Head Teacher Update - Letter and Video 58

29th November in School

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29 November 2021

Dear Parent / Carer (please share with your child)

I hope this letter finds you all safe and well. I know this letter is long, but it will be followed by
a video for those who prefer to watch and listen rather than read long letters; and it is clearly
sub-divided so you can skip to the bits you find most relevant – though obviously I think you
should read it all.

I usually add the following support paragraph to the end of every letter. This week, I’ve flipped
it to make sure everyone reads it. I do so because I am very aware that we continue to face
challenging times. The numbers in our community, young and old, feeling poorly in general or
indeed catching covid, is a constant worry many of us face and the subsequent impact on our
families, home-life, work, and in the kids’ cases, learning, remains significant.

Support

Should you have any questions, ideas or even concerns please contact your child’s Guidance
Teacher or use the “Contact Us” page on the website. Our clan pastoral teams are here to
support you, and the Guidance staff, Family Liaison Officers, Youth Worker, IT support staff,
careers staff and the Clan Deputes will all ensure we work together to help you and your
children.

If you need any help at all with supporting our children educationally, socially, emotionally or
financially, please contact us. We will try and help you in any way we can. We care and wish
to help.

Parent Council

On the evening of November 17th a full and informative Parent Council meeting was held,
following the Parent Council AGM. This was well attended and much was discussed including
Head Boy/Head Girl report, recent HMIE thematic inspections (covering leadership, curriculum,
well-being, remote learning and, next up, Outdoor Learning on Dec 8th), the Good Schools
Guide commentary of our school, how we are managing COVID and the vaccination
programme; and how we are supporting young people and families in our community in a
myriad of ways, including assessment and preparing pupils for their exams.

The comments from the HMIe and the independent review of our school by the Good Schools
Guide, coupled with the excellent results presented to the Parent Council made for a very
positive first meeting for many parents and set us up for a continuation of a great partnership
between school and parents keen to help us. My thanks are of course due to all the members
of the Parent Council who served us well over the last couple of years and to those who have
signed up this year. We look forward to our Parent Council members helping us continue to
take forward the School Improvement Plan, a plan many of you contributed to in the Summer
and to help raise the funds necessary for us to replace our minibus.

Once again, if you wish to contact the Parent Council, please use the “Contact Us” page on
the website and add “FAO Parent Council” or address to the Chair, Anuschka Miller.

SPLT & Pupil Council information

Our Senior Pupil Leadership Team have been very busy over the last few weeks. They have
recorded several podcasts on Cop 26, International Book Week and this week’s topic is on
Social Media. Please subscribe to our Podcasts on Spotify or Anchor, or follow us on Apple
Podcasts. See below to listen to the in-depth and high quality discussions our pupils are having
on these topics:

https://anchor.fm/obanhigh

We also held our first full Pupil Council meeting which includes our Senior and Junior Clan
Leaders. There was a very positive discussion and the pupils decided on key areas to focus
on for school improvement. These include extra- curricular activities, communications and a
reward system.

At Clan Time on Friday, the focus was our Christmas eco tree for the St Conan’s Kirk Christmas
Tree Festival. Pupils were asked to make decorations with individual Eco pledges on the back.
Please come along to see our entry along with all the other amazing trees from Thursday 2nd
to Sunday 5th December.

Senior pupils are also planning more Christmas events in the coming weeks. This starts this
Thursday with a Christmas Fair and will include our annual Christmas Door competition. All
year groups will also have the opportunity to have a special Christmas lunch in our canteen
from Monday 13th to Friday 17th December.

Jingles

As you are aware from the Local Authority letter to all schools, all Christmas dances, including
Jingles, are cancelled. I think it is important to make clear the reason why the Local Authorities
took this decision. My understanding is that the NHS has significant concerns about the
potential spread of covid emanating from school dances and the potential impact on NHS
services in the run up to Christmas. Added to this is the concern that further pupil absence will
have an affect on learning, and further staff absence would reduce the ability to keep our
schools open. At the request of the NHS, the LAs all agreed to take a consistent stance in an
effort to keep us all safe, learning and able to enjoy Christmas with our families.

Your Skills, Your Future

After a week of chatting through aspects of our new skills framework during lessons it was
incredibly encouraging to witness such positive engagement from young people at our schools’
assembly. Pupils discussed and reflected on their own strengths and next steps and should
have brought home a trifold leaflet to continue those conversations at home. Please click the
link if you would like to download a blank version of this leaflet.

We will continue to build on this resource over the coming months and hope to further develop
our understanding of skills and what a large part they play in school and in life.

TikTok

Sadly, teachers across the country have been subjected to an increased level of abuse online.
More often than not Facebook is the main platform for staff being harassed but recently a
TikTok trend has emerged. In each and every case, we have reported these to the Police, the
Local Authority and TikTok. Tiktok are also working with the Police nationally and just issued
this very supportive statement to all schools. I would ask that all parents support our school
and our hard-working, dedicated, compassionate teachers and reinforce the unacceptable
nature of, and the serious consequences involved in abusing any person online, including
teachers. Of course those children, and adults, who seek to do others harm online are a tiny
minority. We must never forget the vast numbers of those of us who remain kind online. You
may find the pupils’ recent Podcast on Social Media quite enlightening.

https://anchor.fm/obanhigh/episodes/Social-Media-The-good--the-bad-and-the-ugly-e1atij2

TikTok statement:
We are aware that students have been using TikTok to create false accounts and post
inappropriate content that may cause harm to schools and teachers. We deeply regret the
distress that this content has caused to teachers, and we are committed and focused on
resolving the issue. We are crystal clear that hateful behaviour, bullying and harassment have
no place on TikTok. Our Trust and Safety teams are working 24/7 to proactively remove content
that breaks our rules and to respond as quickly as possible to reports we have received. (A
copy of the users/parent guidance and reporting of abuse protocol is attached.)

TikTok: Privacy & Safety Checklist.

Communication

We try to keep you as informed and interested in our school community as much as possible.
You can find all our policies and letters on the school website;

https://www.obanhigh.com/

you can contact us easily via the “contact us” page of the website;

https://www.obanhigh.com/contact

You can download the “School App for Parents” to receive notifications of news, information
issued and to note forthcoming dates; this can be downloaded through your App store on your
device. Once downloaded select Oban High School.

for those who prefer to watch and listen to the updates, or watch the pupil videos on what we’ve
been doing in school, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel;

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqVauXoUp5efv8sm1zBk0ig

or perhaps you’d like to listen to the updates or take an interest in pupil views on national and
world events by listening to our Podcasts whilst on the move;

https://anchor.fm/obanhigh

or, perhaps you just wish to trawl through the wee tweets we issue;

https://twitter.com/obanhighschool

We use Facebook to post community partnership information.

If you wish to keep up to date

READ, WATCH or LISTEN (especially by signing up to the School App which is a safe and
informative portal for keeping abreast of all we do)

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletters.

Have a lovely week ahead.

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


Update 29.11.21

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