Friday, 7 May 2021

Friday 7 May

During this past week, staff and students have been preparing for the SQA Assessments (aka Exams) which take place from Monday 10 May. The attached presentation is the information that was shared with Pupils online yesterday evening in an information session chaired by Mr Bob Shankland, our SQA coordinator.

 

We are mindful that pupils in S4 and S5 have no experience of sitting exams under formal conditions so will understandably be anxious about what lies in store. Whilst SD6 pupils will have had experience of sitting formal exams in S4, many will be under immense pressure as they prepare for their post-school destination. Please continue to reassure all and remind everyone that all we can expect is for each student to do their best. Circumstances for learning and teaching over the past 15 months have been far from ideal so it is entirely understandable if students don’t feel confident about performing to their full potential. These forthcoming assessments

 

During the next few weeks, whilst assessments are taking place, pupils will have restricted access throughout the day to various parts of our building. Other than in extreme weather, we will be asking all pupils to be outside during social breaks.  All pupils have been reminded to wear warm clothing to best prepare for the vagaries of our Summer weather.

 

Alternative Assessment Arrangements. Following a communication from Mr Shankland earlier in the week regarding arrangements for the upcoming SQA assessments for S4, S5 and S6 students, there has been a significant level of correspondence about specific arrangements for individual candidates.  Mr Shankland will work through these as quickly as possible and communicate with home regarding any amendments made.  Please be assured that we will do all we can to ensure each candidate has their agreed individual arrangements for each of their assessments.

 

Finally, after all the assessments are marked, teachers will allocate grades based on the advice received from the SQA and the City of Edinburgh Council. This is a significant undertaking and will require much time and coordinated effort in the coming weeks. Please bear with us in the interim, if we take longer than normal to respond to routine enquiries.

 

  1. Thank you to S1 parents for making bookings for the forthcoming teacher consultations on the evenings of Tuesday 18 May and Thursday 20 May. We are aware that not all parents have managed to make the number of bookings they would wish. Please be reassured that we will already have been in contact with parents if concerns about settling in to S1 or making progress have been raised by staff. In a situation where appointments are full, it is our usual practice to respond flexibly to requests for additional information for parents. Frustratingly, there will be less scope for that flexibility in the coming weeks as staff will be heavily involved with marking and grading in order to meet the various SQA and CEC assessment deadlines throughout the rest of May and June. When our Parent Consultation calendar was drawn up  over a year ago, we could not have anticipated the disruption to ‘normal life’ that has happened.  The requirement for all secondary schools to generate evidence based gradings for all students in S4,5 and 6 has added enormously to teacher workload and is highly likely to impact on what flexibility we would normally have during the months of May and June.
  2. S3 Reports will be emailed to parents this afternoon.  If you don’t receive your child’s report, please first check your junk/spam folder.  If not there, please contact admin@jamesgillespies.edin.sch and will arrange for it to be sent to your preferred e-mail address or alternatively, posted out.
  3. We strongly encourage pupils and staff to walk, cycle, run, etc. to school. Cyclists are reminded to use a more secure ‘D’ lock (or similar) to deter thieves.
  4. If your child feels unwell during the school day, they must report to Welfare. We will then contact you if they need to go home. It is essential that this procedure is followed.
  5. Please ensure that you ‘phone or email the school if your child is absent from school.  When absences are planned, please give us as much notice and detail as possible so that we can maintain accurate records. The school will be supportive and understanding of the additional pressures being faced by families during this time.
  6. A reminder that COVID-19 test kits are available for collection from Reception. All pupils and staff are strongly encouraged to test twice weekly at home. Pupils aged 16 are over do not need signed parental consent but it is expected that those taking part discuss the matter with parents.
  7. Parents are reminded to not enter the school car parking areas unless it is absolutely necessary.
  8. The next Parent Council meeting will be held online on Wednesday 12 May at 7pm. A link to join the meeting will be circulated via the school next week.  The agenda will be:
    1. Donald j Macdonald (HT) – overview and parents’ questions
    2. Laura Stewart (DHT) – update on capacity
    3. Ben Lewis (DHT) – proposal on changes to school communities

There will be the opportunity on the night to ask questions via the Q&A typed chat facility, but if you want to raise a question in advance please sent it to the Parent Council email jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com by Monday at 2pm and we will try to include it in the updates.  You can catch up with the March meeting on the Parent Council website https://jghspc.wordpress.com/ where there are links to presentations and the recording of the meeting.

