Thursday, 22 September 2016

Headteacher Update 8 - Thursday 22 September 2016

Dear Parent/Carer,

Please see below for updates from the session so far. It has been a very busy start to our new term and I look forward to meeting with you throughout the course of the year at the various school events.

Protecting LearningBehaviour Policy
We launched Phase 3 of our Behaviour Policy during the second week of term referred to as “protecting learning” and this is very much what we aim to do. The policy is built around the feedback received from staff, pupils and parents and is designed to be simple and easy to understand.

Our focus remains that great learning and teaching thrives in an environment where behaviour is of the highest standard. I understand that some of our young people require support and intervention to enable them to access all areas of the curriculum. Support for behaviour is a very important aspect of our support package for some. It is of paramount importance that learning in the classroom is not consistently disrupted and young people who cause disruption will be removed, albeit on a temporary basis, from the learning environment. Where concerns are repeatedly brought to our attention we will aim to work in partnership with our parents and partners to find solutions and support young people back into the learning environment.

Further details of our policy can be found on the school website under the documents section and I would be happy to discuss any of the details with you.

There are a number of updates as follows:-

Depute Head Teacher
Louise Sinclair, Depute Head Teacher, will be retiring shortly after the October break. Ms Sinclair will be very much missed and her contribution to Gracemount High School over the years has been nothing short of outstanding. I am sure there will be many good wishes passed onto Mrs Sinclair nearer the time.

I am delighted to announce that Mrs Dee Scott, currently Pupil Support Leader at The Royal High School, will join us as Depute Head Teacher and is likely to start in early November.

Pupil Support Leader
Ms Liz Pretswell, Pupil Support Leader for Skye House, will retire after the October break. Ms Pretswell is known to many and has made a significant contribution to the life of many young people and their families. Like Mrs Sinclair, Ms Pretswell will be hugely missed by many.

I am delighted to announce that Mrs Sarah Ellis, current and Acting Pupil Support Leader at Craigmount High School, will replace Ms Pretswell. A start date is yet to be confirmed.

Maths Vacancy
Despite a number of national adverts we have been unable to find a suitable candidate for our Maths vacancy. This is hugely frustrating. Please be assured that we are trying to do all we can to fill the vacancy and I am hopeful that we will be able to do so very shortly. In the meantime, we have had to collapse some classes from 5 to 4 to ensure all our young people have access to a Maths specialist. As a result, in some year groups, class sizes are larger than we would like but never exceed 30 pupils in a class.

If you have any concerns regarding the current situation in Maths then please make contact with the relevant Pupil Support Leader.

Support for Learning
I am delighted to announce that Mrs Justine Haddow, currently working for the ASL Service, will replace Mr Winton who leaves us on the Monday 3 October. Mrs Haddow will take up post on Monday 3 October.

Exam Analysis
Our analysis of exam performance for last session is well underway and all departments are undertaking an attainment review so we can identify strengths and development needs. There are areas of great success at individual and departmental level but also areas where improvements are required. We will continue to do all we can to ensure our young people attain and achieve at the highest possible level and I look forward to sharing more information with you throughout the session.

Curriculum Consultation
On Monday 12 September we held a consultation on curriculum proposals with parents/carers. We were very pleased with the level of attendance and look forward to receiving your feedback on the consultation document. The curriculum is a key driver to ensure our young people have the best chance to be successful and getting this right is crucial. We hope to present a final proposal in late October/Early November.

A reminder that any feedback should be submitted to Mr Hutchison by no later than Monday 26 September.

S1 Parent Evening
This will take place on Tuesday 27 September. We have introduced a new on-line system for parents to book appointments and we very much look forward to hear how this was received. We hope the process of booking appointments is much easier and enables parents to be in more control of the process. Please see our website for further information and do not hesitate to contact the school should you need support with this.

Fundraising Event
On Friday 23 September our parents are holding a joint fundraising event for Gracemount High School and Gracemount Primary School. The event will take place at Gilmerton Miners Club and entry is from 7.00pm. We very much hope you may be able to join us at the event and if so I look forward to meeting you on the evening.

Ogwini Visitors
I am delighted to welcome 4 members of our Ogwini community to Gracemount High School. Ogwini is our link school in South Africa. They will be with us in school from Thursday 22 September to Thursday 29 September.

Forthcoming Dates

  • 10 October – 1st Senior Tracking report due to be issued
  • 17 October – October Holiday
  • 25 October – Pupils return

Thank you

Ross Hunter
Head Teacher