Month: June 2023

Head Teacher Update 23/06/23

It’s hard to believe that this is the last HT update I will write before the school opens in August. And what a week this final full week has been.

Last Saturday, I was part of a large group of staff who spent the day getting our Emergency First Aid training up to date. As a parent as well as a teacher, I’ve dealt with my fair share of potential crises, but it’s so important to all of us to get as much training as we can to support the health and safety of our young people. We surprised ourselves by actually having quite a lot of fun alongside the seriousness of the topic, and it really made us think about the importance of putting this type of knowledge and understanding into our My World programme. We’ll keep you updated as these ideas take shape.

Monday was a big day in terms of deliveries with several trucks worth of equipment arriving on site. Paula and Fiona, and our science technician, did an incredible job of coordinating this with partners and we are hugely grateful for their organisation, tenacity, and attention to detail. Deliveries will continue into the summer holidays but this means that bulk of what we need to get started is now on site and can begin to be put in the right places. I was also able to meet with key staff from our new facilities management team this week, who will be a crucial support in this establishment phase.

On Tuesday, we welcomed almost all of our new staff to the building, most of whom were seeing it for the first time. It was a clear reminder of what a major piece of work recruitment has been, as well as how worthwhile all of that time has been in terms of getting it right for our young people.

All young people now have their House allocation and Lynsey and Neil enjoyed delivering their first online House assemblies to this week. Any young people who were unable to access them live can watch a recording on our Transition page. Although they were designed for P7s, there is plenty in here that is relevant to all year groups: Transition 2022-2023 – Rosehill High School (

I have also added slides with key messages about our first few days. Parents will by now have received a letter outlining what we will cover in the Pupil Welcome Days on the 16th-18th August. All young people will also get a note of their form, practical and homeroom classes next week. It is hugely important that they know these when they arrive in August, so your support with this is much appreciated!

A number of staff were delighted to be at MGS’s ‘farewell’ event for our new S2 and S3 on Thursday evening. It was lovely to see so much enjoyment alongside what has undoubtedly been a complex few weeks, with lots of change, for future Rosehill pupils. We are very grateful to the staff in all of our partner schools for their support in ensuring as smooth a transition as possible. No other school in Scotland has begun with S1-S3 from Day 1, and we wouldn’t have had the successes we have without this team effort.

We continue to value your support in working through Rosehill High School: What You Need To Know  with your young person before they arrive. Get in touch if you think we can add anything else. You might also enjoy seeing some images of the building: Rosehill High School Photo Tour (These were take a couple of weeks ago so everything is different again, but you’ll get the idea!). We are so looking forward to our tours with families next week, especially now that the REAL TREES are in the atrium.

A note on food: we will be ‘onboarding’ NEC cards throughout our first day. We cannot do this before the pupils arrive in the school and register on day one. We cannot guarantee every pupil being done in the first morning; that’s not something that is within the school’s control. In order to ensure that all young people have guaranteed access to a lunch, our catering team will be proving a free ‘tasting’ menu on Wednesday 16th August. Your child may wish to bring a packed lunch on this day, which is absolutely fine. We would also recommend water and a snack for their morning rest break that day.

As core paths are completed over the summer, we’d love it if you could do a couple of practice runs with your young person to support their journey to school. Remember, the building will not be open until 8.15 each morning so it is worth working out timings to ensure that no one is left standing in the rain too long!

Our admin mailbox will be monitored over the summer period, but please be mindful that all staff, including our admin support, have at least some leave during the summer. Our Twitter account will not be in use.

In the meantime, we wish all of our families and enjoyable and restful summer break. I’ll be putting the laptop down for a wee while at least and enjoying a few short breaks away, and a lot of family time.  Transition doesn’t finish on the 16th August, it’s just the next phase. We cannot wait to see you all then.


HT Update 16/06/23

Whilst there can be a perception that schools ‘wind down’ in the last few weeks, this is generally anything but the case- particularly this year at Rosehill! We have had an intense focus on pulling together all the threads that will help us to support a smooth start for your young person, and a successful school year.

A link to our 2023-24 Improvement Plan summary is here: Rosehill High School Improvement Plan 2023-24

This provides a strategic overview of our direction of travel. It will remains a draft document until our full team is in place in August. Thereafter, it will continue to be a working document that we go back to regularly when we need to remind ourselves of what we really want to achieve. A big message from me this year is keeping it simple.  We need to focus on the structures, routines and expectations that will ensure that our young people are safe, included, and able to be the best version of themselves. Lots of offers come into schools as ‘a good thing’. And they usually are a good thing. But we want to do the basics brilliantly, with an uncompromised focus on classroom practice in the first instance.

