April 2020

Published: 30 April 2020

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has introduced a new online portal in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to connect people with thousands of free-to-access online learning materials. The site has been designed with the support of the Open University in Scotland providing access to its award-winning OpenLearn platform of free courses - including hundreds of employability and skills related courses many of which offer digital badges.

Working closely with learning providers, additional opportunities will be included in the coming weeks and months.

Published: 29 April 2020

East Lothian plan to develop a cycle path in the grounds of the new East Lothian Community Hospital. As  they do this, they would like to get the views of people who walk, cycle or scoot in Haddington and the surrounding area.

The path would provide a link between the Haddington to Longniddry cycle path and Hospital Road, providing better access to both the town pathways and the A199. It would be suitable for cycling, walking and scooting.

Please help East Lothian Council by filling in this quick questionnaire to help us understand more about how people would use the path and what would make it a good path.

Published: 23 April 2020

East Lothian Council has today (23 April 2020) issued a News Release entitled "Recognising Pupils: Examination Achievements - East Lothian Council Responds to SQA Announcement".

The news release includes comments from Chief Operating Officer for Education Lesley Brown:

"Our young people, their families, and our school staff across East Lothian have been eagerly awaiting this guidance to help them with their next steps. We know that the closure of schools and the cancellation of exams has caused anxiety and uncertainty for our pupils and their families. I’m pleased that the SQA has now confirmed its approach, and I am especially pleased to see recognition that teachers and schools are best-placed to provide a judgement on pupils’ achievements.

"Our schools regularly monitor and track pupils’ progress throughout the academic year as part of our approaches to ensuring high quality learning, teaching and assessment. Teacher professional judgement is at the heart of our approach in Scotland and our teachers are very well placed to provide the information required by SQA.

"We are working with our headteachers and school teams to make sure that our approach across East Lothian is consistent, rigorous and accurately reflects pupils’ achievements. Our teachers will estimate grades using all evidence available to them, with support from their subject faculties, wider school teams and from our central education team."

Published: 22 April 2020

The Scottish Government have produced a supportive document entitled "Supporting Pupils, Parents and Teachers - Learning During Term 4" which will be of interest to all in our school community.

We will also be providing more detailed information at a school level over the coming weeks to support you and your young person/people. We will be using pupils' EduBuzz email accounts to communicate with them so please ask them to check these too.

Sue Cook
(Head Teacher)

Published: 22 April 2020

Earlier this week, SQA shared further details on the awarding and delivery of results for 2020. This includes more information for schools and colleges on the process of providing estimated grades for cancelled exams.
SQA is in regular discussion with UCAS and universities to help students progress on to the next stage of their education or employment, and are working to ensure students receive their results by 4 August 2020

Like other recent announcements, UCAS want to reassure you that universities and colleges are expected to treat applications fairly and consistently, and to consider these grades in the same way as any other qualifications. The Confirmation and Clearing processes will run broadly similar to previous years.

UCAS recognise that students may have questions about their qualifications, applications, and future studies.
On Thursday 23 April 2020, at 3 pm they are hosting a Q&A for students in Scotland live on Facebook.

The panel of experts on hand to answer their questions include:

  • Dr Gill Stewart, Director at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • Gillian Simmons, Head of Admissions at Edinburgh University
  • Grant Ritchie, Principal at Dundee and Angus College
  • Clare Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive

Don’t forget, as it’s a live panel, students will need to join the session on Facebook at 3 pm in order to be able to have their questions answered,
Invites have already been sent out by UCAS so this is a reminder of the event.

Published: 20 April 2020

The SQA have today (20 April 2020) released a statement "Delivering Results in 2020" with guidance to schools and colleges that will help teachers and lecturers determine the estimate grades, underpining certification for this year's SQA National Courses.

Students are being encouraged to sign-up for and activate a MySQA account, and check out the Learner FAQs.

SQA are basing all of their work on three broad principles, whilst adapting to the current challenges we all face:

  • Fairness to all learners;
  • Safe and secure certification of our qualifications, while following the latest public health advice; and 
  • Maintaining the integrity and credibility of our qualifications system, ensuring that standards are maintained over time, in the interests of learners.

The process involved is highlighted below with the full detail available on the SQA Update "Delivering Results in 2020" from Fiona Robertson - SQA Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer.

  • Step 1 - Estimates
  • Step 2 - Awarding
  • Step 3 - Results and Certification
  • Step 4 - Appeals

"We know that this is an uncertain time for you and the children in your care. Your children have worked hard throughout the year and will now be worried about what the changes we've made to the assessment of our qualifications will mean for them. We aim to support you as parents and carers with guidance, resources and answers to your questions and will keep you updated as more information becomes available."

The SQA Parent/Carer Support Portal also contains some useful information on:

  • Home Learning Support and Resources
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Support
  • Your Questions Answered

All of the above information and more can be read in detail directly on the SQA Coronavirus website.

Published: 14 April 2020

East Lothian Council has published a range of leaflets with guidance on how to support bereavement for young people and parents.

Published: 09 April 2020

In addition to the SQA Certification 2020 - A Guide for Learners, Parents and Carers document published on 2 April 2020; the SQA have now updated their website with the latest information, support, and resources available to ensure fairness for all learners, and the safe and secure certification of qualifications this year. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Published: 09 April 2020

I hope you are all managing to stay safe and well during the Easter break and also managing some daily exercise to enjoy the recent sunshine, and have some fun during the Easter holiday.  If you have time available, please can I ask you to complete a survey, by Thursday 16 April 2020, on our approaches to remote learning as your feedback will help guide us in moving this forward after the Easter break.

There is also a question on our consideration of a move to our new timetable in mid-May and your feedback on this too would be very valued.  

We want to ensure that we can provide the best remote learning experiences for everyone.

Thank you.

Sue Cook
(Head Teacher)

Published: 08 April 2020

If you are going to university and applying to the Student Awards Agency Scotland this year the SAAS Application Help 2020 video that they have produced may be useful to you.

Published: 03 April 2020

SQA has published a FAQ that aims to provide learners, parents, and carers with answers to some common questions about how we will deliver a fair, safe and secure set of results over the coming months.

The Frequently Asked Questions document contains information on:

  1. An Introduction
  2. Estimate Grades
  3. Coursework
  4. Results

Please be assured that all young people’s hard work will be rightly and fairly recognised and rewarded.

National 2 to National 5, Higher, Advanced Higher, National Certificates, National Progression Awards, Skills for Work courses and Awards

Published: 02 April 2020

Families are being reminded that children and young people must avoid socialising in line with Government and health guidance to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

East Lothian Council’s Chief Operating Officer for Education Lesley Brown said: “We know that children will be missing their friends and the daily interaction they get from school and clubs. However the government guidance is very clear – you must stay at home and avoid interactions with anyone who is not in your household. This means cancelling familiar activities such as play dates and sleepovers. Young people should not be meeting each other within or outwith each other’s homes. It’s important that everyone sticks to these guidelines as doing so will protect the NHS and our communities. 

“Our Educational Psychology Service has produced advice for children and young people and families who are adapting to the current situation and how to have discussions around it."

"The current restrictions are temporary measures however these guidelines are very important. We ask that all families follow the Government advice.” 

The Scottish Government’s Parent Club has also issued advice on the  twitter acount.