Head Teacher Update 26/9/21

Dear Parents and Students

It has been some time since my last update and, although life in the outside world seems to be returning to somewhere near normal, COVID is continuing to put considerable pressure on our school operations. With increased case numbers and associated staffing issues, the last three weeks have been as challenging as any during the course of the Global Pandemic. Nevertheless, our staff and young people continue to be determined to make the best of things.

I am writing today with some update regarding:

  • Extra-curricular activities and clubs
  • European Day of Languages
  • Our new Senior Team,
  • National Qualifications
  • Going out for Lunch

Extra-curricular

Things are starting to open up for young people again in the wider community and, although we are more restricted in schools, it’s good to see our extra-curricular sport and physical activity programme back up and running. An outline of what is on offer at lunchtime and after school can be found at the following link:

https://forresterhighschool.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Forrester-Active-Schools-Sep-2021.pdf

Our Languages and Science clubs have also resumed, along with a range of after school study support classes.

Our Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is back in action, with Bronze candidates already completing two practice, day walks – on Wednesday 15th and Friday 24th September. They are working towards an overnight expedition from 8th to 9th October and we wish them all the best and hope for a continuation of the good weather.

European Day of Languages 26th September

On Monday 27th September, we will celebrate European Day of Languages as a way of promoting awareness of the importance of language learning and of protecting our rich, linguistic heritage. Everyone will start the day with a presentation in class and students will host stalls in the Social Area to share their language with others.

Everybody deserves the chance to benefit from the cultural and economic advantages language skills can bring. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, the ability to multitask, and better listening skills. Learning language is also a good way of developing empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Learning other peoples’ languages also helps us to understand each other better and overcome cultural differences.

New Senior Team

I am delighted to announce our new Senior Team who successfully negotiated a rigorous selection process, including application and interview. The successful candidates are listed below:

  • School Captain – Hannah Marshall
  • Vice-Captain – Ellie Eunson
  • Burns Captain – Emma Stafford
  • Redpath Captain – Ben Tweedale
  • Telford Captain – Calum Taylor
  • Cross-House Captain – Amina Gulzar

They really are as strong a group of young people as you could find anywhere, and they, together with their fellow S6 students, have already begun to make a difference and contribute across the school.

School Photos 29/9/21

On Wednesday 29th September, our school photographer will join us to take photos of all S1, S4 and S6 students. As well as enabling us to update our student records, this gives parents the chance to purchase their child’s school photo. Buying a school photo is entirely optional and there is certainly no hard-sell from us – the school does not make money from the sale of photos.

National Assessments 2021-22

Currently, the SQA exams for National Qualifications are due to take place from Tuesday 26 April until Wednesday 1 June 2022. Results day will be Tuesday 9 August 2022.

However, the SQA have developed contingency plans, in case the exams cannot go ahead. Please see the following link for more details: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/98798.html

We are well-prepared to react to any changes and have planned our own assessment to support young people, regardless of future situations.

Like many schools, we have moved away from traditional prelims towards a more continuous, wholistic approach to assessment. This takes away the pressure of a one-off, high-stakes exam but does mean that young people have to work continuously throughout the course.

With no prelims, in the traditional sense, student progress and attainment will be tracked as the year progresses. We have also identified three formal assessment windows where teachers will gather attainment information. These are as follows:

Assessment block 1 – 16th Feb (Tuesday return) to 26th Feb

Assessment block 2 – 22nd March to 1st April (Thursday finish)

Assessment block 3 – 26th April to 7th May

Individual, subject assessments have been gathered in an Assessment Calendar linked below:

Forrester National Qualifications 2021-22 Calendar

This calendar is a live document and will be updated, as required – students should speak to their teachers and keep a regular check on it. The third assessment window needs to be flexible and will be populated, as teachers determine appropriate content, in light of information gained from the first two assessment blocks.

Young people will be kept up-to-date in departments and will know, well in advance, what is expected of them.

Going out for Lunch

Traditionally at Forrester, S1 are allowed to go out for lunch after the September Weekend. While this brings less congestion in the school canteen, it also brings concerns about road safety and conduct in the community. All students are reminded to use the pedestrian crossings, to put all rubbish in bins and to enhance the good reputation of themselves and the school.

Finally, on Monday 27th September, we return to week 1 on our timetable rotation – that’s periods 1,3 and 5.

Thank you all for your continued support and for helping to make it a great start to the session.

Best wishes

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher

 

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