My update will be briefer today but I am very pleased to inform you that I have just had confirmation from council staff that the buses for all three S1-3 sites will arrive earlier from Tuesday 3rd May as contracts have been changed. This will mean the school day will start more promptly, something I know that all of us have been keen to make happen. Thank you for your support in requesting this. I will confirm the earlier pick-up times at Craigmount in tomorrow’s update.
Staff continue to plan ways of improving the S1-3 experience, and with more staff available next week, we will be looking to offer learning outwith the current Tutor Group approach. This will allow more differentiation for classes and will evolve over the week. Maths and English provision will be much enhanced.
I visited Broughton this afternoon, and spoke with many of the classes and individual students. I am very proud of the way they are managing this far from ideal situation.
I am also pleased to inform you that all our SQA deadlines were met today. There are a few extensions agreed for some practical subjects, but the staff and students have worked hard and done an excellent job in ensuring that the uplift today was very much in line with what usually happens.
Despite the considerable constraints of recent weeks, we have also completed and printed individual exam timetables as usual for all S4-6 students. These will be issued tomorrow with a final exam briefing. There will also be a summary of any key points on the website for the small number of students who may not be there as they are undertaking a drama assessment. Full details of study leave will be on the website by Friday.
Some parent questions
As more staff begin to work with S1-3, this situation will also improve. In the meantime, please see the Faculty pages on the website for further advice and links. As I stated in yesterday’s update, personal reading is always an enriching activity. Our librarian is now going to be increasing our capacity for lending at Darroch.
A number of parents have asked if we have been using supply staff, particularly to ensure we had Maths and English specialists. The answer is yes, we have increased supply staff in all locations. We have been allocated one supply teacher for each S1-3 site. However, these have been general supply teachers. As you may be aware, the shortage of specialist supply staff, has been a national concern over the past few years.
We have also extended the use of other supply staff who were in school before Easter, and a number of our own part-time staff have increased hours. As this is mainly a Maths/English staffing concern from parents, it will hopefully be reassuring that we will be able to deploy these specific subject specialists from Tynecastle from next week.
5th May closure
Some parents have been asking if S1-3 classes could be made available on this day next week. This is not possible for a number of reasons. The school will be very busy with the very large English exam on that day. Staff will also be using the time to work on key areas such as improvement plans for the session ahead, as well as planning for the current situation. This will be the first time we have our full staff team together for almost three weeks, and there is important wok to be done. It is also the case that the day is agreed in national and local contractual arrangements, which it is not in the power of a Head Teacher to change. Please be reassured though that staff will remain here to assist senior students during the exam period.
Faculty news and school life
London Meeting – Please be advised that a meeting will be held at Tynecastle HS at 7pm on Tuesday 3rd May for the parents of those pupils attending the London trip for Alternative Timetable. – Ms Lawson
New York Meeting – Please be advised that a meeting will be held at Tynecastle HS at 7pm on Tuesday 10th May for parents of those pupils participating in the Social Subjects NYC trip during October 2016. – Ms Lawson
Senior drama students have been performing very confidently in the rescheduled assessments in the evenings this week. I have spoken with many of them and they were very positive about the experience.
French water-sports trip
It was good to speak with parents last night at Mr Pye’s trip briefing in Tynecastle.
Duke of Edinburgh
Despite all the disruption, our fantastic staff have made sure these S3 experiences have gone ahead. There was a successful bronze field-trip last week, and another group departs for the Pentlands tomorrow. I hope they enjoy the same good weather as last week’s party!
Debating and football also continue during this difficult time. Well done to the staff and students for working hard to sustain our rich extra-curricular programme and working hard to keep routines going despite the constraints and pressures. I cannot thank them enough for this.
Mr T Rae