Head Teacher Update - Letter and video 69

20th May in School

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20 May 2022

Dear parent / carer (please share with your child

I hope you have all had a favourable time since my last letter to you all. It’s been a quick couple
of weeks. Time flies by when busy and this is certainly one of the busiest times of the year in
schools. This is a long letter as it covers a number of important information items, some
congratulations and some heads up to what’s coming. As always, feel free to scan through the
headings to the bits you wish to concentrate on: or wait for the video and just watch and listen
to that. My senior pupils tell me they just listen to it. They know what I look like so don’t need
to see me droning on. I found this amusing – and likely true – but then we have so much to
share and this is just a tiny taster of what we do.

SQA exams

The exams are going well. Attendance is high and our pupils’ dedication to their studies is
amazing. Even although they have permission to go home after exams, they are staying on in
droves and going to classes or studying on the terrace for their next ones. I’m very proud of
them showing such maturity.

A reminder that we are now at the stage when it’s not sensible to ask pupils to come in for full
days if they only have an exam or two to go, and in these cases they are welcome to come in
or work online from home – but only if they have completed all their unit assessments for every
course. If they haven’t, they must come in or otherwise be recorded as truanting. The quicker
they complete the units, the quicker they are allowed to work from home if they wish.

Our new timetable will begin on Monday 6th June for all year groups. Timetables will be issued
on Wednesday 1st June. All new S5 and S6 pupils should come into school on this day and
collect their new timetable in preparation for their new courses.

In-service and holiday reminder

Please remember that Friday 27th May is an In-service day and then Thursday 2nd and Friday
3rd June are both holidays – Friday the 3rd being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Day.

Exams are still running on the 27th May and amended transport arrangements have been
communicated to individual families. However, if you have any questions, please email us.

School Improvement Plan

It is that time of the year when we reflect on progress made with our school improvement
priorities for 2021-2022 and plan for 2022-2023. As part of this self-evaluation process we
welcome your thoughts and views. We have already anticipated that the pandemic has
curtailed some of the planned developments but we have still made good progress, all things
considered. The School Improvement Plan can be found on the school website under the
'Parent' section. Mr Champion has also shared a short video reflecting on last year and about
our plans for next year.


We hope this will help inform your thoughts. We would be very grateful if you could complete
this questionnaire by following the link:


There are 9 sections with one or two questions for each section. Bullet points or short notes
are more than sufficient. This questionnaire is designed to both look backwards and forwards
as part of our continuous cycle of improvement. You may wish to complete this alongside your
son/daughter. Could it please be completed and sent back to us by May 27th. The Parent
Council will also be engaging with the process. We thank you in advance for your time and
consideration. You may also wish to contact our Parent Council Chair/Vice Chair by emailing

Promotions and events

Now, the next few items are not for everyone but I’m including them to highlight that we are
now more fully up and running and getting back on track with resuming as many of our pre-
pandemic offer as possible. Obviously this will take time but we’re determined to ensure all our
kids get as much out of school as we can.

S1/S2 School Tours

All parents of current S1 and S2 pupils are invited to come and tour the school on Thursday
16th June. The tours will start at 4.30, 5.30 and 6.30 p.m. from the school foyer. If you would
like to come and have a look at our fantastic facilities then please just select the best time for
you and your family and turn up at the school foyer at your preferred time. This will also be an
opportunity to view our Expressive Arts Showcase which is being presented on the same

Expressive Arts Showcase

Our pupils are exceptionally talented in the fields of art, music and drama – three disciplines
that lend themselves very much to the sharing of such talent very publically. Of course Covid
rules has prevented such a display of talent being shared until now. I would really encourage
you to come along to a Showcase event in the high school on Wednesday 8th June at 7 pm.
where you can walk round our art exhibition, listen to our musicians, watch drama
performances and view our new photography works. This will be amazing.OHS Pipe Band
Talking of musicians, I must mention that our pipe band is back on tour. They came second a
week past Saturday at the first competition of the season in Gourock; and they are competing
again tomorrow (Saturday 21st) in the British Championships in Greenock. Good luck to them
all – and thanks to all the staff and volunteers who give up so much time at weekends, in the
evenings and through the holidays to make our band such a success.

