Head Teacher Update 31/1/21

Dear Parents and Students

When we closed school for the Christmas holidays on 22nd December, little did any of us know that we would still be working remotely and learning online. Next week we enter our fourth week of online learning. We know this situation will continue until at least the middle of February, and we await the First Minister’s announcement on Tuesday 2nd February to provide an update on when we might return to school. This uncertainty is difficult for everyone and we need to support each other and find strategies to sustain motivation.

I should like to remind you of the supports available on our Online Learning Page, including a reminder of the school day and our Student Guide to Learning from Home.

Children’s mental Health Week

Next week (1st to 7th February) is Children’s Mental Health Week. A focus on Mental Health is even more important during lockdown, when our options for activities are more limited. We are also missing the face-to-face contact with friends and family and the normal interaction which are so important for our mental wellbeing.  We all need to remember to take a break, reduce our screen time, and get outside into the fresh air and sunlight. Call a friend – make someone else’s day by giving them a call. Also, if you are worried about your own wellbeing or that of someone you know, please ask for help – contact your Pupil Support Leader, Sarah Ross or use the Online Learning Survey.

LGBT+ History Month

The start of LGBT+ History Month coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week. This month reminds us of the richness and diversity which contribute so much to our community and make Forrester a great place to work.  Our first school value, respect, requires that we all respect each other for who we are.

Our Equalities Group have been busy this session, with a focus on Young Carers in September; Black History Month in October; International Men’s Day and Dyslexia Awareness Week in December. They will be planning a variety of activities over the month of February to support LGBT+ allies, culminating in Purple Friday on the 26th.

Contacting the School during lockdown

A reminder to parents that, if you wish to discuss aspects of your child’s learning, you should make first contact through the school office either by phone: 0131 334 9262 or by email: admin@forrester.edin.sch.uk. Parents should certainly avoid making contact directly with teachers through Teams. This is strictly a learning platform for communication between teachers and their classes.

Online Learning Survey

Thank you to parents and students for using our Online Learning Survey to provide us with feedback. This has helped us to understand what is working well, and also how we can adapt things to suit the way learners want to access their learning. Next week, we will be getting in touch with those who have requested a contact from someone in school. A survey to share your views of Online Learning Week 3 is now open and can be accessed at the following address:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=af6sSGo3tUKfacnke7-5xDnU7AdrbA9FmC-hIjzGFPZUQjlLOEJOUUJCVlNOWDFGVDQ1NU1VQURBNS4u

SQA Update

Please see the link below which will take you to the latest update from the SQA. This update includes information about subject guidance and moving the final date for the submission of provisional grades from Friday 28 May to Friday 18 June 2021.” This is a welcome change which will give us more time for the completion of courses, to carry out assessment and to engage in moderation. It also means that we will have to carefully plan changes to many of our internal timelines.

Link: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/96545.html

Finally, next week we return to week 1 on our timetable rota. The following week (beginning Monday 8th February) is the mid-term holiday which will bring a welcome break for everyone.

Thank you for your continued support and hard work.

Best wishes

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher

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