Author: gpreston

HT Update 29/09/23

Last week ended on a real high with our brand-new S3 football team playing their first ever match. This was a friendly against North Berwick High School, and we are delighted that it was a 5-3 win to start them off. I was so pleased to hear about how well they conducted themselves on the pitch, with respectful behaviour at all times. Our S1 also hosted Ross High for their first friendly, and we loved seeing the support from families on the side. I know there is a busy season ahead, and would like to thank the staff who support the pupils daily on a voluntary basis.

We also undertook our first formal partnership work on Monday, with a team from Play Scotland spending the morning with 12 of our young people. The aim of the session was to tease out how young people feel about their local area and the facilities within it. Again, there was recognition of our young people’s excellent conduct and engagement throughout. You can find out more about the work of the organisation here:

Thanks go to the young people who have become the poster boys and girls for Rosehill. As you are all aware, there is national interest in our project, and we had a photographer in school for three days this week, capturing the building in action. I rather enjoyed getting back to my Drama teacher roots by calling out, ‘Right- look like this is the most interesting Science lesson you have ever been in!’ and ‘Your motivation is to do the most accurate measuring of your life!’ This also served as a good reminder that we still don’t have information on photo permissions for a minority of young people. We take getting this right seriously so please contact the admin team if you have misplaced any of the forms that were sent out at the start of term.

We are delighted that our first Parent Council Meeting will take place on the 10th October, at 6.30pm. This will be an AGM, followed by an informal opportunity to look at next steps and priorities. Anyone with a child at Rosehill is welcome to come along. As HT I attend and participate in Parent Council meetings but they are, of course, run by our parent forum.  They will keep you updated on their activities throughout the year.

As well as the Parent Council, and number of you have also signed up to join our Parent Engagement Group. This group meets online around once a term. We use Google Meet and it’s an informal opportunity to share your experiences and help to shape our work with the wider parent forum. Those already signed up will have received information about our first session, which takes place at 7pm on the 3rd of October. The topic is ‘Our curriculum’. If you missed signing up to this at the start of the school year, but would like to join, please contact our admin team.

You can also get involved in our second Family Learning event of the year. As per information sent earlier this week, this takes place on the 24th October. Booking is available from 5pm on Monday 2nd October, using the link in your letter. Thank you to the families who took the time to give such positive and helpful feedback on our last event. We will use this to inform the family learning opportunities available in the second half of this year. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there.

In line with the commitment to children’s rights outlines in our School Improvement Plan, we have provided a number multiple opportunities for pupil voice activities since opening the school. SLT have particularly enjoyed our 5 a Day programme. This involves each of us taking around an hour out of our week to have one to one conversations with our young people. Pupils are selected at random so it’s an ideal opportunity to ensure we are hearing from everyone, including the quiet middle who can sometimes miss out. Our theme over the last couple of weeks has been ‘what makes a good teacher?’ and we have loved being able to pass on compliments to our teaching team. Comments included the importance of being kind, explaining things in different ways, being strict when they need to be, and being a good listener. Our next theme will focus on S3 and the development of their senior phase curriculum.

We have another exciting first this in terms of the gradual opening of the Margaret Oliphant public library. Please be reminded of the current opening hours:

Friday 2-5pm

Saturday 10-1pm

We wish our colleagues in the library service all the best with their new chapter.

Pupil Voice Update 28th September

We have been supporting a number of universal pupil voice activities in our first few weeks of opening.

All young people have had the opportunity to take part in a Google survey around school safety. Regular safety surveys are good practice to support work on safeguarding and health and wellbeing, and support school self evaluation activities. We know that starting a new school is always daunting, and no one else in Scotland has done it with three year groups all at once. We are therefore keen to continue to have open dialogue about how everyone in our school community feels about different areas of the school.

We have also surveyed the young people on their experiences of Homeroom during the first 15 minutes of the day. This is an approach that differs slightly from our neighbouring schools and was put in place to support  wellbeing at a time of significant change for our whole population. It has been wonderful to read their feedback on the warm, welcoming environments that have been created by our Homeroom teams. Pupils have flourished in mixed year group settings and used words such as safe, warm, chilled and happy to describe the start of the day. Homerooms have benefited from lots of direct input since the start of term, and we will now move towards giving more discussion and reflection tasks to further development the positive relationships within.