  1. Digital Update: As part of the City of Edinburgh 2050 Vision and Digital and Smart City strategy, pupils across S1-S6 will be receiving a digital device to support them with their studies in session 2021-2022. The first phase will involve pupils going into S5/6 who will receive their devices before summer. The second phase will involve S1-S4 who will receive theirs after the summer. During the second phase the S5/6 devices will have to be returned briefly for a systems update and will then be reissued. Much more information will follow in the coming weeks and months. If you would be interested in participating in a small short-life working group centred on parent partnership with this initiative, please contact Jeff Warden by Monday 31st May at Jeff.Warden@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk
  2. iPads and laptops – All devices which were borrowed from the school during the last period of school closure must be returned for annual maintenance and inventory-reconciling. Please return any borrowed iPads and laptops (along with their respective charging cables) to the school reception for the attention of Mr Warden. These must be back in the school by Monday 31st May.

 

My quote  for this week: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible’” (Audrey Hepburn)

 

 

Very best wishes and good luck to all pupils taking assessments in the coming weeks.  Wishing all a lovely weekend.

 

Donald j Macdonald (Headteacher)

Friday 30 April

Seeing everyone return to school this week, including those who were returning from shielding, marks a significant milestone as we reform as a school community. I’m delighted that everyone has been so supportive and understanding of the various risk mitigations we have in place to ensure that opportunity for virus transmission is minimised. In the coming weeks, we must continue to be vigilant and not allow complacency if we are to avoid contributing to a possible third wave in the Autumn.

Over the past few days, we have reminded and encouraged pupils and staff to take part in home testing.  This has led to an significant increase in uptake. Test kits are available for free to all pupils and staff at reception. Around 1 in 3 who have the virus show no symptoms so it is important that as many as are will are involved in self-testing. Parents can order free rapid lateral flow test kits online or by phoning the National Testing Centre on 0300 303 2713.. 

 

 

  1. Work on finalising the arrangements for SQA assessments will continue over this weekend. There is added complexity this year as, because of Covid-19 restrictions, maximum group sizes are limited to 50 and, having no exam leave for seniors, exacerbates challenges we have with accommodation.
  2. Preparations for next year’s timetable is progressing well. Pupils’ course choices have been processed and Mr Warden is now constructing timetables for up to 1580 pupils based on the resources we have at our disposal.  Staff recruitment to reflect our increasing numbers is also underway. Pleasingly we are attracting very healthy numbers of applicants for around 8 teaching vacancies.
  3. If your child feels unwell during the school day, they must report to Welfare. We will then contact you if they need to go home. It is essential that this procedure is followed.
  4. Please ensure that you ‘phone or email the school if your child is absent from school.  When absences are planned, please give us as much notice and detail as possible so that we can maintain accurate records. The school will be supportive and understanding of the additional pressures being faced by families during this time.
  5. As recently highlighted in the national media, Lothian Buses and their staff have experienced an unprecedented amount of vandalism and anti-social behaviour since the turn of the year. Please continue to remind our young people to be sensible, kind and respectful  of others as they go about their business in the wider community.  See attached letter from Police.
  6. A reminder that COVID-19 test kits are available for collection from Reception. All pupils and staff are strongly encouraged to test twice weekly at home. Pupils aged 16 are over do not need signed parental consent but it is expected that those taking part discuss the matter with parents.
  7. Parents are reminded to not enter the school car parking areas unless it is absolutely necessary.
  8. The next Parent Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 May at 7pm.  As usual, the meeting will be online and a link will be circulated via the school before the meeting.  There will be the opportunity on the night to ask questions via the Q&A typed chat facility, but if you want to raise a question in advance please sent it to the Parent Council email jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com and we will try to include it in the updates.  You can catch up with the March meeting on the Parent Council website https://jghspc.wordpress.com/ where there are links to presentations and the recording of the meeting.
  9. We are aiming to resume some extra-curricular sports activities from 17 May. More details to follow in next few days.
  10. Digital Update: As part of the City of Edinburgh 2050 Vision and Digital and Smart City strategy, pupils across S1-S6 will be receiving a digital device to support them with their studies in session 2021-2022. The first phase will involve pupils going into S5/6 who will receive their devices before summer. The second phase will involve S1-S4 who will receive theirs after the summer. During the second phase the S5/6 devices will have to be returned briefly for a systems update and will then be reissued. Much more information will follow in the coming weeks and months. If you would be interested in participating in a small short-life working group centred on parent partnership with this initiative, please contact Jeff Warden by Monday 31st May at Jeff.Warden@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk
  11. iPads and laptops – All devices which were borrowed from the school during the last period of school closure must be returned for annual maintenance and inventory-reconciling. Please return any borrowed iPads and laptops (along with their respective charging cables) to the school reception for the attention of Mr Warden. These must be back in the school by Monday 31st May.
  12. S1 Parents’ Evenings - We plan to run online parents’ evening appointments for our S1 students on the evenings of Tuesday 18 May and Thursday 20 May.

