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Head Teacher Update 27/3/21

Dear Parents and Students

Next week is the final week of our phased return and, although it has been great to see everyone, it has been the most complicated period, so far, for students, parents and staff. There is no doubt that the requirement for 2m distancing, the need to prioritise senior phase students preparing for National Assessment, while maintaining an online learning offer, has put an additional burden on everyone. In trying to meet all of these competing aims, it is likely that the experience over the final three weeks of term has not been ideal for anyone. However, I should acknowledge the outstanding effort by our staff in adapting to a new set of rules at such short notice. I know that they have enjoyed reconnecting with students, face-to-face. They have also found creative ways to keep the two thirds of learners who are not in their class engaged in learning. I also know that the phased return will have put extra strain on parents and students, and I thank you for your continued support.

COVID Asymptomatic Testing (Lateral Flow Test)

During the partial return, staff and senior students have been taking part in a programme of asymptomatic testing. This voluntary programme is to be extended to all secondary students when we return after the Spring Holiday. All students are asked to pick up their test kits next week and to complete their first test prior to return on the 20th April. For more information regarding Asymptomatic Testing please see our sidebar link or follow the link below:

We will send a letter explaining the Asymptomatic Testing Programme on Monday.

Face Coverings

Thank you for your outstanding support in ensuring students arrive at school with a suitable face covering. Although wearing face coverings can be uncomfortable and restrict our normal communication, they are an important measure to keep ourselves safe and to provide a level of confidence to staff and students.

Extension and Study Materials (including online Easter Study Support)

The document (linked below) contains links to support materials for learners at all stages. We would encourage you to make use of these as a reinforcement, an extension to class work, or to help prepare for assessment.

Link to documents:×8

National Qualifications

As part of this year’s Alternative Certification Model, subject teachers are gathering assessment evidence which will enable students to demonstrate their attainment. In line with SQA guidance, various forms of evidence will be considered prior to submitting final provisional grades. Teachers will have ongoing discussions with learners regarding their level of achievement and will let students and their parents know if there are any concerns.

Principles for Assessment

The following principles will underpin our assessment strategy:

  • Students should not be disadvantaged by the current situation nor by the more limited experience they have received this year and last
  • Students should be given every chance to succeed in planned assessment
  • The school must take steps to avoid too great a burden being placed on students by distributing assessment as far as reasonably possible
  • We should give students sufficient warning of larger, important pieces of assessment which will count towards their final grade.

In arriving at a final estimate, the school will:

  • Consider the learner’s journey in its entirety, including a focus on performance at key assessment points
  • Draw on a range of evidence, rather than relying solely on a one-off assessment, while understanding that larger pieces of formal assessment will carry more weight
  • Apply the criteria, outlined by the SQA, in arriving at a judgement
  • Validate judgements through a process of quality assurance at departmental, whole-school and authority level.

Teachers will let students know when they have assessments and we will share an assessment calendar, for larger, more formal pieces of assessment by Friday 23rd April. These assessments will take place between Wednesday 4th May and Friday 4th June.

Final week before the Spring Holiday

A reminder that Thursday 1st April is our last week of term and the pattern of attendance for next week is detailed below.

Week Beginning 29th March (Timetable week 2)

Senior Phase (S4-6)

Monday 29th Tuesday 30th Wednesday 31st Thursday 1st
Group C Group C Group A Group B

Broad General Education (S1-3)

Tuesday 30th March Wednesday 31st March Thursday 1st April
Group C Group A Group B

Finally, the last week of term is week 2 on our timetable rota and, as things stand, we plan to have everyone back after the Spring Break on Tuesday 20th April. I do hope that this will mark the start of the return to normal for everyone.

Thanks and best wishes

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher