Category: Head Teacher Updates

Head Teacher Update 8/12/23

This week started on a real high with our Youth Philanthropy Initiative finals. Along with parents, S1 pupils, and representatives from YPI Scotland, I was honoured to have a judging role. I know we always say these things are a tough decision- but it really was a tough decision! In the end, the winners were those representing the Teapot Trust. The Teapot Trust is a local charity that provides mental health services to support children and young people living with chronic illnesses, and the £3,000 awarded to the charity will be used to fund art therapy workshops. Seeing our S3 pupils thrive as part of this challenge has been a powerful reminder of just how far we have come already in terms of their role as leaders within the school.

 

We’ve also been enjoying connecting with parents through our consultation calls and thank everyone who has engaged for taking the time to talk openly and informatively about the progress and achievement of our young people.

All information required for S3 Pathways (course choice) will be issued on our return in January 2024. Curriculum leaders have been working with teachers to plan for our first year of senior phase next session. All faculties are offering a variety of courses, to suit the needs of all learners within the school. The finalised Curriculum Pathways booklet to support course choices will be issued on our return to school in early January, ahead of choices happening that month. This will detail the various courses offered throughout the school, to include the progression options to courses both in and out of school.

Our S2 pupils will also have choices to make in our next quadrant (likely late February/early March). As you will be aware, our S3 curriculum allows for further personalisation and choice by asking all learners going into S3 to select two pathways to further their development in specific curricular areas. To ensure a broad and balanced curriculum, all young people will continue to experience learning across all curriculum areas throughout S3.

We’re continuing to publish regular pupil blogs on experiences at Rosehill, and the latest can be found here: Pupil Voice – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org)

As part of our East Lothian commitment to self-improving schools, we will be involved in a local authority case study visit the week beginning the 15th January 2024. As with many other secondary schools, ours is one with a wide range of pupil needs, and we are always keen to be involved in professional dialogue and planning around how we best meet these. To this end, a small group of our local authority colleagues will be spending time in school across the week in question, convening focus groups of staff, pupils and parents, and spending time in classes. There will be a specific focus on HGIOS indicators 2.1 (Safeguarding and Child Protection) and 2.4 (Personalised Support). A copy of the Education Scotland publication How Good Is Our School?, against which all schools reflect on their strengths and development needs, can be found here: HGIOS 4 PDF . In the New Year, we will also send out a link for you to give your feedback as part of our case study. It’s a privilege to be part of the ongoing ELC discussions around how we can all contribute to getting it right for young people.

Head Teacher Update 01/12/23

Happy December! I will be going home to get out the festive tea towels and oven gloves tonight, because that’s my current life stage…

Thank you to all the parents who attended our Parent Engagement Group on home learning/homework earlier this week. It was an open, roundtable discussion on the purpose of home learning, the interface between home and school, the explicit teaching of study skills, and the balance between wellbeing and learning. If you’d like to take a look at the slides we discussed, they are here: Parent Engagement Group 2: Home learning/ homework. We’ll now take the summary points to our staff team for their consideration, as well as gathering pupil views through our regular pupil voice opportunities. This will support us working towards a Rosehill home learning policy in the new year.

Our school population continues to grow, and it’s a more rapid expansion than we could have predicted when we set our classes and timetables back in the spring. In particular, our S2 has increased by over 20% since August. S2 began as our smallest year group, and was set with only 3 form classes (2H1, 2T1, 2T2). These 3 classes began with an average of 23 pupils each, but we now have 2H1 heading towards 30. Fortunately, our teacher allocation allows for us to create an additional form class. There will be no change at all to practical sets at this time, which account for around half of the school week. Lynsey has been working hard on making timetable changes to allow for this to happen from January 2023. To minimise the disruption of young people moving House, we will be maintaining 2T1 and 2T2 as they are. However, we will be splitting Heather pupils over two classes. The House Team will work carefully to do this, ensuring that existing positive friendships can be maintained. I am sure you will agree that it is important to maintain reasonable class sizes wherever we can, so it’s a short-term investment in a long-term benefit. Our roll cap for S2 this session is 100, so this is an important piece of future proofing to ensure we don’t breach class size limits as the year progresses. House Teams will ensure that all Heather pupils are aware of any changes that impact them ahead of the Christmas break.

