As the first week back after the Easter holidays draws to a close, I wanted to take an opportunity to send you a brief update on where things are at for Forrester High School. Please see some information below under the various headings.
Preparations are well under way now for moving to our new timetable and we plan to do that week beginning Monday 4th May.
Monday that week is an in-service and we have planned a range of activities for staff to be involved in that day, therefore school work will be set for students to complete from the Tuesday of that week, based on the new timetable. All year groups will in essence, move forward to their new year. We have communicated out to all S2 students and parents, letting them know which courses they have been set for their new S3 timetable. As of Monday/Tuesday next week, we will begin communicating out to all current S3-5 students, the courses they have been assigned for their new timetables also.
S1 students will move to S2 but for various reasons, they will remain with their current teachers until we are physically back at school. This will mean that work will continue for them, issued by their current teachers who know them best, and the progression into S2 work will therefore be very smooth for them. Once we are back in our building, we will assign the new teachers.
For next week, work will continue to be set in the usual way, using Show My Homework and Microsoft Teams. We are aware that some senior students are finding less relevance for them as their old courses have essentially finished, however, staff are setting general work for them to complete in preparation for the change of timetable. Please continue to encourage all students to engage with work as best they can. Once again this week, the engagement of our students has been fantastic. Mr MacPhie has been monitoring Show My Homework and has shared that 494 of our students have been using the platform over the past week – just brilliant (bearing in mind most of our senior students also use Teams)! We are going to start some form of monitoring engagement within our Microsoft Teams platform too so we get an idea who is working away and who might need some support, in some capacity.
Although we are a Digital School and are extremely well equipped in various ways to provide work remotely, we are aware that some may be finding that a bit difficult. Edinburgh Council have asked us to gather views on digital access at home and we have therefore sent you a survey to complete earlier this week. The survey is also on the website but please find the link for that here too.
Please complete this survey by Monday of next week. Thanks!
You may have seen that SQA provided more information to all stakeholders this week on how schools were to submit estimate grades for National 5 courses and above. We have been working through that advice with all our staff teams and they will begin work on that criteria with immediate effect. Unfortunately, we are not able to share those estimates at this stage so please be mindful not to contact staff to request those. Our staff will also engage with SQA Academy next week to ensure they are applying all the criteria in the correct way. We will also work to ensure those doing other levels and courses with pass/fail submissions get the attention required too. There is more information available on the SQA website, including frequently asked questions. https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93920.html
We have completed various tracking reports for all year groups throughout the year as well as delivering all our parent’s evenings. This puts us again in a fortunate position, with only our S1 full report outstanding. Given that we are now working in completely different ways, I have decided not to go forward with the full S1 reports in May. The reasons are based on the fact we had recently communicated tracking to S1 students and parents not long before the school closure and also, I feel it is better for staff to dedicate their time to setting and marking of work, including that focus of moving to a new timetable in a remote sense.
We are aware that school leavers will not have much work to follow and as a result, we are working on some documentation to help them consider progress they can be making towards the next phase of their lives. We are working with various partners and will issue some resources early next week to engage those students.
As always, I hope you and your families are safe and well, and managing to look after each other as best as possible. Everyone’s health and wellbeing should remain a top priority in times like this so please let students know, if they need any support, they can contact a number of people, including our Pupil Support Leaders. Details of the various supports available can be found on our recent Website posts.
I will continue to update you as regularly as possible.
Acting Head Teacher