Appointments are booked through an online system which will go ‘live’ to booking at 6pm on Wednesday 5 May. 

Instructions of how to use the booking system and how to access your appointments on both evenings, will be e-mailed to parents at the start of next week.

 

 

 

 

Dates

 

Please note that pupils are on holiday on both Monday (3 May) and Tuesday (4 May) next week.

 

My quote for the week:

 

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” –(Og Mandino)

 

 

And finally, may I take this opportunity of wishing all a lovely long weekend.

 

 

Donald j Macdonald (Headteacher)

Friday, 23 April 2021

Friday 23 April

In my first communication after a holiday I like to begin by saying how lovely it has been to welcome pupils and staff back to school. That certainly applies to this week. It really is fantastic to have everyone back in school after such a disrupted and challenging past year. The coming weeks will be about re-establishing routines and supporting everyone to feel good about themselves and their learning. The Spring sunshine is certainly helping to raise spirits.

 

  1. Welcome to Laura Black who started with us this week as our new Business Manager. Laura takes over from David Anderson who had been with us for 19 years.
  2. Work on developing the arrangements for SQA assessments throughout this term continues apace. Next week, Mr Shankland will be in touch with students and parents to share more details of specific arrangements for each subject area.
  3. As recently highlighted in the national media, Lothian Buses and their staff have experienced an unprecedented amount of vandalism and anti-social behaviour since the turn of the year. Please continue to remind our young people to be sensible, kind and respectful  of others as they go about their business in the wider community.
  4. During this month of Ramadan, staff are alert to making suitable adjustments to support our Muslim students.  
  5. S6 Young Drivers Presentation Police Scotland have arranged a Young Drivers presentation for our S6 students on Friday 23rd April. The presentation includes a film which follows a group of young people travelling to an event, with a commentary from Police Scotland on the hazards they encounter on the way. It is a thought-provoking film to encourage questions and advice at the end.
  6. A reminder that COVID-19 test kits are available for collection from reception. All pupils and staff are strongly encouraged to test twice weekly at home. Pupils aged 16 are over do not need signed parental consent but it is expected that those taking part discuss the matter with parents.
  7. Just before the Easter Holiday we learned that Diane Day, nee Alexander,  a pupil at JGHS from 1948 to 1961 died October 2019,  bequeathed the considerable sum of £20,000 to the school. Such funds are managed by the James Gillespie’s Trust and I take this opportunity of thanking the officers of the Trust for their continuing support for the school.
  8. Parents are reminded to not enter the school car parking areas unless it is absolutely necessary.
  9. Please remember to return HPV immunisation forms asap.

