Head Teacher Update - Letter 52

10th August in School

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Tuesday 10 August 2021

Dear Parent/Carer (please share with your child)

I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones all safe and well. I also hope you had a lovely
holiday, especially since the weather was so kind to us.

Thanks

I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the
last six weeks. Our school remains open throughout the holidays and janitors, technicians,
office, canteen, cleaning staff and school managers continue to work on keeping the building
maintained, updating the IT equipment and ensuring the summer activities and the new session
planning all tick along nicely. My thanks also to all our school support staff who kept supporting
many of our families throughout the holiday period. This summer was particularly busy with the
opportunity for many of our pupils to sign up to Argyll and Bute Council’s Summer Activities
programme. A special thank you is due to all the school staff and the local volunteers and
businesses who put on sporting, arts, musical and games opportunities that I’m aware so many
enjoyed.

Covid arrangements for schools

As you will no doubt be aware, the First Minister announced changes to how our country moves
forward with precautionary measures to deal with the continuing but reduced impact of Covid.
Although there are significant relaxations to the legal restrictions placed on wider society,
schools have been issued with guidance that sees little change to the precautions that were in
place in June. You can find the Scottish Government schools guidance here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-reducing-the-risks-in-schools/pages/overview/

As I noted in my last letter in June, we had already planned to maintain the same precautionary
measures that we had in place, so there are few changes to be made during the next six weeks;
the length of time the First Minister has announced as a precautionary period for schools.

Pupils are still expected to be dropped off at a safe and suitable distance from the school to
allow for staggered arrival; pupils should still wear a face covering; we will continue to ensure
that we all use hand gel on entering and leaving the building and when going from room to
room; the enhanced cleaning and ventilation measures we have in place will continue, as will
staggered departures at lunch and after school. Our lunchtime provision of pre-ordering, no
cash sales and separate social areas for the year groups will continue on our return.

A couple of very positive changes. Although we will continue to keep our year groups apart as
much as possible to support track and trace, there is no need for very strict bubbles and this
will allow our extra-curricular activities to mix more. This will allow us to have year groups
mixing in club activities (as long as we keep accurate registers). We will also now be able to
allow children to have their breaks outside in the year group areas. This mid-morning
opportunity for a bit of fresh air will be very welcome I believe.

Covid Testing

We will continue to encourage everyone to use the test kits available. All school staff and
secondary pupils are strongly encouraged to restart twice-weekly at-home LFD testing in the
week prior to return. Ideally, please take your second weekly test either in the morning before
you leave for your first day of school or the evening before.

Please record your results. It is really important that you record your results online, whether
positive, negative or void. This helps public health experts understand what levels of COVID-
19 are, and can inform policy on things like mitigations in schools.

Benefits: Testing can help reduce the risks of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools. This, in turn,
can help reduce the likelihood that staff or children and young people will have to self-isolate
due to outbreaks.

Accessing test kits: Test kits for staff and pupils were available prior to the summer break, and
these can still be used. If any pupils do not have test kits, they can access them in a range of
different ways, including ordering online for home delivery (link below) or by collecting kits from
your nearest test site or pharmacy.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/regular-rapid-coronavirus-tests-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms/

Young people can also collect a kit from the school office on the 12th and 13th of August
between 11 am and 3 pm.

S1 Induction – Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th August

All of our new S1 pupils should come to school in Oban High School uniform no earlier than
8:45am on Monday 16th August. They will be issued a free school tie that morning if not already
issued by their primary school. Pupils should report to the main entrance of the school where
there will be four, clearly marked queues by clan. Each pupil should join their clan line and use
the hand sanitiser at the entrance to the school. Staff will be on hand to help anyone who has
forgotten which clan they are in.

Pupils will then be guided to their classroom where they will have a virtual assembly and an
extended registration to cover key aspects of making their way around the school. This will
include outlining the school day, issuing timetables, health and safety measures, and a range
of activities with other key members of staff. In the afternoon, they will have an opportunity to
follow their timetable.

On Tuesday 17th August, pupils will spend the day in PE so should come to school in their PE
kit. On the Monday and the Tuesday, S1 pupils will have a separate break time from other
pupils and leave for lunch slightly earlier.

From Wednesday 18th August, pupils will follow their timetable in full, but will be accompanied
to and from their classes by S6 pupils to ensure they are in the right place at the right time!
Lunches can be ordered at the start of each day or the pupil can bring a packed lunch. Please
see the catering section below for further details.