The Senior Leadership Team has been taking a lead on our 5 A Day programme, in which each member of the team spends time one to one time with randomly selected pupil, finding out from them what is going well and where we can continue to develop our practice. The first two weeks of sessions focused on pupils initial impressions of the school, and we then moved on to concentrate on learning and teaching.

A real highlight has been hearing the praise for our teachers and support staff, particularly given the relatively short period of time they have been working with our young people.

In terms of next steps, we will now move on to offer some guests spots to young people on this section of the website, so that you can hear from them directly.



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.



Head Teacher Update 25/08/23

This week was our first week of the ‘normal’ timetable and we have been very impressed by the number of young people who have been following theirs independently and without issue. The size of the building means that we are all covering a lot of steps every day, so I am sure they have been coming home pretty tired at night!

Homerooms have been a really positive start to the day and staff have reported how much they are enjoying working with mixed year groups. These support a settled start to the day and give us the opportunity to reinforce daily messages around our values and core expectations.

Young people have done particularly well in terms of the beginning and end of the day, and entrances and exits. Those who were having issues with their cards have been supported by staff this week whilst teething issues have been sorted. However, we would ask for your support in reminding your young people that these need to be in school, on lanyards, each day. These are need both for access and for purchases in our food court.

We had a few early technical challenges in the canteen. Unfortunately, systems there took a couple of days to settle leading to us having to abandon the digital and go with handwritten notes! This caused some delays in the first few days but the team are now getting everyone through within the first 15 minutes of any rest break. It’s also worth remembering that young people have two rest breaks so are able to bring/buy food twice within the day.

We’ve begun a focus this week on timekeeping and attendance. There has been lots of success in getting used to our period times and in allowing time to cross the campus after e.g. playing football with the staff (thanks, team!), reading in the library, or just going to a walk in the fresh air. Young people know that they should always start, moving 5 minutes before the next lesson starts to get back to the atrium. We continue to recommend that young people remain on campus throughout both rest breaks to support their safety and wellbeing.

With regards to attendance, all young people are registered 7 times per day via our SEEMiS information system. It is important that parents understand that we don’t just follow up a ‘no show’ first thing in the morning, but also run anomalies reports throughout the day which highlight if a young person has been in school but then missed a class. Key messaging has been around attendance being credited for being in each class, not for simply being in the school building. If you have any concerns about your young person’s attendance, please contact the House Team.

As I’m sure you’ll understand, three year groups transitioning simultaneously means that we have had a record number of queries to our school office. We have a very small admin team so please be assured that we will always get back to you as soon as we can.  You may find it helpful to review our Communication policy which highlights anticipated response times for any query: The Rosehill Way: Communication between home and school Please remember that we can only meet with parents when an appointment has been made.

We have had a range of visitors to the campus already and expect this to continue. They have universally commended the efforts required to undertake and enact such a significant change for so many people. As I keep saying to the young people- everyone is new and it’s important that we continue to support each other in this exciting establishment phase.

Pupil Voice Update August 2023

We’ll be working hard in the establishment phase to support the development of pupil voice and associated leadership opportunities.

Our Welcome Days for young people included an allocated slot for our new S3 to begin to think about their identity as the most senior pupils, and how they can take on roles and responsibility that will support the wellbeing and learning of the whole community.

They met in small groups with members of the staff leadership team and had the opportunity to share what activities they thought had been successful in the past and what they would like to see more of. An emerging theme was the importance of it ‘not being the same people all the time’ when it comes to listening to ideas. A number of young people commented on their discomfort with the idea of ‘Head Pupils’ or similar, because they felt that this doesn’t always represent the views and experiences of all young people. They were also clear that pupils voice activities should include everyone if they are going to be seen as valuable.

Our S3s were able to come up with a huge range of ways in which young people can support e.g. sports, the arts, and our commitment to sustainability. The next step if for House Teams explore these starting points with all year groups via the My World programme.

Our first SLT strategic session will take place on the 28th August and will be focused on pupil leadership opportunities. These discussions will be focused on the Education Scotland documents linked below:

How Good is OUR school? A resource to support learner participation in self-evaluation and school improvement (Part 1)

How good is OUR school? A resource to support learner participation in self-evaluation and school improvement (Part 2)

We will also be starting our ‘5 a day’ programme at the start of September, the findings from which will be shared via the website. You can read more about this and our overall approach to pupil voice here:

The Rosehill Way: Pupil Voice

HT Update 17/08/23

It’s been a big, busy week at Rosehill and there’s been a lot of new information to take in and new people and places to get to know.

We had two hugely positive staff Welcome Days on Monday and Tuesday, covering everything related to The Rosehill Way. Topics included our vision, values, improvement priorities, and approaches to learning and teaching. We also talked about the value in the contributions that parents and young people have already made in establishing school ethos and identity, even before the school was open.

We are now able to take the next step in terms of ongoing parental engagement. Over the course of the next week, you will receive a letter with two invitations. The first will be to a Parent Council Information evening at 7pm on the 31st of August, so you may wish to make a note in your diary now. The second invitation will be to register our Parent Engagement Group. This was a really positive addition towards the end of last session and we are keen to over those more informal opportunities to all.

Our young people arrived looking absolutely fabulous on Wednesday morning. Their kindness and courtesy in entering the building was noted by all staff. They spent the first part of their day in their homerooms, and have been spending the rest of the week getting to know each other, visiting faculties, and having input from the House Teams on supporting their health and wellbeing. I am very much looking forward to making my first fantastic Friday calls at the end of the week.

We have faced a number of technical challenges, as is always to be expected when moving into a brand new facility. This slightly delayed our distribution of pupil Chromebooks, though these will still be ready for learning next week. It has also meant that, although we planned to distribute timetables during Friday, we will need to hold these until Monday morning. Please reassure your child not to worry about PE kit! They should come as they are and the department will adjust their planning accordingly. We thank you and your young people for your patience whilst we manage these operational challenges.

I also want to acknowledge the extent to which all of our staff have gone over and above in so many different ways. They have been a positive, welcoming presence for our young people and really showed off their improvisation skills in terms of dealing with the inevitable challenges of working in a brand-new building. They are quickly getting to know over 300 young people and already working out the best ways to support their learning and wellbeing. As always, if there’s anything you think we need to know about your child (you are the expert, after all!) please don’t hesitate to contact the House Teams.

Head Teacher Update 11/08/23

Although school staff and pupils don’t start back until next week, it seemed appropriate to do an update on what we’ve been up to over the ‘break’.

Those of you who live locally will have seen the amount of construction traffic gradually reduce, to then be replaced with numerous delivery lorries, to then move more towards just a lot of cars in the car park. Throughout August, the focus has been very much on processes akin to moving house; boxes to unpack, cupboard to fill, WiFi to test, and only being able to work out what you have forgotten once you’re in situ!

Our full leadership team and several of our classroom teachers have volunteered to be part of the final stages of set up and it has been great to see the new team starting to collaborate so positively. Our Staff Welcome Days on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th August will be the first opportunity we have to bring everyone together. We have a packed agenda including child protection, relational approaches, restorative practice, and a focus on what it means to enact our vision and values.

As I know our families will appreciate, the opening of the school to pupils does not mean that the ‘to do’ list is complete. We will have ongoing snagging to attend to and will continue to have small numbers of contractors in the building for some weeks yet. In line with common ELC safeguarding practice, these will al be easily identifiable via their yellow Rosehill Guest badges and lanyards. Pupil will be reminded to show consideration for everyone’s safety as we continue to ensure the best possible learning environment for them.

Whilst there was a lot of information about our first few days issued towards the end of last term, we appreciate that reminders of core information are always appreciated! Much of our website has been updated, including our Transition page. This includes links to key supporting documents. In addition to this, please look out for an email later today covering key bullet points.

We have received a number of placing requests over the summer break. Families have been contacted directly regarding transition processes for these later entry to the school roll, and Neil Valentine will be in touch at the start of next week regarding next steps.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us on if you have any queries that are not supported by existing information.

We look forward to opening the doors to our young people next week. What an amazing opportunity for us all.