As promised, we have pulled together a Google site which aims to answer as many of our young people’s questions as we can. We make no apology for there being lots here, and would advise that you dip in and out of this over the summer holidays as you and your young person get to grips with what is required for this new start:

The Rosehill Way: What You Need To Know 

Whilst the site covers general matters that will be relevant throughout the school year, we are also finalising specific information about the pupils’ first few days. A timetable of activities will come out before the end of term. They key message to our young people, though, is that the 16th-18th August will be Welcome Days. It is important to us to make connections before launching into content. These days will be an opportunity to visit all faculties, get up to speed with Chromebook usage, get lockers, find toilets, learn about using their NEC cards, and (S1 and S2) complete their personalisation and choice column. We can never promise that we have thought of everything, but I would venture to suggest that we are pretty close to it! From August 21st, all pupils will follow their full, ‘normal’ timetable.

We continue with our transition work, and were delighted to welcome our Pupil Support Workers to the team this week. Phil Gilholm and Stevie Higgins have been spending time in our partner schools, building relationships with young people and helping them to begin to identify key adults who can help them. Learning and teaching has continued at MGS, with further pupil assemblies planned in our primaries. Lynsey, Neil and I were delighted to attend the Wallyford P7 Leavers’ Show. What a wonderful piece of work and what incredible commitment from the staff there to support it.

Letters about our tours and booking instructions will go out today. Please read this carefully. Our small team means that places are limited and health and safety is paramount. We would ask for your support in this regard. Our role information is being constantly updated. If you have not received an email by the end of the day today (Friday 16th) please contact the admin team on:

We had a brilliant staff session on site earlier this week. It really is incredible to have seen the progress in these last few months. As you can see from the photos on Twitter, the building itself is ready to go, but we now need to focus on furniture, fittings and equipment. There is an intensive delivery schedule ongoing and I am very grateful to Paula and Fiona, along with ELC and Morrison Construction colleagues, for managing all of this in such an organised and focused way. If you’ve ever moved house, try multiplying that by 100 or so locations and you’re part way there. It will all be worth it though. We’ll share a further selection of photos via the website next week.

And finally, some personal news. I had to go in and update my staff profile. After almost 5 years of working on it part-time, it was confirmed that I will receive my Masters in Education: Leadership and Learning, with Distinction. I will get to do the whole ‘gowns and McEwan hall’ extravaganza at the University of Edinburgh on the 14th July. Lifelong learning isn’t just a theory.

HT Update 09/06/23

We were delighted to start the week with the first of our whole staff transition visits to Musselburgh Grammar school. Our three S2 and four S3 classes all took part in a session focused on The Rosehill Way, including the opportunity to reflect on their time as a secondary pupil so far, and what might be new or different at Rosehill. I spoke with all seven groups, both to welcome them personally and to reflect on change and its necessity as part of life. A few repeat themes came up in our discussions, which it’s worth sharing here for clarity.

Mobile phones: Mobile phones have no place in our classrooms. Our young people all have access to Chromebooks throughout the day, so they are not required in any way for learning. All young people have lockers they can access and our recommendation is that phones are stored there. If your young person chooses not to do this, phones should be on silent and out of sight in all classes. Phone use in class is not in line with our core value of respect. As well as potential issues around cyber bullying, recording people without permission etc., using a phone instead of learning is going on is never going to help someone to be the best version of themselves. It’s worth noting that phones are personal property and that, therefore, the school can take no responsibility for loss or damage to these or other devices.

Rest breaks: Rather than one very short and one longer break, we are piloting pupils having two 30 minute rest breaks. This means that there are two opportunities for them to visit the toilet, refill water, have something to eat, and get some fresh air, thus creating a much more balanced school day. There is not time, therefore, for them to go anywhere much beyond the campus. In keeping with our core value of responsibility, our school is not a prison, and pupils won’t be locked in! However, if they are off campus, there are no adults around to support them if things go wrong. Whilst it is up to families to have these conversations with their young people and to set your own expectations, we strongly recommend that all pupils remain on campus throughout the school day, to reduce the risk of bullying incidents or anti-social behaviour.

Dress code: If you have been following the updates, you know all about this! However, it seems a number of young people don’t. I have been shown a range of black trousers with the question, ‘Are these okay?’ Yes, black trousers are always okay! In keeping with our core value of kindness, no young person will ever be criticised based on what they are wearing. If we notice a specific issue, we will have a conversation with the young person to find out what any barriers are. A reminder of our simple dress code is here: The Rosehill Way: Dress Code

Our Curriculum Leader for Health and Wellbeing, Paddy Cuthbertson, has also put together this note about clothing/equipment for courses in his faculty: HWB Clothing and Equipment

By the end of next week, we will be providing access to our ‘What You Need To Know’ Google site. This collates lots of the discussion points that have come up during transition so that you have them all to hand. Please take the time to go through this carefully with your young person after it is published.