Along with other members of SLT and some of our S1 pupils, I was fortunate to be involved in judging the Youth Philanthropy Initiative semi-finals this week. Huge thanks go to our Global Citizenship Faculty for supporting this programme and to the young people who have been engaging with local charities that support a variety of different social issues. The finals take place on Monday 4th December, when one of our groups will be awarded £3,000 for their chosen charity.

We are currently homing in on our school value of kindness, and young people were asked in homeroom this week to tell us about acts of kindness they have done for others, or acts of kindness others have done for them. Below are just a few examples of ideas that came up repeatedly across the year groups:

  • Giving compliments
  • Holding doors open
  • Asking how someone’s day has been
  • Saying good morning
  • Just having good manners in general
  • Smiling when you see someone
  • Not leaving anyone out
  • Making people laugh if they feel low
  • Helping each other when the work is hard
  • Saying well done

It was a total pleasure to read hundreds of responses on this theme and a great reminder of how many of our young people absolutely know how to support positive interactions in our school community. And a special shout out to all the mums and dads who have managed to persuade their young people that making them daily cups of tea is just a kind thing to do, as this one came up a few times, too!

Recent work on monitoring our Improvement Plan identified pupil voice as a real strength of the school. This week, we’ve published another blog from one of our young people, reflecting on their first few weeks at Rosehill: Pupil Voice – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org). We hope you enjoy it.

Just as I finished writing this, Mr Cuthbertson got in touch to let us know of our S1 boys’ football team’s 7-2 win against MGS. It’s great to start to see these teams shaping up and proving real contenders across the county, still just weeks after forming. Well done to the boys, and thank you to the adults who support them.

 

 

 

 

Head Teacher Update 24/11/23

It’s 100 days since opening Rosehill, and there continues to be plenty going on…

 

Firstly, we’d encourage you to spend some time if you can taking a look at our Quadrant 2 Knowledge Organisers: Learning: Knowledge Organisers – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org) If your young person’s preferred response to asking what they did/ learned at school today is ‘nothing’- we have your back! Huge thanks go to our teaching team for going over and above in making curriculum content visible for all.

 

It was great to be able to host our first ‘full’ meeting of the Rosehill and The Brae Parent Network (Parent Council) on Wednesday. The focus of the meeting was around setting out where we are as a school at present. My HT Update reflected on our school context and our progress with our Improvement Plan. A copy of the summary slides is available here: HT Update Parent Council 21/11/23 We were pleased to be able to welcome four of our local elected members and appreciate their support of what continues to be a complex and exciting new venture. It was also great to see some parents join the in person meeting online, and we will continue to offer the Google Meet ‘listen in’ as an option moving forward.

 

In staffing news, one of our Maths team, Craig McDonald, will heading on a new venture at the end of next week. Craig will be moving to Scottish Borders Council, and we wish him well in this next step in his career. Craig has been a valued part of the Maths team in this crucial establishment phase. You will all be aware of the national picture with regards to Maths teacher shortages, but we are in the positive position of being able to interview for a replacement next week, with the hope of a new start in January. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we will have input from Neil Finlayson. Neil is from a Science background and has a huge amount of experience working across East Lothian schools. He has already spent several days with us getting to know the young people, and is a great addition to the team. Mrs Woodhead will be making some small tweaks to the timetable to ensure that all young people continue to have access to specialist Maths input in this transition period.

 

Following on from our letter about catering, we look forward to enjoying a Christmas lunch with young people on the 13th December. Please also be aware that we are phasing out any cash on campus and that, post Christmas, all monies will go through East Lothian School Pay. The link is here: SchoolPay | East Lothian Council.

