Month: February 2023

Bonus Head Teacher Update 27/02/23

You will be aware that some exciting news emerged today week about the name of our school. Whilst the whole site will continue to be referred to as Wallyford Learning Campus, the secondary school part of the site will be known as Rosehill High School. It was appropriate for this name to be announced via East Lothian Council in the first instance. The link to the ELC statement is here:

ELC Rosehill statement

Please take a look at the link below for a summary of the data that informed this decision, and more information about the next stage in the House Names process:

School Name and House Names Summary Data

You will note from this that we can now move on to think about the school crest/logo/emblem, as well as those final House names. I will be in a position to share some options with you at the end of this week.

Thank you to everyone who took time to take part in the consultation process. I have also already heard from a parent whose two children were delighted to have had their first choice of name make it through! Others will of course have hoped for another result, but I know we will all get behind the name Rosehill and what it means for our young people; a community in which they can grow, thrive, and become the best versions of themselves.


Head Teacher Update 23/02/23

As noted before the February break, we have been working hard on recruiting a significant number of middle leaders in the last couple of weeks. My thanks go to ELC colleagues who have been an important part of this piece of work, whether providing admin support, sitting on panels, or offering input into the process itself.

Our preferred candidates are as follows, and we are working towards them joining us just after Easter:

  • Mr. Paddy Cuthbertson will join us from Turnbull High School in East Dunbartonshire. Mr Cuthbertson will be our Curriculum Leader for Health and Wellbeing.
  • Miss Millie Mitchell will join us from Craigmount High School in Edinburgh. Miss Mitchell will be our Curriculum Leader for the Expressive Arts faculty.
  • Mrs. Jade Woodhead will join us from North Berwick High School. Mrs Woodhead will be our Curriculum Leader for Maths and Numeracy.
  • Mrs. Catherine Lock will join us from Musselburgh Grammar School. Mrs Lock will be our Curriculum Leader in Support for Learning, and will be a particularly important part of our P7 transition work.

As you will have noticed, the chance to work at the campus has attracted excellent candidates from both within East Lothian and beyond, and I am absolutely delighted that we are able to draw on this breadth of knowledge and experience from a range of local authorities.

You may also have noticed this national level of interest in WLC has extended to the media, too. For those who haven’t yet seen it, the link below is for a recent article in the Times Educational Supplement. My youngest daughter’s comment was that she could ‘hear’ me when she was reading it, which I have decided to take as a good thing!

TES Article on WLC

Many of you will have heard me talking before about the importance of partnership with parents. For many schools, this focuses on the vital role played by Parent Councils. However, in our current situation, there are a couple of important points to consider if we want to work as a genuine collective:

  • We have a lot of important decisions to make with regards to policy and practice in the coming months, where parent input would be hugely valued; but we can’t officially convene a Parent Council until the school is open.
  • Many parents are keen to work with the school at this important time, but will not be able to attend lengthy, formal meetings or a regular basis, whether due to work commitments, caring commitments, or any other aspects of busy lives.

To this end, we have decided to form a Parent Engagement Group. This will be an important forum throughout the summer term and, if successful, is something we may decide to continue with as we move into next session. The group will be based around a series of short (45 minute max) ‘single item agenda’ Google Meets. The time of day/day of the week will be varied to support as many people as possible getting involved. There is no need to commit to all of the Meets (just drop in when it works for you), and there is no need to prepare anything in advance!

If you would like to be involved, please sign up using this Google Form. Thank you to everyone who has already indicated an interest.

Parent Engagement Group

This form will remain open until 12 noon on Friday 3rd March. Please ensure that you include your preferred email address for us to send the Meet schedule and the relevant joining details thereafter.

One of our first topics for discussion and decision making will be around finalising our school vision statement and school values- we are certainly not short of ideas! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the survey on this topic. The data summary can be accessed here: Vision and Values Data Summary

We have made some good progress with regards to agreements around the naming of the school, its Houses, and the SCN provision. Please bear with us as we engage with all stakeholders. One lovely thing I can share this week is that our SCN provision will now be known as The Brae. This reflects the hilltop position of our building and draws on the idea of being able to take in the views of our beautiful East Lothian countryside wherever we are within it. Mrs Fleming has already begun to connect with the East Lothian ASN team and looks forward to playing a full part in transition of pupils to The Brae when she starts in April.

