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Head Teacher Update 7/11/21

Dear Parents and Students

It’s hard to believe that it is already two weeks since half term, and the change to single periods. While there are obvious benefits to working in this more ‘normal’ way, such as brining a greater variety to the school day and increased frequency of lessons, it will take a bit of getting used to for those who have not worked this way before – our S1 and S2, and many of our staff. Also, the increased movement may make the school day more tiring.


Although learning has been disrupted over the past two years, students and staff are working hard to make up for lost time. As well as teaching programmes within their own subjects, teachers are working hard to identify and plug any gaps in learning. These gaps will be different for different groups and individual learners, depending on their experience over the last couple of years.

School attendance has never been more important and, although some absence is unavoidable, students must attend school regularly if they are to achieve academic success and fulfil their potential. For more information, please follow the link below to our attendance leaflet.

S1 Parents’ Night

Last Tuesday, we had our first Parents’ Evening of the year and, although the network was unable to support video calls, it was great for teachers to make their first contact with S1 parents by phone. Evaluations show that parents seemed to prefer audio rather than video calls.


Unfortunately, COVID numbers continue to be high and the expected relaxation of measures in schools, after the October Holiday, has not happened. We thank students and parents for continuing to support safety by wearing face coverings inside the school building. Unfortunately, we must also continue go outside for break, unless it is raining heavily. As the weather gets colder, students should remember to bring a jacket and warm clothing.

Asymptomatic Testing and Vaccination

As we come into winter, the Scottish Government is expressing concern about the pressure on the NHS due to the high number of COVID cases and other seasonal illnesses. We have, once again, been asked to promote vaccinations and regular asymptomatic testing. Information about COVID vaccines can be found here. Lateral Flow test kits can be collected from the school office and instructions are available on the school website here.

Trip to the Scottish Parliament (Message from Mr Wright)

Our senior Modern Studies students visited the Scottish Parliament this week. We are the first school to visit in-person since lockdown and our students were warmly welcomed by Parliament education staff. 

After a briefing about how Parliament holds the First Minister to account, we were shown around the debating chamber. Finally, students had an audience with two local MSPs: Alex Cole-Hamilton and Jeremy Balfour. 

Our students demonstrated their understanding of the democratic process and gave both MSPs a real grilling! They posed excellent questions about changes to laws on immigration, reproductive rights and autism. The MSPs were obviously delighted with the high standard of debate and were pleased to see our young citizens back in Parliament.

Thanks to our student teacher Gemma Anderson for supporting this visit.

Water of Leith Field Trip (Message from Mrs MacLean)

Well done to our senior Geography students for the way they conducted themselves, the hard work and team spirit they displayed on our geography field trip with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. It was pretty chilly for them being in the river all day but they showed great spirit and humour.

They were great ambassadors for the school and their efforts were praised highly by the Outdoor Learning Officer, Ruth Prince.

National Qualifications

Our first assessment window opens on Monday 8/11/21. Subject teachers will have advised senior students of the dates and content of their assessments. These first formal assessments will provide an early opportunity for students to demonstrate what they are capable of. It will also give teachers a chance to assess what has been learned and what needs a bit more work. Students will have a further two assessments to consolidate, or recover, their grades.

Staff absence

This week, we will implement some changes to our science timetable to minimise the impact of staff absence on learners. This means that some classes will have a temporary change of teacher.

Finally, I should draw your attention to the following calendar events:

  • Parent Council Meeting – 9/11/21
  • Issue of S4-6 tracking reports – 17/11/21
  • S4-6 Parents Evening – 24/11/21

Thanks and best wishes

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher