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Head Teacher Update 5/9/20

Dear Parent


Another busy week passes for everyone at school, as we settle into the rhythm of the new term. On Monday, we implemented updated guidance on the wearing of face coverings in school, and I wrote to you on Monday afternoon to thank you for your support and to say how impressed we were with students’ engagement with this. This week’s update contains further feedback on face coverings, as well as some other important news and information.


Slight change to the school day for S2 and S3.


After discussion with staff and students, we have decided to bring morning break forward for S2/3 to allow a more meaningful block of time in lessons between break and the end of period 1/2. Morning break for S2/3 will now be from 10:00am until 10:15am each day from Monday to Friday. There will be no change for years 1, 4, 5 and 6.




As part of our 1-to-1 digital strategy and in line with our contingency planning, we are now working to issue iPads to all S2 and S3 students. So far, we have distributed 80 iPads to S3 and a further 5 to senior students. Next Tuesday (8th September) we will issue 70 iPads to S2 students as well as some to S3 students who were unable to collect them last week. Like many things at the moment, the process has been more complicated and more time-consuming than in previous years, as we must ensure the safety of our staff and of students and parents collecting devices. There will be a further opportunity to apply for an iPad, once this initial round is complete on Tuesday evening.


Face coverings


Face coverings have become part of our normal daily lives in shops and other public spaces. However, until last week, they have not really featured significantly within school. That is why we are really pleased to see students engaging so positively with this change. It is clear that they want to do their bit to keep themselves and others safe. Given the rise in the number of cases in other parts of Scotland and the UK, it is important that we sustain this good start and that we see face coverings as one of a number of measures which, together, will keep ourselves and our families safe.


As a reminder:


Face covering should be worn:

  • When moving to and from classes
  • During break and lunch time when standing in the social area and when moving to and from the social area

Face coverings will not be required:

  • Whilst outside
  • Whilst sitting in small friendship groups in designated areas
  • During lessons – although the wearing of face coverings is not necessary during lessons, we continue to support those who wish to do so


I would ask you to continue to support the wearing of face covering in school so that this becomes an expected norm for movement around the school.


Keeping safe in school and out


According to Professor Jason Leitch, “the only two things we have in the fight against COVID-19 are Test and Protect and the behaviour of human beings”. Test and protect is working well in Scotland to identify cases and clusters of COVID-19, so that measures can be put in place at a local level. However, in some places and among some demographic groups it is people’s behaviour that increases risk of new outbreaks. The measures we are taking in school will only be successful if young people follow the guidelines and pay attention to health advice, particularly with regard to social gatherings and house parties. I understand that his is particularly difficult for young people because they are young now and also because they have a different attitude to risk. Please continue to support them, as we will, to understand that the greatest risk may not be for them but for the more vulnerable members of their families and communities.


Consultation on Double Periods


As part of our risk management at the start of term, we moved to double periods and a two week rotation of the school timetable. This has greatly reduced the amount of movement around the school as well as cut down on the number of contacts each day for staff and students. We have seen some benefits to this approach, not just with regard to infection control but also in terms of general calmness. However, we are also aware that this approach may have drawbacks in some subjects and for some learners. Mr Ennis has been surveying staff and students to help us understand the benefits and challenges presented by double periods. If your child has not yet had their say, the survey for students can be accessed via the link below.


PE Kit and School Dress Code


To help control the risk of infection, on the days when young people have PE they are advised to wear their PE clothes to school.  For almost all, this is working very well, and students are then also dressed appropriately for their non PE classes.  However, a small number of students have been wearing tops which are not appropriate, and as such are compromised both in the PE setting and in classes.  Please remind your child that ‘crop tops’ should not be worn. They are not appropriate for PE, and are not part of School Dress Code.  Your continued support with this is very much appreciated.


Career Ready S5 Pupils


We are currently in the process of recruiting six S5 students to join the Career Ready programme. This programme involves matching pupils with a mentor from the world of work, attending work based master classes and taking part in a 4 week paid internship. If your child is interested in being part of this programme, please see the link below for more information and get in touch with Mrs Carnegie.


Parent Council (virtual) meeting


Our first Parent Council meeting of the new school session will take place this Tuesday (8 September) from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. These meetings will continue to take place online until restrictions are relaxed.


I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday.


Rotation week 1


Finally, next week we are back to rotation week 1 – that means periods 1, 3 and 5 on student timetables. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


Thanks and best wishes


Stephen Rafferty


Head Teacher