Dear Parents & Students
Please find a short update for you below, as we end the week with a nice Holiday Friday tomorrow.
It was fantastic to take part in our first virtual Parent Council meeting on Tuesday evening. There were 16 of us on the screen together and it really was a very positive and uplifting meeting, particularly for me, hearing such positive feedback from the parent body. The feedback gave us some food for thought too regarding one or two areas, mostly relating to student work and our expectations of our young people, as we move further into this new way of working. We’ve been working on that feedback so please see some information below regarding that.
Work expectations for all students
As we move further into the school closure period, it’s important that we continue to work hard to ensure all students are accessing learning set by their teachers. We know that each family circumstance is unique and not everyone will have the same access to various resources. However, we have managed to get feedback regarding those who are struggling to access devices and other resources, and I’m pleased to say that, although this is still a work in progress, we have already resolved many of these issues this week. To that end, it’s important now to provide a structure for virtual learning for S4-6 students like we have already done for S1-3. You will find 2 links below; the first is a reminder of our S1-3 expectations and the second is a new addition, S4-6 Virtual Learning Timetable.
It’s important to ask our young people to stick to this virtual timetable as much as possible. Staff will try to stick to this as best as possible but we also have to be mindful that they too have various circumstances at home which means they are not always able to provide as full a service as they usually would. For example, as well as some having childcare issues, a number of our staff are involved in a rota to staff the Hub Schools for children of Key Workers.
How to understand the new S4-6 Virtual Learning Timetable
You will see that the new virtual learning timetable for S4-6 indicates that students will work on their subjects within Columns. For example, the first entry shows that the subject our students have selected in Column A will require work to be completed at some point on Monday (at a time which suits the students). That continues with other subject columns thereafter. You will remember that we previously sent out the subjects that all students had been granted in S4-6; although these did not tell you so, they were indeed in Column order. In the example below, Column A would be the first listed subject and Col F would relate to the final listed subject. Staff will also try to rename their Microsoft Teams accounts to refer to the subject by Column and this too will make it easier for students to follow.
Our students should get an alert to their email address once a new Team has been setup. If for any reason they have not got one for a subject, please email our admin mailbox and we can provide support: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have included some extra entries for Literacy, Numeracy, Health & Wellbeing, Social Education and our Home Learning Team (all students have access to this on Teams). There will tasks set for these entries on the day they are listed and these are tasks for all students and are not just optional tasks; we would like students to complete these tasks also, once they are set.
Support for Families
I am so grateful to the staff team who are going above and beyond and supporting some of our must in-need families. As well as the City of Edinburgh food parcels, we are now supporting families with our own breakfast packs, stationary, devices (where needed), toiletries etc. This week alone, the school have supported 32 families in need of some assistance. There will be more opportunities to receive breakfast packs in the future as we are working on a very exciting initiative with our partners Magic Breakfast.
Parent Pay refunds
We are working away at making sure we get refunds to parents for trips and activities for which money has been paid. We focused initially on refunding for those activities that came first in the calendar; Activities Week, London-Dance, London-Paris. The vast majority of these trips have now been refunded, with the exception of the deposits; we have to process claims for non-refundable deposits which have already started. Our admin teams have been in touch with families about this directly. There are some other complications too which require us to refund via a cheque rather than online through Parent Pay and this is difficult due to the lockdown. However, the team are in the process of contacting families to provide support in getting those difficulties resolved. The next focus will be on refunding for New York trip, and other more minor events such as prom, yearbook etc. Please bear with us as we work hard to sort everything out.
Finally, I hope the students enjoy their Friday holiday and are ready to go again on Monday morning. Please continue to keep up to date with us on our various communication channels; website, twitter, school app, email/text messages.
I wish you all a nice extended weekend.
Acting Head Teacher