Update from the Headteacher – 30 October 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I do hope that you and the family enjoyed some time together over the October break.  I am pleased to be able to report that pupils have settled back to their learning and are continuing to comply with all health and safety measures that we have in place.

My weekly bulletin is shorter this week which reflects the fact that we have just returned from the mid-term holiday.  I hope that you enjoy reading our news.  Please continue to let me know if you would like me to include particular topics or areas of interest.

Download: Friday, 30th October

Thank you as always for your support.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Friday 16 October 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

As the half-term comes to a close I would like to thank you for your ongoing support since we reopened our doors to our pupils back in August.  It is quite incredible to see how far we have come as a school community; this has been made possible through the dedication of our staff and with support from our families.  I remain impressed at the way in which our pupils understand why we need them to continue to do all that we are asking them to do to stay safe.

I have attached the weekly update newsletter for you attention, along with a couple of additional papers.

Mental Health Support at Dalkeith High School

Friday, 16th October

Free School Meals and Clothing Grants applications

No doubt we will have further challenges to meet as we move into the winter months but for now I wish all in the school community a safe and relaxing break.  School reopens to pupils on Tuesday, 27th October.

Best wishes,

Allyson Dobson


Dyslexia Scotland News and Information including Free Zoom Events

Update from Mr Gordon, Depute Headteacher – Senior Reports

Dear parent/carer,

Following discussions between the Extended Leadership Team, we have decided that the Senior Phase reports (TR1), due to be issued on Friday 16th October, shall be changed to a full report rather than a simplified tracking report. The main reason for introducing this change is to ensure that parents/carers are provided with a thorough report which highlights the young people’s progress at this early stage of the academic year. One of our many priorities at the moment is to support the Senior Phase pupils during these uncertain times and a simplified tracking report just wouldn’t have provided enough information to effectively communicate this with parents/carers. The full reports will now be issued on Friday 6th November to allow teachers time to write more in-depth reports.

In relation to this change, it will be no surprise that Parents’ Evening will look slightly different for the Senior Phase this year. Parents will still be expected to book a slot online to request a meeting with a classroom teacher on the arranged dates (17th and 25th November), however, this will be for a telephone appointment rather than a face to face meeting. The cover letter which supports the written reports will explain that parents/carers should only request a telephone appointment with a classroom teacher if any potential queries have not been covered in the report itself. The introduction of more thorough reports should, in theory, provide all the information parents/carers need to support their young person and, therefore, minimise the need to request a phone call for certain subjects.

As always, if you have any queries about any of the information above then please don’t hesitate to contact the school directly.

I would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Kind regards,

Shaun Gordon

Depute Headteacher

Celebrating Achievement – Bethan May, 2D1

Congratulations to Bethan May, 2D1. After a successful audition process, Bethan has been offered a place to train on the BBO Junior Ballet Scholars Associate programme starting this month. A fantastic recognition of all her hard work and practise.

Well done Bethan! #DeterminedHappySuccessful

Update from the Headteacher – Friday 9 October 2020

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)

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

Winter PE at Dalkeith High School – Update 8 October 2020

PE at Dalkeith High School – October 2020

The PE department continues to follow educational guidance regarding physical activity.  In order to ensure the safety of all classes, PE lessons will continue outside.  A suggested kit list is shown below.  This will ensure that all students stay warm, dry and are able to enjoy their PE experience.

Waterproof jacket

Warm jumper/ fleece

Hat/ Gloves

Appropriate footwear

A range of outdoor learning activities have taken place so far and the dept will continue to adapt their learning activities based on Covid guidance.  Please note that as we move into the colder weather, student wellbeing is key.  On extremely wet weather days, alternative classroom learning will take place.

If there are financial concerns regarding the cost of purchasing winter PE kit, please contact your child’s pupil support leader.

Update from Fiona Robertson, Executive Director – Children, Young People and Partnerships

I’m writing to thank parents, carers and pupils who are helping keep local people safe and ultimately saving lives by complying with national coronavirus restrictions. I am sure you will appreciate the significant effort of all of our staff working in schools to do the same. However, I also need to stress we must remain vigilant as local cases of coronavirus are rising. As is the case across other areas in Scotland, this is, in part, because of transmission within local gatherings.

We continue to work alongside NHS Public Health and Police Scotland to protect local people.  Please remember the restrictions in place on indoor gatherings in private homes. You should not meet anyone from outside your household inside your home or their home. This ban includes extended family members although you are permitted to provide care or support to a vulnerable person in their home and there are exemptions for childcare and tradespeople doing essential work. The rules on indoor gatherings apply to you and your family, including your young people over the age of 12, so we ask you to help them understand the rules and set an example for them too.

Where there are breaches of the legislation, Police Scotland will engage, explain the legislation and encourage compliance and will use enforcement action as a last resort.

We know that the overwhelming majority of people of all ages are following the rules and realise not meeting friends and family is hard, particularly on young people. However, to reduce the number of transmissions of the virus  and keep schools open, all of us, young and old, need to do our bit by complying with the rules.

Thank you again for you and your family’s continued support.


Fiona Robertson

Executive Director Children, Young People and Partnerships

Update from the Headteacher – 2 October 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,
Please find attached our first weekly newsletter that will provide you with an update of relevant news from the school and wider educational world.  As intimated in an earlier email, we may send out additional emails through the course of the week if important information needs to be shared with you more quickly.
Thank you,
Allyson Dobson