 

 

Congratulations to:

  1. Sorcha Thompson (S5) for taking first place in the St Columba 1500 Gaelic writing competition (Farpais Sgrìobhaidh Chaluim Chille 1500) and also to Ruairidh Cameron (S4) who won second prize. 'S math a rinn an dithis agaibh! 
  2. Lucy Robertson (S5) who has made it to the final of the British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition after doing extremely well in the heats at intermediate level. The final is to take place in May online.

 

My quote for the week:

 

Some people stand in darkness

Afraid to step into the light.

Some people need to help somebody

When the edge of surrender is in sight.

Don't you worry, it's going to be all

right.

(From ‘You made me believe in Magic’ c/o Bay City Rollers)

 

And finally, may I take this opportunity of wishing all a smashing weekend.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Friday 26 March

Dear Parent/Carer,

 

This past week has been busy and productive as we prepare for the full return of pupils from Tuesday 20 April. Please note that school finishes at 15:40 on Thursday 1 April.

As has been our practice in recent years, pupils in S1,2 and 3 are not expected to be completing school work during holidays. We would prefer they took a complete break from their studies to engage in any or more of the following within the latest Government guidelines:

  • Reading for pleasure
  • Spending time with friends and family and
  • Physical Exercise (preferably outdoors).

 We anticipate that pupils in S4,5 and 6 will wish to spend parts of the Easter Holiday preparing for SQA ‘evidence gathering’ assessments in May. We are finalising options to support senior pupils with their preparation for assessments during the Easter break. More on this will follow.

 We are currently awaiting updated Guidelines from the City of Edinburgh Council on our SQA arrangements for pupils in S4, 5 and 6. It is our intention to share our Assessment schedule and arrangements with parents and pupils as early as we can next week.

The Parent Council meeting this week covered the results of the school’s survey on online learning and arrangements for SQA assessments.  For those with children in S4-S6, Mr Shankland’s presentation set out the current position with the school’s plans for assessments after Easter, and explained the effect of SQA guidelines on how they will be carried out this year. You can catch up with the meeting at https://youtu.be/O0i8dZoNBGA or see the Parent Council website https://jghspc.wordpress.com/ for further details.

Information packs for the HPV immunisation programme were received this week, but not in time to distribute them to students during the school day. The school has therefore posted these packs to all eligible students so you should receive them imminently. The packs are late but the deadline for returning the forms has not changed so the turnaround time for the consent forms is very short. Please give your attention to the materials you receive and if you wish your child to be immunised please return the consent form before Wednesday, 31-Mar-21. NHS inform us that they cannot guarantee providing immunisation if forms are not received by this date.

 An email was sent yesterday to all families with CEC Travel Hub’s Transport Application Form plus guidance notes for school session 2021/2022.  Any parents requiring home to school transport for school session 2021/2022 should complete and return the attached form to them asap.  Applications forms must be received by 30th April 2021 and should be emailed to schooltransport@edinburgh.gov.uk

 Chief Inspector of Police Sam Ainslie, Local Area Commander for the South East of Edinburgh, has contacted all Edinburgh schools to alert us to a recent increase in anti-social behaviour by young people in the Meadows.  "This rise in antisocial behaviour is particularly disappointing and concerning at a time when the government's coronavirus restrictions are set to ease and our communities should be able to enjoy our open green spaces in peace, without the worry of drink-related disorder. As a result, our officers will be conducting targeted patrols across the area, to engage with the public, explain the current coronavirus legislation and guidance and to encourage compliance where necessary.’’  I would request that parents help us spread this message to young people and encourage them to continue to follow the guidance and ensure we can get back to normality in the coming weeks and months.

 Home test kits for Covid-19 are available from reception for staff and pupils. These are Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) and give results within 30 minutes. The other type of test being used (called a PCR test) is administered by the NHS and usually provides a result within 48 hours. Participation in home testing is voluntary and we will only issue home test kits after a Consent form has been received at school reception. Details here.  All staff and pupils are strongly encouraged to get involved.  In the event that the LFD test is positive, the pupil and family should self-isolate until the result is confirmed by the more reliable PCR test available via the NHS. Please note that if the follow up PCR test is negative the earlier LFD test can be disregarded and the family no longer has to self-isolate. Use of the LFD tests is suspended for the first week of the Easter holiday but should resume in the second week.

