Message from the Headteacher 2 April 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

As we approach the last day of term, we would normally be receiving lots of requests from pupils to have a Dress Down Day.  Given that we have been having many such days since this period of staying at home began, we thought we would encourage pupils to have a reverse Dress Down Day.  In other words,  we are encouraging pupils to take part in a Dress Up Day by wearing their school uniforms at home!  We would love share photos of pupils wearing their school uniforms proudly on the last day of term on Twitter. It would also allow us to show our support for the NHS.  I have attached a photo of Mrs Bain’s cat, Rosie, to start the ball rolling.

Please follow us on Twitter @official_DHS and when pupils/parents/carers tweet they should use the hashtags shown below. I have attached a photo of Mrs Bain’s cat, Rosie, to start the ball rolling.

 

@official_DHS

#DressUp4NHS #StayHome

@midgov

 

Best wishes,

Allyson Dobson

Message from the Headteacher 01 April 2020 – Emergency Provisions

Dear Parent/Carer,
I hope that you and the family have had a positive day overall.
Today I would like to share some information with you that I have received from Midlothian Council regarding supports for families at this challenging time.  The local authority recognises the additional pressures that families are under at present and has collated an information document detailing the supports that are available locally – please see above.
A few members of staff have suggested that the school could be supporting our pupils even more by supplying stationery packs containing items such as jotters, paper, pencils and pens. It may be difficult for families to currently access such resources that are important for learning to continue.  Please let me know by email if you would like us to arrange this for you and we work towards doing this for the start of the new term. I will consider the logistics of distributing the packs to families when I have an idea of the quantities involved.
Again, I would like to thank you for your continued support.
Kind regards,
Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Expectations for Home Learning

Dear Parent/Carer,
I hope all is well with everyone in your household.
I have received one or two emails from parents/carers asking me to clarify expectations for home learning.  I would like to take the opportunity to do so today as we settle into the second week of pupils remaining at home.
I appreciate some of the constraints that families will be working under at this time. Some parents/carers working at home will be juggling the demands of their professional lives with the need to support young people in their learning.  Some families have more than one child in the family and parents/carers will need to divide their time between all.  Not all families will have immediate access to technology/software required to complete the tasks that have been set.
The mental wellbeing of our young people is paramount at this time of great uncertainty.  We must balance the need to support them to progress in their learning with arguably the greater need to keep them well, mentally as well as physically.
The normal school day cannot be replicated exactly at home but I have set out guidelines below that I hope will be of help:
  • As a general guideline, pupils should spend roughly the same amount of time per week on subjects that they would normally be spending in school
  • Pupils will not be expected to complete work over the Easter holiday; however, pupil may still want to continue with some tasks that they enjoy to give them something to focus on
  • Staff will not ask for any tasks to be sent to them over the Easter break and will not be expecting pupils to contact them at this time
  • Pupils who are unwell are not expected to complete work that has been set, nor are they expected to catch up with work that they may have ‘missed’
  • Learning tasks should be balanced with the need for time to relax
  • It is important that all take the opportunity for daily exercise outdoors if they can
I do hope that the above is helpful to you.  I think we need to take a sensible approach to managing the workload of all.
With very best wishes,
Allyson Dobson

Message from the Headteacher – Access to Online Learning

Dear Parent/Carer,
I hope that everyone in the family is keeping well and that you enjoyed a relaxing weekend.
I have now received some information from Midlothian Council with regards to support for families to access technology to support online learning at home.  The Digital Leaning Team have put together a resource for parents/carers that can be found by following the link below:
The portal also contains a form for parents/carers to request a loan of a Midlothian-owned device for the period of closure.  The collection arrangements for these devices will be communicated directly to families, although will be coordinated with Hub staff.
The team is also in discussions with internet providers regarding the loan/gifting of 4G hotspots to support those without internet access, but as yet they do not have a definitive solution to this issue.
I am aware that the technology that families have access to at home may be needed by more than one member of the family, or it may not have the software required to allow pupils to complete the tasks set by teachers, so please take advantage of this offer.  Pupil should contact teachers directly if they are having any difficulties completing tasks that have been set.  We will contact any families without access to technology by phone to let them know of the plans.
I will keep in touch as the week progresses.  I hope that all in our school community stay safe and well.
With best wishes,
Allyson Dobson

