Please find below all the details for the S1-3 return to school tomorrow (Wednesday 20th April). I have also tried to incorporate certain key details that have come up from parents, and a senior school update. I know you will appreciate that time to respond to individual parent questions has been limited, given that we are managing such a complex situation involving running the school across three sites. I will post another update tomorrow.
Being able to confirm these times has been difficult, as arrangements, especially pick-up times have been subject to change given that the bus companies have many other commitments. For example, in returning primary students to local schools. The final times were confirmed with me today at 5.15pm.
For Wednesday and Thursday this week. ( I will confirm any changes for next week as soon as I am informed.)
S1 – depart 9.30 am arrive at Forrester HS 10.00 am
S2 – depart 9.45 am arrive art Darroch Centre 10:00 am
S3 – depart 9.55 am arrive at Broughton HS 10:15 am
S1 – depart 3:30 pm
S2 – depart 3:30 pm
S3 – depart 3.30 pm
I still await details of travel plans with the buses for Friday. As soon as I receive this information, I will inform you on the website.
Our Support for Learning staff have worked tirelessly to ensure all taxi details have been updated. Those students collected and taken by taxi to Craigmount, will now be collected and taken as usual to one of the three other school sites. Any exceptions to this plan have been contacted in advance.
Safety at Craigmount in the morning
Staff will be in the Craigmount car-park from 8.30 am. The plan is for students to be ushered into the car-park/Astroturf area to muster in Tutor Groups. We will then be getting students onto buses and registering them as soon as possible near the pick-up times. I have requested Campus Police support with traffic management. There will be 11 buses on Craigs Rd. Consequently, I would request that as parents you do not park near the school, or attempt to access the school car park in the morning. Staff will be focussed on ensuring we gather students safely and get them on to the buses. If the weather is inclement, students should consider wearing outdoor clothing, just in case there is a bus delay out-with our control.
Staff will travel to and from the three schools with students on the buses.
The return to school will be more straightforward as the buses will arrive at school at different times as a result of traffic.
It is important all students use the buses tomorrow. I appreciate some students may live nearer i.e. to Forrester. If you would like your son or daughter to make their own way there, please provide them with a brief note on day one and this can then happen from Thursday onwards. On day one, we want to register all students and bus them there and back. This is a safety issue and I would appreciate your full co-operation with this.
All S1-3 students will be provided with a free packed lunch at the host schools for the duration of the stay.
Location to Broughton, Darroch and Forrester/St Augustine’s
Please note that at all times my concern first and foremost, has been the safety and welfare of staff and students. Having deemed another possible site as unsuitable after a visit last Thursday, I was informed on Friday morning that the alternatives would be the three school sites above. I was also informed which year-groups would be located at each site, based on the host school’s capacity to meet the numbers involved. As Darroch was not a typical school site, the whole senior team then visited it on Friday afternoon and carried out a risk assessment with Health and Safety officers. For the past three years it has been used to relocate senior students from James Gillespie’s HS, who are being decanted during the school rebuild.
Our staff teams for S1-3 have spent today (Tuesday) relocating to the three sites, and tomorrow students will receive an orientation and safety briefing on arrival, before attending classes. I am hugely grateful to colleagues at these host schools. They have been extremely helpful. Teaching spaces have now been created for each class at short notice. I am sure you are aware accommodation in Edinburgh schools is very tight. I was informed that these sites were the best options available. The priority is to get all students returned to a school environment with their teachers as soon as possible.
I have already described this as an adapted curriculum. Please let me say some more on this, as this has come up in parent questions.
We have now relocated three separate teams of staff to each site. A priority has been to ensure that S4-6 students continue to be taught at Tynecastle by their own teachers as far as possible as preparation for SQA exams is the main priority after safety. This limits our capacity to continue a normal school timetable with S1-3 until exam leave begins on 29th April. This is because the normal S1-3 teachers cannot be spread across three sites. We are also reliant on the spaces the host schools can provide. I want to pay tribute to our DHTs, who have come up with a rota, which allows S1-3 students to experience a curriculum with 5 different subjects each day. The other period will be lost in travel time. Given the constraints, we feel this is the best solution available in the 1.5 working days we have had to make this happen. Fortunately the team also worked extensively on the solution over the holiday weekend and were in Tynecastle co-ordinating things with me yesterday.
