Friday, 22 April 2016

Head Teacher Update 3 - April 2016

HT Update – Friday 22.04.16 

Dear parents/carers,

Despite our challenges this week, I am very proud of what we have all achieved. I recognise our current situation remains challenging; however, our focus is on ensuring our young people are safe and receiving the highest standard of education.

There are a few key issues to highlight. 

Senior School – S4-6 

SQA Exams – yesterday the local authority announced that senior pupils would sit their SQA exams in their host school. Plans are at a highly advanced stage and all relevant personnel from Liberton and Gracemount have been working closely to ensure all arrangements are in place. Key information will be given to pupils early next week. 

Senior Assemblies - there will be a brief assembly first thing on Monday morning for all senior pupils led by Mr Hunter and Mr Hutchison which will take place in the assembly hall at Liberton High School. This will be followed up by an exam briefing on Wednesday afternoon, same location, led by Mr Mackenzie (Business Manager and SQA co-ordinator) and Mr Hutchison. It is very important all senior pupils attend

GASS – in most subject areas class teachers continue to offer lunchtime and after school study support. Senior students should continue to liaise with class teachers over times and dates. There has never been a more important time for seniors to utilise this opportunity and attend these sessions in preparation for forthcoming SQA exams. Please encourage them to do so where possible. 

Exam leave – as you’ll be aware, we had planned for a significantly reduced period of exam leave this session. This will now officially start on Tuesday 3rd May. Mr Hutchison is currently working on a timetable to ensure that throughout exam leave all senior pupils have access to a subject specialists. This will be issued to pupils next week and will enable senior students to access the school to revise and/or complete outstanding coursework. This will run throughout the period of exam leave to support senior students. 

New Timetable – it remains our intention to start our new Timetable on Monday 30th May. This is the date all senior pupils will return to school. I will keep you informed regarding progress on this.

Junior School S1-3 

Timetable – Mr Hutchison continues to work on the timetable for the junior school. He has managed to ensure that all pupils have accessed a range of subjects and plans are well in place for next week. We are currently working on a timetable for the week after next as more teachers will be available due to the start of exam leave. This will enable us to further enhance the experience of the junior school. 

Bus travel – I’m delighted to say that travel to and from WHEC this week has run very smoothly, traffic problems aside. All pupils are now aware of their bus number and we are able to organise them very quickly for departure at both Gracemount and WHEC. 

Please note that from Monday 25th April, in order to extend the school day and increase time for learning, departure times from WHEC will change. We will now depart at 3.15pm on Monday to Thursday and 12.15pm on Friday. 

Behaviour on the buses has generally been excellent. Where there are issues parents/carers will be contacted. 

Tree of Knowledge – we have successfully managed to secure input from the Tree of Knowledge for our S1-3 pupils. Next week all S1 and S2 pupils with have two sessions with staff from Tree of Knowledge. This will also take place for S3 pupils at a later date. 

Tree of Knowledge have recently visited Gracemount and we are developing a very successful relationship. They work with our young people to develop and enhance a range of skills related to life, learning, and the work place. We really look forward to their input. For more information please follow the link below. 

Finally – I cannot thank our community partners, parents/carers, staff, and host schools for all they have done to support us at this time. The offers of support have, at times, been overwhelming and I’ve never been prouder to be part of your community. 

When I arrived at Gracemount I was keen to establish a new set of values for the school. The purpose being that we turn to these values to support us as a community. As an educator, I will always stress the need to build character and intelligence in young people and to encourage our young people to make decisions based on their core values. For me, as Head Teacher, our school values are more important than ever and with your support they will help us to overcome the challenges we currently face. 

As always, should you require further information or support please contact by telephone: 

0131 664 7514 (Liberton High School)
0131 442 2201 (Wester Hailes Education Centre) 

By email:

Kind regards,

Ross Hunter