Dear Parents and Students
The half-term break has come just in the nick of time, giving everyone a chance to catch their breath and to recharge their batteries. The first six weeks of term have been as difficult as any since the pandemic began. High levels of staff and student absence have meant that learning has been disrupted and disjointed. Although we were not always able to put staff with the correct subject specialism in front of classes, I am pleased to say that we managed to remain open throughout. We also avoided sending classes home or to the hall for cover. I thank students for their patience and, for the most part, their positivity when things were less than ideal. I thank parents for their continued support and understanding, and I thank staff for going over and above every day.
This update contains information about:
- Empowered Learning Project (iPads)
- Extra-Curricular Clubs
- Success in Writing
- Face coverings
- Dress code and PE Changing
- Edinburgh School Uniform Bank
- SQA National Qualifications
- Study Support
- Safe parking and use of disabled parking spaces
Empowered Learning Project
During the week beginning 10th January, Forrester successfully rolled out our Empowered Learning Project, giving all learners access to a 1-to-1 iPad. To complete this in one week, particularly during such a disrupted time, was a fantastic achievement and I am grateful to Mr Bouziotopoulos (George), Mr Ennis and Mr Hunter.
Many extra-curricular clubs and study support classes are back up and running across the school. Huge thanks to our staff, parent helpers and other partners for making this happen and for providing such a range of opportunities for wider achievement. These include basketball, table-tennis, dance, swimming, water-polo, judo, football, science club, reading club, Escape – Connect – Relate, board games, and Duke of Edinburgh – to name but a few.
Success in Writing
Congratulations to the following Forrester students for having their reviews published in the latest edition of Teen Titles (the book review magazine for teenagers).
- Sampoorna Biswas
- Grace Chukwu
- Zoe Greenshields
- Kaitlin Grieve
- Mara O’Kane
Although the current edition (79) is not yet available online, previous editions can be accessed at the following link.
Removal of the requirement to wear face coverings
The Scottish Government are removing the requirement to wear face coverings in classrooms, with effect from Monday 28th February. This news is most welcome and marks a significant milestone in the easing of COVID restrictions. Please note, we will continue to have to wear face coverings when moving around corridors and public areas of the school.
Return to use of the PE changing rooms
When we return from the February Holiday, the PE changing rooms will be back in operation and students will no longer be required to come to school in their PE kit.
With the return to changing for PE, we now expect students to wear dress code to school each day. Hopefully, this will be less confusing and leave little room for doubt. A reminder of our dress code:
- Black or white Forrester polo shirt, or shirt and tie
- Black Forrester Jumper or Black Jumper (no logo)
- Black trousers/skirt
- Black shoes or trainers
- White shirt with Forrester tie
- Black trousers/skirt
- Black shoes or trainers
Please be assured, we do not want parents to have to buy new uniform at this stage of the year, but we do want to support a return to full dress code as much as possible. Please contact Sarah Ross, our Pupil Support Officer, if you need any help with this.
Sarah can support with uniform and other items, as necessary. Please also see information and link below to the Edinburgh Uniform Bank.
Edinburgh School Uniform Bank
Edinburgh School Uniform Bank provides free new school uniform to children and young people who are referred by a professional who knows the family. This could be a teacher or support worker at school, a health visitor, a family support worker or social worker, a youth worker, a Maximise worker or someone similar. Please ask them to visit the website www.edinburghuniform.org to find out how to refer.
The Uniform Bank also provides batches of excellent quality nearly-new school uniform to schools and community groups for them to pass on to local families. This could be through a swap shop, a sharing rail, a pop-up uniform event or something similar, depending on covid restrictions. Please ask your school, youth club or community group if they have a supply of nearly-new clothing or if they would like Edinburgh School Uniform Bank to support them with this.
