Message from the Headteacher – Friday 26 June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Who would have thought I would be writing my last email of the term following three months of lockdown?  Who would have thought at the start of 2020 that this would be the year that SQA exams were cancelled?  Who would have thought that this would be the year that we would need to pull together even more as a school to support the most vulnerable in our community?

2020 has not turned out to the year that we might have thought it would be.  However, amidst all of the disruption to learning there are many aspects of our practice as a school that have made me very proud as Headteacher: the way in which our pupils have engaged with their learning in the past three months of working at home; the way in which our staff have looked after the wellbeing of our pupils despite the restrictions in place; the unstinting support of our parents and carers.  We have become a stronger community as a result of the adversity that we have come through.

We cannot overlook the fact that many of our families have lost loved ones and my heartfelt condolences go to those who are grieving.  Compared to their loss, what we are facing in terms of disruption is little indeed.  We must not forget that the virus has not gone away and our plans for the reopening of the school will focus on what we can do safely.

I would like to thank all of our families for their encouragement throughout the period – this has been very much appreciated.  The reopening of Dalkeith High School in August will be a special day, one in which we may be returning to the building but never having lost our commitment to our pupils and their families throughout the time that we have been away.  Further information regarding the reopening of the school will follow in due course.

I hope that everyone enjoys a happy and safe summer break.

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher – Midlothian’s response to Depute First Ministers Statement 23 June

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am sure that you will have been as surprised by yesterday’s announcement by John Swinney, DFM, as I was.  I am sorry to say that I do not have any further information to share with you at this point but will keep you fully informed as events unfold.

 

Midlothian Council has released a statement on its website

https://www.midlothian.gov.uk/info/200296/coronavirus/629/schools

 

Thank you for ongoing patience and support throughout a period of rapid change.

Thank you,

Allyson Dobson, Headteacher

Recoursing Arrangements August 2020

Recoursing Arrangements August 2020

For Pupils in S5 and S6 Only

 

Following the receipt of examination results, it may be necessary for some pupils in S5 and S6 to change the courses they are following.  On receipt of results, pupils should contact the school office to make an appointment to consult with their pupil support leader.  The interview times available are set out below.  Pupils should not contact their pupil support leader for an appointment.

It is important this year more than ever that young people finalise their curriculum as early as possible; therefore, pupils are strongly urged to book the first appointment available.  If parents/carers wish to discuss any issues around coursing, the school welcomes telephone contact.

Wednesday 12 August Recoursing appointments 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PSL offices
Thursday 13 August Recoursing appointments 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PSL offices
Friday 14 August Recoursing appointments 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. PSL offices
       
Monday 17 August Recoursing appointments 9. 15 a.m. – 11. 15 a.m. PSL offices
Tuesday 18 August Recoursing appointments 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PSL offices
Wednesday 19 August Recoursing appointments 9. 15 a.m. – 11. 15 a.m. PSL offices
Thursday 20 August Recoursing appointments 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PSL offices

 

As a result of social distancing precautions, following the return to school week beginning 17 August, the system for making appointments will be the same – a phone call or an email to the school address.

These arrangements are for pupils in 20-21 S5 and S6.  S3 and S4 classes are already finalised.

Update from the Headteacher – Monday 22 June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,
Midlothian Council would like you to complete a survey to gather information about the following:
·       Key worker status of parents and carers
·       Availability of devices
·       Experience of home learning
·       Transport to school
The link to the survey can be found below:
I would be very grateful if you could complete the survey as it will be used for planning purposes for the start of the new term.
Thank you,
Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Friday 19 June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I would like to share with you the general arrangements for in-school learning for Weeks 1 and 2 of the new term.

Week 1 will provide an opportunity for S1 Induction Days.  This is particularly important for the transition of our new pupils.  The school will also be open during Week 1 to pupils in S5/6 who may need to make changes to courses following the publication of SQA results.  Further information about the appointment system that will be in place for this will follow in due course.

Week 2 will allow time for Reconnection Days for all year groups.  This will provide teachers an opportunity to evaluate progress made by pupils in their learning before planning next steps.  There will be an initial focus on literacy, numeracy and wellbeing.  Key advice for senior phase pupils will also be shared.

Education provision for children of key workers and some of the most vulnerable pupils in our school will be available throughout the two week period.

Detailed plans will be sent by post to parents/carers of pupils in different year groups next week in accordance with advice from Midlothian Council.  This will ensure that pupils in all Midlothian schools receive the information at the same time.  The plans are based on the current public health guidelines of 2m social distancing measures.

There has been much debate in the media recently about the percentage of time that young people will spend in school from August onwards.  I thought it would be helpful to explain to you the parameters that we need to consider when making decisions about bringing young people back to school safely.

  1. The current social distancing measures of 2m spacing between pupils limits the number of  pupils who can be accommodated in a class at any one time.  A typical classroom can normally hold 30 pupils.  With the necessary social distancing measures in place, this is reduced to a maximum of 10 pupils or 1/3 of the normal capacity.
  2. Government advice is that schools should use all available spaces in the school building and consider the use of public buildings in the local neighbourhood.  Heath and safety officials have advised against the use of such areas without due consideration given to appropriate heating, lighting and ventilation.
  3. Some members of staff may be unable to return to school in August due to them being either clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable (shielding).  Consideration will also need to be given to staff who live with family members who fall into the shielding category.  Steps have been taken to try to secure additional staffing to ease this pressure but this will take some time to put in place.

Plans for Week 3+ will be shared with all in the school community in August to allow us to take account of the public health advice that is likely to emerge over the summer period.

I hope the above will give some indication of the complexity of the task.  Rest assured we will continue to work towards bringing as many of our pupils back for as much in-school learning as we safely can.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

 

Brightest Watts programme for 2020/2021 S5 pupils

Although the global situation means that we are unfortunately unable to run our Brightest Watts Summer Week in the usual format. Over the past few weeks, we have taken time to consider the options available and are now very excited to announce the updated Brightest Watts programme for 2020/2021 S5 pupils.

This programme is comprised of three parts:

*   Brightest Watts eWeek – Monday 27 – Friday 31 July 2020
*   Brightest Watts eWeek masterclasses – three dates throughout the year
*   Brightest Watts eWeek Residential – Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 July 2021 (3 days and 2 nights)

The Brightest Watts programme aims to provide new S5 pupils with a motivational insight into university life. The atmosphere is friendly and supportive and the emphasis is on meeting new people, learning new skills and boosting confidence.

All activities on the Brightest Watts programme are free. We expect pupils to commit to taking part in all three parts of the programme.

Pupils who are interested in taking part in the programme can find further information and an application form at www.hw.ac.uk/summerweek<http://www.hw.ac.uk/summerweek>. Places are limited and although we welcome all applications, we will prioritise pupils from SIMD20 postcodes, those with care experience, those with caring responsibilities and those from schools with low progression rates to higher education. The deadline for application is Monday 6 July.

Speak to your Guidance/Pupil Support Teacher for more information.

Update from the Headteacher – Wednesday 17 June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Today I would like to pick up on a few questions that we have received from you.  Although emails from individual families have been responded to directly, the information below may be of use more widely and will hopefully clarify any uncertainty.

I am sorry if my email regarding the supply of stationery has caused any confusion.  Pupils will be supplied with jotters by the school and they will be expected to bring them when they attend for in-school learning.  There is no expectation that families should purchase jotters themselves. Pencils cases containing basic equipment should be brought to school by pupils.  However, the school is able to provide pencil cases to any pupils who may require this support.  Please let me know by email if you would like us to help in this way.

We have had a few phone calls about SQA certificates received by some pupils in recent days.  Please be assured these are not their full exam results; these are due to be issued on 4th August.  These certificates are due to a particular type of award being achieved e.g. Photography at Level 45.  Certificates for such awards are sent out at various points during the session.  Certificates do also list unit results for other courses but these will be converted to National Qualifications in August.

Information from SQA regarding assessment procedures for the new session has yet to be confirmed. I must reiterate how important it is for senior phase pupils to continue to engage with at-home learning until the end of term to allow for a positive start to their new courses.

Although we are still awaiting refunds from travel/insurance companies for cancelled trips, we will endeavour to fully reimburse all families by the end of term.  I thank you for your patience in this respect.

I do hope that the above information is helpful.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson