Month: December 2022

Pupil Voice Update 16/12/22

All three schools have now worked through the four key themes of culture, community, identity and learning.

On the final topic of ‘our learning’, pupils were asked to explore what they saw as positive classroom experiences.

The image below shows the adjectives they most commonly used to describe the ideal teacher:

This was such a valuable exercise because it can influence the wording we use when recruiting classroom teachers in the spring, as well as providing a great reminder of how much interpersonal relationships impact on young people’s sense of progress and engagement.

The pupils were also asked to explore what makes for a good classroom experience. Some quotations included:

  • I know I have learned something when I use it out of class
  • Knowing I am improving
  • Learning things but having fun at the same time
  • Lots of interaction
  • Happiness and kindness

Finally, pupils were asked to think about what their ideal school day would look like. There was a lot of emphasis on hands on, active learning, with one pupil commenting, ‘I like the subjects where I get to the end of the lesson and I feel like I have something to show for the effort I have put in.’ The graphic below shows some of the subjects identified as being an important part of the ideal day:


You can access the full data on this topic here: Pupil Voice Theme 4 Data

Head Teacher Update 16/12/22

This is the last HT update before Christmas, and it’s hard to believe that I have been here less than three months. Although it has flown by in many senses, I can’t quite remember what my life was like before! I thought it would be useful to provide some data to give a sense of the scope and variety of activities so far:

  • 98 in person or online meetings covering a huge array of topics: design elements, IT requirements, finance, staffing, community engagement, operational use of the building, partnership opportunities etc.
  • 91 pupils involved in 13 Pupil Voice sessions across 3 schools
  • 36 Google forms submitted sharing parent views across our 4 key themes
  • 30 parents attending 4 in person Parent Engagement sessions across 3 schools
  • 13 job descriptions/adverts prepared for a range of leadership roles
  • 12 different locations visited across East Lothian to learn from colleagues in and beyond education
  • 10 professional learning sessions, from safeguarding to employment law
  • 9 opportunities to work in person with other HTs, and share experiences
  • 5 site visits, each one getting progressively colder, but also progressively more exciting
  • 3 live/recorded Google Meets
  • 3 Parent Council meetings
  • 3 Assemblies
  • 1 timetable (nearly there!)

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Thank you to everyone who has worked with me so positively and creatively in the last 12 weeks.

The Pupil Voice and Parent Engagement pages will be updated by the end of the day to summarise the qualitative data gathered across all four themes. Please take a look to see what information is feeding into the community surveys that will begin in January.

For now, here’s wishing you and yours a happy, peaceful and enjoyable festive period.

Pupil Voice Theme 3: Summary points

All Pupil Voice groups at the associated primaries have now had the chance to talk about Theme 3: Our identity. The two main tasks they were given were around sharing ideas for a school name, and discussing their ideas around school dress code.

As noted in Head Teacher updates, the name Wallyford Learning Campus will remain to cover the whole of the building and its grounds, but we do have the opportunity to give the school part of the WLC its own identity.

Parent feedback indicated a real split as to whether the name ‘Wallyford’ should or shouldn’t be included, but pupils have overwhelmingly been keen to look at other options. Based on local history and geography, they have been asked to think about 5 possible names for the school:

  • Clement’s Wells/Clementswells High School
  • Fawside High School (spelling tbc as there are various options!)
  • Ravensheugh High School
  • Rosehill High School
  • Scarlett Park High School

You can also read about the context of each name here: Naming our school: contexts

Pupils in these sessions also had the chance to talk about school dress code and how this links in with a sense of community and identity. Most were in agreement with the key adjectives from our parent input: the dress code should be comfortable, smart and affordable. They also fully understood the need for safety and security on campus.

At present, pupils in all schools have been very positive about:

  • School hoodies or sweatshirts, with clear logos/names to show who they are
  • Combining these with plain black on the bottom, including footwear

There is still lots to think about in terms of setting specific parameters, but we will return to these discussions with related surveys in the new year.