Thank you everyone who attended our final Parent Engagement Group of this session. This was focused on character education and its place at Rosehill. The slides for the sessions are here: Character Education During the session we talked about the:  Association for Character Education We also made reference to our plans for the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) in S3: YPI Scotland

We’ve also continued our work around ‘One Page Policies’. A couple of examples of our most recent policy work are here:

The Rosehill Way: Ways of Being

The Rosehill Way: Parental Engagement and Family Learning

These will remain in draft throughout this school session, as we will learn and modify as we go. As always, your questions and feedback are welcome as we share our thinking as we go.

And finally, some news on our Twilight Tours. As you are aware, getting the building over the line has meant thinking really hard about prioritisation. You will be able to see that the campus looks ‘finished’ (seeing the signage go up was a lovely surprise when I drove by on my way to the Wallyford Gala last  weekend!) but there are lots of health and safety checks and snagging that needs to be done during this handover period. However, we can now confirm that visits for pupils and their families can take place on the 26th and 27th June. Slots will be s between 4pm and 6.15pm, and you should anticipate your tour taken around 30-40 minutes.  In order to ensure the health and safety of all, all visits must be booked in advance. We will email a letter with booking information next week.


HT Update 02/06/23

It’s incredible to think that we are already at the beginning of June and that we will soon have a much more sizeable team, and we’re making the last few appointments for mainstream staff. We will benefit from a learning technologist based at Rosehill for the first 6 months after opening, to ensure that there is expertise on hand to get the most out of our Chromebooks. We were also delighted to play a part in the recruitment of our new Active Schools Coordinator, who will be working with both Rosehill and our partner primaries to support physical activity for all. This includes supporting sporting activities beyond the school day. We’ll provide more information on this once he is formally in post.

We are now beginning to developed detailed plans for our Staff Welcome Days (14th and 15th August) and our Pupil Welcome Days (16th-18th August). We will ensure that all families have copies of the planned schedule for young people ahead of the summer break.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to give some feedback on our Welcome Evening, and for your kind words about the enthusiasm, positivity and engagement in the sessions. We note that (in your keenness) a couple of people have commented on wanting more/longer sessions, so it’s worth being clear that this was a voluntary event that staff undertook and that we therefore had to ensure something that worked for them and their own families. I was delighted to see that 94% of respondent said that they were very likely or quite likely to attend similar events in future. Family learning sessions are part of our planned calendar for session 23-24, so those extra sessions will indeed be along soon!

This stage in the term means that we are thinking carefully about out improvement planning and our priorities for next year. The plan is a working document and we look forward to input from our Parent Council when we establish this in later August/early September. Our Improvement Plan is currently undergoing consultation with staff, but it’s worth sharing our draft key priorities now. These must be related to Scottish Government and East Lothian Council priorities, but I am sure you will be able to see the clear connections between these and our own vision and values:

  • Developing the leadership skills of everyone is our school community to support continuous improvement
  • Enacting a responsive curriculum based on principles of equity, wellbeing and inclusion, underpinned by the highest quality of learning, teaching and assessment at all levels
  • Viewing all of our improvement priorities through the lens of school culture and a commitment to children’s rights

Our Improvement Plan also has to include provisional plans for the use of our Pupil Equity Fund. We have two key resources planned in relation to this:

  • Employment of an additional Pupil Support Worker, working across both Houses, to support attendance and engagement
  • Investment in resources for Outdoor Learning, to ensure that there are no barriers to participation

We have been thinking carefully about the Cost of the School Day and will share our planning for that along with the finalised Improvement Plan.

We have also continued with our draft policy work, with a commitment to keeping it simple and providing a range of summary documents that outline key principles. This week’s thinking included:

The Rosehill Way: Homeroom

The Rosehill Way: Pupil Voice

As always, we welcome any feedback via our admin email

Towards the end of term, we will add a ‘One Page Policies’ tab to the website for easy reference.

Regarding transition, we look forward to seeing all of our MGS contingent on Monday. Every class will have a first session based on ‘The Rosehill Way’, outlining our school culture and how we interact with each other. They will then have a series of inputs across curricular areas. Our catchment primary pupils are engaging in Google lessons with staff over the next couple of weeks, and our non-catchment pupils have in-person sessions in place.

We are also pleased to note that ALL young people moving from MGS to at Rosehill for S3 are going to be able to access the two Pathways that were their first and second choices. This has been no mean feat, and credit goes to Neil and Lynsey for making this happen. We are also now at the stage of finalising the timetable and ensuring that young people are allocated to a form class, practical class, and homeroom. Again, we will make sure this is with you by the end of this term.