 

Next, some information to share on behalf of Active Schools, particularly on football matches and the costs of referees. Although Active Schools programmes are free, there is a cost to the SFA of £30 per game for a referee, which is payable on the night. Young people have been asked to contribute £2 towards this cost each time, with exemptions already in place for those most likely to be experiencing financial hardship. To be clear, this is not money that goes to either Rosehill or the Active Schools programme, and this arrangement is in line with other schools in the local authority. If you have any concerns about payments for your young person, please speak with James Sloggie directly.

 

I’d also like to let you know that the Rosehill cycle club now has a couple of free spots. This meets at the front of the school at 1pm every Friday. Your child can speak to our PSW, Phil, if they’d like to get involved.

 

We are very proud of our approach to pupil voice at Rosehill and the importance of learning from their experiences. As an extra stretch and challenge, I have been working with some of our young people on blogs sharing their thoughts about being here. The first of these, by Tapha Seydi, is here: Pupil Voice – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org) We will publish further blogs in the coming weeks.

 

I’ll be having a Friday afternoon with a difference today- heading to Queen Margaret University, and participating in a panel discussion as part of the Scottish Education Research Association’s annual conference. Through my recent Masters in Education, I was asked to participate in research focused on professional learning for teachers, and how we can best support this through partnership with universities. As we’ve noted before, our story has attracted a lot of attention, and my contribution will be around how you decide on professional learning priorities and processes when you are doing everything- EVERYTHING- for the first time, and with a team who haven’t worked together before. I am seriously considering wearing my Rosehill hoodie with pride…

 

Our values focus as we approach the end of term will be kindness, which seems particularly appropriate to the time of year. I look forward to hearing about and sharing examples of the ‘wee wins’ that make everyone’s day that bit better.

 

HT Update 17/11/23

As it’s halfway through November, are we allowed to mention the ‘C’ word yet? I think it’s permissible if it’s just a date for the diary at the moment! On the 19th of December, we will be sharing, via our school YouTube channel, our Festive Showcase. This will share some of our young people’s achievements during their first two Quadrants at Rosehill. You will be able to access the recording at any time after the launch date. We will send further information and a link in due course. Thanks to our Curriculum Leader Miss Mitchell for leading on this.

 

Further to the letter sent to all parents, we have our Parent Council Meeting scheduled for the 21st November, 7-8pm. My HT Update in this forum will be focused on data around our school context, and an update on our progress with our Improvement Plan. You are welcome to join us from 6.45pm for tea/coffee.

 

Another partnership opportunity comes via our Parent Engagement Group session of the session on Google Meet on the in 28th November, 7-7.45pm. A reminder that our Parent Engagement Group is an opportunity to meet informally with senior staff in order to explore a one item agenda; in this case, home learning. We are aware that a number of new families have joined us since we set this group up in August. Therefore, if you would like to join the mailing list for these Meets but haven’t yet, please contact our admin team.

 

You will know that our unique context has already attracted a lot of attention nationwide. Most recently, I was asked to write an article for School Leaders Scotland (SLS) magazine. SLS is a national professional association which supports the professional learning and development of school leaders, as well as guiding them on the legal aspects of their role. It was an absolute honour to be asked to reflect on what it means to start a school ‘from scratch’- not least why I always challenge the notion that anything begins from nothing! You can read the article on pages 25-27 (13 and 14 of the document) via the link here: SLS 2023 Magazine (adobe.com)

 

Although it’s a long way off for our young people, I thought it was worth sharing with you, at this early stage, a communication that is going out to all the other East Lothian secondary schools today. This outlines the parameters for hosting leavers’ events for S6: S6 Communication. It’s good to be aware of these at an early stage. When the time comes, our intention is to take advantage of the beautiful venue we currently have here, and host a family/ community celebration that is inclusive for all of our young people.

