Head Teacher Update - Letter and Video 64

18th February in School

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18th February 2022

Dear parent/carer (please share with your child)

Another long letter but as always it’s in sections for you to pick and choose from; and you can
watch and listen to the video if you prefer.

I hope that you all had a good holiday last week. I’m aware many of you got away and hopefully
wherever you managed to travel to you had better weather than we had at home. Of course
the poor weather last week has continued into this week and the storms and the snow are
presenting new challenges for us. My thanks to all those who are ensuring the alternative
transport arrangements when required; to all those keeping the pavements and roads clear
and to all the staff for their extra efforts in covering classes for those who struggle to get into
school because of ferry and train disruption or road closures. We face these issues every year
and every year the weather improves. Let’s hope the sun comes out soon.

Weather is not the only issue preventing attendance at school. Covid continues to be prevalent
and many pupils and staff are unable to attend school because of illness or self-isolation.
Please look after yourselves first and foremost but if you are well enough, keep an eye on
Google classrooms. If parents have any questions, email your Guidance teacher if in Oban or
PT Primary/Secondary if in Tiree and they will help you.

It is essential that parent/carers inform the school as soon as possible if their child has tested
positive to Covid 19. This allows the school to put in place its necessary support procedures
and notifications. The school office opens at 8:30 each week day but we can also be notified
via email and messages can be left on the school answer machine (please give your child’s
full name and class).

Covid changes

Despite the concerning numbers catching Covid, changes to the way in which we live with this
virus continue to be published by the Scottish Government. Yesterday saw the publication of
a new schools update, to be enacted on February 28th, which you can read in full here:

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

We have been instructed to maintain most of the mitigations in place to keep us safe, well and
learning but there are a few important changes of note. The first is that we will no longer be
required to wear face coverings in learning environments. This will help greatly with
communication. Face coverings are still necessary when moving around the building or in
communal areas when not eating. We are also now able to hold assemblies. These all involve
our pupils sitting in rows and facing the same way so are reasonably safe. Again this will help
with communication. The last key change is that, provided we put in some extra precautions,
we will be able to welcome our P7 pupils and parents into our high school. These visits will
take place towards the end of the Summer term as originally planned for. There are a few other
changes we could make, for example the removal of staggered lunches or departures but we
will keep these for now and review them at Easter. We are also able to invite more people into
school but the instructions contain the guidance that we should only do this if necessary and
we should continue to use online provision whenever possible. I’ll update you as we cautiously
review all additional changes between now and the Summer.

Transition

Planning for Transition events is underway. During March, I plan to host Google Meets with
P7 pupils to speak to them about life at Oban High School. These events will be organised in
conjunction with local primary schools. The Depute Head Teachers and guidance team will
host virtual meetings via Google Meet to give parents and guardians the opportunity to hear
about the high school and ask any questions they may have. Dates for these days and the
virtual meetings will be published in early March. In the meantime, our transition site is now
live with information for pupils, parents and carers and will include an opportunity to submit
questions to us. The site can be accessed at https://sites.google.com/ab.glow.scot/ohs-transition.

SQA

As mentioned in my previous letter, the SQA will publish additional support and resources for
candidates the week beginning Monday 7th March.

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

As a school, we will be providing a range of supports to help youngsters prepare for their
exams. At the moment almost all subjects are running Supported Study sessions during
lunchtimes and after school. Please encourage your child to attend these now.

We are currently consulting with staff and youngsters regarding further types of support that
will be most beneficial for exam preparation (Easter Revision classes for example). We will
soon publish our package of support, alongside the revision support provided by the SQA, so
pupils, parents and carers have an overview of the materials and events provided for each
exam subject.

Next month, once we receive further information from SQA, we will send out a letter which will
detail the other support services that will be available for learners. In the meantime here is a
link to the SQA Frequently Asked Questions Page:

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

Live-N-Learn Sessions

Of course as well as providing support from our own teachers we have also been procuring
further expert support from Live-N-Learn, a company we (and many other schools) have used
for many years. Jen Kemp has been delivering inspirational workshops to our S4 to S6 pupils,
equipping them with much needed study skills and strategies and helping them cope with stress
and anxiety.

Jen, also delivered a session to parents on Tuesday evening. However, if you missed this you
can still access videos and materials delivered by Jen via the Live-N-Learn portal.

Please use the link:

https://live-n-learn.co.uk/portal

Then enter the Parent Code: SP2021

Options 2022

Our Options process for S2 pupils is now complete and final forms have now been submitted
to Guidance staff in Oban or Mairi Forbes in Tiree. S3 Options interviews are now well
underway with Guidance staff and many thanks to all the parents who have been able to join
their child’s interview virtually. S3 forms should be submitted by Monday 28th February.

Parents of S4 pupils will receive an email next week detailing the time of individual interviews
and with your child’s choice form. These interviews will begin on Monday 28th February and
information about subjects on offer can be found on the Google Classroom (Code: rzwlopy).

Interviews for current S5 pupils will commence on Monday 21st March and parents will receive
an email with details in due course. In the meantime, please have a look at the subject
information contained in the S5 onto S6 Google Classroom. The Code is: xcmzy52

Social media

We'd like to thank PC Claire Brown from Police Scotland for speaking to all our S1 classes this
week about the responsible use of social media and, in particular, how we should all be taking
responsibility in communicating in a respectful and thoughtful manner when using apps such
as Snapchat. PC Brown also explained clearly the consequences of misusing such apps, both
on a young person's mental health and in the eyes of the law. Pupils receive lessons through
PSEd in S1, 2 and 3 about safety on the internet and all the issues surrounding this and
our pastoral team also supports, advises and guides individual pupils or groups of pupils when
they are made aware of incidents. We hope that parents/carers are also monitoring their
children's phone use and supporting the respectful and responsible use of the internet. If
parents/carers wish, we are happy to support them with educational, family-friendly resources,
by contacting their Guidance teacher or Mr Champion.

U22 Free Bus Travel

An exciting new scheme has been launched for 5-21 year-olds living in Scotland, who can
now apply to access free bus travel from 31 January. In light of high levels of COVID-19
transmission, the Scottish Government is asking that you only apply for the scheme at this
point if it is essential that you, or your child, travel while restrictions are in place. All other
eligible applicants will be proactively encouraged to apply at a later date.

Even if you already have a National Entitlement Card or Young Scot National Entitlement
Card, you must apply for a new or replacement card to travel by bus for free. Parents or
guardians must provide approval for children aged between 5-15 to access the scheme by
applying on their behalf. Young people aged 16-21 should apply themselves.

The Transport Scotland website provides all the information needed to apply. There are two
ways to apply:

  • Online at www.getyournec.scot (see FAQ ‘How do I get the Free Bus Travel for my child?’)
  • If you cannot, or do not want to apply online please use the appropriate application form
    attached to this email or contact your school/ELC as they are coordinating applications
    on behalf of their pupils and can provide you with the necessary application form.

Please only apply for the scheme at this point if it is essential that your child travels
while restrictions are in place on a registered bus service. More information can be
found on the Transport Scotland website at the following link Applications begin for
free bus travel for under-22s (transport.gov.scot) or www.freebus.scot.

Parent Council

My thanks to all those parents who continue to support the school through their involvement in
the Parent Council. We have a large and keen group working together with school staff. At the
last meeting the group agreed to form a number of useful sub-groups. These groups will meet
and form a myriad of great ideas to support our community in the areas of:

Fundraising/Events & Promotion (we need money for a new mini-bus for example).

Support for School Clubs (there are dozens of clubs who would benefit from having
experienced, knowledgeable and keen adults to help out with).

Study Support for Maths (a support for young and old alike).

Parent Support (this group has existed for some time and is of great comfort to many parents
dealing with many issues faced by teenagers and their families).

Combat Societal and Online Bullying (Our guidance staff support pupils and parents with
bullying in school but online bullying by children, and equally by adults, creates great stress
and tension for families).

As always, if anyone wishes support or advice from the Parent Council, please just use the
“Contact Us” page on the website and mark your email FAO Parent Council. The Office
Secretary then forwards your email immediately to the Chair, Anuschka Miller and Vice Chair,
Lucy Files. Dates of meetings and approved minutes can be found in the Parent Council section
of the website for those interested.

Support available

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. In the meantime you may find these links on the Council website useful. The titles are
self-explanatory.

https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/worried-about-money 
www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/advice-services 
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-and-government/benefits-and-grants 
https://www.alienergy.org.uk/ 
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/forms/flexible-food-fund 
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/challenge-poverty 
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/education-and-learning/free-school-meals 
https://www.mygov.scot/browse/benefits 
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/periodprovision 
https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/forms/contact-employability-team 

Stay safe in the wild weather this week everyone.

Yours faithfully,

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


Update 18.2.22

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