Head Teacher Update - Letter and Video 51

30th June in School

(jump to video section)

Friday 30th June 2021

Dear Parent/Carer (please share with your child)

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

Thank you

This is my final letter of the school year. It will be the 51st letter I’ve issued since the start of
Covid during February last year. I’m aware that some are very long, my apologies. I’ve had to
give you lots of very important information and we are a very large and vibrant school. Of
course they do come in sections, as do the videos provided for those who prefer to watch the
updates rather than read them. Together with our senior pupils and staff, we have provided
over 130 YouTube videos to keep you up to date. My thanks to everyone who have given up
their evenings and weekends to produce these.

Our communication and, thereafter, support for all our pupils and parents alike is primarily
centred on the Pastoral Teams for each clan (Clan Deputes, Guidance Teachers, Family
Liaison Officers, Youth Worker, Learning Support Assistants and IT Support staff). I am
pleased that we have been able to offer all our families support that has included learning, IT
devices and connectivity, food, clothing and most importantly of all, a compassionate
understanding and helping hand during the very difficult times we all face currently. My thanks
to these wonderfully dedicated, committed and compassionate individuals.

Our school is a large organisation, with many other staff who are available to support the care
and learning of our community. Our business requires the support of our office and finance
staff, technicians, janitors, cleaners and catering staff. These staff may have less contact with
our children but without their professionalism and hard work, we would not have the
infrastructure to provide the care and learning we provide. I think it important to remind
everyone that Oban High School rarely closes. We are not all on holiday 12 weeks a year. Our
school is a community school, open during 50 of the 52 weeks of the year – days, nights and
weekends - and these staff in particular support me throughout the whole year to offer a wealth
of wider opportunities for our children and to ensure our preparedness for the forthcoming
coming session.

The support for our children and families are not restricted to those whom we employ directly.
We have many partner organisations who, even during Covid times, have continued to support
our school and provide opportunities for our youngsters. The most notable of these is the
Education Support, Central Education Team and Digital Learning Team, all of whom continue
to provide support to our children. A recent example to be highlighted with the closing date so
close would be the establishment of the summer activities programme. For a list of summer
holiday opportunities further expanded by another of our partners, Live Argyll, please see Live
Argyll’s website for more information.

FES/OES maintain our new school to an exceptionally high standard; Education Transport,
West Coast Motors, Scotrail, CalMac and Hebridean Air all bring our kids to school from far
and wide; our School Hostel cares for those from the islands; our Primary partners provide the
foundations for all we teach in the high school; and this education is further broadened through
the many courses offered to us by Argyll College, The Open University (YASS) and most
recently the Engineering Foundation Apprenticeships supported by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

I could add to this letter over 90 different partners, some local, some national and a few
international. I feel my readers may not bear with me if I did. So, to all those not listed, please
rest assured, we continue to value and appreciate your support and I will sing your praises
throughout the year.

These are my thanks; thanks shared by all those who benefit from these partnerships. My one
final thanks would be to all those who have written emails and cards, or called in ever
increasing numbers over the last few weeks. The thanks, praise and support shown by so
many parents, and by the Parent Council in particular is heartening. The recognition of the
leadership and efforts of all our staff in navigating successfully these turbulent times with
constant changes linked to Covid restrictions; our health and safety measures; our timetables;
our courses; our assessments; and the way in which we teach both online and live, is very
much appreciated.

This week, I also had the privilege to discuss our Covid arrangements, our qualifications and
our wider successes, and our concerns, with the HMIe, most of the local Councillors, the
Community Council, and education team members including the Director of Education.
Everyone involved have offered their support to our school and asked me to pass on their
thanks to our dedicated staff and their congratulations to all our pupils. Such support and praise
goes a long way in re-affirming that our community value the work we do and the success we
achieve.

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 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.

SQA Results

Congratulations to all of our pupils who received provisional results on Friday 25th June. All of
your hard work and dedication has led to well-deserved, fantastic results. Well done to you all!