 On Tuesday of this week we marked the 1st anniversary of the 2020 first lockdown by a minute’s silence preceded by Savannah (S1) reading the following poem on the school’s PA system.

 

‘Everything is Going to be All Right’ By Derek Mahon

 How should I not be glad to contemplate

the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window

and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?

There will be dying, there will be dying,

but there is no need to go into that.

The lines flow from the hand unbidden

and the hidden source is the watchful heart.

The sun rises in spite of everything

and the far cities are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight

watching the day break and the clouds flying.

Everything is going to be all right.

 

Wishing all a lovely weekend and do remember that the clocks go forward an hour at 1 am on Sunday 28 March.  

 

Donald j Macdonald

Headteacher

Friday, 19 March 2021

Friday 19 March

Dear Parent/Carer,

 

It was a delight to see all pupils and staff returning to school over the course of this past week. Those I spoke with all seemed happy to be back and, in particular, looked forward to interacting with friends and experiencing face-to-face learning alongside peers and school staff. The continuing good news on reducing numbers of infections, the rollout of vaccinations and the Spring sunshine have all added to raising spirits. Here’s hoping that we have everyone back immediately after the Easter break on Tuesday 20 April.

 

Discussions across the school are progressing well in relation to SQA arrangements for S4,5 and 6. We are considering what form assessments will take in the coming weeks and how we will arrive at gradings for pupils. We recognise that it is essential to make an early decision on this so that pupils and staff have as much time as possible to prepare. We will update parents on our latest thinking at the Parent Council Meeting on Tuesday evening. Following this meeting will share our plans towards the end of next week.

 

We are currently exploring options to support senior pupils with their preparation for assessments during the Easter break. More on this will follow.

 

The next Parent Council meeting will be held on Tuesday 23 March at 7pm.  As usual, the meeting will be online and a link will be circulated via the school next week.  Donald j Macdonald, Head Teacher, will give his report on what is happening at the school at the moment, and we will also hear from Deirdre O’Brien (DHT) and Ashling Dolan (CL Maths) on the results of the survey on remote learning, and from Bob Shankland (DHT) with an update on arrangements for SQA assessments.  There will be the opportunity on the night to ask questions via the Q&A typed chat facility, but if you want to raise a question in advance it should be sent by Monday at 2pm to the Parent Council email jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com and we will try to include it in the updates.

 

The Parent Council is also launching a new website https://jghspc.wordpress.com/ and from next week updates on the PC’s work will only appear here and the previous site will be run down.  If you have any comments on the new site, or any views on what else could be included on it, let us know.

 

It was Young Carers Action Day on 16th March.  This is one of several dates throughout the year which aim to raise awareness of what it means to be a young carer. A young carer is a young person aged 5-25 who cares for or is affected by another person at home.  The cared for person may be an adult or child and suffer from mental health issues, a disability, chronic ill-health, or drug/alcohol misuse. The Young Carer Coordinator Team at JGHS are working to raise awareness of what it is to be young carer, in the hope of identifying and bringing support to those in the school with a caring role. Please contact Richard Sievwright, Fiona Oatman and Angus Caruthers if you would like further information. https://www.youngcarers.org.uk

 

Parents will no doubt be aware of the media coverage relating to abuse/violence targeted towards Edinburgh’s buses. Please discuss this with your children and encourage them to do all they can to keep our buses and drivers safe for all to enjoy.

 

In relation to Planning for S6 Advanced Higher courses 2021-22, we have added an S5 Channel to the S5 Year Group Teams page to share information with S5 students relating to the plans for next year’s Advanced Higher classes.  Please could you check that your child is aware of this channel if they are planning to take AH courses in S6.  It will be a useful place for them to keep up to date with developments and share their feedback.  In addition to the Teams page, we will also use Key Adult classes to share information with S5 students once everyone returns after the Easter holiday.

