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:
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.