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Head Teacher Covid Update 14

7th June in School

7th June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

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

Please find this week’s information letter. As always it’s in sections so you can scroll through to the
sections you find relevant; although clearly my advice is that you read it all.

It’s been another busy week for us all and I would like to thank all the staff and community partners for
their continuing efforts in teaching online; in preparing lessons (the number of recorded lessons has
also shot up); in manning the Hubs and delivering the free school meals; and in supporting those
shielding through delivering over 1300 food parcels this week: the highest number so far!

Thanks too to all the parents who continue to support our school at this difficult time. Your kind wishes
and wee presents to the staff are greatly appreciated. My personal thanks for all the kind words you’ve
shared around school leadership and the sharing of information.

This week’s good news. Two new permanent appointments. Congratulations to Laura Currie, who
secured her permanent position as teacher of Art and Design on Friday; and welcome to Matthew
Green, our new PT English who started last Monday.

Priorities for June

Last week I shared with you the Scottish Government’s paper on reopening schools to give you an
understanding of the monumental task we face in such a short period of time. I would ask all parents to
be patient as we work through the detailed planning of our reopening programme. We already have a
detailed plan in place covering our return; who will be in, when, what lessons they will receive, who will
teach them, how we will keep them safe, etc. However, we are still receiving updates from the Scottish
Government and Local Authority based on guidance from their multiple work-streams, covering health
and safety, curriculum, transport, catering and cleaning, staffing, legal issues amongst others; and the
stream of updates coming to us is leading to further fine tuning of our existing plans. As soon as we
have a full plan in place, I shall share it with you. I have attached a basic checklist of issues we are
ticking off just now to give you an idea of most of the issues we’re already addressing.

Opening Schools August 2020: Planning Checklist [pdf]

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-re-opening-schools-guide/

What are our priorities?

Preparing for the new school session in August 2020 and considering how to implement the strategic
framework for school re-opening is the first priority, including looking at health and safety guidance and
the adaptations which will be needed in school to deliver the new model. Staff will also need to work
together to develop the blended learning model and complete curriculum planning for the recovery
phase and evaluating the impact on learning, teaching and assessment, as well as the ways in which
schools will need to meet children’s needs.

We will continue to engage with families and communicate clearly before the end of summer term what
the blended learning model will look like, including the timetable, and for individual children and families
as to when and how they should return to school. This has already started by including a ‘virtual’ tour
and virtual introductions to new teachers through the use Google Classroom. Our Support Department
is already liaising with departments and planning to pay particular care and attention to supporting
children with additional support needs and engaging with multi-agency partners to plan next steps.

Supporting home learning is the second priority for us and we will continue with this throughout the
remainder of this term as we remain closed to most pupils. As we move towards the end of the term,
home learning activities should focus on reflecting on this school year and celebrating achievements,
as well as planning the next steps in learning and setting new goals.

Transition support for children, in particular those entering P1 and S1, those leaving school and entering
the workplace, or those continuing their academic experiences, are a priority for us. Our well-established
Google Classrooms for P7 and our Leavers have consideration for our children and young
people’s mental, emotional, social and physical needs in mind. All departments should be liaising with
Kirsteen Binnie, Kevin Champion, Aine Cooney, Jemma Playfair and Lauren Morrison in adding to these
GCs to support our youngsters in transition stages.

There is a strong focus on ensuring a high level of social and emotional support for all our children and
young people during this time through the establishment of an enhanced Guidance Support Team for
each clan; including the Clan DHT, PTG, Family Liaison Officers, Classroom Assistants, IT support and
office staff assigned to each clan. Together these teams are providing an incredibly important level of
social and emotional support to compliment the work of teaching staff online.

Ensuring our youngsters can achieve as close to normal an experience as possible, this will also be
important for their return. There has been enough change in their lives, and there will be more
necessitated by the need for social distancing, without adding anymore unnecessary change.
Therefore, all our pupils will remain in their clans, supported by their clan DHT, Guidance teacher and
clan Family Liaison Officer. Although their subjects will be delivered in longer blocks of time to reduce
small period by period movement, they will still follow, almost entirely, the subjects that were timetabled
for in April. They will still receive PE, PSEd and Mental Health and Well-being classes wherever
possible. They may have an amended lunch, but we will still have lunch in school. Pupils will still be
expected to follow all our basic rules, as they do on a daily basis: come to school; be on time; with kit;
in uniform and show respect for themselves and others. Uniform will be relaxed on PE days only, but
not at other times. They are all still “at their work” and equity, security, school ethos, identity and
behaviour are all positively impacted by a consistent application of our rules and routines. If anyone has
any financial hardship impacting on coming to school, for example with equipment and uniform, then,
as is the case every day, the school will provide support in the form of equipment or clothing, just as
we have been doing over the past few months through the provision of Chromebooks, iPads and
dongles for anyone in financial need. We will not have a group Breakfast Club to begin with, but we will
cater for youngsters who require such a provision individually. Please just ask for any support you need
and we will provide it, confidentially, as we strive to help overcome all barriers to learning.

Barriers to learning

The work of the Guidance and Support Teams, the information gleaned from all the PTs and senior
leaders and from the survey of pupils, parents/carers and staff, all provide valuable information for us
to plan and support our youngsters. We have identified that one of the barriers to accessing some of
our remote learning, can be if a pupil has an additional support need. As a result, next week, all our
Additional Support Needs Assistants in the Support Department will be collaborating with three of our
teachers who are Google specialists. Our Support colleagues will develop the knowledge and skills in
Glow and G Suite to support individual pupils on a personalised basis. This online support will be offered
during this month through the Guidance team. It will also evolve during August and beyond so that we
can support pupils in their blended learning, both in school and remotely when at home. This is a very
exciting initiative and we look forwards to seeing its impact on the young people's learning and well-being.

Start date in August / In-Service days

I am aware a start date of the 11th of August has been noted widely in the media. Everyone has been
working on the assumption that children, and therefore staff, were required to start back in all schools
on 11th August. A new national paper was published on Friday that affects this premise. I will confirm a
start date as soon as it is agreed.

Transition

In this week’s google classroom we have posted activities from Social Subjects and Science. We have
also answered the majority of questions submitted by pupils through the ‘You Tell Us!’
questionnaire. Mrs Morrison, Mrs Binnie and other members of staff have filmed answers to your
questions and these can be found on the GC.

Video update:

Mrs Morrison has uploaded a video update on our transition activities. It can be viewed at
https://youtu.be/_byBd7UgBMw.

This video has information on the school’s plan for S1 induction days and other online activities taking
place throughout June.

Question and answer sessions for parents/carers of new S1 pupils

In the last two weeks of June, the Senior Leadership Team and guidance staff are holding question and
answer sessions with parents/carers of new S1 pupils. We will conduct these sessions by telephone,
with each call lasting 10 minutes. If you wish to take part, please choose 3 slots from the grid below in
order of preference and e-mail Christine Cameron by Thursday 11th June at the very latest
(christine.cameron@argyll-bute.gov.uk) with the following information:

1/ your name 2/ your child’s name 3/ letters of your preferred time slot (in order of preference) and 4/ a
preferred contact number. Please see the table below.

We will get back to you on Monday 15th June with your allocated slot. A member of SLT or the Guidance
team will then contact you during the allocated hour.

Remember, if there is anything at all you wish to ask us about, or require support, please contact us
at:

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

Yours faithfully

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


Update on transition

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