Head Teacher Update - Letter and Video 65

13th March in School

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13th March 2022

Dear Parent/carer (please share with your child)

I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones all safe and well again, and for the significant
numbers of you feeling poorly, I wish you a speedy recovery.

This is a long letter and so as always is sub-divided. A video will follow for those who prefer to
watch and listen, rather than read the updates.

Covid update

The numbers of pupils absent from schools remains very high in certain areas and Oban and
Tiree schools are affected greatly. The reasons for absences are varied but, of course,
predominantly linked to having Covid or self-isolating. I’m sure most of you are aware that
many primary schools have had to keep whole classes at home at the instruction of the Health
Protection Team: a precaution against further spread. Many high schools across Scotland are
also currently keeping S1 and/or S2 whole year groups at home too; a necessity linked to staff
absence. Neither Oban High nor Tiree High have been forced to do so at this stage despite
large numbers of absences across our staff. Why?

Our staff have rallied round in support of both colleagues and pupils to cover multiple classes,
often going beyond their contracted class contact time. We are also fortunate to have a VC link
between the schools that allows subject specialist support to continue in both directions; and
the Local Authority have sent additional central team staff to Oban High. I am also very
appreciative of the retired staff who have come back in to help.

It is difficult to state how monumental an effort this additional workload is within the busiest
term of any year. My admiration for all our staff should be noted, as should my thanks to
everyone involved in keeping our learners well looked after and learning.

It continues to be essential that parents/carers inform the school as soon as possible if their
child has tested positive for Covid 19, or where a class is ‘under investigation’ by the NHS and
a LFT test result is required. This allows the school to put in place the necessary support
procedures and notifications. The school office opens at 8:30 a.m. each week day but phone
messages can be left on the school answer machine at any time of day or night (please give
your child’s full name and class).

If a pupil becomes unwell during the school day, parents/carers will be contacted via telephone.
When it is necessary for a child to go home it is vital that they are collected from school as
soon as possible, particularly when the child is displaying Covid 19 symptoms.

Finally, there’s a lot of talk of society opening up and that this will make things more difficult.
As long as numbers remain high, we will continue to follow a cautious approach. The current
guidance from the Scottish Government seems a sensible balance at this time.

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

Exam Support

A significant amount of planning has taken place over the last few weeks to help prepare and
support senior pupils with their assessments and preparing for the upcoming exams. We had
an assembly explaining much of this in detail and this can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du1yUvL6uyo

Mr Champion's Learning and Revision work shop can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ4gTJGw5l0

We would ask that parents, carers and pupils keep a close eye on their emails, texts or School
App for Parents as we will be sending out details of all the different supports on offer over the
next month or so. These will include specific group support on revision, supported study after
school, targeted times to ensure pupils have caught up with any missed assessments, details
about a one-stop-shop website for revision resources and hard copies of revision packs for
each subject at each level, a programme of Easter revision and a range of subject immersion
days and exam support after the Easter break. Please take advantage of all these
opportunities. We hope all our youngsters will engage with these opportunities and be
supported and encouraged by their parents/carers.

This last point is really important and was reinforced in my recent assembly.

https://youtu.be/Du1yUvL6uyo

Preparing for exams is a shared responsibility; staff to educate and to support; pupils to engage
and work hard, actively seeking extra support when required; and for parents who we ask to
support and encourage their child to attend and engage with the huge level of support on offer;
and to ensure they share concerns with the school as soon as possible.

SQA

The SQA has now published some additional resources or information to support learners in
preparing for exams. This information can be found at:

https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/100827.html

We are now at the stage of the year where subjects at N5, H and AH level are preparing to
submit coursework to the SQA for external marking. We also have a number of practical exams beginning to take place for certain subjects such as music and practical cookery. It is important
that pupils are aware of the deadlines set by departments and the dates and times of practical
assessments. If there are any issues with coursework, it is important that the relevant class
teacher or guidance teacher is contacted in the first instance.

As you are aware, we issued Reports with 'preparing for exam' guidance this week. Please
make sure you have read the report and the support strategies with your child and contact us
for support where required. You will find Robert Leadbeater’s video useful:

https://youtu.be/amMZ5X_Mdx8

We will also publish an additional booklet 'Your Exams' which will be issued to pupils in the
coming weeks. This contains important messages regarding conduct during exams.

National e-Learning Offer: e-Sgoil Easter Study Support

I noted in my assembly that we are currently firming up which teachers will be available to
forego some of their holiday to support our pupils across the Easter break. I also noted that
between our own staff and the national online support offer paid for by the Scottish
Government, all courses would be covered.

Easter Study Support organised by e-Sgoil will run between April 7th and 14th 2022 and will
consist of live, interactive webinars delivered by experienced, GTCS registered teachers. 66
courses are on offer, with a total of 80 webinar groups. Each group will meet for three separate
webinar sessions. Last year, there were over 15000 webinar registrations and learners’
evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. The service is free to all learners.

  • Nutshell guide for learners
  • Nutshell guide for schools
  • FAQ document
  • Flyer
  • PPT slide
  • Short promotional video
  • 2022 Easter Study Support timetable

Registration is open for the month of March, and I must advise that there may be upper limits
for registration numbers on some courses, therefore registration is on a first come, first served
basis. The link to the registration and information page on the e-Sgoil website is here:

https://www.e-sgoil.com/

Transition

The following information is being highlighted to existing parents with P7 pupils. Please make
any other parents you know, who don’t have children in high school but have P7 pupils about
to join us, aware that they can also access this information, watch our updates on YouTube
and sign up to our School App for Parents. This would be very helpful. Thank you.

We have set up a transition website which contains videos and information about the
school. This site also contains a form to ask any questions you may have about Oban High
School and the transition process. This website address has been shared with primary schools
in recent weeks.

https://sites.google.com/ab.glow.scot/ohs-transition

I am currently making virtual visits to Primary 7 classes. I would have preferred to do these live
but seeing the excited youngsters on screen and getting the chance to chat to them over the
VC is still very useful and enjoyable. We will soon advertise virtual evening events for
parents/carers so please look out for these in the coming weeks.

DYW

This week is Scottish Apprenticeship Week and we have celebrated this in school by promoting
the different types of apprenticeships and the benefits to the apprentice. Currently at OHS we
have around 50 pupils completing Foundation Apprenticeships in Construction, Engineering,
Social Services Children and Young People and Business and hope to offer more in the future.
We also have a thriving work placement programme which creates a direct path for our pupils
into a Modern Apprenticeship. We are also delighted that two of our partners, MacLeod
Construction and DRAX, are offering graduate apprenticeships this year. We would like to take
this opportunity to thank all of our partners and also invite any interested employers to contact
Aisling Clark.

For those of you who still use Facebook, you can see lots of great wee videos of our former
pupils experiencing great success with our local employers and noting their grounding in these
trades from their time at school.

My thanks to all those in the community who support our school and our pupils.

School Rules

All schools have rules; and consequences for those who don’t follow them. Staff, parents and
especially pupils are aware of our rules. The rules must be the same for everyone or they are
not fair rules (and the kids hate rules not being applied fairly more than the rules themselves).
With a thousand pupils and around 1700 parents everyone will have different views. We cannot
have individual rules to cater for the viewpoints of so many. So, we have one set of basic rules:
Come to school; be on time; be in uniform; have the equipment / kit required for the day; and
show respect for oneself and others. When any of these rules are not followed behaviour and,
consequently, learning begins to wane. To restrain any slippage in our high expectations I
reinforced these expectations at Friday’s assembly. Pupils were also reminded of the support
on offer by the pastoral team to help them adhere to our rules. All schools must do this
periodically. School rules help us keep our community orderly, safe and ready for learning but
also teach us that we don’t get to pick and choose rules in the workplace or society at large.
Please support our school community and reinforce this lifelong lesson with our children. Thank
you.

You may find the pupil podcast on this issue interesting.

https://anchor.fm/obanhigh/episodes/One-rule-to-rule-them-all-e1d10qf

Support

Every letter I write always ends with a very genuine offer of support. I am pleased to say that
many of you have contacted us and we have been able to help so many families. However, I
am sure many more of you may benefit too if only you would be in touch. Please don’t worry
about contacting us and letting us know if you would like our help. If you need any support at
all: pastoral; academic; IT or carers linked support; or help with coping with and supporting
teenagers; or even if you have financial concerns we may be able to help with - just email us
using the “Contact Us” page on the website, or call your Guidance teacher if in Oban or PT
Primary or Secondary in Tiree. They, together with the Deputes, the Family Liaison Officers,
Youth Workers, support staff, school nurses and careers advisors are all here to help.

Please just ask and we will absolutely do our best for you and your family.

I hope you all have a lovely week ahead.

Yours faithfully

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


Reports and exam prep assembly 8th March

Learning and Revision Workshop

Mr Leadbeater’s Reports & exam prep guidance

Heads Up OHS - One rule to rule them all

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