Pupil Voice Update 23/02/23

Pupil Voice has had a slightly different shape since the new year, as we move onto a new phase of the project.

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that we had almost 350 responses from young people to our surveys of house and school names, dress code, and vision and values. For those of you still waiting to see if your favourite name for the school made it through, please be patient. There are lots of people involved in that decision! This level of engagement shows really clearly the young people’s sense of ownership in this project, and it’s been great to find out their thoughts and read their comments. This has been especially important for the inclusion of young people who might find it more challenging to speak out in group situations- all voices are valued.

Young people have also been getting involved in the recruitment of our staff team. Pinkie pupils were a huge help in setting questions for our Curriculum Leader interviews. Their suggestions included:

  • How will you make sure that all pupils know about hidden disabilities?
  • How will you make sure that we all leave school able to cook healthy things that are easy to make?
  • How will you make sure that everyone gets involved in your subject, even if they think they are not very good at it?
  • How will you make sure the work is hard enough for people who might find it quite easy?

Questions like these have really made candidates think on their feet, and helped us to get a real sense of how they will respond to our young people.

Pupils from Wallyford will be involved, this coming week, in compiling questions for our class teacher interviews, which take place throughout March and April. I am sure they will continue to be a great support to the process.

We will be reconvening and building on our regular Pupil Voice sessions in the spring. Mr Valentine will be leading some groups focused on what we are calling ‘ways of being’. Mr Valentine has a real passion for what is referred to as character education. The idea behind this is that education is as much about learning how to be in the world as it is learning facts and figures. Our senior leadership team has very high standards when it comes to how we treat each other, and takes wellbeing, inclusion and anti-bullying approached very seriously. We know that lots of our young people feel the same.

Mrs Stewart-Young will be leading discussions around classroom experiences. We want to make sure that we are working with everyone in our school community to give young people as much consistency as possible across the different areas of the curriculum. It’s important that we all know what to expect when it comes to our daily classroom routines, as well as thinking about learning actively, learning together, and how we assess our learning.

They are both very excited (that word again!) to get into all three of our partner schools in the next few weeks.


Head Teacher Update

It’s been a very busy week of recruitment, and we now have preferred candidates for all but one of our Curriculum Leader posts (and we’re nearly there with the last one!). I will share more information about the newest members of the team immediately after the February break, as it’s important they have the chance to share their news with their own school communities first. It has been an absolute privilege to spend the week listening (really listening, with a total focus that can be hard to achieve sometimes day to day), to teacher leaders from across Scotland. The commitment to, ambition for, and enthusiasm about our young people and this project have been, in all honestly, quite humbling. I am very fortunate. We are very fortunate.

Another important piece of work which has been undertaken this week is the personalisation and choice process for MGS pupils who will be starting S3 with us. Thanks go to Mr Valentine and the team at MGS for the time spent supporting young people and their families in exploring the Personal Pathways and what these mean for them in terms of providing a meaningful culmination of their Broad General Education and linking into their future senior phase. MGS parents can contact the email address if they have any remaining queries, and Mr. Valentine will pick these up. He reported that by far the most common word used by young people was to describe how they were feeling right now was ‘Excited!’, with ‘BUZZING!’ also worth an honourable mention.

Of course, we also recognise that some young people will be feeling a real mix of emotions, including some nervousness or worry. We have been working hard to further shape the transition plan for the summer term with our partner schools, and will be in a position to share the details behind this by early March. We are so looking forward to having time to spend with our young people exploring our shared ways of being at the campus.

I’d also like to draw your attention to our next Parent Engagement opportunity. We will be hosting a ‘Meet the Senior Leadership Team’ Google Meet from 7pm-8pm on Thursday 16th March. Young people are also welcome to ‘attend’. This is a chance to start put faces to names, and to learn a little bit more about our roles. If you have particular topics you would like us to cover or questions you would like us to answer, these should be submitted in advance to with the title ‘Meet the SLT’. To allow time for full responses to be considered, please submit these by close of business on Tuesday 14th March.

Video call link for 7pm on Thursday 16th March: Meet the SLT

We will also be providing some in person opportunities in May and June- more to come on that in the next few weeks.

Thanks go to all in our school community who completed our school dress code survey, which gathered well over 100 individual responses from parents/carers, and almost 100 from our young people. It was actually very encouraging to see a lot of agreement between the groups!

The summary comments on the survey can be accesses here: Dress Code Summary Data

Once we have done the remaining work on the school crest (it’s coming!), we will pull all of this guidance together for ease of reference. We will also discuss all of this further in the transition programme.

I do hope that you are all able to enjoy some family time over the February break.


Head Teacher Update 03/02/23

Firstly, some excellent news with regards to our Severe and Complex Needs provision. We now have a preferred candidate for the post of DHT (ASN). Mrs Sarah Fleming is currently the Acting DHT at Saltersgate school in Midlothian, and brings a wealth of experience from both mainstream and specialist school provisions. We hope she will be able to join us for the whole of the summer term, in order to support transition in partnership with our families.

As we head closer to the school opening, it is natural that a few questions have come up from our community regarding the planning around safeguarding in a building of this scope and scale. It is therefore a good time to bring some of these queries together. I hope that the following supports you in building a picture of how we will move forward with this crucial area of work.

I currently chair a sub group of the Campus Board, which has the specific role of planning for the use of the building by organisations other than education. Although this work is ongoing, the following has been established:

The school (including SCN provision) will be the only organisation fully operational in the building in August 2023.

Other partners will gradually ‘move into’ the building over a period of several months. This means there will be sufficient time to set up, monitor and evaluate user protocols with one partner at a time.

Once the building is open, we will form a Partnership Board, to ensure that there are regular meetings between all partners.

This will allow us an ongoing focus on overall health and safety, as well as a very specific focus on safeguarding. As Head of Establishment as well as Head of the School, I will chair this Board.

There are no immediate plans for any organisations beyond education to use areas serving the school during the school day.

It is possible that this could change in the longer term as we develop the Partnership Board and get to know the building better. All of our partners are fully supportive of our staged approach.

With regards to the building design, please note the following:

The building incorporates as range of ‘zones’ which are accessed through swipe card controls.

For example, someone who attends an event in the Community wing of the building would not be able to access the main school building without being granted access. The only exception to this is through a couple of fire doors that are required by building control. However, these are alarmed and would alert facilities management staff immediately to any attempted breach.

The main ‘school’ entrance leads to a secured area, which includes the school office.

To proceed any further than this, a visitor would need to be ‘swiped’ in to the main atrium and beyond.

This leads on to the links between the school Dress Code and supporting safety and security. Thank you to those of you who have already given your responses to proposed Dress Code items. These items have been suggested with multiple factors in mind, not least pupil feedback on the importance of shared identify being maintained alongside a Dress Code that enables them to take part in practical learning in a safe and comfortable way.

We plan to ensure that pupils have the option of a number of items in school colours and/or with the school crest, making them easily identifiable as members of the school community. However, both pupils and parents asked that we be mindful of the cost of the school day and also accept plain black jumpers, trousers, skirts etc. It is of course important to reduce what barriers we can to accessing education, so this seems like a sensible approach. Those of us with teenagers will also be aware of how often the school clothes can get delayed on their way to the washing machine, so back-ups are always good!

In relation to this, it is worth mentioning at this stage some planning around pupil access to the different ‘zones’ previously mentioned. We are currently working towards each pupil being issued with a swipe card on a WLC lanyard; equivalent to what many of us, including teaching staff, have for our place of work. This will allow pupils to move swiftly and safely between zoned areas, and provide an extra layer of security in terms of identifying any unwanted visitors. Allocating the WLC lanyards will also support easy pupil identification and make it clear who belongs in the school, whether the young person is wearing plain black or school crest item as part of their Dress Code.

Please note: The final Google survey for this half term, on the school crest, was originally due to be shared next week. However, a couple of our partner schools have asked for extra time for young people to complete their versions of the survey. It is important that we give this opportunity so that we have as many as possible contributing their ideas on the school name/Houses names, and vision and values. To this end, please bear with us as we bring that data together throughout February. Further information on the school crest survey will follow.