Head Teacher Update - Letter and Video 63

4th February in School

(jump to video section)

Friday 4th February 2022

Dear parent / carer, (please share with your child)

I hope this letter finds you all safe and well again.

As always this letter and accompanying video is in sections to give you the choice of what to
read or listen to. Of course, my advice is always to read or watch all we publish to give you a
real understanding of our school as a whole. For example, you may be a parent of an S1 pupil,
but learning about the options process for seniors will be useful preparation for your child in
the not so distant future; or you may be a primary parent who can get a wee insight into High
School life. Equally, I think it interesting for seniors to learn of the lessons we have learned
from their feedback that influences change for those who follow on from them.

Covid update for Schools

The First Minister gave a speech on Tuesday, 1st February, noting that Covid case numbers
remain high. This is certainly very evident in schools across the country, including our own. I
would like to thank you for your continued support with an increased use of the Lateral Flow
Tests (LFTs). Due to this extra vigilance we have seen an increase in cases being caught
early and before symptoms have been brought into school. However, it is important to note
that high levels of absence are not primarily down to pupils contracting Covid but to the impact
of self-isolation. Add to that staff absence due to self-isolation themselves or their family and
the level of disruption to pupil learning is concerning – in schools across the land.

Our staff who remain in school are working tirelessly to provide all our youngsters both in and
out of school with the best possible level of care and education. Our pastoral teams remain on
hand to help families and our staff continue to upload lessons to Google Classrooms to help
youngsters keep pace with lessons missed. Where there is a subject specialist available (either
live or on VC from Oban / Tiree) then senior classes will receive specialist cover. This is a huge
benefit of the sister-school approach between Oban and Tiree. However, as is the case in
almost every other school, if there are no subject specialists then the class will be covered by
a fully qualified teacher but not necessarily a subject specialist. The work the cover teacher will
support the class with will be work set by the subject specialist PT / absent teacher (where
possible).

Although pupils can keep pace with learning (as practically as possible), when they come back
to school we would ask that you encourage them to ask for help from their teacher and attend
any supported study sessions, voluntarily led by teachers after school and at lunchtime. These
are available by VC between Oban/Tiree. I am also pleased to announce that our Local
Authority will once again fund supported study sessions at Easter. Please get your children to
sign up for these in due course.

The First Minister has also indicated that some relaxation to rules in schools could be made
should school management believe these possible (see the link below). It is my intention not
to relax any of the current arrangements at the moment. We shall re-evaluate our position a
couple of weeks after the mid-term break. This decision will ensure the high levels of protection,
currently in place, will help keep Covid cases from increasing in the school. Clearly, they may
still rise should pupils mix without precautions out of school over the holiday.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-reducing-the-risks-in-schools/

SQA update

I mentioned in my last letter that the SQA intended to proceed with holding exams this summer.
I also noted there were three scenarios. As predicated, they have announced they will proceed
with scenario 2: exams are still on but with extra support offered for learners who are taking
National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher courses in 2022

The SQA will provide revision support for all courses that have an exam. This will be tailored
to reflect different types of question papers, any modifications to the question papers that are
already in place and the type and volume of content that is assessed in each question paper.
This link shows some detail of what the support for each subject looks like:

https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/100366.html

Over and above subject support, other support services will be available from the SQA and we
will send more information about this in due course. In the meantime here is a link to the SQA
Frequently Asked Questions Page:

https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/72074.html

Options 2022

Interviews with S2 pupils to choose their Electives for S3 is almost complete. Many thanks to
the parents and carers who have joined the meeting virtually. The final deadline for completed
S2 into S3 forms is Tuesday 15th February.

Parents and carers of S3 pupils will have already received an email with information about their
child’s interview and a copy of their individual Choice form. These interviews begin from
Tuesday 15 February and all information about subjects can be found on the Google
Classroom (Code: p6xughp). I would encourage parents to discuss this fully with their child
before their interview with their Guidance teacher and, if possible, join this meeting virtually.
The final deadline for completed S3 into S4 forms is Monday 28th February.