 

We continue to focus in on our whole school value of respect: respect for our environment, respect for others, and respect for ourselves. As we are in our second reporting period, I’ll be speaking with young people next week about why we report against character and what that tells them about their readiness for success. Our S2 and S3 pupils will both have consultation call periods prior to Christmas. Further information about schedules will follow in good time. Although staff will make a note if they feel a call would be particularly beneficial, please be reminded that any parent is able to make an appointment. You’ll also know already that we’re not shy about picking the phone up to communicate with you ourselves, so we look forward to connecting with as many families as possible during this period.

 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks of Rosehill Tours, with lots of families of prospective P7 young people visiting our building and getting a first introduction to the way we do things round here. It’s almost easy to forget how lucky we are sometimes, so I’ve really enjoyed the ‘Wows!!!’ from those getting their first looks. It’s also been great to see our P7s working with Mark in the library, focusing on building a reading culture to continue to improve literacy. If you have friends and family members who are due to come to Rosehill, please do encourage them to make use of these updates and the wider website as a way of getting to know the school. Transition is not just for young people!

 

 

 

 

HT Update 10/11/23

A bit of a bumper HT Update this week, so grab yourself a coffee before you dive in…

It felt like a real milestone to be able to meet with our Parent Council co-chairs this week and to decide on the shape of our partnership over the coming year. Echoing the letter from our admin team this week, please note that meetings of the Rosehill and the Brae Parent Network will take place on the following dates in session 23-24. All meetings will be held at the school between 7pm and 8pm, with participants welcome to arrive for tea/coffee from 6.45pm:

  • 21st November
  • 16th January
  • 27th February
  • 16th April
  • 28th May

It was also helpful to get a sense of any Frequently Asked Questions coming through to parent representatives. In response to this, you may find the following useful on a couple of themes:

Food Court provision: The amazing work from our catering team means that this is a popular, busy option. Additional staff have been trained in the last few weeks, and queues are now consistently around 9 minutes maximum at afternoon rest break, and slightly shorter at morning rest break. Now that we are a few weeks in, it’s getting easier for the catering team to gather data to work out which menu items are most popular and to provide more or less as required.  Your child can pick up a leaflet with meal offerings at any time, either from reception or from the tills in the Food Court.

School trips: Though we all appreciate and enjoy the chance to explore the wider world with young people, there is no statutory obligation for any school to organise off site excursions. Given the size of our team at Rosehill (only 18 class teachers in total, some of whom are the only subject specialists in their area of the curriculum), any staff absence to support trips has a significant impact on pupils’ overall experiences. Absence means that our teachers need to cover multiple periods for colleagues, usually outwith their subject specialisms. This is not ideal for pupil progress. Further to this, there is currently very limited supply available for secondary schools, with none at all in some core subjects. We are also mindful of the level of winter illness that looks set to be around again this year, adding to staffing pressures. As such, we are all ‘cawing canny’ with time out of school this session, but will continue to review this over the course of the year. I am sure you will agree that high quality learning and teaching in our classrooms always has to come first.

Cost of the school day: This is another consideration linked to the above point. We have an obligation to ensure that all educational opportunities are available equally to all young people. In practical terms, this can mean a substantial financial pressure on schools when a school trip is offered that is beyond the financial reach of some our families. Our draft policy on protecting the cost of the school day is here: The Rosehill Way: The Cost of the School Day. Further to this, our Senior Leadership Team is working closely with the Global Citizenship Faculty to look at other ways in which we can continue to support our families and the wider community in keeping education related costs down.

P7 Transition: As per previous communications, plans are already afoot for this. In summary:

  • November-December: Rosehill Tours are available for parents and young people across a range of date. You can book here Visiting Our School – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org)
  • January: The Rosehill Team will host a ‘Meet the SLT’ Google Meet to introduce ourselves and the school community; invitations will come through partner primary schools
  • April/May: Rosehill staff will visit young people in their primary schools for some taster learning sessions.
  • June: In keeping with other ELC schools, Rosehill will host young people from our associated primaries for visits across the 14th, 16th and 17th of June

Given that (unlike every other secondary school) we don’t ‘lose’ any year groups this year for exams/June, we have to look at staffing this creatively. Our partners at Wallyford and Pinkie will be sending a number of staff with their young people to support June activities and we look forward to planning with them over the course of the year. In addition to the above, our Pupil Support Team will work closely with partner schools to identify pupils in need of further input throughout the spring/summer.

