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Head Teacher Covid Update 11

17th May in School

17th May 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

I hope my letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well once again.

As always my thanks to all our staff and community partners involved in supporting the children in the Hubs; in delivering free school meals; in preparing the food boxes (almost a thousand this week – superb!!) and in delivering learning opportunities to our children online.

My special thanks to the parents who have helped out with the food parcels; and who have continued to send in messages of support to all the staff who are supporting our youngsters at home. I would also add my thanks to all the parents who continue to support and encourage our children to keep safe and well whilst making sure they keep in touch with their teachers through our online opportunities at this difficult time.

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister that schools in England will re-open in some limited capacity on the 1st of June, there has been a wealth of media reporting on this issue. The First Minister in Scotland has stated that our Lockdown will continue and no date has been set for schools returning. Rest assured, however, that the Scottish Government, our Local Authority and our schools are all working together to plan for a variety of possible scenarios for our inevitable return to school; whenever that may be and in whatever manner it is viewed safe to do so. I have placed all our management planning templates into the Covid Support pack on our website. You will also find all previous letters and attachments here:

http://www.obanhigh.argyll-bute.sch.uk/ 

Online learning

There is a frequently made comment about us all, no matter our occupation, “working from home”. We are not working from home. We are “trying to work from home”. We don’t all have a suitable workspace; dedicated computers and stable wifi that is so often associated with those who work from home normally. With both adults and children alike “trying to work from home”, sharing devices / wifi and living together hand in glove for so much longer than anyone expected, then the work or learning environment is less than ideal for everyone. This is true for parents, teachers and our children.

Every week I re-assure you that we will continue to provide learning opportunities for our children. Such learning opportunities help you, the parent and your children to have some structure to the day; they provide examples of work and activities that can stimulate both the mind and the body; they provide purpose for our children when at home and will help ease them back into school when the time comes. We expect to see some engagement with the opportunities we provide, we expect our children to keep themselves mentally and physically alert and we expect some level of communication between home and school.

However, as previously noted, the time available to do so and the time at which this engagement can take place is flexible. The flexibility in communication between school and home is deliberately recognizing that, sometimes, there are other more important things going on in the family at home other than schoolwork. Let us know if you are facing any difficulty at all and we will try and help.

The following advice I borrowed from Pippa Milne, our Chief Executive. It is an excellent message to all adults and children in our community.

  • Your physical, mental and emotional health is far more important than anything else just now.
  • You should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours.
  • You should be kind to yourself and not judge how you are coping based on how you see others coping.
  • Be kind to others and not judge how they are coping based on how you are coping.

Our Guidance teams have been helping with social and emotional support for parents; our new IT Support Teams are on the phone or online showing kids how to get past issues with the Apps; our teachers help online with them understanding the work; and we’ve issued around 80 devices to ensure no child is left without access to our online learning provision.

If any family has any difficulty at all, please contact your Child’s Guidance teacher, or send us an email to

http://www.obanhigh.argyll-bute.sch.uk/contact 

Transition of P7 to S1

This week, we uploaded a set of online resources for our new pupils entitled “All about me.” This wee task is designed to help get to know our pupils, whilst at the same time letting them warm up to life/work in the High School; and help them develop new IT skills.

As well as the Introductory welcome and task from Mrs Morrison (DHT for Transitions), there are helpful guides on how to complete the “All about me” task, either as a letter, an essay, a story, a PowerPoint, or a video. We have made it clear that the task does not need to be completed. The P7 pupils may have too much work to do for their Primary School and we do not want to stress them. We also made clear they can complete the task in whatever way they feel comfortable. Some will enjoy learning to do this task as an iMovie; others may prefer just to write a story. I don’t mind in the slightest. I hope they all enjoy the challenge though.

A reminder that the new S1 (P7s) Google Classroom code is uv247l6. Please note that what looks like a 1 in the code is a small letter L. (Uniform, Victor 2 4 7 Lima 6)

Just log into Glow, then into Google Classroom, click the plus button and add this code. If you do not have a Glow Login or password, please contact your Primary school.

I would remind parents to consider downloading our “School App for Parents”, free from the App store. This will allow you to receive notifications when we issue letters, to see our school calendar and follow school news. You can find all our policies, handbook and communications to parents on our website.

School Leavers

A wee reminder that we have not forgotten about those who are about to leave school. As much as our school leavers would normally be completing their exams just now, other things would be completed around this time; they would be going around their teachers, handing in their books, saying goodbye to staff and getting their leavers forms signed.

Of course, sadly, this is not possible. As noted in a previous letter, we have established a School Leavers Google Class (Code: ty6tp5Y). Our leavers, whether they be S4, S5 or S6, are encouraged to log onto that class where we are adding useful information about apprenticeships; UCAS updates; links to health and wellbeing sites, which are particularly useful for seniors stressed about current uncertainties.

Of course, in addition to this GC, all pupils should remember their Guidance Teacher is there to help them, will continue to offer advice after they have left school.

Useful info for all parents

I mentioned last week that we included many links on our website to useful educational sites like BBC Bitesize, etc. I have attached a PDF document with these and many more. Just click the hyperlinks and they will take you to a variety of great resources for online learning or even just for interest in a subject to pass the time.

Online L & T resources 2020.pdf

As always, if anyone wishes to contact us about anything. Feel free to email your child’s Guidance Teacher or contact us at:

http://www.obanhigh.argyll-bute.sch.uk/contact 

Stay home, stay online, stay safe, stay learning.

Yours faithfully

P A Bain
Executive Head Teacher
Oban High School, Tiree High School & Tiree Primary School

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