As a registered charity, Edinburgh School Uniform Bank is independent from the Council and they rely on the support of local people and businesses. To find out how you can help by donating uniform or funds, volunteering or fundraising please visit www.edinburghuniform.org
School Holiday Payments
Please see message below regarding School Holiday payments and Scottish Child Bridging Payments.
The Scottish Government funds additional payments for families with an income-based eligibility to Free School Meals. They are free school meals payments during school holidays and Scottish Child Bridging Payments.
If you have applied for and been awarded free school meals and a clothing grant, payment will be made automatically using the payment details we currently hold for you. You do not need to make a separate application for these payments.
If your bank details change, you must tell us immediately using our contact form.
Both payments are made just before a school holiday, except the February mid-term break where only a holiday payment is made.
Payments for each holiday will be
- October mid-term break – paid on 11 October 2021
- Christmas holiday – paid on 6 December 2021
- February mid-term break – to be paid by 18 February 2022 (holiday payment only – no bridging payment)
- Easter holiday – to be paid by 8 April 2022
- Summer holiday – to be paid by 1 July 2022.
Pre-school/nursery aged children are not eligible for this payment. The Scottish Child Payment is available for children under the age of 6. Find out more about this payment on the Scottish Government website.
SQA National Qualifications
Exams for SQA National Qualifications are expected to take place between April 26th and June 1st this year. Exams will only be cancelled if public health advice restricts physical gatherings at the time the exams are due to take place. However, in recognition of the widespread disruption to learning over the last two years, the SQA have made changes to the content of subjects and will provide revision support for every course that has an exam.
Please see the following links (including explanations, FAQs and support video) for learners 2022 exam support – information for learners (sqa.org.uk) and for parents 2022 exam support – information for parents and carers (sqa.org.uk)
Please contact your class teachers, curriculum leader or Pupil Support Leader if you require more information or support.
SQA Exam Timetable: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/files_ccc/nq-2022-exam-timetable.pdf
e-Sgoil is a fantastic online Learning platform, containing resources and live webinars, produced by the Scottish Government to support students studying towards National Qualifications. Unfortunately, e-Sgoil can only be accessed through GLOW. Last week, we sent usernames and passwords to all senior students who have not yet logged-in to Glow – please check your school email for this information.
Students who have previously logged-in to Glow will continue to use their old account details, and can reset their passwords, if necessary.
Please see our help page at the link below.
West OS is another excellent resource which students will find extremely useful in the run up to the final exams. It contains video lessons relating to most topics across a wide range of National Qualifications.
Please follow the link below for more information and a link to individual subject areas.
As well as this online study support, we plan to host Easter Study School and Study Lates (in addition to our regular departmental study support). More details to follow, after the holiday.
It is important that when parents visit our school, either to drop off or pick up their children, that they do so with due care and attention. Inconsiderate and dangerous parking is increasingly causing problems in our school grounds, putting the safety of students and others at risk.
I have received complaints in recent weeks from disabled drivers who have been unable to find a space in the disabled parking area. Parents should not come through the gates to park closer to the school but, instead, use the main carpark. Parking restrictions apply in the school grounds to ensure the safety of students, allow safe access to the home/school transport service, provide parking for goods deliveries, ensure adequate parking for disabled drivers, and provide unhindered access to emergency services.
What can you do to keep everyone safe?
- Block the road – emergency vehicles, disabled drivers and other vehicles may need access
- Park on yellow lines, zig-zags or block the school entrance
- Park on the pavement, grassed areas or across kerbs/paths
- Park opposite or within 10 metres of a junction
- Park where you will cause inconvenience
- Stop in the middle of the road to drop your child off
- Leave your vehicle with the engine still running
I would ask for your support to address this issue and to help make our grounds safe for everyone. Hopefully, we can create a culture where students’ safety is a priority for all and where unsafe, and inconsiderate parking is avoided.
Finally, thank you again for your continued support. Please enjoy a well-earned rest and I look forward to seeing everyone back safe and ready to go on Monday 21st February.
Thanks and best wishes