are feeling – there are anxieties, but I think we have to remember that school staff are still officially on holiday.

“Management teams are obviously in schools but because the guidance has changed they are almost having to look again at what level of staff they have all over again.

“In fairness to the senior leaders, they’ve done what they’ve needed to do and they’ve engaged with me and with the meetings that we’ve had,” she said.

She believes that using Zoom was actually a great benefit to parents who often struggle to attend meetings.

“It worked really well and I think we’ll definitely continue to use it because it is challenging for parents to get to meetings.”

The next meeting, via Zoom, will be on Thursday, August 27, at 6.45pm. Full details will be available on the Falkirk Area Parent Forum – www.facebook.com/falkirkparentforum.