Welcome back from the Easter break. In this blog I want to update you on some of the changes and improvements we are taking forward this term.
Staff: We are delighted to welcome 3 new teachers to the school – Claire Christie (Social Subjects), Greg Meldrum (English) and Gloria Duguid (supply cover Modern Languages).
School day: Prior to Easter we consulted on changes to the school day and as a result we now have a 50 minute lunchtime and finish at 3.05. Informal feedback from pupils this week has been very positive and we will keep monitoring how it is going between now and summer.
School grounds: The chair of the Parent council met with pupil representatives and myself this week to look at their proposals to redesign our playgrounds over the summer break. We are very hopeful that this issue, which has been raised by us all for several years, will finally be addressed. As well as the playgrounds we are having a look at what can be done to improve security on the campus and the safety for pupils in the car park to the front of the building. I am hopeful of updating you with progress on all of these areas over this term.
SQA exams: Each year we take a decision on when to start and finish study leave on the basis of the SQA exam calendar. Some years the exams are underway by the time we commence study leave, other years we are back before the end of the SQA diet. Last year we felt we could have taken pupils back into classes a bit earlier than we had done. As a result when discussing our school calendar last spring we proposed that the new timetable stared on 20th May 2019. This was supported in the consultation and incorporated into the calendar we published in August 2018. Whilst there are some SQA exams after this date there are several days when we have no pupils sitting exams and on the days where there are exams they involve relatively small numbers of pupils. Whilst we will always look at individual situations and make arrangements to help (eg pupils who have a number of exams towards the end of the diet) we are keen that the vast majority of pupils can get going with their new courses and maximise their chances of success in the 2020 diet of exams. If any individuals have concerns about thier own circumstances they should speak to me to see how we can help.
Awards evening: In recent years we have held our awards event in June after the exams were over. Often this meant some former S6s were away working or on holiday. This year we decided to being the event forward to Monday 22nd April and take the chance to celebrate the achievements of our youngsters prior to them undertaking their SQA exams. I look forward to welcoming our award winners, our S6 pupils, staff and parents to the event and take time to acknowledge the many successes and achievements of our pupils this session.