Please note: S1 pupils must stay on school grounds at lunch time until the October holidays.
This will allow them to bond with pupils from other primary schools, their new classmates.

SQA Results and Appeals

Congratulations to all of our pupils who received their results on Tuesday 10th August. All of
your hard work and dedication has led to well-deserved, fantastic results. Well done to you all.

We recognise that not everyone will have been satisfied with all of their results. A few of you
have been in touch to discuss this with school staff. Some of you will have already registered
with the SQA Appeals Service. Please note the information from the SQA regarding appeals
from Tuesday 10th August:

If you registered that you wanted to appeal with SQA over the summer SQA will have informed
your school, college or training provider that you have registered that you want to appeal.

Once you have received your Scottish Qualifications Certificate, you should have another
discussion about your options with your teacher or lecturer, as you did before 25th June, and
hear their professional view as to whether an appeal is in your best interests. You should do
this even if you have left school.

The final decision to appeal is yours. If you decide to go ahead, you will not need to do anything
else. If you decide not to appeal, you can withdraw your request by Thursday 12 August by
contacting customer@sqa.org.uk.

If you did not register with SQA over the summer. You can register that you want to make a
priority appeal with SQA until Thursday 12 August. However, if you miss that date, your teacher
or lecturer can submit a priority appeal for you until Tuesday 24 August.

If you do not need to use the priority service, you can ask your teacher or lecturer to submit an
appeal to SQA for you. They will be able to do this until Friday 27 August.

You will need to have a conversation with your teacher or lecturer and hear their professional
view as to whether an appeal is in your best interests. The final decision to appeal is yours.”

More detail on the appeals service can be found at

https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/79049.html

Success and next steps

The following links will take you to two key documents that we hope you will read. The School
Improvement Plan 2021-2022 has now been fully consulted on and lays out the ambitious
plans for next year as part of an ongoing self-evaluation cycle. The core activities to highlight
are (in no particular order of priority):

  • health and well-being including post-COVID-19 recovery
  • Developing the Young Workforce and our skills framework
  • high quality feedback as part of teaching and learning
  • developing and measuring engagement in learning
  • differentiation (removing barriers to learning)
  • equity, diversity and inclusion
  • pupil voice activities
  • a whole-school aspect of literacy
  • a whole-school aspect of numeracy
  • amongst a large number of other initiatives detailed in the planning document

The Standards and Quality Report 2020-2021 is a summary of our progress with school
improvement planning and a summary of the attainment, wider achievement and next steps,
representing considerable progress and successes in spite of the restrictions everyone has
been living under. Both these documents will be available under the parent section of the
school website.

Cashless Catering Information

Pupils will continue to pre-order lunch via the school website by 9.30 a.m. every morning and
lunches will be delivered to classrooms. All payments to pupil accounts should be made online
via the Argyll and Bute Pay It facility. The link is:

https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/pay-it

As usual, you will need your child’s 10 digit account reference number to load money on to
their account. S1 parents will receive a letter from the council with this information. Please
ensure you keep it to hand as you need it every time you make a payment. If you have not
received this letter or there are any issues then please do not worry about the logistics of
ordering and paying for lunch. We will ensure that every pupil who wants to order lunch can do
so.

Free School Meals and Clothing Grants

You may be entitled to Free Schools Meals and/or a Clothing Grant of £150 for your child.
Please use the link below to check eligibility and apply online.

https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/education-and-learning/free-school-meals

Family Liaison Team

Our Family Liaison Team are on hand to support parents with issues such as Free School
Meals, or any other practical or emotional support that you or your child may need. Please
don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help:

Diarmid – Mrs Angela Hill – Angela.Hill@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Fingal – Ms Louise McKechnie – Louise.McKechnie2@argyll-bute.gov.uk 
Ossian – Mrs Debbie Gillies – Debbie.Gillies@argyll-bute.gov.uk 
Somerled – Mrs Morvern Hunter- Morvern.Hunter@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Support

As always, should you require any support at all, whatever it may be; or should you have any
questions, ideas or even concerns, please either use the Contact Us page of the website or
contact your child’s Clan Guidance teacher.

I look forward to seeing all our staff back on Thursday 12th and all our pupils on Monday 16th.

Yours faithfully,

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


Video Update 13.8.21

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