Early next week at the latest, I will update you on plans for when the exam leave begins. At the moment I am unable to do so, and all efforts are concentrated on planning three successful school moves tomorrow morning.
Update on S4-6 at Tynecastle today
Once again our seniors have had a successful day, and followed their usual timetable. I am very appreciative of the generous support of Hearts FC, who have cleared all lets for the next few weeks, to allow a safe and pleasant indoor lunchtime space with seating for up to 300 students. We also issued all senior students with enough free bus tickets to last until the end of the week. We will issue next week’s tickets on Friday. A free pack lunch was also available once again for all students.
Responses to typical questions that have come in
Contact with the school
Craigmount is now closed. For S4-6 school contact, I have set up a specific Craigmount option at Tynecastle. The number is: 0131 337 3488. Please use this for all school calls, including absence calls. Further details will follow on the other schools as soon as details available. Please call these schools and ask for Craigmount administrative staff if you need to make contact and they will deal with this.
When will be able to return to Craigmount? How long will this last?
I cannot say, but I am in daily contact with senior officers at the council. I am sure you will understand the safety of staff and students mean that we cannot return until safety is assured. I will update you the minute I hear anything.
What is happening about the SQA?
All internal deadlines for coursework and assessments now being renegotiated. Students will not be disadvantaged. Now that the 4 school site planning is in place, staff will begin to re-schedule assessments, and continue to work closely with SQA staff.
Where will the SQA examinations take place?
Planning is well under way for this. A Quality Improvement Officer met with me yesterday to consider possibilities. We will continue to discuss options this week. The priority is to ensure students are in a safe, suitable site that meets SQA requirements. We have been offered extra support from the SQA with invigilators etc. I have requested that a decision is made on this as soon as possible this week so that we can inform parents and students. I am not in a position to confirm this as a number of options are being considered at the centre.
What is happening with the alternative timetable, and big trips?
I met with relevant staff today and we have decided to go ahead. Below is an update from Mr Pye:
ALTERNATIVE TIMETABLE BRIEF 19/4/16
It is our intention to run ATT2016 as planned. In the coming weeks the information on the Trips, Excursions and Alternative Timetable website page (http://craigmounthighschool.co.uk/faculties/trips-excursions-alternative-timetable/) will be updated with all necessary travel, clothing and other arrangements. The in-school programme will be relocated to another venue and students will be supported in getting to and from their activities.
Further details on payment methods will be posted later this week.
Can we run extra-curricular clubs and supported study?
I am sure you will appreciate our priority, especially under the current pressure has to be the teaching and learning in classrooms. Some faculties are offering extra support but at the moment the demands are limiting this. Clubs will have to be put on hold for now. I am pleased that we did manage to run a full Easter revision programme.
Once exam leave starts, we will continue to support senior students who attend Tynecastle with questions etc.
A few closing comments
The many supportive comments from our Parent Council and, many individual parents, have been appreciated, and helped to sustain us at this very difficult time. Craigmount is the biggest school involved, and now all of our students have been relocated to four new sites. This has been a massive planning exercise, and would not have been possible without the whole-hearted support of staff. They have indeed gone the extra mile to make sure this unique challenge has been met.
In terms of communications. In the initial stages, I was not in a position to post comments, as communication was being managed from the centre. Since I have been able to, I have posted regular updates. In order to make this complex move happen, all efforts have been focussed on this task. It has also been the case that arrangements have been subject to changes e.g. bus times and I wanted to ensure only one accurate post was put up each day. I apologise for the length of this post today, but hopefully it answers most of the questions you have.
I am also very aware how difficult and frustrating this time has been for parents and students. It really has been an unprecedented situation. Thank you for your on-going support. Please follow the website for updates. I will also use text to keep you informed.
Mr T Rae