Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are well and coping with this new normality we find ourselves in. In a bid to improve communications I have committed to producing a regular update on the machinations of school life and the developments and focuses with which we are engaging. I hope that this will bring clarity for you all and lead to a greater understanding of what we are doing on a daily basis.

It has been a very positive beginning to the academic year. We are now three terms in and appear to have made up the academic ground we lost during the lockdown earlier in the year. In response to this we will be reintroducing the electives programme into our timetable on Thursday afternoons. We have already had some excellent suggestions from pupils and staff and our provision will be bolstered by the addition to the team of the new Outdoor Learning Workers.

We continue to re-assess the regimen and routines we have put in place to mitigate against COVID-19 transference. Our risk assessments are informed by the most current Government Guidelines. Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to maintain a rigorous approach to keeping the school community safe and healthy.

On the staffing front we are currently advertising for the post of I.T. teacher. This is something which has been requested by pupils and will hopefully capture their interests and progress their learning in the digital field.

Through the good work of our Outdoor Learning Worker, Kevin Robb, we have created a partnership with ‘Our Bright Futures’. As there are parameters for age, we are trialling this with four of the senior pupils and hopefully, if it proves successful, we will continue to engage with the initiative in future years. I am sure there will be plenty of updates to come.

In line with developing skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work, we have developed some work experience opportunities within the school setting. Initially this will happen in the School’s Kitchen. Applications were made and interviews commenced, with three successful candidates now accessing the kitchens on a weekly rota. I am sure they will gain invaluable skills and knowledge, and have an insight into the reality and expectations of working with a dynamic and hardworking team. We are aiming to provide more, similar, opportunities by reinvigorating the School’s contract services company and creating opportunities for horticultural skills development by utilising some of the land next to the Log Cabin to grow consumable produce. This will also link in to our health and wellbeing targets and Healthy Schools Award.

It will be another challenging year for teachers and senior pupils as we navigate a path through the required changes for SQA courses and qualifications. I know that the pupils are in capable hands and, having personally completed the course submissions for the year, it looks like this should hopefully be another very successful round of qualifications from National 3 to Advanced Higher.

Staff training continues as always with staff having had the opportunity to complete training in CALM, outdoor first aid and online Autism training courses. I hope to be able to deliver ever more appropriate, valuable and effective training as we regain our liberties after COVID 19.

As always I would like to thank you all for your continued support of the school through what has been an incredibly testing year for everyone. Let us look forward to a brighter new year and revel in the brilliance of our medical and pharmaceutical scientists who are offering the potential light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Morrison
Head of Education