Head Teacher Update 8/1/21

Dear Parents and Students

We are looking forward to re-connecting with students next week, even if it is just online for now. I am writing today to give you an update on some of the things we have been working on, in school and at home, to get ready for our online learning starting next week.

Online learning

As you know, learning will be online for the remainder of January, at least. Therefore, we need to make sure that everyone is ready, knows what to expect and knows how to access their learning. During online learning, our two-week rotas will continue and students will follow their timetables as normal (starting on 11th January with week 2). We will continue to have three double periods per day, although the timings have been changed slightly, as detailed below.

Period 1/2 8:40am – 10:35am

Period 3/4 10:50am – 12:40pm

Period 5/6 13:30pm -15:25pm

All learning will be accessed through Microsoft Teams and it will be important to be logged on at the right time to take part in lessons since these will be interactive. Two-way video is enabled and may be used to support learning in some circumstances. However, staff will ask students to ensure their videos and microphones are switched off at the start of each lesson. Lessons can also be recorded by staff so that students can refer back to content in their own time. If a recording is made by staff, it will be uploaded to the Teams channel at a later stage. Students must follow the rules set out in our guides and in the responsible use policy, previously shared. Students will be reminded of protocols at the start of each lesson. Online safety of all participants is paramount and students who do not adhere to these protocols will be removed from the Team and a follow-up conversation with parents will be required.

Mr Carter and his team have produced materials and guidance to support you to make the best use of our online learning offer. These can be accessed in a new section of the website dedicated to Online Learning and Covid-19 Information. Although I will continue to share updates through email and online, the best and quickest way to access information relating to Online Learning is through the link on the right hand side of our website.

School – College Partnership

A number of our young people attend college courses on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons. These classes will continue online and students are already aware of how to access these classes on college platforms.

IT issues

We have worked hard over the past few weeks to ensure that students have appropriate IT. However, if you have any difficulties accessing a device or WiFi, please contact the school office at the following address:

Admin@forrester.edin.sch.uk

In-school Provision

For the small number of students who have been granted a place in our ‘In-school Provision’, I would ask that they bring headphones as well as their school iPad so that they can take part in their online classes. We do have a small supply of headphones and iPads but it is always better to use your own. 

Support for Students

I understand that the current situation is unsettling for everyone and that there may be difficulties during this period of online learning. Therefore, I should remind you of the key points of contact for students and parents.

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

A link to further support for parents and students

Family support

This is a difficult time and we want to help our families to access any support they are entitled to. If there is something you feel the school can support you with, or if your circumstances have changed and you now feel you may be eligible for a Free School Meal, please contact Sarah Ross.

sarah.ross@forrester.edin.sch.uk

SQA

The SQA recognise that the current situation has “… the potential to impact the delivery of our alternative certification model in a number of ways … As a matter of priority we are now working through these scenarios to develop appropriate contingency arrangements for the model, should they be needed. We are doing this together with the stakeholders on our National Qualifications 2021 Group. We understand this is a fluid and uncertain period and we will keep you informed as matters develop. We will issue further details to the system as soon as next steps are agreed.” (SQA)

Our teachers are aware that students and parents will have heightened levels of anxiety around SQA assessment and are ready to respond to any changes required, in a way that is as fair as possible to all learners.

I will continue to keep you updated with what is an ever-changing landscape, and I look forward to the start of online learning at 8:40am on Monday morning.

Thanks and best wishes

Stephen Rafferty

Head Teacher

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