Monday, 18 September 2017

Headteacher Update 14 - Monday 18th September 2017

September 2017

Dear Parent/Carer

It has been a pleasure to welcome our students back to school after the summer break. The significant majority are smartly dressed, punctual and working hard in class. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support in these matters.

Staffing Update
I wanted to update you on our staffing, as we have had a number of new staff who have joined us since the start of term. Details are as follows: -

       Moira Wilson (Support for Learning Leader)
       Rachel Patterson (Support for Learning Teacher)
       Beata Kilkiewicz (Maths)
       Rachel Jones (Modern Studies)
       Mazhar Yusaf (Maths)
       Iain Nugent (Physics)
       Alan Wilkins (Drama on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)
       Daniel Davis (Music)
       Rory Wallis (Equity in STEM)
       Angela Verity (Equity in literacy and assistive technology)
       Anne Young (Education Welfare Officer)

Due to staff absence in the Art Department, some classes may be taken by different teachers since we allocate our experienced staff to senior classes. We have been able to source a subject specialist supply teacher so classes will always be taught by an Art teacher during this time. 

We are still seeking to recruit a Drama teacher for Mondays and Tuesdays to support Mr Wilkins. 

We are still actively seeking a suitable supply teacher with subject specialism in English and Media to cover staff absence in the English Department. In the meantime, and with effect Tuesday 5 September: -

      S1 classes have moved from 5 to 4 sets. Class sizes will be approximately at 27.
·       S2 classes will access the library for personal reading development. These classes will continue. Please note that classes on Monday P5 and Friday P2 will be allocated non-subject specialists but will however be supported by the School Librarian for personal reading.
·      S3 classes will move from 5 to 4 classes. Class sizes will be approximately 28.
·      S4 – Miss Flannigan will assume an additional N5 class and Mr MacDonald will assume an additional N4 class.
·      S/6 (Higher) – Mrs Gordon will assume full responsibility for this class.
·      S3 Media – Mr Foley will take 2 periods of the allocated 4. The other periods will be allocated to cover teachers.

Please be assured that we are doing all we can to address these staffing issues. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Pupil Support Leader (Guidance Teacher) if you have any concerns.

SQA Examination Results
We continue to review our performance in SQA examinations.
    Our S4 performance was strong with 19% of our cohort achieving a minimum of 5 qualifications at level 5 or above. This was a 9% improvement on last year.
·     Our S5 results showed a slight dip in the number of pupils achieving 1, 3 and 5 Highers by the end of S5.
·     Our S6 results showed improvements in the number of pupils achieving 1 and 5 Highers by the end of S6. We maintained the number of pupils achieving 3 Highers by the end of S6.
·    Our Advanced Higher results also improved with 11% of the cohort achieving at least 1 Advanced Higher, the highest since 2013.

SQA Update – Changes to National Qualifications
We are continuing to liaise with colleagues in the SQA over changes to national qualifications. We have finalised our SQA policy which is now available to all parents via the school website.

You can keep up to date with the proposed SQA changes to by visiting

We continue to invest heavily in our 1:1 approach to give all our pupils in S3-S6 equal opportunity of access to technology. We continue to ask for your support in ensuring that the device including the cable and charger are looked after. It is only with your support that we will be able to continue to implement this policy which includes the safe return of the device and its accessories when a pupil leaves school.

Please note that all pupils intending to leave school should ensure that they return their iPad, cable and charger, otherwise they will incur a charge.

School Funding Success
I am delighted to announce that we have made a bid for and successfully received funding in the following areas: -

Food for Thought Programme - The Food for Thought Education Fund gives financial support to develop Food and Health as a context for learning. The fund aims to improve practitioner confidence in providing progressive, high quality learning experiences which help to embed food education into the ethos of the establishment. Ms Bird successfully bid and received over £1000 to take forward initiatives relating to Food and Health in school.

Cycle Scotland On the back of our very successful first year in delivering Bike Maintenance, Mr King made a bid to Cycle Scotland to enable us to continue to develop this cycle friendly award. We have received £2,285 funding which will be used to purchase bikes and secure access to this equipment for pupils across the school.

Trips Policy
We intend to devise a policy which will make the funding process transparent and clarify how the school will support fundraising for trips to support young people who may experience financial hardship. Further details will follow.

Gracemount High School and Primary School Parents Big Night Out
You may be aware that our parents are organising a fundraising event for both the primary and secondary school. The event is to be help on Friday 15 September at Gilmerton Miners Club. Tickets can be purchased from the school reception at a cost of £7.50 each.

We really hope you can make it along and support both our schools.
Key Dates for this term
·         Monday 11 September – Parent Council Meeting – 6.30pm in the School Library.
·         Friday 15 September – Parents Big Night Out – Gilmerton Miners Club - 7.00pm
·         Monday 18 September – school closed (Holiday)
·         Wednesday 20 September - S1 Settling in Parents Evening from 4.30 6.30pm
·         Friday 6 October – Senior tracking issued
·         Friday 6 October – whole school sponsored walk.