Head Teacher Update 6/10/20

Dear Parent

It has been a couple of weeks since my last update and things have continued to move quickly in the wrong direction with regard to the suppression of COVID-19 and the impact this is having on all of our lives. It may well be the case that this update is superseded by events over the next few days.

Black History Month

October is Black History Month and our Equalities Group are leading the celebrations and raising of awareness.

This national celebration aims to –

  • Promote and celebrate Black achievements and contributions to British society.
  • Develop an understanding of Black history in general, as Black history is something that many of us may not know much about.
  • Help us to educate ourselves and stand up to and challenge racism in society (know the past and shape the future!)

The group have produced fantastic posters and board displays as well as a PowerPoint which has been shared with all students. To view the PowerPoint, please click on the following link:

https://forresterhighschool.org.uk/black-history-month

P7 Transition Video

We are launching this year’s P7 to S1 transition with a virtual tour of the school. I must thank all staff for the time and effort they have put in to producing videos, which introduce young people to Forrester and highlight the great work across the school. The video can be accessed at the following link and our P7s will also have a chance to watch the it in their own schools.

https://sway.office.com/zaTsTMNH6Yf3kYCh?ref=Link

Parking in the Forrester Park Drive Area (pick-up and Drop-off)

We have been asked by Residents’ Association members to appeal to parents to avoid picking up and dropping off from Forrester Park Drive, opposite the school. This is causing difficulty for residents and has been raised as a safety concern.

e-Sgoil Study Support 2020

The Scottish Government has supported the production of e-Sgoil, an online learning platform to support educational recovery for students. e-Sgoil offers a wide range of real-time, interactive Study Support sessions (45 minute live webinar lessons for a range of National 5 and Higher courses) to help consolidate school-based learning. Students can log-in and access resources and supports using their GLOW passwords which they can get from any subject teacher.

The following link will take you to the e-Sgoil website, for more information about the study support available.

http://www.e-sgoil.com/studysupport2020/e-Sgoil

Pupil Support (Guidance) Team

Mrs Flannigan-Brown is now on Maternity leave. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her back in school next summer. In the meantime, Eilidh McLaren is covering Burns House from Monday to Friday, and can be contacted about any issues relating to Burns’ students.

Helen Kennedy will now also be working in Pupil Support this year. Miss Kennedy will cover Telford House on a Monday and Redpath House on a Friday. I realise that this makes the picture quite complicated and therefore it may be helpful to see the table below.

House Pupil Support Leader (First point of contact) SLT link
Burns Eilidh McLaren (Monday – Friday) John MacPhie
Redpath Kate MacPhie (Monday – Thursday), Helen Kennedy (Friday) Martin Ennis

 

Telford Jacqui Forbes (Tuesday – Friday), Helen Kennedy (Monday) Karen Scott

 

 

Closing the Gap Recovery Teacher

We were delighted to welcome Calum Sinclair, our Closing the Gap teacher, who joined us last Wednesday. Mr Sinclair will be working closely with the Support for Learning team and our Curricular Leaders to identify and support the recovery of learning for those students adversely impacted by the current situation.

Career Ready

Despite the restricted conditions brought about by the Global Pandemic, I am delighted to say that our Career Ready Programme continues. This programme matches young people with a mentor from industry. Eight of our S6 students will attend a Virtual Career Ready Masterclass on Wednesday.

Duke of Edinburgh

On Friday, we received a certificate celebrating the social contribution Forrester students have made over the past year through their engagement in the DofE Award.  This success would not be possible without the support and commitment of the fantastic staff leader team at Forrester, and we thank them for the time and commitment they give to supporting this Award.

SQA

The SQA have not yet finalised guidance for how assessment leading to qualification will proceed this year. Indeed, they are currently consulting with Parent Councils to gauge support for different models. Our own Parent Council have been discussing views and actively participating in this consultation. Although this position makes it incredibly difficult for staff and students, we will endeavour to keep you informed of any update.

Health and Safety

As the number of positive cases continues to rise in Edinburgh and across Scotland, staff are working incredibly hard to support learning whilst keeping everyone safe. Although we must focus on ensuring progress in learning for all students, safety continues to be a high priority for everyone. Thank you for your support in ensuring that almost all students are arriving with face masks and coverings. We are all working hard to promote the habit of putting a covering on when moving through the school and public areas and greatly appreciate your support with this.

Two-week Rotation

It is likely that our two-week timetable rotation will continue to operate for some time. We are aware that working in this way means that students will not have all their subjects as regularly as would normally be the case. This means, more than ever, that students will need to take responsibility for their own learning, consolidation and study. We will all have to support our young people to develop resilience and an ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Issuing iPads and preparing materials on Office 365 is a part of that but we will also have to support young people to develop positive attitudes and mindsets which will help them to be successful in these very testing times.

Keeping us informed

It is now more important that ever to keep the school informed if your child or someone they are living with develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive. Please follow the link below for advice on:

  • symptoms
  • close contacts
  • physical distancing
  • positive cases

NHS Lothian link – https://www.nhslothian.scot/Coronavirus/Parents/Schools/Pages/default.aspx

We have also been asked to promote the Trace and Protect app (NHS Protect Scotland) and encourage all those over 18 to install this on their phone. For more information please follow the link below.

https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/test-and-protect

And finally, we are anticipating further announcements, from the First Minister today and from the Deputy First Minister later this week, which may impact our plans going forward. As ever, we will respond to any updated guidance, in line with the City of Edinburgh Council, and keep parents informed of any major changes affecting students and their families.

Thanks, and best wishes.

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher

 

 

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