To All Parents and Carers
Head Teacher Update
As I write this many of our pupils are currently rehearsing for the Christmas Show which I am sure will be a great evening of entertainment. It is an ideal opportunity for our young people to showcase their skills and talents and I very much look forward to meeting you if you are able to attend.
Since I took up post on Monday 3 November I have spent a significant amount of my time out and about around the school engaging with staff and pupils and I have been very impressed with the majority of our learners who are working hard, dressing appropriately and behaving well. This enables teachers to really focus on the learning and teaching process and benefits all members of the school community. As we progress into a new year there will be an increased focus on respect across the school and this will link closely to a review of the current positive behaviour policy. I will update the Parent Council during our January meeting on our progress and I would welcome any input from members of our community. Please continue to read the Head Teacher blog which will keep you updated.
To date the winter weather has been very kind to us, however, we are well aware that Scotland can experience all seasons in one day and we do have procedures in place if the weather takes a turn for the worst. As always the safety of our staff and students is at the heart of all our decisions and we will keep parents and students fully informed about our ability to open during poor weather via Radio Forth, our website and text alerts. Please help us to keep in touch by ensuring we have up to date contact details, particularly mobile numbers and email addresses, so that we can contact you at all times.
It has been an exciting few weeks in the school. First, a film maker from London has been working with the school shooting a video highlighting the sector leading practice of our 1:1 policy (iPads). We hope that this video will be available for viewing early in 2015 and I will keep you posted. We are committed to continuing with this 1:1 policy and planning ahead to ensure our new S3 cohort are provided with iPads for the start of the new session. Secondly, Mrs Semple has secured £5,000 for an Access to Education fund from Education Scotland which will be used to develop and sustain wider access opportunities in the curriculum for a number of our pupils. This is a fantastic achievement and will go a long way to support the school in continuing to provide an engaging curriculum.
Our Senior Phase students are studying hard for their prelim examinations which start on Monday 12 January. All pupils will be issued with a generic prelim timetable before the end of term and a personalised timetable when they return after the Xmas break. These examinations are very important as an indicator of individual progress. It is vital that work in school is supported by a programme of study out of school. The staff commit considerably to this and our GASS programme of supported study is ongoing. I would very much encourage all our learners to engage with the opportunity that GASS provides so they can maximise their potential and perform to a high standard in their examinations.
End of term arrangements are almost concluded for Friday 19 December. The day will consist of:-
Registration and Period 1: All pupils in Tutor Groups for the Inter House challenge.
Period 2: Normal timetabled class
10am - Optional Christmas Service: With the Chaplaincy Team in the Drama Studio. Pupils have been asked to sign up for this if they wish to attend.
Break: Normal time
Period 3 - Normal timetabled classes
Period 4: Whole School Assembly.
School will finish at the normal time of 12.35 on Friday.
On a personal note it has been a delight to have joined the Gracemount High School community and I am thoroughly enjoying my time at the school. As each day and week passes I am feeling more at home and I am continuing to work hard to get to know the staff, young people, parents and partners. As a school we will be revisiting our vision, values and aims and will be engaging our pupils, parents/carers and partners in this process. It is an exciting time for the school as we continue our journey to excellence and I am keen to work with staff and our partner agencies to ensure the best outcomes for every young person that attends this school. It is a privilege to work at Gracemount High School and to serve the community. I very much look forward to building on the success of the school in the years to come.
Daily Dozen – The Pupil Voice
I have recently started the “Daily Dozen” which involves meeting with 12 pupils a day to discuss their views of the school. I am collating feedback and hope to meet with every pupil by the end of March. The pupil perspective is very important and plays a vital part in shaping school improvement. I will share the pupil feedback all year groups and ensure there is an opportunity for parents/carers to view this also.
I am delighted to say that Miss Lauren Flannigan will join us from Berwickshire High School and will start her post on 5th January.
Finally, I would like to wish you all Seasons Greetings and a Prosperous New Year. Please note school resumes for students on Tuesday 6 January.