 

The HPV Vaccination Programme last year was seriously affected by school closures due to Covid 19, causing some students to miss out on vaccinations. NHS Lothian is embarking on a new vaccination programme in 2021 to capture those students who missed vaccinations last year and to re-start the programme for this year. Consent packs are being delivered to the school and NHS Lothian would like consent forms returned to the school by 31-Mar-21. However the school has not yet received these packs and distribution to eligible students within school time will not be possible in a reasonable timescale due to the current in-class provision. We have therefore made the decision to post the packs to eligible students as soon as those consent packs arrive. We expect the packs to arrive next week, beginning 22-Mar-21, and will post them immediately so please look out for them and we ask that you return the consent forms as quickly as possible and before 31-Mar-21.

 

Home test kits for Covid-19 are available from reception for staff and pupils. These are Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) and give results within 30 minutes. The other type of test being used (called a PCR test) is administered by the NHS and usually provides a result within 48 hours. Participation in home testing is voluntary and we will only issue home test kits after a Consent form has been received at school reception. Details here.  All staff and pupils are strongly encouraged to get involved.  In the event that the LFD test is positive the pupil and family should self-isolate until the result is confirmed by the more reliable PCR test available via the NHS. Please note that if the follow up PCR test is negative the earlier LFD test can be disregarded and the family no longer has to self-isolate.

 

Well done to all who took part in this year’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) competition. The winning team won a £3000 cheque to give to Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled and the runners up narrowly missed being able to give the same to the Yard.

Winners = Hannah Treagus and Vivienne Bachmann

Runners Up = Rabi Jaha, Joey Sherlock and Jan Kudla.

 

My quote for the week: “Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.” (A Krizzan)

 

Wishing all a lovely weekend.

 

Donald j Macdonald

Headteacher

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Friday 12 March

 

Dear Parent/Carer,

 

Phased return to school  We look forward to welcoming all pupils back to school on a phased basis as per the arrangements  emailed to families on Wednesday evening. We will be emailing pupils separately with a reminder about expectations on social distancing, wearing of face coverings, hand sanitising, etc. The most notable changes to our practices prior to Christmas are that all pupils must wear face coverings in the buildings at all times and that pupils will be seated at least 2m apart whilst in teaching spaces.

 

Please note that all staff and pupils, unless medically exempt, are expected to bring their own face covering and to wear it whilst within any of our buildings at all times, other than when eating or drinking.  Those who are medically exempt from wearing a face covering are invited to collect a face visor from the school reception. Please note that not wanting to wear a face covering or experiencing mild discomfort when wearing one are not acceptable reasons for exemption. The latest government advice on face coverings is available at the following address:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-use-of-face-coverings/

 

I wish to emphasise that it is vital that all follow our school guidelines on keeping everyone as safe as possible. It is better that we all err on the side of caution until more is known about the latest variants of the Covid-19 virus.

 

 

Parents of pupils with medical conditions for whom we hold medication are asked to supply us with  updated medicines as appropriate, as some of these may have expired over recent months. If you have any queries, then please contact us.

 

UK University & Apprenticeships We are encouraging pupils to take part in the UK University & Apprenticeship Search Virtual Fair on Wednesday 17th March (12:00-18:00). This free event features over 100 universities, colleges, and apprenticeship providers from around the UK, along with 10 interactive webinars and virtual campus tours, and is aimed at years S6, S5 and S4, as well as parents. The event will provide your child with all the information they need to make informed decisions about their post-18 options. Pupils, parents and carers simply need to register online at: https://ukunisearch.vfairs.com We recommend pupils and parents spend between 45 and 90 minutes at the event and can login at any time between 12 and 6pm.

