Month: May 2023

Head Teacher Update 26/05/23

It’s a hugely busy time with regards to our school building, as we head towards the June handover period and ensuring everything is operational ahead of our August opening. We talk about the value of partnership working all the time in education, but never has it been so apparent just how many people are pulling together to ensure the successful completion of this huge project. You will have noticed that much of the building looks ‘finished’ but it’s now all in the details to ensure we have a smooth and successful start.

One simple example of partnership is the ongoing work of the ELC catering team in ensuring that young people have access to a full school meals menu that meets all required nutritional standards. For info, the standard ELC menu and associated nutritional standards are available here:

ELC Secondary School Menu

Nutritional Standards

It’s worth considering now what your young person plans to do for lunch. There are no accessible options for food around the campus, so this means a packed lunch or school lunch, which must be consumed in the food court. We will of course ensure that young people still have access to outdoor space for fresh air and exercise as appropriate. I’ll be meeting with some of our pupils to discuss the (very important!) topic of food and any questions they may have.

Young people will use their NEC cards to pay for anything in the food court, and will also need these cards to access the building both in the morning and throughout the school day. Our records show that almost all pupils have these already, and we are working through the process of contacting those who don’t. However, please get in touch with the admin team if there are any issues around this.

Transition work is ongoing with our catchment primaries and Mr Valentine and Mrs Lock have now booked sessions with those coming from out of catchment. Please remember, whichever primary they are coming from, your child remains a pupil of their current school and all communication regarding these arrangements comes via them.

A link to the most recent assemblies at Wallyford and Pinkie (led by Mrs Stewart-Young and Mr Valentine) is available here:

P7 Assembly (2)

Our MGS transition visits begin on the 5th of June and will take place on Monday and Friday mornings throughout the month. As part of this, all young people joining us from MGS will have received information about their new form class this week. This has to go out to secondary pupils earlier than primary pupils, in order to support timetabling arrangements at MGS. Mrs Stewart Young is currently finalising the timetable, and we will be able to confirm S3 Personal Pathways soon. Information on S1 classes will be shared before the end of term.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Welcome Evening this week. It was a real pleasure to see families from across a full range of schools and to give a taste of some of the activities that happen in today’s classrooms. A particular highlight was watching so many of our parents pick up the ukulele for the first time! Huge thanks go to both our staff for volunteering their time and to Wallyford Primary for hosting us. We’ll post the presentations from the evening on the website Transitions page over the next few days. There’s also a link here on ordering any dress code items. Those ordered before the 9th July are guaranteed to be delivered before the start of term:

Dress Code Ordering

An evaluation of the event will be emailed out to all attendees. We’d really appreciate your feedback.

There have been a few queries coming in regarding the provisional ‘twilight tours’ for families in June. Please be mindful that these can only be confirmed within the bigger picture of the handover. We’ll get info to you as soon as we can, but can only do this in alignment with allowing snagging work to take place. Our top priority has to be ensuring that the building is ready, and we don’t want to get in anyone’s way!

Head Teacher Update 18/05/23

This week started with an excellent session with David Reid, our Education Support Officer, who leads on all things digital. David worked with the full leadership team to enhance our knowledge and skills in making best use of the Google suite to support young people. We had a particular focus on accessibility tools and helping young people to help themselves on their allocated Chromebooks. All staff are now working towards Google Educator accreditation, and the knowledge that this comes with stickers and the potential for certificates was a huge motivator for a number of us! We will continue to make use of David’s expertise as we devise learning around the digital skills part of our BGE timetable. We also completed our second session with Skills Development Scotland, looking at how we will link our learning on Metaskills with curriculum content.

We have now almost reached the top of the staffing mountain. We now have preferred candidates identified for all of our classroom teaching posts. Once their employment has been confirmed through the relevant HR processes, we will start to invite them to add their profiles to the appropriate section of the website so that you can start to put more names to faces. Although most class teachers don’t start until August, we welcome Sara Whillans and Euan Dixon to the team at The Brae this week. This means that, ahead of the summer break, they can take a full part in transition and undertake all of the relevant training required to ensure that our young people have all the support they need.

