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Head Teacher Update 19/5/21

Dear Parents and Students

Time has flown since my last update, and we find ourselves in the middle of one of the busiest terms the school has ever faced. I must say a huge thank you and well done to staff, students and their family for the way everyone has returned to the, almost, normal pattern of attendance. This has taken a huge effort by everyone and although our two-week rota and other Covid-19 restrictions remain, the school really feels like a proper community once again. I’m glad to say that everyone is doing their bit to stay positive and to keep each other safe.

Eid Mubarak (belated)

Best wishes to all students and their families who celebrated Eid al-Fitr on Thursday 13th May.  Eid al-Fitr means ‘festival of breaking the fast’ and takes place when Ramadan ends – signaling that the daily fasting is over and the next month (Shawwal) begins. In the Muslim tradition, Eid is a time for family, celebration and community.

National Qualifications (Alternative Certification Model)

Assessments for our Alternative Certification Model (ACM) got underway on Wednesday 5th May. The in-class assessments are going well, and I would like to congratulate senior students on their incredibly positive approach and engagement in their various subjects. We understand this is not an ideal situation and want to support students in any way we can.

There has been a fair amount of discussion in the media about different approaches to the ACM, the additional stress on learners and the validity of this year’s qualifications. The joint statement, linked below, from organisations working across Scottish Education provides helpful clarification and reassurance about these issues.

Duke of Edinburgh – Current Bronze and Silver Groups

I am delighted to let you know that the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is back up and running. Meetings will be planned soon for groups to catch-up. In the meantime, it is important that students continue to work on the various sections so that they can receive their awards. 

Health and Wellbeing Survey

In a survey conducted last week, most students reported that they were doing okay (many feeling great, most of the time) and that they enjoyed a sense of belonging and being part of the school community, since returning to in-school learning. However, there are still some young people who are “struggling a bit” or feeling “more down than up” about being back at school. This is understandable, given that we were locked down and isolated from each other for so long.  The return to the busyness of school – with lots of people, following a timetable and being less able to do things at your own pace – was always going to be difficult.

Please continue to get in touch if you are worried about levels of stress or anxiety now that we are back in school.

As we slowly return to `normal’ we are looking for our young people to return to normal school routines as we believe these will help foster positive minds and attitudes after such a long time of change and uncertainty.

The things we feel will help our young people include the following:

  • Arrive in good time for the start of their school day fully prepared for their learning experiences
  • Arrive on time for classes after lunch and break
  • Face coverings are on and a backup in their bag, until such times as the guidance on this changes
  • School iPad fully charged (if a young person has yet to sign up for one, please encourage them to speak to their House Pupil Support Leader)
  • Something to write with (sometimes `old’ school is still the order of the day)
  • Other necessary equipment/materials as determined by their timetable
  • Suitable and appropriate dress code on days without PE
  • Acceptable PE kit on days with PE, understanding that most lessons until mitigations change are outdoors
  • Outerwear to protect during outdoor breaks and lunchtimes, weather determined

Please note, no one is expected to go out and buy school kit at this stage in the term.

Your help in all of the above would be hugely appreciated and will massively support the school staff team to maximise their contribution to getting back to `normal’.

Looking ahead to the final 5 (and a bit) weeks of term.

Please find below some key dates in the run-in to the summer.

  • Monday 24th May – Victoria Day Holiday Monday
  • Tuesday 25th May – In-service/marking day
  • Wednesday 9th June – In-service/marking day
  • Wednesday 9th June – S1 Reports issued to parents
  • Monday 14th June – Change of Timetable
  • Friday 25th June – Term ends Friday (12:00pm)

The last day for senior students is still to be decided, along with any celebrations we are able to have. We are currently awaiting guidance from the City of Edinburgh Council.

Finally, next week is week two in our timetable rota.

Thanks and best wishes.

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher