Update from the Headteacher – 21 August 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

As we reach the end of the first full week of teaching, I am pleased to report that the transition back into school has been relatively smooth.

I have been very impressed by the way in which our S1 pupils have adjusted to life in the secondary school and they have very quickly become an integral part of our school community.  New friendships have been formed, a variety of subjects have been enjoyed and most are finding their way around the building quite easily.  It is a pleasure to have them with us.

I have also been impressed by the way in which all pupils are understanding of the need for the new health and safety measures that we now have in place.  We will continue to evaluate our practice and make necessary changes as needed.

School photographs will be taking place on Tuesday, 25th August for S1 and S4 pupils.  Some pupils may have PE on Tuesday and would be coming into school in their kit in accordance with the instructions given, but on this occasion it would be better for them to wear school uniform for the purposes of having their school photograph taken.  The PE department will amend their teaching programme on Tuesday accordingly.

I wish everyone in the family a relaxing weekend and thank you for your ongoing support.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher 19 August 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am very pleased to report that the school is up and running and our new systems are starting to bed in.  We will continue to review our practice and make any adjustments that might be necessary.  Thank you to parents/carers who have emailed me with feedback on our new procedures.  All feedback is helpful and I would encourage you to continue to do this.

Today I spoke to pupils over the tannoy about the wearing of face coverings in school and on school buses.  Although it is not mandatory at present for pupils to be wearing face coverings, I have been encouraging pupils to do so when moving around the corridors and when travelling on school buses to help add to the measures that we have in place to keep everyone safe.  Scottish Government have intimated that they are looking at this issue and guidance may change.  I will keep you informed of any changes as they are announced.

Normally at this time in the session we would ask families to make a small financial contribution towards certain practical subjects in which pupils produce articles that can be taken home or eaten.  Subjects that this would normally apply to are Art and Design, CDT and Home Economics.  Given the current situation with the economy, I will not be doing this as it may put additional pressures on families at what is already a difficult time for some.  Pupils will still be able to enjoy rich learning in those subjects and funds will be diverted from other sources to support the departments concerned.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher – 17 August 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am delighted that we now have our S3 pupils back in the building and we are once again working to capacity.  The weather added some additional challenges in terms of pupils being outside but all have coped very well.  I am also pleased to report that our S1 pupils are settling in very well and have really benefited from a phased return of all other year groups.

I would like to remind all parents/carers about the necessity of keeping home any young person who is displaying possible COVID symptoms.  I have copied a section from Test and Protect guidance that has been sent to us by the Health Protection Team.

All children, young people and staff must be made aware that they must inform a member of staff or responsible person if they feel unwell with symptoms of COVID-19. 

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A fever/ high temperature
  • A change or loss in taste and/or smell (anosmia).

It is essential that people do not attend school if symptomatic, but instead self-isolate (along with their household) and follow guidance on NHS inform and from Test and Protect.

It is also essential that anyone identified as a contact of someone who tests positive for coronavirus must not attend school and should self-isolate for 14 days.

I am sure that you will have been as concerned as I was by the news that a number of young people who attend 3 separate schools in North Lanarkshire have tested positive for the disease.  The Health Protection Team for the area are now investigating a possible link to an indoor gathering involving a number of young people. I have spoken to our pupils this morning about the need for all to follow the guidance that we have been given to keep everyone in our school community as safe as we can.  I would appreciate it if you could reinforce these messages.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher – 14 August 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

We are delighted to have our S2 pupils return to us this morning and we are very much looking forward to welcoming S3 pupils back on Monday.  The phased return has allowed us to start to evaluate our new systems and procedures as the school begins to return to full capacity again.  Any necessary adjustments will be intimated to all in our school community as and when necessary.

I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that Mrs McGlashan will be retiring from her post as Deputy Headteacher after many years of service.  I am sure that you will join me in wishing Mrs McGlashan a long, healthy and happy retirement.  Mr Knight was appointed to the post of Deputy Headteacher during the school closure and already has been working closely with Mrs McGlashan to ensure a smooth transition.  Further information will be sent to you at the beginning of next week about the staff allocated to each of our four Houses to reflect the changes.

I hope that our pupils enjoy a well deserved break over the weekend after what has been the first week back at school for most.  I have been very impressed with the way in which they have taken their responsibilities to keep everyone in the building very seriously.

With very best wishes,

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher – 13 August 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

We are delighted to be welcoming our Senior Phase pupils back to school this morning.  It is lovely to have the building begin to return to a type of normal.  Pupils who were presented for National Qualifications have now been issued information about the estimates submitted to SQA by the school which will indicate their final grades.  Amended certificates will be sent by SQA in due course.

Tomorrow will see the return of our S2 pupils and we are looking forward to welcoming them back.

Information has been received from Midlothian Council to inform us that BACS payments will continue to be paid to families who are entitled to free school meals until Friday, 18th September.  Further information about arrangements from this date will follow.

Thank you once again for your support as we move towards a full reopening of the school.

Best wishes,

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher 12 August 2020

Download: Covid Risk Assessment – Whole School Version 2 (2)

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am delighted to let you know that we now have pupils back in the building!  Our new S1 pupils arrived this morning and have already experienced the virtual assembly to welcome them to the school and provide them with details about the health and safety procedures that we all need to follow. They are now being given a tour of the school in class groups led by staff supporters.  I am sure that the rest of the day will go well and that they will arrive home with lots of stories about their first day at secondary school.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming our S4/5/6 pupils back into the school tomorrow.  Pupils should arrive in time for a 8.40am but no earlier than 8.30am.  The few pupils who arrive before 8.30am due to the earlier arrival of some of the school buses should remain in the playground until this time.  A reminder that pupils should arrive wearing PE kit if they have this subject on their timetable.  I am aware that this will impact on some senior pupils on a number of days in the week if they have chosen PE as a national qualification.  I apologise for the late notice about this but we only received the guidance on safety measures specifically for PE from Education Scotland at the start of the week.  We will evaluate the situation going forward and make any necessary amendments to arrangements within current health and safety guidelines.

Senior pupils who have opted to take a course at college, or to follow one of the Foundation Apprenticeships, will be released at lunchtime tomorrow as the courses have yet to commence.  The arrangements will also apply to Tuesday and Thursday of the following week.  Please let me know if this causes any family a difficulty and we will accommodate the young person within the school.  Information about arrangements for those courses will be sent in due course.

You will be aware that a change to the system for awarding grades for National qualifications was announced by John Swinney, Deputy first Minister, at the parliament yesterday.  The change means that pupils will now be awarded the grades that were estimated by their subject teachers.  New certificates will be issued by SQA to reflect the final grades, however the school will provide this information as soon as we can.

I have also attached the finalised risk assessment for your attention.  I hope that you will be reassured by the measures that we have put in place to keep everyone as safe as we can.  We will arrange to put some photographs on Twitter over the course of the day to show some of the measures we have put in place.

Thank you once again for your continued support.

Allyson Dobson

Headteacher

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