A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

Staffing

The preferred candidate for Depute Head Teacher (Meadowpark) is Steven Johnson, currently Head Teacher at Spark of Genius.  This is subject to pre-employment checks. Steven will start at Meadowpark on Monday 2 November.  

Health and Safety at school

Just a short reminder that any pupil showing Covid-19 symptoms must not attend school and you can book a test online at www.nhsinform.scot or by telephoning 0800 028 2816. Only if this test is negative should the pupil return to school. If pupils have the common cold, they should still attend school if they feel well enough to do so. Some frequently asked questions about Covid-19, for parents/carers, have also been produced by the NHS and are well worth reading.

A reminder that pupils are all being encouraged to enjoy the fresh air and breaks and lunches and go outside after eating in the Food Court/social area. Although we have been exceptionally lucky with the weather it is going to start to turn colder, and if dry, we will still be asking them to go outside to stop crowds gathering and also as a measure of reducing transmission and keeping everyone safe and Covid-19 free as best as we can. For this reason please ensure you young person has a warm jacket and hat/gloves. Thank you.

For S3 parents only – Parents’ Evening 3 November

On Tuesday 3 November we are planning to hold a virtual parents’ evening.  Given the restrictions around face to face interactions, we are proposing that this is held via individual Google Meets with class teachers.  Whilst this proposal is not perfect, we think this is the closest for face to face dialogue that we can manage under the current Covid19 restrictions.

We are suggesting that pupils make five minute appointments with their class teachers as usual.  The class teacher will then set up a Google Meet with the pupil for the allocated time.  We would then invite you to be with your young person for the duration of the call to be involved in the discussions and the next steps.  It is also possible for us to add extra email addresses if you will be accessing the call in separate households.

We will have to be very strict with the length of meetings, and it is likely the discussions will only be four minutes in length to allow for switching between calls.  It is also possible that you will have up to ten separate Google Meets arranged for the window of 5pm – 7pm.  We are aware that login in and out of meetings is not idea, but we feel this is the safest way to ensure confidentiality.

We are assured that the bandwidth is large enough to support these Google Meets, but if the internet connection is slow, we may turn off the staff cameras.

We will send more detailed information nearer the time, and will be speaking with individual classes about this.  We will also ask you to complete an evaluation form to help us plan for future parents’ evenings and would appreciate any feedback at that time.  As always, technology should not be a barrier to communications so we can make chrome books available if required.  Google Meets are also able to be accessed from any smart phone.

We look forward to this dialogue with you in November to follow on from the reports you will be receiving tomorrow (by Alice Clubb, DHT)

S4/5/6 Prelims – Parent/carer consultation (see link end of this article)

Last session we moved the prelims from Jan/Feb to mid Nov. The overall feedback we received was that this had been a positive move, particularly in terms of leaving the post-Christmas term free of prelims and maximising teaching time.

Given the cancellation of the exam diet we were not able to carry out a full evaluation of moving the prelims and given the ongoing impact the COVID-19 Pandemic is having on education, there is a need to re-evaluate the situation for this session.

Given the length of the Lockdown period we are very aware of the need to try and maximise the amount of class time pupils have and therefore minimise the amount of time taken up by the prelim exams.

We are therefore proposing that the Prelim diet remains before Christmas but we will move it slightly later - 30 November to 8 December. This will allow for another two weeks of teaching time in the lead up to the prelims.

In order to minimise the loss of class time we are suggesting the following:

S5 and 6 - will sit a Prelim each day e.g. their Column A subject on the Monday, Column B subject on the Tuesday etc. This would mean they are finished their Prelims in one week.

S4 - they would follow a similar pattern, but it would take 7 days as they do seven subjects.

The Prelims would therefore be completed with 7 school days. This is in contrast to a 'normal' prelim diet that lasts 2-3 school weeks.

Pupils would be granted exam leave during these 7 days i.e. they can study at home when they do not have an exam but could also study in school.

We are still awaiting the final guidance from the SQA as to what the arrangements for final exams in session 2020-21 will look like, but are confident the prelims will still form an important part of the overall portfolio of assessment for each candidate and as such candidates need to take them very seriously.

These are draft proposals and we would appreciate your feedback by completing the online form.  We would ask that all returns are made by 12:00pm Friday 25 September 2020.

SQA Update - National Courses in session 2020–21

The following letter was published on Wednesday by SQA. It is important for parents/carers to know what is being said as many of you, and your young people, responded to the survey.

“We have been consulting on modifications to National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses for the 2020–21 session and the 2021 exam timetable. I would like to thank everyone who has responded to the consultation, including many thousands of teachers and lecturers, young people and their parents and carers across Scotland. We have listened to your feedback – and have developed a set of proposals designed to assist with learning and teaching this year. 

The Deputy First Minister outlined in his opening statement to the Education & Skills Committee earlier today that he has asked SQA to pause publication of outcomes of our consultations until after publication of the Priestley Review.

We fully recognise that teachers, lecturers and learners are seeking clarity on these issues as quickly as possible, but it is also beneficial that the system receives as much clarity and certainty as possible at the one time, when all the related information is available, so an informed decision about next steps can be made.

This means that we will be able to provide teachers and lecturers with a package of support, including the details of modifications to courses, the exam timetable and guidance on the collection of appropriate assessment evidence.

Thank you again to everyone who took part in our consultations. Together, we will continue to deliver for Scotland’s learners in these challenging times.” (Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer)

Achievement Ties

Our achievement ties are designed to recognise our wider achievement of our young people both in school and in the wider community. An achievement tie can be awarded for a high level of commitment and endeavour in an activity for eighteen months, or for a significant achievement e.g. winning a National Award such as a poetry competition.  Achievement ties can be awarded for Sport, Citizenship (when a young person provides support or services to the local or wider community e.g. working in charity shops/volunteering etc.), Enterprise (involved in leading initiatives/global areas of interest e.g. Eco-Committee, Amnesty, Fairtrade etc.) and Expressive Arts/Technologies. There will also be a further category ‘other’ for anyone wishing to be considered for an achievement tie that does not fall into the previous four categories.  There are two achievement ties: (1) one gold stripe and the House colour; this will be referred to as a ‘half colours’ achievement tie (2) Two gold stripes and the House colour; this will be referred to as a ‘full colours’ achievement tie. 

The Achievement Committee will meet twice a year, in October and March, to consider all nominations, which can be submitted by pupils, parents/carers, coaches and our community partners, using our online form.  The outcome of this committee will be communicated directly to pupils by letter, and if successful, they will be awarded their achievement tie, alongside other Achievement Tie winners, by the Head Teacher, Depute Head Teachers and Mr Clark (Achievement Coordinator).  Achievement Tie winners will also be mentioned at House Assemblies to celebrate their success widely.

Nominations are open from 14th September until Friday 2nd October. Those who applied in March of this year need not re-apply as your applications will be considered in this grouping. 

Parent Council

If you would like to come along to our next Parent Council on Wednesday 28th October, please let Lesley Pirie (Chair) know by emailing her at parentcouncil@ka-net.org.uk so you can be invited to the virtual meeting. 

Dates for your diary

A reminder that the September long weekend holiday is tomorrow until Monday 21 September (inclusive)

UCAS Evening – Tuesday 22 September – 6.30pm (online – Google Meet – pupils have meeting code)

Virtual Awards Event – change of date – Wednesday 30th September – online for all to view

The October holiday is Monday 19 – Friday 23 (inclusive)

Have a lovely long weekend break

Sue Cook

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