Greetings from New Zealand

Wondered what life is like for other pupils from around the world who are also experiencing lock-down? Meet another friend of Letham Mains and let her tell you in her own words…

Hello from Tauranga

Update on nursery provision across East Lothian

The current health outbreak continues to have an impact on arrangements for Early Learning and Childcare for the forthcoming academic year 2020/21.

We know that parents will want to know about nursery places within council nurseries, partner nurseries and childminders for August 2020 as soon as possible. We recognise that you will also want reassurances on how our services will operate to keep your children safe. We want to update you on our preparations.

The Deputy First Minister has convened the ‘Covid Education Recovery Group’ (CERG). This group brings together key stakeholders in school education and early learning and childcare to support national and local government re-open education and childcare settings when it is safe to do so.

As you would expect, this is a complex process and the safety and wellbeing of children, families and staff is key. New national guidance is being prepared and all service providers will need time to understand what needs to be in place before we can plan to open. This includes reviewing our facilities, the number of children we can accommodate under any new guidance, hygiene and cleaning, and staffing impacts.

Given the current uncertainty we have had to delay issuing notification of council nursery place allocations. We will review this decision in June. Partner Nurseries and Childminders will contact with parents/carers direct about places within their setting, they will also need time to understand and prepare for these changes.

We are grateful for your understanding and patience at this time and will continue to update the website as more information becomes available.

School Update – what is the current situation in regard to next session?

You will, no doubt, have many questions about the start of school for next session for your children. My aim is to provide as much up to date information as possible at this moment. It does feel as though we have more questions than answers currently.

The school building is inevitably delayed and we don’t have a definitive (or speculative) date for its opening. With this in mind, we will again be hosted at Haddington Primary school. We have already spent the best part of the school year there this session and this has worked very well for us. For the new session in August, we have planned for two classes. At this moment in time, we have 20 pupils on the school roll and expect others to join us as more housing stock is released. Our classes will be multi-composite (which means that several stages will be accommodated in a single class with a teacher e.g. P1 to P3) but as yet we can’t confirm the make-up of the classes as this will be a moveable feast right up until the school opens. Even then, over the course of the year there may need to be some flexibility in the make-up of the classes. As more pupils join, it may be necessary to begin a third class and this might mean some movement amongst the pupils. We benefit from having small classes and all the pupils will quickly build relationships with each other. With our current pupils, we feel more like an extended family than a traditional school and we will aim to maintain this as our numbers increase. Haddington Primary offer breakfast and after-school club.

This week I have been advised, that as the nursey attached to the school cannot open in August, then those nursery pupils will be offered spaces at other provisions (most likely St Mary’s , Haddington nursery or one of the partner providers) Once the school opens, parents can send their children to the new facility. We had already recruited staff for the nursery (Rosie McDonald SEYP) and they will support other establishments until the opening of our nursery.

We have already recruited five teachers for Letham Mains, four of whom have worked in other schools in East Lothian this past school year. We welcome  Kirsty Marks who will join us in August as our second teacher. Kirsty has worked at Haddington Primary and Pencaitland Primary and this year had a split role of Support for Learning and P7. She joins Melanie Ross who is currently teaching our class of P1 to P3 pupils. Additionally, we have recruited in the past weeks, our office manager Lynn Donohoe and our Classroom Assistant Hilary Betts – both of whom I’m delighted to have on board. Given that it will be unlikely, that any of our normal transition work can take place, we have had to be creative about what we can offer to new pupils and parents. On the Transition page you will find a virtual tour of the school and an excellent demonstartion of what early literacy and numeracy teaching looks like in primary one. On the Meet the Team page, you will find short videos of the staff introducing themselves. Our Curriculum Rationale video lets you know a little about our vision for the school and sits alongside other school documentation e.g. learning and teaching policy, parental engagement etc.

We would like the opportunity to offer a virtual joint meeting with our teachers in order for our new starts to get to ‘meet’ them, perhaps listen to a story or simply ask some questions. I would also like to speak to each of you individually to answer any questions you might have. I will be in touch directly to all of our prospective parents. These truly are unprecedented times and I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we meet each new situation head on.

You will be aware that schools are preparing for an earlier school return from August 11th and there may be a blended model in place whereby pupils will not be at school full time but rather have some time in front of a teacher and some time working from home. As an Authority, just how this will work has not been determined. (a week on / a week off model or perhaps part weeks) We await further clarification on this and once we have confirmation, I will post up the detail.

Please feel free to get in touch on any school related matters that you may wish to raise.

Regards, Bruce

Bruce Murray


Letham Mains Primary

Hays Walk


EH41 3FH

Tel: 01620 826454