If you have not received your provisional results either by email or letter, please check all of
your inboxes on your glow email account, including your junk filter. Please then contact
enquiriesobanhigh@argyll-bute.gov.uk to let us know if you have not received your provisional
results and we will post information to you.

We recognise that not everyone will have been satisfied with all of their results. Many of you
have been in touch to discuss this with school staff. Should you wish to appeal your results
following these discussions, you must register directly with the SQA. All of the information
regarding the appeals process can be found on the SQA website:
https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/79049.html.

Your results are now being finalised by the SQA and your final awards; including Skills for
Work, college courses, Foundation Apprenticeships etc. will be communicated to you by the
SQA on Tuesday 10th August. Pupils can sign up to receive results by text message by
registering with MySQA: https://www.mysqa.org.uk/.

New S1 Induction Days

The induction days for our new S1s will take place on Monday 16th August and Tuesday 17th
August. New S1 pupils should meet staff and senior pupils on the avenue (at the front of the
school) at 0850 on Monday 16th August in school uniform (we will have ties available so don’t
worry).

Clan leaders and S6 helpers will be on the avenue with clan banners. Pupils should line up in
their clan, at which point senior pupils will guide them to the right place in the building. If a pupil
is unsure of their clan, the Depute Head Teachers and Guidance staff will be on hand with lists
to help point everyone in the right direction.

Day 1 of induction will see S1 pupils spend time in their clan class with their clan teacher,
guidance teacher and family liaison officer so they get to know others in their class and key
staff in the school.

On day 2, pupils should come to school in PE kit as the day will be spent outside or in the halls
participating in team building activities so everyone gets to know people in their year.

S1s will have an adapted timetable with different breaks and lunch times for the first week so
they can spend time together, get to know the building and staff.

We look forward to welcoming all of our S1s to Oban High School in August.

New Session:

All our children should return to school on the 16th of August. I am sure they will all settle in
well. To begin with, we will follow all the same health and safety and timetable arrangements
as we do today. This will ensure clarity in expectations and ensure we return smoothly. If there
is new guidance issued during the holidays, then we will make the changes once we have
already begun the new term, to ensure we have time to consider all the changes and how best
to adapt to them.

Following discussion with last year’s Senior Pupil Leadership Team we will now change the
date of the prize-giving to Thursday 2nd September. My thanks to Joy Dunlop for agreeing to
be our Guest of Honour. This change of date will allow our pupils more time to prepare for any
dinner and/or dance (Covid restrictions allowing) on Friday 3rd September. My thanks to the
very popular and regular Jingles band, The Chunks for agreeing to play that evening. They will
either play indoor or outdoor (or sadly won’t play) depending on the guidance at the time.
Fingers crossed. They’re a couple of great events to look forward to.

Live-N-Learn

In order to support our pupils with their learning and assessments in the coming academic
year, we have booked Revision Skills and Growth Mind-set workshops for all pupils in S4 and
S5 and targeted pupils in S6. The first session will take place in October and there will be a
follow up session in February. There will also be a Parental Engagement session where you
will be given information on how best to support your child with their learning and help them to
achieve their full potential. More details will follow in the new term but in the meantime there is
lots of helpful information on the Live-N-Learn website: https://live-n-learn.co.uk/.

Duke of Edinburgh

Exciting times ahead as staff met last week to discuss reintroducing Duke of Edinburgh Awards
at Oban and Tiree High Schools. We are in the early stages of becoming a Directly Licensed
Centre and hope to be delivering Duke of Edinburgh Awards to pupils next session, if Covid
restrictions allow. If you want to find out more about the many benefits and experiences young
people gain through participating in this award go to www.dofe.org/do.

Need something to get into this summer? Try this challenge https://events.dofe.org/event/doit-4-youth/how-it-works and when we see you after the summer break we will have more info
and details of how to get involved in the full awards.

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 hope you all have a lovely summer holiday.

Yours faithfully,

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


Update 1st July

Back to news