Traditional School of Music

Our TSM pupils will be performing in the Rockfield centre on the 23rd of June, showing off their
talents and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of this specialist school
provision. Tickets are available on the door.

Summer Dance

The Summer Dance (or Prom as the kids refer to it) is on Thursday the 9th of June. Given the
kids all missed Jingles last Christmas, there’s a lot of interest in this event. Tickets are on sale
now. They can be purchased from the Dance Committee members on the Terrace at

Laurinburg Exchange

The Laurinburg exchange is happening this year and the group of 12 students have been busy
fundraising over the last 6 months. They have raised thousands of pounds to entertain our
American guests and tour them around our beautiful country when they arrive in June. Our
American guests will arrive on the 8th of June for 2 weeks. Our pupils and staff in turn will travel
to Washington and then onto Laurinburg in October.

Dance Show

We have the summer dance show on 31st of May, this will showcase the school of dance and
elective dance classes along with the first display of the Gymnastics & cheer group. If you
would normally attend the Dance Show each year in the Corran Halls, I would encourage you
to come along to this smaller event in the same huge numbers.

School of Rugby

Our School of Rugby pupils have been participating in an Established School of Rugby
Conference over the last 2 months; so far all of the School teams have been undefeated playing
St Paul’s Academy and St Thomas Aquinas. The last game of the season is Thursday 26th of
May at home to Coatbridge High School. All 3 teams will be playing on this day, U13 and U14
boys and U14 girls.

S6 Farewell Event

All our S6 Leavers are invited to attend a Farewell Event on Wednesday 25th May at 11.30
a.m. We hope that as many pupils as possible can attend. Leavers hoodies are on their way
to pupils who have ordered them and the Yearbook has been sent to print and will be delivered in June.
Our leavers will get a few kinds words and offer of support from myself before our
SPLT lead a presentation of the last 6 years. Great fun!

Our Isles and Oceans Charity

This week fourteen of our junior pupils paid a visit to the clipper 70 ocean racing yacht run by
the charity Our Isles and Oceans. While on board they learned about the challenges of living
with up to twenty other people whilst traversing the world’s oceans. The young people were
amazed to see just how cramped life can be even on such a large boat. The skipper and first
mate gave a fantastic first-hand account of some of the extreme situations that they had been
through, and no doubt inspired a future generation of round the world sailors.

Independent Schools Ski Competition – by Halsbury

Oban High and Tiree High have the opportunity to compete in the Championship in Italy
between 16th-22nd Dec 2022. This is for experienced skiers who are comfortable on red runs.
Events will include Giant Slalom & Slalom with team and individual parallel Slalom. Interested
students should see Miss MacFarlane in Oban and Miss Cooney in Tiree.

Employer engagement / Developing the Young Workforce (DYW)

After significant restrictions on work experience due to the pandemic we are delighted that we
have had the opportunity to get back out and visit our employers and recruit some new ones.
We are very grateful for the continuing support we have had from the local business
community, which has a very positive impact on our pupils and ensures success in their future
workplace. If you would like to be part of our work/voluntary placement programme please
contact aisling.clark@argyll-gov.uk

Over the last three years we have expanded our Foundation Apprenticeship programme and
now offer FA Business Skills Level 6, FA Engineering Level 6 and FA Construction Level 5 and
hope to add more in 2023. We would like to thank DRAX Cruachan Power and SSE who have
provided virtual work placements and challenges and MacLeod’s Construction who have
delivered in-school learning.

At Oban High we offer a huge array of qualifications which include many wider achievement
awards. These awards are SCQF Credit Rated and all Level 6 qualifications are now
recognised by UCAS for University entrance e.g. a Level 6 Scottish Studies is equivalent to a
band C Higher.

Did you know that 93 percent of level 6 qualification in Scotland are not Highers?!