Message from the Headteacher – 27 March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,
I wanted to contact you today at the end of our first week of having our young people and their families stay at home.
I am so proud of the many ways in which our school community has pulled together in this time of uncertainty: staff have been providing care for the children of our key workers to allow them to carry out their duties that will be essential to get us all through this crisis; other members of staff have been keeping pupils going with online learning; parents/carers have been supporting learning at home, as well as sending us in messages of encouragement for all that the school is doing at this time, and our amazing pupils have engaged with their learning activities throughout the week.
We are still awaiting details of the arrangements that Midlothian Council  will put in place to support young people who normally receive free school meals throughout the time of school closure.  Until such arrangements are in place, staff who are in school will continue to deliver free school meals to pupils in S1-3 who are entitled to them.  To avoid any unnecessary journeys, it would be helpful if you could contact the school by email to let us know that you would prefer not to take up this offer of help.  Your email should include your child’s name. We will continue to deliver if we do not hear from you.  Today we are delivering almost 70 free school meals and I would like to record my heartfelt thanks to staff for doing this.
Our Pupil Support Team continues to be able to provide support to all of our families; support that may be all the more necessary as we all deal with changes in our normal way of life.  Please do not hesitate to contact the relevant Pupil Support Leader if you require support or advice.  The best way to contact them is to send an email to the school email address and this will be passed on.  Again, it would be helpful if you could note your child’s name in the email.
As you can see from this message and those that I have sent out throughout the week, Dalkeith High School continues to be here for all of our families.  We are a strong, supportive and compassionate school community that will pull together to get us through this difficult period.  This is The Dalkeith Way.
I hope that you enjoy the weekend and I look forward to being in touch with you at the start of next week.
With very best wishes,
Allyson Dobson

Message from the Headteacher 26 March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,
I hope that all in the family are keeping well.  Please pass on my best wishes to our young people.  Staff have informed me that they are very impressed with the way in which our pupils are engaging with the online learning materials.
It is with regret that I now inform you all schools trips due to take place during Term 3 have been cancelled.  Midlothian Council are seeking further clarification and guidance on insurance claims and refunds will be processed as quickly as possible.  I would be grateful if parents/carers could avoid claiming through bank or card providers as costs will be incurred by the school due to fees being levied.  Further information will follow as soon as we have it.
I will continue to keep in touch with you throughout the school closure period.  Please do not hesitate to contact me via the school email address that can be found on the website.
With very best wishes,
Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher 25 March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,
I hope that everyone in the family is well and that you are all finding ways to fill the hours while you are staying at home.
The campus remains open to offer care for the children of key workers employed in the health service and other vital industries.  I am very grateful to the staff who are looking after the young people who are using the ‘hub’ facility and providing them with a calm, reassuring environment at a time of uncertainty.  There are, of course, lots of engaging learning experiences taking place, and an opportunity for young people to form positive relationships with others in the school community that they may not have known up until now.
Online learning through Show My Homework seems to be going relatively smoothly.  Mr Gordon is available to assist with any difficulties you may encounter; the best way to contact him is being emailing the school using the email address on the school website.  Learning materials are also available on the website.
We have now received information from SQA which we posted on Twitter and Facebook yesterday evening.  I have attached the statement that came from SQA and have summarised the main points below:
The main points are as follows:

 

  • Only Nat 5 Coursework already submitted to SQA by the 18th March will be marked by SQA
  • Other Nat 5 Coursework plus all Higher & AH coursework due to be picked up in April & May is not to be submitted by Centres
  • Centres will be asked to provide Estimates to SQA which will inform certification – completed coursework not being sent to SQA can still be considered as part of a suite of evidence when deciding on estimates

 

I do believe that this is the only action that is available to the SQA in the current unprecedented times.
I will continue to update you on matters as they arise but in the meantime I hope you and the family to stay safe and well.
With very best wishes,
Allyson Dobson

Coronavirus update from Midlothian Council

From Midlothian Council.

We have just been informed, Sun 22 Mar, by John Swinney, Depute FM of updated advice to local authorities in relation to S4-S6. As a result of this advice, S4-S6 pupils should NOT go into school for any reason. An exception is vulnerable S4-S6 pupils who access Complex Needs Provision. They should follow individual arrangements already in place for them with their school. Instead, where possible, S4-S6 pupils, should finish their course work at home and schools will make arrangements to provide further guidance and support to S4-S6 pupils in due course. Schools, as of tomorrow, Mon 23 Mar, will be working with staff to plan this support. Further details will be coming from SQA about how pupils’ quals and achievements will be graded in the light of this latest decision announced today by Mr Swinney.

Link to announcement

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-51987906