You can see the ‘big picture’ of our current staffing here:

Rosehill Staffing August 2023

Our Parent Engagement Group met this week to look at tracking, monitoring and reporting. We are keen that these activities are focused on regular, informative, low stakes communication to ensure that we are working in genuine partnership with our families. The slides that were used to start the discussion are included here, for information:

TMR introductory slides

I have also included a brief summary of the key discussions points here:

TMR summary points

As promised in the last Parent Engagement Group session, we have used our discussions therein to help us to pull together a draft ‘one page policy’ on communication between home and school. This draft can be accessed below, and we would welcome any further feedback via

Communication between home and school (DRAFT)

This is the first in a series of ‘one page policies’ that we are developing. Each will be a maximum of two side of A4 paper and will outline The Rosehill Way on a number of topics, such as relationships for learning, anti-bullying, and the cost of the school day. The idea is that these will be easily accessible and easy to adapt as the school grows and we get to know our community better. We’ll continue to provide access to draft of these, and an invitation to feedback, as we move towards opening, and indeed beyond.

One of the key request from our Curriculum Information Evening was that it would be helpful to have some broad brushstrokes as to what is included in each curriculum area. We’ll be sharing our knowledge organisers for the start of the new term but, in the meantime, we hope that these summary comments are useful by way of introduction:

Course Descriptors

Head Teacher Update 11/05/23

It was lovely to see the excited response to our ‘100 days’ milestone this week. If you haven’t read the article yet, here’s what the East Lothian Courier had to say:

East Lothian Courier: 100 days

This means that there is a huge focus at the moment on all the tiny details that are needed to get the building over the line. I had a great meeting with our architect this week who was able to share lots of things that make my heart sing: wooden signage for the Margaret Oliphant library, the Rosehill emblem on the entrance mats, and exactly the right sort of green in the games halls! Rosehill staff will continue to be based at Wallyford Primary school until the end of term, to allow the ELC team to get in and get us set up with phones, Wi-Fi, furniture and equipment. Although this work is will be ongoing throughout the rest of the term, we remain confident that we will be able to welcome families for some ‘Twilight Tours’ towards the end of June- we’ll get organised with timetables and booking for these after our welcome evening on the 25th May.

Our team’s focus on professional learning continues, and one highlight of this week was definitely work with Skills Development Scotland. We know how important it is to our young people and their families that they be given the opportunity to build the skills that will be useful to them within school and beyond. If you are interesting in reading more about this approach, you can use the link below.

SDS Meta-skills

This, of course, links into our ongoing work around curriculum planning. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the session Mrs Stewart-Young led on curriculum. I think we’d all agree that, as parents, it’s important to know how we can support our children’s learning, and I’m really excited about using our knowledge organiser approach to encourage that sense of a shared journey. If you were unable to attend, or would like to refer back to the information we shared, the slides we used and a recording on the meeting are available here:

Curriculum Information Evening slides

Curriculum Information Evening recording

Our Parent Engagement Group is next due to meet on Monday 15th May, with a focus on tracking, monitoring and reporting. Invitations have been issued to members of the group. We are also in the early stages of planning for a final Parent Engagement Group meeting in early June, which will explore more around our work on character education and how this can support wellbeing and learning- invitation to follow.

Our transition work continues, with more visits to our catchment primaries and plans in place for MGS young people firmly in place. All current S1/2 Musselburgh pupils who are coming to Rosehill next session should receive a letter from MGS in the next few days, outlining our June transition plan. A copy of the letter is here, for reference:

MGS S2/3 Transition Letter

There are a few questions pinging around about, ‘what happens on the first day?’ Although it’s easier said than done sometimes, please try not to worry too much! Ahead of the summer break, you will receive a full ‘one page plan’ as to expectations for starting with us, with time to come back with any remaining questions. We’re working hard both internally and will external partners on timetabling, class lists, access control, swipe cards, and LOTS of policy work. It’s a massive jig-saw and the pieces are all gradually fitting together, so we appreciate your continued understanding of the time and work it takes in to ensure we open as smoothly as we can.

Pupil Voice Update 05/05/23

Following on from parental engagement group discussions regarding potential vision statements for Rosehill, we explored the language in more detail with pupil groups.

Mrs Stewart Young DHT and Mr Valentine DHT explored with pupil groups in April and May.

Pupils were keen on the idea of making the vision statement easy to remember.   We explored the terms Learning, Growing and Thriving and what these could look, sound and feel like at Rosehill.

Mrs Stewart-Young explored specific opinions on learning. Pupils explored their own responsibility for learning, the role of the teacher and the importance of a positive ethos and climate. We covered questioning, challenge, feedback, and differentiation. We also discussed the explicit link of wellbeing to engagement and progress in learning. 

A summary of the notes from these sessions can be accessed here Vision Summary

Head Teacher Update 05/05/23

Next Monday, the 8th May, is an important date in the Wallyford Learning Campus story, as it marks 100 days until Rosehill High School opens to pupils. This meant yet another photo opportunity as our staff team was joined by Councillor Fiona Dugdale and young people from our partner schools this week, to mark the occasion. Please look out for the subsequent story that will appear via ELC, including up to date images of the site.

This important milestone has come alongside some big decisions. After extensive work with our community, we are delighted to share that our school vision is:

 “Rosehill: a place to learn, grow, and thrive.”

Learning comes first, in all of its guises: knowledge, skills, and for its own sake.

Growing as people through character education and a focus on our core values of respect, kindness and responsibility.

Thriving as the best possible versions of ourselves, in school and beyond.

We hope that this reflects our desire to ensure that we continue to look at wellbeing and learning as two sides of the same coin. This vision will influence all of the work we are currently doing around policy and procedure, and will provide a touchstone for our upcoming improvement planning.

We’ve also finalised our House emblems, and our emblem for The Brae. These can be viewed below:

House Heather

House Thistle

The Brae

Mr. Valentine is working on class lists with our partner schools and all young people will get information about their House allocation in June- without the need to make use of a sorting hat.

A great spot from one of our parents came this week as she noticed that our Rosehill school dress code items are now on sale! Please see the Border Embroideries link below:

Rosehill Dress Code Items

We will have sample sizes available for both the Welcome Evening on the 25th May and the Twilight Tours that we are planning for June.

We’ve kept it simple in this first tranche by using black and the whole school colour (the deep green/blue). In future, we intend to offer ‘House’ options too, and will keep the conversation going as to what dress code might look like in the senior phase.

If you’re planning the school wardrobe, you may find it helpful to refer back to the information on dress code that was shared previously, in response to our pupil and parent consultation:

Dress Code

In summary, our dress code is quite straightforward, and focuses on clothes that are smart, affordable, and appropriate for active learning:

  • White shirt, T-shirt or polo shirt (polo shirts with the school emblem are available)
  • Hoodie or sweatshirt with school emblem (plain black can be worn as an alternative)
  • Black on the bottom
  • (School lanyard with swipe card- supplied by the school)
  • With regards to logos: small ones are sometime hard to totally avoid, but young people should not look like they have been sponsored to attend their place of learning!

Our main priority is that every young person is in school, on time, and ready to learn.

We continue to work on supporting Safer Routes to Schools. Following on from your helpful comments and suggestions, a draft of our School Travel Plan in available on this link. This is a working document which will develop as we move closer to opening and as we begin to see how school travel works in reality. Please be aware that a number of the paths mentioned in the plan will completed over the summer break.

Rosehill High School Travel Plan

There were a couple of comments about supporting safer travel by looking at the school day. However, there is an ELC wide agreement as to the start and end times of the school day, which we are not at liberty to alter at this stage.

We continue to work closely with our partners to establish what the first weeks and months of opening might look like. As Head of Establishment as well as Head of School, I have a responsibility to ensure that this highly beneficial partnership working happens in a planned and cohesive way, throughout the course of session 23-24, and beyond. For example, the library and learning resource centre will be open to Rosehill pupils straight away, with public access after school hours available from around mid-September. This will allow us to complete all the relevant safeguarding checks, with young people in the building, to ensure that we can work towards shared access in due course. We’ll continue to keep our community updated as the provision expands.

Our curriculum leaders have begun their visits to our partner primary schools, starting with some active input on Health and Wellbeing with Mr. Cuthbertson and Science and Technology with Mr. Thomson. Mrs. Stewart-Young and Mr. Valentine also did some initial sessions around the importance of character in being the best versions of ourselves. Their slides are available here:

Rosehill High School Assembly 1

Everyone has been very impressed by the level of involvement from pupils and the rest of the team are excited to get out there, too. Please remember that, due to arrangements around timetabling and examinations, our transition activities for MGS will focus on the month of June. This will also be the key time for young people coming to join our mainstream from out of catchment.

Mrs. Fleming and I attended the Wallyford Parent Council earlier this week, but have pulled together our summary comments to ensure that they can be accessed by everyone:

Parent Council Updates 2nd May 2023

I also met with the Parent Engagement Group this week, and was joined by both Ms. O’Neill and our new business administrator, Ms. Fiona Glass. The topic of conversation was effective home/school communication, and our starter slides are here:

Parent Engagement Group: Home School Communication

A flavour of the discussions is available here:

Home/school communication key talking points

In combination with these and the parent discussion that followed, we will be producing a ‘one page’ policy in the coming weeks, that allows as to start as we mean to go on in terms of positive connections with the community.

Our Curriculum Evening will be led by Mrs. Stewart-Young, is open to all parents/carers and young people, and will take place on the 10th May. A reminder of the details and link is below:

Parental Engagement – Curriculum

Wednesday, 10 May · 7:00 – 8:00pm

Time zone: Europe/London

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: