Update from the Headteacher – Friday 9 October 2020

SQA
Earlier this week an announcement was made in the Scottish Parliament by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland regarding the SQA exam diet for 2021. Exams have been cancelled for National 5 courses but will remain in place for Highers and Advanced Highers. National 5 courses will now be awarded on the basis of teachers estimates formed through the gathering of evidence throughout the school session. The SQA will work with schools throughout the year providing guidance and feedback to teachers on the correct standards for each grade. Further information will be issued by the SQA in the coming weeks to support schools with this approach. Content has been removed from courses at all levels to mitigate against the possible loss of learning time in the months ahead. Exams for Highers and Advanced Highers will begin two weeks later than normal, again to increase the time available for learning.

I am pleased that we now have clarity about the way ahead and this will allow our pupils and staff to know what they are aiming towards. The school will continue to provide updates as we receive more detailed information from SQA.

Contingency Plan
All schools in Midlothian have been asked to produce a Contingency Plan to explain to families the actions that the school will take to address challenges that we may face in the months ahead. It is the aspiration of all schools to remain open and provide pupils with full-time in-school education, however the safety of all in the school remains the priority. Please take the time to read the Contingency Plan for Dalkeith High School which is below.

Download: DHS Contingency (1)

PE
As PE classes continue outside, we would like to provide a suggested kit list in order to ensure students remain warm, dry and safe whilst working outdoors. The following items will ensure your child can participate in Covid-safe activities, continue to develop their wellbeing and enjoy their PE experience:

• Waterproof Jacket
• Fleece or warm jumper
• Hat/Gloves
• Appropriate footwear

Any family who is concerned about the financial impact of purchasing these items should email me to request support.
As always the PE department will continue to review educational guidance and look to provide alternative wellbeing activities. Please look for more information on the school website.

DHS Bees
With summer now a distant memory, it is almost time to put DHS’s first colony of honey bees to bed for the winter. Having arrived in July courtesy of our newly formed partnership with Newbattle Beekeepers Association, the colony has gone from strength to strength and it is incredibly hypnotic to sit on a sunny day and watch them zip in and out of the hive on their quests for nectar and pollen. Our senior class of budding beekeepers have all honed their skills in manipulating bees on the frames and have watched baby bees chewing their way out from their wax capped cells, marked our queen so we can more easily find her and have extracted and jarred a small amount of honey. We have provided plenty of food so the colony has enough winter stores to see them through the cold, dark months ahead and we are eagerly awaiting the spring so that we can split the colony currently occupying “Buzzingham Palace” to provide a second hive for our BGE pupils to take charge of. If you’d like to read more about our learning and successful partnership with NBA then please take a look at https://newbattlebees.org/Dalkeith-High-School-Bee-Project

Thank you for your ongoing support as we chart our way through a very unusual year.

With very best wishes,
Allyson Dobson