Update from the Headteacher – Monday 25 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carers,

I hope that everyone in the family enjoyed the weekend.

As you will be aware, in normal circumstances we would be issuing pupils with a copy of their new timetable this week in preparation for the start of June.  Due to school closures, arrangements have to be different this year.

Staff will be issued with lists of pupils in their 20-21 sets and new virtual classes will be created in Show My Homework.  Teachers will then contact pupils in their new classes with learning activities for the start of the new virtual timetable.  An indication of the approximate amount of time that pupils should spend on subjects in the new virtual timetable will be given by teachers.

Throughout the course of this week and next, pupils entering S3 to S6 will receive email notification of the subjects to which they have been assigned.  Numbers for a few courses await finalisation so if a subject is missing, clarification will arrive shortly.

Pupils entering S2 will be similarly contacted by subject teachers through Show My Homework.

I am sure that the revised arrangements will allow learning to continue and progress.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Friday 22 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Many thanks for your support throughout this week.  Next week I will provide you with information about arrangements for our pupils to continue their learning throughout the month of June.  Normally pupils would be issued with a physical copy of their new timetable in the last week of May, but obviously this is unable to happen in this way this session due to school closures.  Alternative arrangements will be in place for learning to continue and progress.

I will also share with you the data that we been gathering and analysing in response to our survey seeking your views on our approaches to distance learning.  This data will help to further shape our approaches to distance learning now that we know that we will be continuing with blended learning (in-school and at-home learning) for a period of time.

I hope that you enjoy a relaxing weekend.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Thursday 21 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,
You will no doubt be aware of the announcement made earlier today by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, regarding a phased approach to the lifting of the lockdown restrictions in Scotland.  I have attached the document ‘Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis’ for your information.  I have picked out the key messages from this document, and others relating to the opening of schools, which I have shared with you below:
  • Hub provision will continue for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils throughout the summer
  • A blended model of in-school and at-home learning will ensure almost all children and young people have access to some face-to-face learning from August onwards – there will be a phased approach to bringing pupils back
  • There is a working assumption that a blended model will last until at least to the end of the calendar year in the first instance
  • Consideration is being given on how best to support children and young people who may be unable to attend the main school setting due to health, disability or shielding reasons
  • Subject to public health guidance, teachers and other school staff should be returning to schools at some point during June, to plan and prepare for the new blended model of learning to be implemented from August
  • The start date of the new term will be standardised to 11 August 2020 which will mean an earlier than planned start for some schools – please note that not all pupils will return to the building on that date
  • Next week guidance will be published providing further advice on practical implementation measures for schools
  • All of the above should sit alongside a full risk assessment around the operation of school buildings (and any temporary additions to the school estate) to ensure that they are compliant with all health and safety requirements
I will contact you again next week with any further advice that I might have at that time.
Thank you once again for your ongoing support.  It is good to be able to begin to plan for us to return to school within the parameters set for us by the Scottish Government.
Best wishes,
Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – 20 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

You may have heard reports in the press about a leaked report suggesting a return to school in August.  I have not as yet received any official notification that this will be the case, but I believe that Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, will be making an announcement tomorrow at 12.30pm.  She will be outlining plans for lifting the lockdown and this will include reference to schools reopening.  I would urge you to listen to this announcement if you can.  I will then contact you after this announcement with any further information that I may have by then.

I am sure that you will be as keen as I am to see our young people return to school in a safe manner that does not jeopardise the progress that has been made to suppress the virus.

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – 19 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

The National Parent Forum of Scotland have published a series of documents as part of their ‘In a Nutshell Guides’ which may be of use to parents/carers supporting their young people while they are working at home.

I have attached the guides below.

NPFS_securing_your_devices_E

NPFS_online_safety_E

NPFS_learning-at-home_E

The guides contain very useful, practical advice to support you in your current role.  Please let me know if you have any questions after reading the documents.

Best wishes,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – 18/5/20 – Options for School Leavers

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope that you enjoyed the weekend.  Although today is an in-service day I am still sending you our regular email communication.

Please find below a letter regarding options for school leavers.  As I am sure you will appreciate, the landscape for some will now be very different in terms of possible pathways beyond school.  I hope that some families will find this helpful.

Final Leaflet

Letter final

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Friday 15 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

As we come to the end of another week of working at home, I thought you would like to hear again about what has been taking place in The Hub.  The Hub is open to children of key workers and other more vulnerable members of our school community.  We have even welcomed pupils from other schools in neighbouring local authorities whose parents/carers are key workers in Midlothian.  Please take the time to read about their activities since we last provided you with an update. It is obvious from what they have shared that Dalkeith High School continues to provide a safe, nurturing and happy environment for those who attend.  I would to take this opportunity to thank Ms McInnes and Mr McGlade for the support that they have provided our young people within the past couple of weeks.

The Hub 15.5.20

A reminder that Monday, 18th May is an in-service day for staff.  On that day staff will be working to finalise arrangements for sending information to SQA for the National Qualifications, as well as developing work that will be shared online with pupils in the weeks ahead.

I hope that all in the family enjoy the weekend.

 

With very best wishes,

Allyson Dobson

Update from Headteacher – Support for Families of Children with Additional Needs

Dear Parent/Carer,

Please find below the publication Support for Families of Children with Additional Needs produced by NHS Lothian and Midlothian Council.  The publication provides information about additional or special services for families with children with additional support needs who need more and/ or different help than other children the same age.

Parent Booklet ASN April 2020 PDF

I hope that some might find this useful.

 

Kind regards,

Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Wednesday 13 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I would like to update you on arrangements for sharing preparatory learning activities for the new session.

Currently arrangements are in place through Show My Homework that allow pupils in all year groups to continue their learning for this session. Subject teachers are also able to send preparatory work for next session to pupils currently studying within their department. However, it has been more difficult for teachers to target pupils who will be new to departments and subjects in Session 2020-21. For example, a pupil may have opted to do a ‘crash’ National 5 or Higher in a subject that they are not studying in the current session.

In order to reach this particular group of young people and ensure that all in the senior phase can use this extra time in May to their advantage, preparatory work will be posted through the Noticeboard facility on Show My Homework for those pupils who will be new to departments in the coming session. Attached is an explanation of how to access this learning. Please note that departments will post work as soon as possible but not before Thursday 14 May and it could be a few days after this date in some cases.

Accessing Preparatory Work – SMH

There is no change for young people who are already in communication with a teacher in relation to work for a new course or level. This is an additional method of sharing work for pupils new to a particular subject.

It is important at this point to stress that due to the closure of schools the allocation of pupils to courses is not yet complete. Courses can be over-subscribed and, indeed, lacking in numbers and, therefore, not viable. Learning communication with teachers should not be read as confirmation of a place on a course. Information about the viability of courses will be shared with families as soon as possible.

Kind regards,
Allyson Dobson

Update from the Headteacher – Tuesday 12 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

Now that our pupils have been working from home for a number of weeks, we are keen to hear their views on the distance learning that has taken place.  A survey has been set up to capture their views and a link to the survey can be found below.  This link will also be shared with pupils on Show My Homework but we would appreciate your support in encouraging your young person to complete the survey.

A survey has also be set up to gather the views of parents/carers on our arrangements for distance learning up until now.  The link to this survey can also be found below.

Parent survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VQRJ7V9

Pupil survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VSJGVK8

We would appreciate surveys being completed by the end of the week to allow us to share results with you through the course of next week.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Allyson Dobson