The Options process will then continue with S4 pupils from Monday 28th February and S5 pupils
from Monday 21st March. Again parents will be sent emails with individual interview times and
choice forms. Codes for Google Classrooms which contain videos and information about each
subject are:

S4 into S5 Options Google Classroom: rzwlopy
S5 into S6 Options Google Classroom: xcmzy52

Our Departments have also been running virtual information sessions and my thanks go to the
parents who have attended these sessions and asked so many useful questions. Argyll College
will also be running some virtual sessions for the courses that are offered to our senior pupils.
Please find information below:

Tuesday 15th February: The meeting link is https://meet.google.com/chk-jzaz-grr 

Time Subject
6.00pm SfW Nat 4 Hairdressing
6.15pm SfW Nat 5 Hairdressing
6.30pm NPA Make-up Skills SCQF Level 5
6.45pm

Higher Beauty


Wednesday 16th February

Time Lecturer Subject Google Meet Code
6.00pm Martin Crowley SfW Nat 4 Rural Skills https://meet.google.com/tdc-fxejoge 
6.10pm Don Mitchell Maritime Skills https://meet.google.com/mxk-wxikqhg 
6.20pm Jean MacPherson SfW Nat 5 Childcare https://meet.google.com/ech-dtuzivp 
6.30pm Martin Crowley SfW Nat 4 Automotive https://meet.google.com/tqb-oegddsj 
6.40pm Billie Smith/Erin Jordan NPA Legal Studies https://meet.google.com/gwv-iziabuj 
6.50pm Jean MacPherson Higher Childcare and Development https://meet.google.com/ech-dtuzivp 
7.00pm Martin Crowley SfW Nat 5 Engineering https://meet.google.com/ohy-kwawnfu 

 

Live ‘N Learn Follow Up Sessions - Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th February

Following the sessions in October on study skills and growth mind set, our S4 to S6 pupils will
participate in sessions designed to give them effective strategies for focussed revision for the
up-coming exams.

Jen Kemp from Live-N Learn will also deliver a parent/carer session on Tuesday 15th February
from 6pm to 7pm All parents are invited to join this session which will help parents with
strategies to support their children effectively in the coming months.

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/pow-pbbc-wpd

Results Meeting with Local Councillors

On Wednesday 2nd February, our local councillors were invited to a meeting to discuss last
year’s SQA results and to speak to pupils about their learner journeys and experiences of
learning during the pandemic. The pupils from Tiree and Oban spoke very well about their
experiences and the councillors were all very impressed with the excellent results from both
schools, commenting on the wide variety of courses on offer and thanking staff for all their hard
work in supporting our pupils so effectively.

Parental engagement

I try to provide you with as much information as possible through my letters and videos but
there are many other communication methods and people involved in supporting you too –
Guidance; FLOs; Support and IT staff; careers staff; our website; Instagram; Podcasts; the
School App for example. Whatever information you need, we pass on; if there’s anything you
wish to ask, we answer your specific questions. Please remember, however, to email first
(unless urgent) as our staff are teaching and will answer your questions when they are free.

One of the benefits of Covid is the IT lessons learned and so all the live sessions we would
normally run are now on video, so parents previously unable to attend sessions can watch the
support information at a time convenient to them. There’s a few of these videos, most recently
Mr Champion’s video of the learning and revision workshop he ran for parents, or the Guide to
Pupil Voice session delivered by Helen Hope… amongst many others on our YouTube channel
– please subscribe for notifications every time we upload to it.

https://youtu.be/DZ4gTJGw5l0 (Kevin)

https://youtu.be/6eC4SFIj_c0 (Helen)

When we have less concerns about the impact on Covid then we will move to more live
sessions whilst retaining a level of digital delivery thus ensuring everyone can access our
support.

High Standards and Expectations

All schools place a high degree of attention on standards. We are no different. We expect
pupils to adhere to our basic rules. Pupils should come to school; on time; in uniform; with the
necessary kit/equipment necessary for the day; and they should show respect for themselves
and others. If pupils do not adhere to these basic rules, then we will take the opportunity to
discuss with them (and their parents) the reasons for them not adhering to our rules, and how
we can support them. This will always require a conversation. We will not simply ignore a
breach of our standards. We need to challenge pupils who refuse to follow our rules – which
teenagers often do – and we need to understand what we need to do to support pupils to
adhere to our rules. Our Family Liaison Officers often pick up pupils from home, our guidance
teachers provide uniform; our teachers give out kit, our office staff send texts warning of late-
coming.

I would ask parents to take the oft-repeated support offered. By doing so there will be more
support and less (necessary) challenge.

Support available

As always, should any pupils or parents have any questions or concerns, in the first instance
please contact your Clan Guidance Teacher if in Oban or PT Primary or PT Secondary in
Tiree. You can do so by using the “Contact Us” page on the website.

Please also remember my continuing offer of support. If you need pastoral, subject, IT or even
financial support, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you and your
families.

I hope you all have a lovely mid-term holiday next week.

Yours faithfully,

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


Mr Bain’s Update 3.2.22

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