 

Pupils and parents can chat directly with a mixture of Russell Group, red brick, and modern universities from around the UK to find out invaluable information about courses, modules and life at university, and discover what admissions tutors are looking for in UCAS applications. Attendees can also speak to colleges and local and national companies about their apprenticeship schemes. Many exhibitors also offer virtual campus tours. 10 interactive webinars will run throughout the day on a variety of university and apprenticeship topics, such as UCAS Personal Statements, Careers & Employability, Student Finance, and Apprenticeships. The webinars are run by university and apprenticeship professionals who will also host Q&A sessions after the presentations. You can view the webinar timetable and presenters list using this link: https://ukunisearch.vfairs.com/en/webinar-timetable

 

Pupils should aim to register in advance to receive reminder emails with new exhibitor alerts, information on how the day will work and how your child can make the most of the exhibitor interactions.

Please encourage your son or daughter to book their free place and view the exhibitor list, here: https://ukunisearch.vfairs.com. We recommend registering for the event as soon as possible to ensure pupils have time to prepare for the day.

 

S5 “Early” University applications If your child is in S5 and considering an application to Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine or Veterinary Medicine we have arranged a bespoke JGHS pupil webinar with an Oxford and Cambridge link on 24th March. Your child should email tania.peters@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk to register for the webinar.  Important advice, information and mentor links will be available and it is invaluable support for competitive applications.

 

 

S5/6 Parents’ Evening

A reminder that S5/6 Online Parents’ Evening will be running from 5pm – 7pm next Wednesday 17 March and appointment booking is currently open.  Booking closes at 10am, next Wednesday morning. 

Please remember to pay close attention to the video appointment joining instructions that have been shared, taking particular note of the internet browser requirements for your device. 

 

General SQA Business

Please find below a statement to parents/carers, supplied to schools this week, by the SQA.

 

  1. From Monday 15 March, pupils in S4 to S6 who are taking national qualifications will begin their return to school and will have priority for face-to-face lessons. Learning and teaching, whether in school or through remote learning, will continue to enable both teachers and pupils to review and consolidate all learning, before moving on to focus on completing assessment evidence.
  2. The number of assessments which pupils will undertake for qualifications purposes may vary across their subjects. This is due to the nature of individual subjects and how they are taught. Pupils should talk to their teachers if they have any questions about what work will count towards assessment evidence.
  3. With the SQA exams being cancelled this year, teachers will use their professional judgement to decide results at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher based on the marked evidence from pupils’ assessments. These will remain provisional results until all quality assurance checks have been carried out.
  4. To ensure provisional results are fair and credible across the whole of Scotland, quality assurance processes will be applied in two phases:
    1. In the first instance, quality assurance will be carried out by the school, with support from the local authority. This includes discussing and agreeing the marking of pupils’ work across all classes and local schools.
    2. Alongside this, the SQA will also carry out quality assurance as support for teachers. For example, reviewing their assessment and marking standards. This is to ensure that when teachers conduct assessments, that national standards are applied reliably and consistently across Scotland.

Schools will submit provisional results to SQA by 25 June.

  1. SQA will not adjust provisional results; rather they will check for administrative errors that may have happened when schools were sending the quality assured results to SQA. When that check is completed, provisional results will become final.
  2. Pupils will receive their results by post on Tuesday 10 August 2021. They will also receive their results by text and/or email if they decided to sign up for this service at www.mysqa.org.uk.
  3. SQA has created an information booklet outlining ‘What you need to know for 2021 – National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher’ qualifications. This includes further details on how results will be arrived at and about the quality assurance process for this year.
  4. The booklet is available to download from the SQA website and will be posted directly to your child w/c 15 March.
  5. You can stay up to date on the 2021 National Qualifications by visiting sqa.org.uk/NQ2021

 

SQA Assessment Calendar

Work continues to be on-going in preparing a comprehensive calendar of all SQA course assessment activities that will be undertaken by students, following their return from Easter break.  The timeline continues to be to share the assessment calendar with parents and students before the Easter break.

 

Edinburgh College – Industrial Action

Please find below a message received yesterday from our partners at Edinburgh College.  This message is only of relevance to students studying School/College Partnership courses this session.