Please note that no transition work takes place with out of catchment pupils until their placing request has been processed. Pupils who are out of catchment should always be liaising with their catchment schools until places are confirmed.

We’ve had a couple of queries about home learning provision. Following on from previous communications, a reminder that your child is linked to a Google classroom for every timetabled subject. Google classroom can be accessed from any device at home. We also publish a range of resources to support home learning via our Knowledge Organisers. The Quadrant 1 Knowledge Organisers are here: Learning: Knowledge Organisers – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org) and the Quadrant 2 resources will be updated in the second half of this month. As we begin to prepare some of our young people for the senior phase, we will also be looking at this topic in more detail through our Parent Engagement Group.

As noted last week, we are having a specific focus on the core value of Respect at present. This week’s theme is all around respect for others and how we can show this in simple, cost-free ways. In our Monday briefing, we asked all young people to pick one of the following targets:

  • Greeting members of staff in the way that they greet you (a smile/ hello/good morning/how are you)
  • Saying thank you when someone has helped you with your learning or a problem you’ve had- or just for the lesson!
  • Following an instruction the first time to make sure teacher time is spent on helping, not correcting

This theme of respect has also been coming through in ongoing discussions around positive use of our outdoor sports areas. As you will be aware, our staff team volunteer to supervise this area doing rest breaks, providing an ideal opportunity for young people to be active throughout the school day. Unfortunately, Mr. Cuthbertson had to restrict access to our S2 pupils on a temporary basis. He met with them this week to refocus on expectations in this area and we look forward to working positively with them around respectful conduct on and off the pitch. Even more impressively, the young people themselves met and discussed the issue ahead of time and came to the meeting with their own solutions. Winning and losing gracefully are both life skills and there was real learning here!

It was lovely to take time to reflect on ‘wee wins’ at this week’s extended leadership team meeting. The overall message was that the routines and structures in place are really bearing fruit in terms of young people being in the best place to learn. This means we can have a real focus on making sure we get the most out of each lesson. Given our commitment to ‘no surprises’, we will continue to contact you when your young person is encountering difficulties in the classroom, and thank you for your support. Perhaps even more importantly, you will also know when they are doing well; through reports at the end of each quadrant, Fantastic Friday calls, and departmental methods of recognising achievement.

 

HT Update 03/11/23

As well as a weekly parent update each Friday, you may not be aware that we also have a weekly pupil update each Monday morning. Via Google Meet, all Homerooms receive the same key messages around where things are going well and where improvements could be made. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of those key messages here, to support us working as a team. Our current focus is on the school value of respect. We are exploring with young people what we mean by:

  • Respect for our school environment
  • Respect for each other
  • Respect for ourselves

We are taking a closer look at respect for our school environment. We have focused in on using our spaces safely, and on leaving them in the state we would like to find them. I was delighted to note that there has been an improvement around litter in the atrium this week- we now need to sustain this going forward. I also reinforced messages around the spaces that are and aren’t for our use at different times of day. This is going to be especially important with a wider opening to the public in the coming months.

Our food court is extremely popular, and we thank our catering team for their efforts here. As you will be aware, payments in the food court are via smartcards. Our campus was originally envisaged to be completely cashless from the get go. However, given the complexities of establishing who would be on our eventual school roll and the need to ensure that all young people could access our food court, temporary machines were installed in the atrium to allow young people to deposit cash if required. However, I am giving you and early warning that these machines will be functional only until Christmas. Any money going onto smartcards will need to be through school pay. A link to further information on this is here: SchoolPay | East Lothian Council If you encounter any issues after looking at the guidance here, please contact our admin team for support.