Finally with the increasing awareness of mental health issues we have been delivering Level
4/5 Mental Health and Wellbeing to all our S5 pupils. This course looks at stigma, causes of
mental health issues, coping mechanisms and the difference between mental health and
mental illness. These qualifications therefore aim to address gaps in knowledge and to improve
understanding of mental health questions for our young people. The SQA have announced
that the Level 6 award will be ready for delivery in August and we are hoping to offer a pilot for
S6 pupils.

Thanks to our wonderful Alison McFarlane for her exceptional resources and for being part of
the SQA team who have created the level 6 Award.

If any parents are interested in completing this award as an evening session next year please
let us know.

Wellbeing Project Exhibition (Rockfield Centre)

Our pupils have been supporting the Rockfield Centre in preparing their Wellbeing project
exhibition. I would encourage everyone to visit this exhibition and see a whole wealth of
community talent and endeavour. It’s on in the Silverbirch Gallery, in the Rockfield Centre:
Wednesday 18th May (10-5); Thursday 19th (10-4); Friday 20th (10-4); Saturday (10-3).

New Senior Pupil Leadership Team

All pupils going into S6 are encouraged to apply to become a member of this year’s Senior
Pupil Leadership Team.

A Google Classroom has been set up with information and this year’s application form which
should be submitted by Monday 6th June. The code is: uryulvv

As always this is an excellent opportunity for our new S6 pupils to further develop many
important skills such as communication, organisation and the ability to lead and work in a team.
This year our pupils will have the opportunity to design and lead an International Leadership
Pupil Conference in September. Pupils from across Scotland will be invited to attend as well
as a Norwegian delegation of pupils who will be visiting Oban High school to explore effective
pupil leadership.

School rules

Given all the above, it is worth noting to parents at this time as we have with our pupils today
that our basic expectations are that pupils attend school, on time, in uniform, with the necessary
equipment/kit for the day and that they show respect for themselves and others. If pupils do
not “persistently” adhere to our school rules then of course we need to take action to ensure
equity in the application of our basic rules, and in the event that dialogue with pupils fails to
have the desired effect, then consequences such as not getting to attend dances, play for
teams, go on trips etc. will be applied as a next step. In each case of persistent breaches of
our rules, parents will be contacted. Obviously, I hope this doesn’t happen, but in a school of
a thousand teenagers, of course it will, and I’m just being clear from the outset. The wealth of
opportunity is amazing but to access our full offer, pupils need to buy into the whole package,
not just the bits that suit them.

School Lottery

Many thanks to all our players of the school lottery. To date you have raised £654.50 for your
school. The draw takes place every Saturday night and a winner from our school is guaranteed
every week.

If you would like a chance of winning £25,000 and support your school at the same time, visit
YourSchoolLottery.co.uk and search for Oban High School. Good Luck

SSC Summer Camp

We would like to invite you to a parental information evening on the SSC summer camps on
Wednesday 25th May from 6:15-7:00pm

The SSC run inclusive summer camps for young people between 10 - 18 years old. The
campsite is based in Perthshire, Scotland, but we welcome young people from all over the
world. As well as offering exciting opportunities, like white water rafting & canyoning, they pride
themselves on helping young people build on their own confidence, learn new skills and make
friends for life! Book now at www.thessc.org for a life-changing experience that will never be

For 2022 – they will run one all-singing-all-dancing-fun-in-the-sun 10 day camp from
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 30 July 2022.

The cost for one place at the camp this year is £480 and this is inclusive of all meals and
activities at camp. The SSC also provide travel from Oban via coach for just £20. Furthermore,
the SSC offers a variety of ways to assist you to cover the cost, if required, including £100
Sibling Discount for each additional family member & grants for those in need. Please don’t
hesitate to get in touch! For more information see www.thessc.org Email: office@thessc.org

Support available

As always, if you have any question, concerns or ideas feel free to contact us via the “Contact
Us” page on the website; or email your child’s Guidance Teacher directly. Together with the
Family Liaison Officers, Youth Worker, IT and support staff and the careers service staff (SDS),
we will all be glad to do whatever we can to support you and your families in any way we can.
Have a lovely weekend.

Yours faithfully

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