Month: September 2023

Head Teacher Update 22/09/23

I hope everyone enjoyed the September weekend. I was lucky enough to be in the Paris sunshine but then, just half a day later, ended up greeting pupils on our first truly rainy Rosehill morning on Tuesday! With the weather turning, I am pleased to report multiple instances of actual jacket wearing amongst our teens. This is a good time to remind everyone that all young people have elements of their learning taking place outside, so it’s important to be prepared for all weathers.

We have had a specific focus on safety in the last week or so. Our universal pupil voice programme means that we do regular Google surveys and discussion activities to get pupil feedback on a range of different topics. This whole school safety survey contained some interesting findings that we shared with young people to support continuing conversations. Almost all young people feel they fully understand the safety expectations both in class (96%) and across the school (97%). Over 85% also report that they always feel safe both in class and across the campus- though we want that number to keep going up to as close to 100% as we can manage. We are therefore continuing our focus on making safe choices, with clear and consistent responses when these are not adhered to, and look forward to continuing this dialogue in school in the coming weeks.

You may already be familiar with the Group Call feature in schools, which allows us to send short informative text messages to families. These are already used when pupils are absent, late to school, or out of class without permission. Sharing this information as soon as we can is an important part of our commitment to safeguarding. We will now be using these messages to give an ‘early warning’ for other problematic behaviours e.g. misuse of mobile devices. Mobile phones are an area in which your support is appreciated. During lesson time, pupils know that these should be in lockers where available. If a locker is unavailable e.g. a key has been forgotten, these should be switched off and in school bags. Some of our young people are still struggling with this, and this causes us concern in terms of both their wellbeing and their learning. Therefore, we are committing to ensuring regular communication should phone use prove to be a problem for your child in school. There are numerous academic studies that demonstrate the links between teenage smartphone use and poor mental health, but the following links are clear, accessible and may prove useful in terms of having those conversations if this is a difficult area:

6 Reasons to Put Your Phone Away

10 Ways to Get Your Teenager to Stop Checking Their Phone

As part of our whole school commitment to wellbeing, Mrs. Lock has begun a range of nurture groups to support smooth, confident starts to the school day. I was delighted to be offered a hot chocolate earlier this week, and even more delighted to actually get to drink it while it was warm- no mean feat during the course of the busy school day. We will review the composition of these groups throughout the year to ensure that resources are targeted where they can make the most positive difference.

Our whole teaching team has been busy producing the first tracking reports for S1, with S2 and S3 over the next couple of weeks. As with everything, this is another new system for us all to learn, so we’ll continue to modify and look for improvements throughout the course of the year. Please bear in mind that the dates in the school calendar are for staff completion and that, to allow for the requisite checks and admin processes, reports will be with families approximately one week afterwards. These reports include a comment as to whether a Parent Consultation Call is requested. In response to feedback over the course of last session, we were acutely aware that a traditional parents’ evening format was inappropriate for many of our families. The inflexibility of a fixed date was particularly challenging for families with planned work or leisure activities, and we also appreciate the challenges of childcare for younger siblings. Our Parent Engagement Group also let us know that, although it was great to meet with school staff, individual appointments in the secondary setting for every teacher was often time consuming, stressful, and without clear impact at times. If a consultation call has been requested within a written reports it’s because the class teacher wants to spend some more time digging into how we can best support your child to make further progress in their learning.

Of course, the change to traditional parents’ evenings does not mean losing out on connecting with staff. This is why staff have agreed to four Family Learning events across the course of the school year. The first of these took place last night, with a huge range of workshops across Expressive Arts, Maths and Numeracy, and Science and Technology. It was a great experience to be able to share the approaches to active, collaborative learning and teaching that we strive for on a daily basis, and particularly gratifying to see our young people teach their families a thing or two! We will send an evaluation of the event to attendees and would appreciate a few minutes of your time in completing this so that we can continue to improve our practice. The ‘other half’ of the school (Global Citizenship, Health and Wellbeing, and Languages and Literacy) will have their event next month; look out for communications on this coming soon.





Head Teacher Update 08/09/23

The beautiful weather this week has really shown off the campus in its best light and we’ve enjoyed seeing our young people make the most of our outdoor spaces. The Astro turf is hugely busy with multiple matches each rest break and we are very grateful to the PE team and other staff volunteers for facilitating this. It’s also been wonderful to see so many young people already signed up for the East Lothian Active Schools programme.

This week we welcomed the Musselburgh Associated Schools Group to Rosehill for the first time. This is a forum which enables headteachers across local primaries and secondaries to work together on shared priorities. We had some very valuable conversation around progress in literacy and numeracy and are working together to build and share the good practice that support attainment for all. Some of our young people got very excited to see Ms Hannan and Mr Scott on their visit. I must confess to having thoroughly enjoyed the chance to use our special Rosehill mugs for the first time!

We also hosted the first meeting of the Wallyford Campus Operational Board. This group has been convened to support the gradual opening of additional partner services on campus. As reported last week, the first of these is the public library, with limited opening hours from late September. We will then be bringing sport and leisure on board in October/November, and our communities colleagues and adult service through November/December. Each of these services will have a similar ‘soft launch’ to the library service to ensure that we are looking at organisational demands, such as those around health and safety, on an ongoing basis. This means that we will only expect to be fully operational by early 2024.

We are looking forward to welcoming families to our Family Learning Event on the 21st September. You will receive a letter by email, on Monday, with a booking link. I know that staff are already excited to welcome you to their new spaces and show off some of the learning our young people experience.

There is a new page on the website which shares some images of our learning spaces. You can take a look at this here: Our Learning Spaces – Rosehill High School (

We have also pulled together a list of Key Dates for your information. You can access it here: Key Dates – Rosehill High School ( We will, of course, provide further information on each event as the session progresses.

