Dear students and parents,
I hope you have had a good week and managed to take some advantage of the good weather by getting out and doing some exercise, where appropriate. Please find a few words below to give you a flavour of how things have developed throughout the course of the past week. Please also refer to the links below.
As you will know, Mr Rafferty has been off work for the past couple of months. I am pleased to report that he will return to work from Monday of next week on a phased-return basis. This will mean that both myself and Mr Rafferty will gradually move towards our respective roles over the month ahead, until Mr Rafferty returns full time as Head Teacher in August. I am grateful for all the support the students, staff and parents have given to me over recent weeks, particularly as we faced the most unusual of situations together!
Virtual Learning Timetable (info below for S4-6 only)
We are making some improvements to our Virtual Learning Timetable for the senior phase. We are now going to issue work only on Teams and ask that students complete work on Teams also. We will only use Show My Homework to communicate tasks needing to be completed, mostly so that parents can keep a track of the learning in order to support young people. This will hopefully cut down on some of the frustrations parents are finding with the various alerts that are received. I suppose we need to be mindful that whilst Show My Homework is a fantastic tool, it’s intended to be used as a homework tool. If moving to solely working on Teams works better for students, we will then consider what this means for S1-3 students, although this is more complicated as Show My Homework is proving to be more effective there, especially having the ability to issue different types of work, such as quizzes.
Another development to the senior phase Virtual Learning Timetable is that we are now going to ensure that each subject has an hour of time identified across the week, where a member of staff will encourage ‘live’ engagement on Teams to support any immediate queries/questions/concerns that students may have (we are not yet permitted to use video functionality so this will be via the Team ‘post’ facility). This will mean that students will know an identified time that they can get immediate access to staff and will hopefully help them to get feedback on any query they have, without having to wait until a later time in the week; that is not to say that staff will not respond to queries at other times of course. If we try this and it proves useful, we will then roll out a similar plan for S1-3. The timings for how this will work are noted below. Staff will also share and explain this with students via their Team accounts.
Monday Column A Subject 2.45pm-3.30pm
Tuesday Column B Subject 11.30am-12.15pm
Wednesday Column C Subject 11.30am-12.15pm
Wednesday Column F Subject 1.15pm-2pm
Thursday Column D Subject 2pm-2.45pm
Friday Column E Subject 10.45am-11.30am
All aspects of the Virtual Learning Timetables stay the same and this is just an additional support for young people if they need it.
Home Learning Guidance & Advice on Home Learning
We have produced 2 documents attached to this email to help students, staff and parents. The first provides details on the expectations on home learning and the second is advice on supporting learning at home. Please have a read through both and get in touch with us if you have any concerns or comments. The details for contacting us are also contained within the documents.
Learning & Teaching Newsletter
The third attachment is a document that has been put together by Ms Sheail, our Curriculum Leader of Music & Drama. Ms Sheail has joint responsibility for Learning, Teaching and Assessment at our Whole School level and has worked with others, also with this responsibility, to produce this excellent summary of how we are now delivering high quality learning and teaching to students in a more virtual sense. I am extremely grateful for the time staff have put in to get this ready for publication so quickly. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Hopefully you will have received 2 surveys from us this week. One is for students to complete (and this one is anonymous) and the other is for parents. The results of these will help us in our preparations moving forward so please do take some time to complete them. Many thanks to those who have already completed these. We understand the desire to have live video lessons but we have to take a lead from City of Edinburgh Council on this and for now, we are not able to have video turned on within Teams, and Zoom is not a platform we are permitted to use. The links are included below if you have not already managed to do so.
From next week, we will send out some certificates to students via Teams and/or parent email addresses. These have been designed to recognise the hard work that many of our students are engaging with, particularly in these challenging circumstances.
This is an opportunity for senior students in S5 and S6 to take part in an online workshop to develop their skills. There are a wide variety of sessions on offer including Mental Wellness, CV Clinic, Mock Interviews, Career Coaching in the new post CO-VID world and many more. Students can head over to the Eventbrite page and sign up to sessions between now and 19th June https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/career-ready-8334526130
If your child is unwell
Can I remind parents that if your child for any reason is unwell / unable to complete work, please email the admin account firstname.lastname@example.org so we can alert staff.
I wish you all an enjoyable weekend and hope you manage to enjoy some of the sunshine while we have it.
Acting Head Teacher