Quadrant 2 continues to be busy in terms of supporting pupil voice. Our S2 coaching programme starts next week. This groups will benefit from weekly one to one check ins with members of staff, identifying and working towards short term goals using the GROW coaching model. There are lots of freely available resources about this online if you would like to find out more. We have also identified pupils from S1-S3 to take responsibility for our pupil voice blogs. They will be meeting with me around once a month to complete short writing tasks reflecting on their experiences at Rosehill. These will help to record this unique endeavour we have all undertaken, inform our work as a leadership team, and communicate with parents and our wider community via the website.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Curriculum Evening on Wednesday. There is so much to discuss and consider here that we know more questions will emerge in the coming months, but hope that this was a useful reminder of our curriculum rationale and a first step in getting to grips with the senior phase. Slides from the evening are available here:

Curriculum Information Evening November 2023

If you are currently in possession of an S3 pupil who hasn’t yet considered their direction of travel, you may wish to took at the Skills Development Scotland My World of Work website: My World of Work | We use this a lot in schools so you may find it helpful to familiarise yourself with the platform ahead of further coursing information.

And finally, a few firsts to celebrate. Our girls’ football team took part in initial matches against other local teams; two of our S2 pupils have been working with schools across ELC as members of a pupil voice forum; and one of our absolute superstars supported the Brae with their Hallowe’en party. These are all what we term ‘small wins that make a big difference’ and we are very proud of the young people involved.

 

 

 

 

 

HT Update 27/10/23

I’d like to begin with a sincere thank you to all the families who were able to take part in our most recent Family Learning Event. It was an absolute joy to see parents and young people making smoothies, playing badminton, solving puzzles, debating social issues, and getting highly competitive over Spanish vocabulary (or maybe that was just me?!): truly all in a day’s work at Rosehill. Of course, events like this are only possible thanks to the commitment of our dedicated staff, who created a really special evening after a busy day of teaching. We’re already thinking about how to best design two further sessions later on this year, so please do take a few minutes if you can to complete the evaluation form that was sent to participants via our admin team.

As mentioned before the break, our Professional Learning Day for staff this week was focused on meeting learners’ needs and our shared role in doing this across the curriculum. Having spent a lot of time in Quadrant 1 gathering data to answer the question, ‘What do our young people need to help them to be the best versions of themselves?’, we have also further developed our targeted supports:

  • Expanding our nurture provision in Meadow Room
  • Setting up our Orchard Room to help young people in building evidence of qualifications, with a clear focus on further improving literacy and numeracy levels
  • Using our House Rooms to provide Wellbeing Hubs with space to refocus if the day has proved challenging
  • Spending some of our Pupil Equity Fund on an additional Pupil Support Worker, with a specific focus on additional support needs

We will continue to monitor and review all of our support activities as the year progresses.

Although it may feel like a long way off, the timelines involved in recruitment, timetabling and curriculum planning mean that we are already working hard on the development of our senior phase at Rosehill. To this end, we have written to all families to invite you to our Curriculum Evening on Wednesday 1st November. This evening is an opportunity for all members of our community to both find out more about our approach to the curriculum in S1-S3, and how this links to the senior phase (S4-S6). All parents and young people are welcome to attend. However, we would particularly recommend attendance families with young people in S3. In the lead up to Christmas, we will be supporting our S3s in understanding some of the options available to them for their qualifications next session, with coursing undertaken in the new year. We will of course provide the slides from the presentation on the website after the event, but there are obviously benefits to being part of the live discussion if you can. The details are here:

Curriculum Information Evening

Wednesday, 1 November · 7:00 – 8:00pm

Time zone: Europe/London

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/cbq-ptms-qxz

We look forward to seeing you there.

As noted before the holiday, we are delighted to be able to open our doors to prospective families whose young people are currently in primary 7. Booking for the next tranche of Rosehill Tours opens on the 1st of November. Further information can be found via our website: https://www.edubuzz.org/rosehillhigh/visiting-our-school/ Please note that, due to a high volume of requests, we are unable to accommodate individual visits. Families with P7s in our associated primaries (Pinkie and Wallyford) will also receive a letter with this information.

We are moving into an exciting new stage for the campus as a whole, with our colleagues from Connected Communities beginning their soft launch of services from the end of this month. We look forward to sharing with you the opportunities this brings.

On the subject of opportunities, it has been wonderful to see so many young people engaging in our co-curricular offers. You can check some of these out on the ‘Growing’ tab of our website, though the list keeps growing itself! Please keep encouraging your young people to try something new if they can.

 

HT Update 13/10/23

I’d like to begin by signposting you to some new sections on our website. These pages are designed to reflect our overall school vision, and to offer opportunities and resources that enable young people and their families to engage in the curriculum in its widest sense.

Learning: Knowledge Organisers – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org) This link takes you to the Knowledge Organisers for each of the courses in our Broad General Education. Those currently on the site are for Quadrant 1. Quadrant 2 begins after the October break, and these resources will go up from mid-November onwards. Embedded within the Google slides are numerous links to resources that can support learning beyond the classroom.

Growing: Co-curricular opportunities – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org) We are a very small secondary school but, alongside our partners, our tiny team is still offering some big opportunities! This page provides information on how young people can get more involved in sports, the arts, and more.

Thriving: Useful links – Rosehill High School (edubuzz.org) This page links to a document pulled together by out Pupil Support Team. Embedded within the document are further links to organisations to support families, including those focused on mental health and wellbeing, and on LGBTQ+ identities.

As with all public sector organisations, Rosehill is thinking carefully about how we can best use our resources to have the greatest impact. Our Monday assembly this week was, therefore, on the theme of having ‘one pot’ of money the need to use this effectively. You may remember me writing last week about taking care of Chromebooks. I shared the cost of repairs and compared this to e.g. art materials, sports equipment, and resources for our workshops. This sparked off a lot of really mature, considered conversations with our learners. They are clear as to how seriously we take any misuse of the incredible resources they have and we will continue to work with them to ensure that we are maximising the opportunities they have been given in our amazing space.

Well done to the first wave of recipients of our recognition postcards for those going over and above in the Expressive Arts, and to the first Stars of the week in Languages and Literacy. Each of our faculties is looking at different ways of recognising achievement and evaluating on impact as they go. We will also continue to explore this through school wide pupil voice activities. I’m particularly looking forward to the launch of our Ambassadors schemes- more on this to come. As a staff, we’d also like to thank you collectively for some of the lovely feedback that has come through our Fantastic Friday calls home. We understand getting our teenagers to talk isn’t always easy, so it’s lovely to hear about their positive comments on their teachers and learning experiences. And on a personal note, there is nothing better than starting a conversation with, ‘It’s Gail Preston here, headteacher at Rosehill- I’m phoning for a nice reason!’

We continue to have a busy time with visits to the campus, and partners getting ready to launch their own services. In early November, we will launch booking for another set of Rosehill Tours, the details of which will be sent to our partner primaries for sharing with P7s and their families. Our unique circumstances mean that, once again, we are having to be creative about transition. Thinking behind this started this week when I met with senior leaders from Pinkie and Wallyford, and began to sketch out what this will look like. We are all really looking forward to working together to support the learners on the next stage of their school journeys.

Please remember that there is no school for pupils on Monday 23rd October. This is a day of professional learning for staff. The theme of the day will be Meeting Learners’ Needs. This includes reading, dialogue and activities around a range of additional support needs and how we ensure that young people are appropriately challenged as well as supported. We look forward to welcoming pupils back on Tuesday 24th October.