Please remember that we have a short break for the September weekend. School will be closed on Friday 15th September and Monday 18th September. Therefore, there will be no HT update next week.

Getting started on Pupil 5 A Day

5 a day is a universal pupil voice offer in which all young people are able to participate over the course of the school year.

On a weekly basis, members of the senior leadership team select 5 pupils at random and have a short one to one meeting with each to listen to their feedback on how well the school is supporting their wellbeing and learning.

To give an example of the feedback generated, our first topic was ‘First Impressions of Rosehill High School’. The young people shared some lovely reflections, including:

  • I thought it would be hard in a big building but I can find my way around easily
  • The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly
  • I have managed to make new friends already

Pupils also shared favourite aspects of learning, including; exploring maths anxiety, team games in outdoor learning, and learning about real life in social subjects.

We will continue to share some of our pupil feedback throughout the year. However, young people don’t need to wait to be asked! If they have any comments or suggestions about how we can keep developing as a community, they can share these with House Teams at any time.

Head Teacher Update 01/09/23

It’s hard to believe that this is only the end of the second full week at Rosehill High School. A much smaller school population than average means that we have got to know young people quickly and are establishing routines and expectations both in and beyond the classroom. A personal highlight has been making the time to spend rest breaks with the pupils. It gives a real sense of what they have been enjoying in their learning and its impact. I have particularly enjoyed hearing about some learners on the STEM Pathway planning for a zombie apocalypse! I can confirm that my key skills of excellent punctuation and knowing a lot of team games would not make my chances of survival likely.

As a leadership team, we have begun to focus in on opportunities for young people to engage in pupil voice and other pupil leadership activities. This week we began out universal ‘5 a day programme’. Each week, senior staff set aside a period to meet informally with 5 pupils and to seek their views on a range of topics. This week’s topic was quite simple: What are you most enjoying about your new school? What could be even better? Data from these session in collated and shared to help to inform school improvement. Further to this, another universal offer is our ‘Tuesday Chats’ during homeroom. Each week, Homeroom teachers share either a discussion question or a Google Form to gather pupil feedback. Our first example of this was a survey on Chromebook usage, which indicated that young people are feeling confident about routines and organisation.

Activities such as these mean that ALL young people have the chance to express their views and contribute to the school’s success. However, we are also aware that a number of our pupils are ready to take the next step in terms of developing their leadership further. Our S3 contributed some great ideas in this area during our Welcome Days, and our first Extended Leadership Team meeting of the session (next week) will look at how to make some of these a reality at faculty level.

I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of the young people who are doing the right things for the right reasons every day. Many of these efforts are being captured through our Fantastic Friday positive calls home. It has been an absolute privilege to connect with so many families in this way, sharing how proud we are of their young person, and listening to their experiences in turn. Now that we have got to know our young people better, we are working together on our ‘Rosehill Ready’ core classroom expectations policy, which we will share in due course.

Thank you to all of you who have expressed your interest in both the Parent Council and the Parent Engagement Group. It was lovely to welcome parents in yesterday evening, for the first time since the school’s opening. We really do appreciate your involvement and willingness to be part of the Rosehill team. For the moment, Parent Council is over to you! We look forward to sharing information soon about office bearers and plans for the year ahead.

We all understand the importance of parental engagement in children’s learning, and there are a couple of different ways you can already make these connections. Young people will be in Google classrooms for all their subjects. Google classroom can be accessed from any device at home. Knowledge organisers are currently being finalised with input from the full range of subject specialists and will be published on the website during early September. We will also be offering our first family learning event of the session on the 21st September from 5.30pm-7.30pm; more on this to follow.

We are currently pulling together a Key Dates document for the session. This has not been possible up until now, as staff who joined in August have had to be given time to consider and approve our whole school Working Time Agreement. This will be on the website before the September weekend.

Our Active School coordinator James Sloggie is now in post and, with the support of Rosehill staff, has pulled together an initial offer of physical activities. You can find out more here:

There are planned offers for further out of class opportunities across a range of faculties. However, you will appreciate that the current focus for staff is around high quality classroom experiences based on strong routines and positive relationships. Therefore, we will come to these later in the session.

We look forward to our first partner opening on campus. Our library service will be offering the following public hours from the 22nd September, and reviewing/extending these on an ongoing basis:

Friday 2-5pm

Saturday 10-1pm

This supports the offer that is already in place for young people via our school librarian. I am told that the Dungeons and Dragons club is already oversubscribed so look forward to hearing all about it from our library regulars.

We will keep you updated on other partner services in due course.

A few reminders as we all find our feet, with which your support is appreciated:

  • In line with facilities management arrangements and staffing, school does not open to pupils until 8.15am; a full 15 minutes ahead of the start of the school day. This same arrangement will be in place throughout the year so, should an earlier arrival be impossible to avoid, clothing appropriate to the weather will be essential.
  • Our office hours are 8am-4.14pm Monday-Thursday and 8am-1.15pm Friday. The easiest way to report pupil absence is via our text service 07860 003 108. This helps to keep phonelines clear for urgent communications.
  • Our food court is cashless and cards can be topped up through SchoolPay. Please contact the admin team if you have any difficulty with this.
  • All young people should now have a functioning smartcard. This is the only way in which they can enter and leave the building without delay. In order to support security and safeguarding, these must be on the school lanyards provided and presented as required.
  • To support good health and hygiene, we encourage all young people to have a change of clothes for activities in PE.
  • Locker keys will be issued to those who have handed in their relevant permissions between today and Monday. Pupils will be reminded of expectations regarding these across our messaging next week.