You can see all of the data gathered with the pupils here: Pupil Voice Theme 3 data

What has been clear throughout this Theme is how much of a ‘buzz’ there now is amongst the pupils as our starting date approaches. They have been a credit to their respective schools throughout. An update on our final theme (Our Learning) will be shared before the end of term.


Head Teacher Update 9/12/22

It was a pleasure to meet with parents at Musselburgh Grammar School on Monday to talk about our priorities for our young people’s learning. The cold, wet weather made for a small group, but that didn’t prevent some big conversation! In particular, we talked about the importance of a shared understanding of progress, the challenge of recognising the ‘quiet middle’, and the desire to learn more about the huge range of pathways and qualifications available to young people. A great resource for parents to start with is Parentzone Scotland:

If you would like to share your thoughts on what good learning looks like, please complete our Google survey using this link: Theme 4: Our Learning

Thank you to those who have already been in touch around the possible names for our new school. The overall site will remain Wallyford Learning Campus, but there has been a strong sense from pupils, parents and the wider community that we need to consider a distinct name for the school part of the site.

In reflecting on options, I am indebted to the work of Alister Hadden, who has so generously shared his research on the local area. I am currently pulling together information on the history and context of each of the following possibilities: Clement’s Wells/ Clementswells High School, Fawside High School (various spelling options available!), Ravensheugh High School, Rosehill High School, Scarlett Park High School- and I am open to other suggestions coming in! I will explore these further through Pupil Voice before the end of term, then consult with the wider community by mid-January.

Working with the wider community is a fundamental part of the success of any school, and I want to share a couple of examples of that from this week.

Morrison Construction is responsible for our build, and their Social Value team is keen to maintain and grow their connection with our community. We met this week to look at how we can work together to support young people’s aspirations. Along with a number of ways to enhance the curriculum, Morrison has committed to offering the opportunity for some of our young people to visit the site, to learn more about the ongoing work and what this means for their learning. Hard hats at the ready!

I also spent the time with Peter Wood of the Lothian Presbytery. His current focus is on how we can support members of our community old and new in continuing to connect, and we both very firmly agree that it takes a village to raise a child. Learning is as much about building character as it is building a CV, and I look forward to working with everyone connected to the school in developing our vision and values.

Head Teacher Update 02/12/22

As we move towards the end of 2022, it’s important to continue to think about transition for our new WLC pupils. Of course, aspects of transition are ongoing, such as Pupil Voice activities, parent engagement opportunities, and my time with staff in the associated schools, all of which are important parts of getting to know each other.

Transition activities in a secondary school generally focus on the move from P7 into S1, but we have three year groups undergoing a significant transition this year. Therefore, transition planning is as much about young people currently at Musselburgh Grammar School as it is about our associated primaries. A crucial part of this has been confirming which young people will be joining us at WLC in August, so that we can share data appropriately and ensure that planning reflects individual learning needs. Thank you, therefore, to everyone who has already confirmed their intentions with East Lothian Council.

In addition to this, we also have a number of young people joining us from other areas in ELC in order to access our Severe and Complex Needs (SCN) provision. Two meetings have been set up for these families. Individual introductory meetings have been set up for the 17th January, with a group meeting to look at more general matters related to the campus 23rd January. Parents of pupils accessing the SCN should be sure to email to book into these.

I am currently working on a ‘one page plan’ which notes all of the transition activities already undertaken and highlights what will be happening from January onwards. This will be published on the website by the end of next week.

There has been lots of exciting discussion on Theme 3: Our school identity. There is a link on the Parent Engagement page to a summary of the early parent comments around the ideas for the school name and dress code. The views of young people will be shared via Pupil Voice Updates after working on this with them over the next couple of weeks. Early indications are that there is currently no consensus whatsoever, but that’s perhaps to be expected! After gathering all of these initial ideas, a range of proposals will be shared with our community during the Spring term, with a chance to comment further and/or vote as appropriate. More on the options next week…