It’s hard to believe that we opened Rosehill just a few weeks ago. It’s been busy! There isn’t a single day without comment or question from a pupil that’s really made me think, a funny story to share, or a moment when I’ve though ‘Goodness, what an amazing team we have here’.

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

HT Update 06/10/23

We have been focusing in on our curriculum this week. Although it may seem like a long time away, we need to start thinking now about what our senior phase will look like, from August 2024. Pupil voice 5 a day over the next couple of weeks will focus on young people in S3, to take a temperature check as to what they feel they already know about the senior phase, and what they need to find out. We have also worked with the extended leadership team to look at data around East Lothian school leaver destinations, growth employment sectors, and the relative attainment in a range of qualifications.

Our broad parameters for the senior phase are as follows:

  • There will be around 100 pupils in S4 in session 24-25 (though we need to timetable to allow for growth of up to 120)
  • This means that 4 classes at a time can run in standard sets, and 6 in practical sets
  • Every course that we run will be linked to certification via either the SQA or the broader SCQF offer
  • Each class at each level will have 5 periods a week of teaching time
  • As the numbers in the senior phase grow, we will be able to continue to expand our offer, as all classes will be S4-S6
  • We will operate a 6+6+6 model across the senior phase, meaning that young people have the chance to attain up to 18 qualifications in total

Faculties have therefore been asked to look across their subject areas to ensure they are offering a best fit to meet the needs of all learners.

Before Christmas, we will compile and share information on these offers, prior to moving onto coursing in the new year. It’s important to undertake coursing at this early stage as we will be expanding our teaching team further as the school grows, and we want to ensure we have expertise in the right areas.

We will be exploring our curriculum further during our online Curriculum Evening on 1st November. Parents from all year group are invited to attend, as it is important to be able to see the direction of travel over the next few years.

You will know already that we have a commitment to working in partnership with our parents. We are committed to ‘no surprises’ so will continue to keep up open communication around both your child’s strengths and any challenges experienced. Fantastic Friday calls are now being shared across the leadership team, meaning that we can now connect with more of you than ever. It continues to be an absolute highlight of my week! We also want to address any problems early, and at the lowest possible level.  We have composed a range of standard text messages that give you an early alert as to any issues we are dealing with in classes, and appreciate your support in addressing these with your young people. As always, our House Teams are here to help with any further information you may need.

Disappointingly,  these alerts include issues with carelessness around Chromebooks. One of our key values is, of course, responsibility. You will be aware that East Lothian Council does not provide individual devices to pupils as standard, and our commitment to supporting young people with devices they can use throughout the school day is one which has required significant investment in time, effort, and finance. Chromebooks are fairly robust in IT terms, but still need conscious looking after.

Young people can keep their Chromebooks safe by:

  • Collecting and returning them in a calm, orderly manner
  • Using a school bag throughout the school day
  • Having Chromebooks out in class only when required

Where damage occurs in the care of a young person, the cost to replace this impacts on spending elsewhere. Therefore, if we note a repeated issue in looking after a device appropriately, we will not be able to provide a replacement.

And finally, a quick guide to our various parent opportunities. None of this is new information, but always good to have a reminder!

Parent Council: This is our formal parent body. As per previous information, the AGM is on Tuesday 10th October. Once all office bearers have been elected, they will send out further communications directly. Dates for the rest of the school year will be set by the incoming office bearers.

Parent Engagement Group: This is a less formal forum for which you can opt into the membership list. The aim of this forum is to provide an opportunity to gather views on changes and developments across the course of the school year. Meetings are held online, take a round 45 minutes, and have a single item agenda. If you would like to be invited to these discussions and haven’t had the chance to register interest yet, please contact our admin team. Notification of discussions is always around a week in advance.

Family Learning Events: These are our ‘doors open’ evenings, in which parents attend with their children. These are opportunities to learn and do together in our beautiful building. As per previous communications, our next event is at 5.30pm on the 24th October. You can book using the link sent by our admin team earlier this week.

 

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: https://www.playscotland.org/

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.