We have been informed that college staff have voted in favour of industrial action across colleges in Scotland and a strike day is planned for Tuesday 16 March 2021.  As we will not know which lecturers will be working until the day of the strike, all college classes on Tuesday 16 March 2021 will be cancelled unless students are told otherwise by their lecturer. This includes classes which were due to take place live online and any limited activity planned to take place on campus.

 

Pupil Guidance for Online Learning from 15 March We have updated our guidance for pupils in light of all pupils returning to school from Monday 15 March using the timetable model issued.

The school will adopt a 'blended learning' approach to learning, with learning taking place both within school in person, and remotely at home.

More guidance can be found within the attached document, and this will be shared with all pupils through email and Year Group Teams.

 

S3 to S6 engagement reports will be issued home today. S1 and S2 engagement reports will be issued home via email on Friday 19 March. Please contact us via the JAM-Admin email address if you do not receive a report for your child on these dates.

 

The next Parent Council meeting will be held on Tuesday 23 March at 7pm.  As usual, the meeting will be online and a link will be circulated via the school before the meeting.  There will be the opportunity on the night to ask questions via the Q&A typed chat facility, but if you want to raise a question in advance it should be sent to the Parent Council email jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com for inclusion in the updates.

 

My quote for the week: Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.’ (Anthony j dangelo)

 

And finally, I take this opportunity of thanking everyone for your continued support and patience through these unprecedented and challenging times.

 

Kindest regards to all,

Donald

 

Donald j Macdonald (Headteacher)

James Gillespie’s High School

( Phone:  0131 447 1900

School values: Respect; Kindness; Integrity; Inclusion; High Expectations

Website:www.jamesgillespies.co.uk

+ Mail:   57 Lauderdale Street, Edinburgh,  EH9 1DD

One of my favourite quotesWherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.’ (Anthony j dangelo)

Friday, 5 March 2021

Friday 5 March

Dear Parent/Carer,

 

Phased return to school  Following the First Minister’s statement on the phased return to school for all pupils from Monday 15 March, we are now working on developing a timetable that meets the Government guidelines and the Council advice as issued this morning. We will do our best to develop an in-school provision that best meets our pupils’ needs.  This is far from straightforward in such a short timescale and will lead to some compromises with the current online provision. I will contact everyone as soon as we can next week.

 

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and understanding.

 

Our engagement procedure is in place to identify pupils who are not engaging and to provide support for them. We realise that it is reassuring for you as parents/carers to know how your child is engaging with online learning, and to celebrate success as we know that most pupils are engaging well during these challenging times.

 

As we have now issued engagement reports for all year groups, we have reviewed the current engagement policy and have made the following adjustments:

 

  1. Engagement reporting dates:

We will issue engagement reports home via email on the following dates for the remainder of this term:

i.                     S3 to S6 on Friday 12 March

ii.                   S1 and S2 on Friday 19 March

 

  1. ‘Next Steps’ to support improvement in engagement:

After review, we have added some more options to support with ‘next steps’ if a teacher has selected ‘occasionally engaged’ or ‘not engaged’ with learning. These will guide pupils on what they should do to improve engagement.

 

  1. Letters home for NQ pupils at risk of not completing final work:

Teachers are now able to issue letters home remotely for pupils who are significantly not engaging, and where no improvement has been made since the previous engagement report. 

These letters will be prioritised for National Qualification pupils who need to complete final folios and project work and prepare for final assessments. 

If a NQ pupil has not engaged across a variety of their subjects, please be aware that you may receive several letters from different teachers giving specific details of the concerns and outlining what needs to be done next. These letters are for information only to support your child with their engagement and progress and will be issued through email.

 

We greatly appreciate your support during these times, and we hope that regular communication with regards to your child’s engagement will support them in their learning.

 

If any pupil is finding anything challenging, we urge them to let someone at home know, or contact their class teacher, Key Adult, Pupil Support Leader or Year Head - there is always someone who can help.

 

In the interests of everyone’s safety, Parents are reminded to not enter the school car park to drop off pupils unless there are mobility issues. As an alternative, we would request you drop/collect pupils in nearby quieter streets.

 

Wishing all a lovely weekend.

 

Donald