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Head Teacher Update 18/2/21

Dear Parents and Students

I am writing today to explain our plan to bring groups of senior students back into school to engage in essential learning in preparation for practical assessment. This is the most complicated change we have so far been asked to put into operation. Although this mainly affects senior students, it will have implications for all students and for how we are able to deliver online learning going forward. Please read on to find out how this will impact your child.

Return to In-school Learning for Senior Students

From Monday 22nd February, we will begin a programme, inviting groups of senior students into school to work on the practical elements of their National courses. In planning this programme, we are restricted to a maximum of 8% of learners being in school at any one time. This is further complicated by the need for students to observe a 2m physical distance, meaning that many classes will be split. Therefore, we are unable to simply bring students in for their timetabled classes. Although we have tried to align this programme closely to our current timetable and worked creatively with our curriculum leaders to minimize the impact on learning for other students, it is unavoidable that some of our teachers will be delivering practical lessons at a time where they were previously timetabled to teach other classes. That being the case, the delivery of online learning will change at different points in the week for some learners. While students will continue to use Teams to access their learning, a blended approach of live lessons and the setting of longer pieces of work and assignments will be used. Consolidation periods for senior students will also be used to give them a chance to catch up with work in other subjects – which they will miss while in school completing practical work.


Rather than share what is an extremely complicated rota with students and parents, students will be informed by their subject teachers, through Microsoft Teams, when they are due in to take part in practical work. We will also send individual emails to let parents and students know the times they will be expected to attend for practical lessons. Parents will receive an individual email for each practical subject they are studying by the end of the day tomorrow (Friday 19th February).

Additional Health and Safety Measures

In her statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 16th February, the First Minister also made it clear that the limited return of senior students for this specific purpose does not mean a return to our normal way of life, and we must be extremely cautious about how we proceed. Additional measures have been introduced to ensure that this partial return can happen safely. Students and staff must now maintain a 2-metre distance whilst in school. As before, masks should be worn at all times by senior students and staff, and by S1-3 students whilst moving around the building. Senior students should enter the building by the main student entrance to avoid contact with younger students attending our in-school provision. In addition, schools are being asked to manage the distribution of Covid Test Kits to staff and senior students who will be coming into school (I will share the details of this in a separate communication to our senior phase students and parents).

In-school provision for key worker and vulnerable children

Our in-school provision for key worker and vulnerable children will continue to operate in a separate area of the school building. From Monday, this will move to the English Department to accommodate practical work taking place elsewhere. Places for this provision have already been allocated on a n individual basis according to the criteria set by the Scottish Government.

Please only send you child to school if you receive an email (S4-6) or if they already have a place in the in-school provision.

Finally, I would ask parents and students to please be patient with us as we implement a significant change to the way we have been working over recent weeks.

Please note, next week is week 1 on our timetable rota, and please continue to give us your feedback using the following link: Online Learning Survey.

Thanks and best wishes.

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher