Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Headteacher Update 17 - Wednesday 10th January 2018

January 2018

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you managed to have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas break. We are delighted to welcome back our young people to school and look forward to working hard to secure the very best outcomes for them.

I would not normally make contact this early in the new term, however, I wanted to draw your attention to some very important information and key dates as follows:-

Formal Assessments  
These take place for S4-6 pupils from week beginning 29 January. In most cases performance in these assessments will determine what level young people are presented for in their final exam or indeed if they are presented at all. It is imperative that our young people are as prepared as possible. Key strategies to support them include:-

·         Attending school as regularly as possible. 
·         Attending Gracemount After School Study (GASS) classes as often as possible.
·         Creating a study timetable and stick to it.
·         Studying at home (4 hours per week per Higher subject and 2 hours per week for National 5).

Please access our website for hints and tips on study timetables and techniques.

Any pupils who work outside school should keep their hours to a minimum. We have found that working outside of school can, at times, be seriously detrimental to individual chances of success in school. Whilst we recognise that working outside of school has many benefits, it is important that hours are limited so that pupils have the best chance of success at National 4/5 and Higher levels.

S3 English Classes
S3 pupils have been condensed into 4 sets (rather than 5). This decision has been taken due to ongoing staffing issues.

From January to February pupils in all 4 classes will be covering the same material and studying a range of short stories as well as considering how to create and produce a creative piece of writing for the Nat 5 folio and developing further skills in analysis and evaluation. 

The classes can and may change and no decision has been taken yet on National study levels.

Dress Code
I wrote to you all before the Christmas break to ask for your support in helping us promote our positive ethos in which dress code plays a significant part. I have spoken with all pupils at assemblies this week and I have indicated that they have two weeks (until Monday 22 January) to resolve any dress code issues.  We encounter all too often inappropriate footwear (black shoes only please), torn or ripped jeans and girls not wearing skirts with leggings.

Our Depute Head Teachers will be in contact with you to seek your support if your son/daughter exceeds 5 occasions where they do not adhere to our dress code. We have taken the decision that pupils who continually do not adhere to our standard of dress code without an adequate reason will be prevented from representing the school at events and will not be eligible to participate in school trips. 

Should you need any advice on where to purchase school clothing or where to access school clothing grants, please contact your child’s Guidance Teacher in the first instance.

Winter Weather
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.

Important Dates
·         Wednesday 10 January – Options Evening and Careers Event
·         Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 January – S3 Personal Development Week
·         Tuesday 23 January – Senior Phase Parent Consultation Evening
·         Monday 29 January – Formal assessments begin
·         Thursday 1 February – S3 Parent Consultation Evening
·         Friday 2 February – S2 tracking report 2 issued
·         Monday 12 to Friday 16 February – half term break
·         Monday 19th February -  Pupils return to school.

Kind Regards

Ross Hunter
Head Teacher