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Head Teacher Update 19/10/20

Dear Parents and Students

Many thanks to staff, students and parents for their hard work, in the toughest of circumstances,  during this first half term. Thank you to our staff for digging deep, and for being flexible and creative whilst working under extremely demanding conditions. Special thanks to our students for maintaining a positive outlook and supporting us to lead their learning and to keep everyone safe, despite the uncertainty around what the year ahead might look like. Thank you to our parents for the great support and encouragement you have given, for sending the young people off in the morning with the right equipment for the right week, and for making sure they have a face-covering.

Show Racism the Red Card and Black History Month

As part of our celebration of Black History Month, we came together as a community, on Friday 16/10/20, to Show Racism the Red Card. Thanks to everyone for their enthusiastic participation and excellent support. Please follow the link below for an account of some of the other work done during Black History Month.

Our fantastic equalities group also produced a video to support Black History Month which can be accessed through Office 365 at the following link. (All students should be able to access the link.)

S1 Online Parents Night

We had planned to have our first parents evening online this year. However, we have come up against some technical difficulties, connected with the Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, this is a city-wide issue which cannot be resolved in time for the S1 Parents Evening planned for the 27th October.  We will therefore have to cancel this event and look for an alternative solution. We are grateful to the group of parents who have been supporting our trials of the system.

SQA update

There is no doubt that there has been a great deal of uncertainty around what qualifications and assessment will look like this year. Although we have been given a bit more clarity about some aspects of SQA’s requirements, our teachers are still waiting for detail relating to specific subject areas. We will, of course, continue to follow and adapt to updated guidance as it is issued by SQA.  Please see below for some of the detail we do now have.

National 3 & 4, and National Progression Awards

Subject guidance for courses at these levels has now been provided by SQA and teachers are adjusting their plans to take account of changes.

National 5

We now know that there will be no end of year exam for National 5, and that SQA will not mark any coursework undertaken throughout the year. Further guidance for all subject areas will be issued towards the end of October, ensuring students, teacher and parents know what assessment processes they will have to follow throughout the year. We will update you once we are given more detail.

Higher and Advanced Higher

Final examinations are still being planned for these levels, although the exam diet will start slightly later than normal – 13th May. Changes have also been made to all courses at Higher and Advanced Higher levels, and our teachers are carefully planning to ensure students are well prepared for these changes.

We will continue to follow advice and apply the changes issued by SQA to ensure our students are in the best possible place to progress at each level. Due to the ongoing restrictions, we will most likely have to adapt our usual plans for gathering evidence at key points in the year. There will be more of a focus on continuous assessment which will be carefully planned to ensure students do not feel overwhelmed. We have been working hard to make sure students understand the importance of the work they do from the outset, encouraging all to get off to a strong start.

Please see National Qualifications 2020/21 page on the SQA website for updates.

Health and Safety update

With the rising number of positive cases and an increase in restrictions, it will be important to reinforce our own safety procedures, such as the wearing of face-coverings, one-way systems, hand washing and social distancing. Our Senior Leadership Team will visit classes, when we return, to remind students of the arrangements we have in place to keep everyone safe and to share any updates that might be required. 

I look forward to seeing everyone back safe and well after the holiday. We start back with week one of our rotation on Tuesday 27 October.

Thanks and best wishes.

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher