16th March in School
Friday 5th February 2021
Dear Parent/Carer and pupils (please share this with your children),
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones all safe and well.
I am aware these letters each week are long but they are full of important information. They are
subdivided so you can skip to the titles/areas that you are interested in. For example, if you have an S4-6
pupil, clearly you will wish to read the SQA section; if you don’t, feel free to skip that section.
Pupils returning to school
Since I wrote to you all last Sunday, a further announcement has been made by the First Minister on
returning our children to school. You can find the statement here:
In summary, the First Minister confirmed that from the week beginning the 22nd February, if it is
considered safe to do so, that there will be a phased return of children and young people to school as
1. A full time return of early learning and childcare for all children below school age;
2. A full time return to school for pupils in primaries 1 - 3; and
3. A part-time return, albeit on a limited basis, for senior phase pupils to allow in-school practical work
that is necessary for the completion of national qualification courses.
As noted before our blocked timetable already allows us to accommodate blended learning without any
undue concern. However, there are still many details to be ironed out with such a partial return and we
await further guidance from the Scottish Government to help our on-going planning. I shall provide you
with further information after the February break.
I am very aware that SQA qualifications will be at the forefront of our senior pupils’ and parents’ minds,
as there has been considerable uncertainty nationally with regards to these assessments since August.
However, I wish to reassure all of our young people and their families that we are putting a plan in place
to ensure that every pupil obtains the results that they deserve for their efforts and hard work throughout
the year. The SQA have recently released specific subject guidance for all subjects which our teachers
are using to plan our approach to assessment. For the time being, the message from the SQA is to
focus our time on delivering high-quality learning and teaching and to hold-off assessing pupils until such
time that we have sufficiently covered the required course content to allow them to succeed. To help with
this, the SQA have delayed the submission of our provisional results until 18th June, which
gives us plenty of time to assess and quality assure our results.
It is also important to mention that whilst this school year has been very different for our senior pupils,
it is normal for them to feel some degree of anxiety with regards to SQA assessments and results.
Indeed, this was a feature of school life prior to COVID-19. This is a natural part of growing up and
developing resilience. However, if you or your child feels like they are struggling with exam pressure,
please contact their PT Guidance and our pastoral teams will provide support and advice.
Having reached the half-term break, may I take the opportunity to thank all the staff in our schools (and
LA staff) for their hard work and commitment. My thanks and respect is also due to all those parents
who have encouraged their children to engage to an amazingly high standard, given the difficult times
we face, in online learning. And, may I congratulate all of our children, who get up each morning for
school, who crack on with the learning opportunities we provide and who are coping well with all the
changes thrown at them.
S2 into S3 Options interviews with Guidance staff began this week and will continue after the holidays.
Pupils and parents have also made good use of individual Skills Development Scotland advice and our
pupils attended ‘I Can Do Anything’, an online careers and options event. Many thanks to staff at
Dunoon Grammar and Skills Development Scotland for organising such a useful and highly engaging
day for our young people.
S2 into S3 Options forms should be submitted by 22 February 21. The link for the form and our Electives
Booklet can be found on the School App and below:
S3 into S4 Options interview times and choice form will be emailed out to you after the holidays and
interviews will begin on Monday 22 February with Senior Options then beginning on the 8th March.
Google Classrooms have been set up to ensure that pupils and parents can access all the information
and help they will need with this process. The codes for these classes are as follows:
S3 into S4: p6xughp
S4 into S5: rzwlopy
S5 into S6: xcmzy52
Please encourage your child to sign up to these classrooms and we will begin to post information after
Developing the Young Workforce (DYW - career opportunities)
During the current Covid Pandemic, DYW has never been more relevant. The group that have been
identified as being most impacted by the economic problems that have incurred from the pandemic are
16-24 year olds. The following resources have been created by DYW Scotland in partnership with
Education Scotland. There is an expectation that faculties/departments should be exploring these
materials and use them where appropriate but I think these links are equally interesting for parents as
they show what a wealth of different career opportunities are out there.
The Career resources for tasty, healthy and energising careers are all now live. You need only to go
to www.dyw.scot to get the link to the whole programme, bit here are the shortcuts for ease:
Home page - Headline: www.dyw.scot
Landing page: www.dyw.scot/newyearfirstcareer
Tasty careers: www.dyw.scot/tastycareers
Healthy careers: www.dyw.scot/healthycareers
Energising careers: www.dyw.scot/energisingcareers
Remote Learning Survey
How do we know how well we are doing? Last week, we issued questionnaires to all our staff, pupils
and parents in Oban and Tiree. I attach the links to the video presentations we made to highlight the
finding of this survey. I would encourage you to watch them. Findings from both schools are included
in both videos because we teach back and forth between our schools. Each has a summary at the end.
You should feel free to scroll through the sections you don’t want to watch. They are not very long but
are very informative:
Please remember to contact your child’s Guidance Teacher if in Oban or Ms Forbes (Secondary) / Miss
Coleman (Primary) if in Tiree. Or, use the Contact Us links: when using these links please remember
to include your child’s full name and class/year in the content of your email.
I hope you all have a good week ahead. To all our children in particular, please enjoy a week of rest,
no screens, no school work - just enjoy the time with family and friends wherever possible.
P A Bain
Executive Head Teacher
Oban High School, Tiree High School & Tiree Primary School