As we reach the end of another two week period in the Hub, I would like to record my thanks to Ms MacKay, Curriculum Leader of Science and Ms MacLaine, Curriculum Leader of PE and Health and Wellbeing, for looking after our young people so well. I thought you would like to read about the learning activities in the Hub from the perspective of the teachers.
We arrived on day one and got to know the young people by joining in the DHS and St David’s band where we played the likes of Bastille and Emile Sande; everyone was learning on a new instrument and in the end we managed the full song Pompeii. Over the next few days we continued the routine of doing school work in the morning then activities in the afternoon. The pupils really enjoyed taking part in badminton, gymnastics, rounders, cycling, making videos for the Virtual School Tour and even a visit to Sainsbury’s for ice lollies (observing social distancing rules). The amazing weather was a highlight, but all of the pupils agreed their favourite experience was looking after Ms MacLaine’s dogs, Roo, Stella and Nevis. It had been a great two weeks with a lovely bunch of young people!
I hope that everyone enjoys the lovely weather over the weekend and manages to begin to see family and friends in accordance with advice from Scottish Government.
I am aware that our S6 leavers have not had the opportunity to mark their departure from Dalkeith High School in the usual way due to lockdown.
Unfortunately the S6 prom will not be able to take place in June, although the prom committee were exploring other dates in the autumn with the venue. The pupils also missed out on the special Leavers Day that we normally hold on their last day in school prior to the start of the SQA exams.
Mrs Bain has been working hard behind the scenes on the production of the S6 yearbook and this will be available for collection from the school on our return in August. The yearbook is looking wonderful and will provide pupils with a reminder of their peers, teachers and participation in many events over the years.
We would now like to invite all S6 pupils, their families and friends to join us at 7pm on Thursday, 18th June for a virtual S6 Leavers Ceremony. Mr Harris is coordinating the programme for the event which will include videos of speeches from Hayley Melrose, Head Girl, Patryk Mosiek, Head Boy and me. There will be slideshow charting the many adventures that pupils have taken part in over their time with us, as well as musical items. Due to current restrictions, we are unable to do this as a ‘live broadcast’ but I am hoping that pupils and their families will join us at the same time to share memories of time together through their Dalkeith years. I am even hoping that many pupils will wear their school uniforms for the last time and take photos that they can share with us!
I know that this will be small compensation for the disappointments caused by the early departure from school but I am very keen for our pupils to know that they are valued and missed. More information on the event will follow in due course.
We are currently awaiting guidance from the Education Recovery Group regarding the parameters for planning the reopening of schools in August. As soon as we have this information we will be able to plan for the return of pupils to Dalkeith High School. The guidance we are awaiting is based on advice from the scientific community and I have included a link to the relevant area of the Scottish Government website to allow you to access this information. I would encourage you to read the main points noted on the government’s webpages, and possibly also the scientific paper.
I will continue to keep you informed of plans as they begin to emerge.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
I hope that everyone in the family enjoyed the weekend.
As you will be aware, in normal circumstances we would be issuing pupils with a copy of their new timetable this week in preparation for the start of June. Due to school closures, arrangements have to be different this year.
Staff will be issued with lists of pupils in their 20-21 sets and new virtual classes will be created in Show My Homework. Teachers will then contact pupils in their new classes with learning activities for the start of the new virtual timetable. An indication of the approximate amount of time that pupils should spend on subjects in the new virtual timetable will be given by teachers.
Throughout the course of this week and next, pupils entering S3 to S6 will receive email notification of the subjects to which they have been assigned. Numbers for a few courses await finalisation so if a subject is missing, clarification will arrive shortly.
Pupils entering S2 will be similarly contacted by subject teachers through Show My Homework.
I am sure that the revised arrangements will allow learning to continue and progress.
Many thanks for your support throughout this week. Next week I will provide you with information about arrangements for our pupils to continue their learning throughout the month of June. Normally pupils would be issued with a physical copy of their new timetable in the last week of May, but obviously this is unable to happen in this way this session due to school closures. Alternative arrangements will be in place for learning to continue and progress.
I will also share with you the data that we been gathering and analysing in response to our survey seeking your views on our approaches to distance learning. This data will help to further shape our approaches to distance learning now that we know that we will be continuing with blended learning (in-school and at-home learning) for a period of time.
I hope that you enjoy a relaxing weekend.
You will no doubt be aware of the announcement made earlier today by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, regarding a phased approach to the lifting of the lockdown restrictions in Scotland. I have attached the document ‘Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis’ for your information. I have picked out the key messages from this document, and others relating to the opening of schools, which I have shared with you below:
- Hub provision will continue for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils throughout the summer
- A blended model of in-school and at-home learning will ensure almost all children and young people have access to some face-to-face learning from August onwards – there will be a phased approach to bringing pupils back
- There is a working assumption that a blended model will last until at least to the end of the calendar year in the first instance
- Consideration is being given on how best to support children and young people who may be unable to attend the main school setting due to health, disability or shielding reasons
- Subject to public health guidance, teachers and other school staff should be returning to schools at some point during June, to plan and prepare for the new blended model of learning to be implemented from August
- The start date of the new term will be standardised to 11 August 2020 which will mean an earlier than planned start for some schools – please note that not all pupils will return to the building on that date
- Next week guidance will be published providing further advice on practical implementation measures for schools
- All of the above should sit alongside a full risk assessment around the operation of school buildings (and any temporary additions to the school estate) to ensure that they are compliant with all health and safety requirements
I will contact you again next week with any further advice that I might have at that time.
Thank you once again for your ongoing support. It is good to be able to begin to plan for us to return to school within the parameters set for us by the Scottish Government.
You may have heard reports in the press about a leaked report suggesting a return to school in August. I have not as yet received any official notification that this will be the case, but I believe that Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, will be making an announcement tomorrow at 12.30pm. She will be outlining plans for lifting the lockdown and this will include reference to schools reopening. I would urge you to listen to this announcement if you can. I will then contact you after this announcement with any further information that I may have by then.
I am sure that you will be as keen as I am to see our young people return to school in a safe manner that does not jeopardise the progress that has been made to suppress the virus.
The National Parent Forum of Scotland have published a series of documents as part of their ‘In a Nutshell Guides’ which may be of use to parents/carers supporting their young people while they are working at home.
I have attached the guides below.
The guides contain very useful, practical advice to support you in your current role. Please let me know if you have any questions after reading the documents.