24th January in School
24th January 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.
First things first. When will we all be back in school? The First Minister confirmed last week,
that schools will not be able to return as planned on the 1st of February. We await a date for all
of us returning to school or “possibly” for “blended learning” to start. This is where some pupils
return, some continue online learning. As I have previously mentioned on a number of
occasions, we have already planned for both eventualities. I shall keep you posted on further
guidance from the Scottish Government. This is the most recent we are working to:
May I take the opportunity to thank our parents for supporting our children to get online and
engage with their learning experiences in these difficult times. My thanks also for encouraging
our children to seek support when it has been required. Additionally, my thanks goes to our
staff who are delivering online learning experiences each period in line with the timetables; the
staff who are supporting youngsters online and those who are supporting the small number of
pupils attending our Hub. Working together we have ensured that almost all our children are
accessing learning experiences every day; are receiving individual support when required and
have all the necessary IT and/or learning packs required to keep on learning.
I have a few observations to make from my discussions with staff and parents over the first two
weeks of this new type of leaning provision. The last two weeks have demonstrated that almost
all our youngsters are in classes each day and that every class has a teacher and where
required, support staff, available to ensure pupils can access “live” lessons each period. Please
note “Live learning” is where a teacher is able to interact with youngsters during class time,
sometimes visually through Google Meet, though sometimes connectivity issues will only allow
audio discussions. Live learning is also where teachers interact with pupils using Google
Classroom text. It is not possible or desirable to have a teacher and pupils on Google Meet
visually all day. The pupils need to get on with written work, and teachers need to get on with
typing individual supportive comments to work provided by pupils on Google Classroom.
As always, if you have any problems with accessing this provision please contact us
immediately using the “Contact Us” page of the website and we will resolve any issues.
I have met many parents (socially distanced of course) when out walking. Each have been very
positive about the online service we are providing for both Primary and High School pupils in
our schools. I am particularly pleased by the warm reception to my continuing advice to
everyone that they should take some family time, or “me time” when they need to. Continuing
to learn is important but we also need to acknowledge that we are all living in difficult times and
that many of our families have adults and children living and working in the house together.
This can be quite stressful, so take the time to go for a walk, or whatever takes your mind off
the issues faced. This is both desirable and possible. Please remember that pupils will get
through work far quicker than they would in school, without the need to move pupils about the
school, spend time in group work etc. As much as they should log into each class at the start
of the lesson and complete the tasks provided, there will be time available to spend with the
family or to get away from the screen multiple times throughout the day.
Obviously, there are always a number of youngsters not that keen on schoolwork (or indeed
housework), whether in person or online. We continue to take registers in each class to ensure
we know who is engaging in the lessons, and who are reluctant to engage in particular classes.
Our Pastoral teams are calling parents and offering support to engage all our children, just as
we would normally each day. If you have taken some family time, that’s fine, just tell the staff
when they call. Anything else, please just ask for help.
As much as these observations are all based on conversations with parents and staff, I would
like to explore in more detail how things are going and so would be grateful if you could
complete a questionnaire: similar to the one Mr Champion and Mrs Cooney sent and reported
on in the Summer term. Your responses will help us determine what other support may be
required; or merely what opportunities we will continue to provide.
The google codes for the questionnaires are:
Finally, starting next week for 11-18 year old's, Argyll and Bute Community Learning's online
lockdown health and wellbeing programme goes live. This is a chance to have fun, be social,
and learn new skills whilst staying safe. Details can be seen and young people can sign up by
clicking this link:
I hope you have a good week ahead. 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:
P A Bain
Executive Head Teacher
Oban High School, Tiree High School & Tiree Primary School