Headteacher Post

Dear Parents and Carers

It seems hard to believe that we are already three weeks into term. It was great to see everyone back in such good spirits, particularly after a wet and dull summer. It was also a pleasure to welcome our new S1 students. They have made a fantastic start at Forrester and an excellent first impression on us all. Thanks must go to our S6 guides and to all our students for helping to make S1 feel at home.

Our assemblies last week were focussed on recognising positive achievement. As well as sharing a number of successes, Mrs MacPhie launched e-praise, a system for recognising the hard work and achievements of S1-3. We are very keen to hear of achievements both in and out of school in order for us to continue to highlight the success of our students. It was very encouraging to see all year groups looking so smart, in full dress code, which makes a huge difference to the school ethos and to students’ sense of purpose. Thank you all for your continued support with this.

A number of our senior students have started work placements in nearby primary and nursery schools as part of our Individual Pathways programme. We are already receiving good reports from staff in the placement schools and we anticipate mutual benefit to our students and to their hosts.

This term we have also launched a new partnership with Edinburgh College to support individual pathways. A lecturer from the college is now delivering a music technology course at Forrester every Friday morning for senior students.

Again this year, Skillforce have begun working with 20 students in S5. The Skillforce programme is intended to build important personal qualities like confidence and resilience and to develop a wide range of skills, including employability skills and first aid.

Last week saw the launch of YPI (Youth Philanthropy Initiative) with S3. This is an excellent programme which “… empowers young people to understand and make a difference in their local community.” It also support students to develop important skills for work and life.

Our study support, homework club and other after school activities are already up-and-running with lots of opportunities for all students. Please encourage your child to get involved. Our S3 Football team got off to a winning start on Saturday morning with a 4-1 victory against Royal High. I was very impressed by the skills, teamwork and attitude shown by the boys.

Congratulations to Jake Rennie, Jamie Solway, Cameron Fraser, Zandaeya Acka-Talbot, Cerise Gander and Arron Illingworth on their selection as Sports Ambassadors. The Sports Ambassadors will be led this year by our Senior Sports Ambassador, Katie Finlay. Cerise and Arron will represent the school at the East region Young Ambassador Conference at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena on Thursday 7th September.

We have another busy week ahead, with the Dance Trip leaving for London at 8:00am on Monday morning. We look forward to hearing about their experience on their return. Please look out for updates on the school Twitter page. Our JET (Job and Employability Training) and a number of other work placements start next Friday. I am also looking forward to meeting parents at our Parent Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Finally, I would like to announce the appointment of John MacPhie as Senior Development Officer. Mr MacPhie will take up this post on Monday and will be an active member of our Senior Leadership Team, with a specific role for inclusion and closing the attainment gap. Mr MacPhie will also now have pastoral responsibility for Burns House and will work closely with Mrs Lauder to support all Burns students. There will be a House assembly for Burns on Monday (period two) to introduce Mr MacPhie and to explain this change to students.

Many thanks to all students, families and staff for the very positive start to the new session.

Best wishes.

Stephen Rafferty

Headteacher

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