Head Teacher Update 10/3/21

Details of the next phase in our return to school

Dear Parents and Students

I am writing to let you know the details relating to the next phase of our return to school. In last week’s update, I explained that the requirement of a 2m physical distance, and other guidance set by the Scottish Government, restricts the number of students who can be in school at any given time. Taking all of these factors into consideration, we have developed the following plan for attendance in the three weeks leading up to Easter.

Groupings

All students have been allocated to a group – A, B, or C and will be expected in-school on the days and times detailed below. Where possible, we have allocated students to the same group as their siblings. We will let you know your child’s allocated group through a separate communication.

In-school (Hub) Provision

We will continue to provide full-time places in our hub for children of key workers who have previously been allocate a space. However, this will move to the school library. In addition, students attending the hub will go to their normal timetabled classes when their allocated group (A, B or C) is in school.

Senior Phase Students (S4-6) – Pattern of Attendance

Senior Phase Students who are working towards National Assessment are to be prioritised for the three weeks leading up to the Easter Holidays. Their pattern of attendance is detailed below.

Week beginning 15th March (Timetable week 2)

Monday 15th Tuesday 16th Wednesday 17th Thursday 18th Friday 19th
Group A Group A Group B Group C Group A

 

Week Beginning 22nd March (Timetable week 1)

Monday 22nd Tuesday 23rd Wednesday 24th Thursday 25th Friday 26th
Group B Group B Group C Group A Group B
        Group C (P3/4) *

 

Week Beginning 29th March (Timetable week 2)

Monday 29th Tuesday 30th Wednesday 31st Thursday 1st
Group C Group C Group A Group B

* Group C will also attend period 3/4 on Friday 26th March to access the certificated classes they will miss due to the holiday on Friday 2nd April. (This will be their week 2 period 1/2 class.)

Timings of the school Day for S4-6

Time Period
8:45am – 10:35 Period 1/2
10:35am – 10:50am Break
10:50am – 12:50pm (Friday 12:35pm) Period 3/4
12.50pm – 1:35pm Lunch
1:35pm – 3:25pm Period 5/6

 

S1-3 Students – Pattern of Attendance

Students in S1-3 will be brought back into school, on rotation, for one morning each week. This is intended to re-introduce students gradually and safely to normal school routines, support Health and Wellbeing, and support their social re-integration.

Week beginning 15th March (Timetable week 2)

Tuesday 16th March Wednesday 17th March Thursday 18th March
Group A Group B Group C

 

Week Beginning 22nd March (Timetable week 1)

Tuesday 23rd March Wednesday 24th March Thursday 25th March
Group B Group C Group A

 

Week Beginning 29th March (Timetable week 2)

Tuesday 30th March Wednesday 31st March Thursday 1st April
Group C Group A Group B

 

Timings of the school Day for S1-3

Time Period
8:30am – 8:40am DMT
8:40am – 10:35 Period 1/2
10:35am – 10:50am Break
10:50am – 12:30pm Period 3/4

 

Online Learning

Online learning will continue as part of our “Blended Approach”. However, live lessons will only be possible where teachers do not have a face-to-face lesson in school. Therefore, there will now be a mix of live lessons and work set by the class teacher. In addition, we will make extension materials available through teams and the school website.

College Students

Edinburgh College will continue to deliver distance learning on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon through Moodle/Teams. Students, who have a place on a College course, will continue to work from home on work set by the college tutors on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Health and Safety

Two-week timetable rota

Our two-week timetable rota will continue to operate. Although this makes our plans for the next three weeks more complicated, it is necessary to cut down the number of contacts for staff and students and reduce movement around the building.

Face Coverings

All students and staff are expected to wear suitable face coverings at all times while in the school building. This is a change from the position before Christmas, where only Senior Students needed to wear face coverings in class. However, it is vital that everyone complies with this to keep themselves and each other safe.

The School Day

To reduce the potential for crowding, we have had to make some adjustments to the school day. This affects start and finish times as well as break and lunchtimes. The following tables provide details for each year group.

Start/end time and entry points by year:

Year Start Time End Time Entry/Exit
S1 – S3 8:30am 12:30pm * Broomhouse Road and South Gyle Student Entrance
S4 – S6 8:45am 3:25pm Broomhouse Road and South Gyle Student Entrance
Hub students 8:30am 3:25pm School Office Entrance

 

* S1-3 will finish at 12:30pm to avoid overlap with senior students on lunch.

Break and Lunchtime Arrangements

As was the case prior to Christmas, we will continue to ask students to have their break and lunch-time outside. This will support physical distancing and reduce the number of close contacts and the risk of infection. Thankfully, the weather has been a bit warmer recently. However, students should continue to bring outside coats as it can still turn cold at this time of year. In extreme weather, we will put in place a safe, indoor alternative.

Catering Arrangements

Break

We suggest that students bring a snack for break since there will be no canteen service at this time.

Lunch

A canteen service will be available for senior students and those in the hub. Students entitled to a free school meal should pick these up at lunchtime.

Dress Code

As part of re-connecting with the school and re-establishing routines, we would like to return, as far as is possible, to full dress code. However, we understand that individual circumstances may make this more challenging and we will be as flexible as we can be. Please see the school website, if you need a reminder of the school dress code.

https://forresterhighschool.org.uk/school-uniform

Physical Education

Physical Education classes will take place outside and, under current restrictions, students will not be able to access the changing rooms. Students should, therefore come to school dressed for PE (only on the days they have PE).

https://forresterhighschool.org.uk/departments/physical-education

COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing

We will continue to offer asymptomatic testing to senior students and staff, and we would encourage everyone to participate. This programme helps to keep everyone safe and is an important mitigation to support our return to in-school learning. For more information about testing, please see the link on the sidebar of our website or access it directly below.

https://forresterhighschool.org.uk/asymptomatic-testing

Finally, I would like to thank you for the incredible support you have given the school over the last few months and for keeping the young people motivated and engaged. I do not underestimate how difficult this has been and I hope that this next step gives everyone cause for optimism.

We will let you know your child’s allocated group through a separate communication.

I look forward to seeing everyone back at various points over the next three weeks and to the full return after the holiday.

Please note, next week is week 2 on our timetable rota.

Thanks and best wishes

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher

 

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