It has been wonderful to see so many of our young people back in the building over the past few weeks, albeit on a part-time basis. My staff and I are very proud of how well they have coped with this recent lockdown and re-engagement with their teachers and peers in school.
Term 3 will continue to be subject to restrictions and changes from ‘normal’ times due to the ongoing pandemic and I wanted to update you on plans at this stage.
Full Time Re-opening
Subject to confirmation from the Scottish Government, we expect all pupils and staff to return full time on April 19th. Pupils will resume the timetable they followed from August to December and full uniform will resume.
Covid-19 risk mitigations will continue to be in place:
- No one should come to the school if feeling unwell or experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19
- Everyone must sanitise their hands on arrival and regularly throughout the day, and avoid touching their face
- All pupils S1-6 must wear a face covering (unless exempt) in classrooms and when moving around the building
- Movement around the building will be minimised and pupils will wipe down work surfaces after use
- Interaction between groups will be minimised at social times – each year group will continue to have their own internal area however are strongly encouraged to be outdoors or go home for lunch
Term 3 Holiday Dates
All secondary schools in Scotland have been given two additional inservice days to help meet the significant additional demands created by the cancellation of SQA examinations. Dates are available on our downloadable school calendar and are summarised here:
3rd May – Holiday
6th May – Pupil Holiday (inservice)
31st May – Holiday
1st June – Pupil Holiday (inservice)
7th June – Pupil Holiday (inservice)
25th June – Last Day of Session
Home Covid-19 test kits are currently available to all staff and S4-6 pupils and this is now being extended to all pupils. Whilst not mandatory, I strongly encourage everyone to participate as this is another useful mitigation against the spread of Covid-19. Please call our office to arrange a consent form and to collect a test kit in advance of the start of the new term.
Term 3 SQA Arrangements
2021 Alternative Certification Model
Teachers of Senior Phase classes have worked hard to ensure all pupils have had the opportunity to continue to learn and progress throughout lockdown and that they are in the best possible position to complete their National Qualifications in term 3. You will be aware we are following the Alternative Certification Model set out by SQA which means that there will not be an examination diet. Instead, pupils will sit class-based assessments for each subject. The assessments will be used as performance evidence and will be administered in full compliance with SQA quality assurance requirements. The school will submit provisional results to the SQA by 25th June which will be based solely on evidence gathered by teachers.
April is normally a time for S4-6 pupils to accelerate their revision and preparation, and this year is no different in that regard. When pupils return from the Easter break there may be some class assessments to help provide progress feedback to pupils and parents, and to decide final presentation levels. These assessments are important, however will not form part of the final SQA evidence. All pupils have been encouraged to sign up for online Easter study support sessions.
The period for completing SQA assessment evidence will be from 10th May to 4th June (some practical assessments may take place before these dates). Pupils will be informed of specific dates for each of their subjects after the Easter break.
Our aim is to balance preparation time for pupils, spread the demands on them as best we can, and allow adequate time for marking and quality assurance processes in advance of the SQA deadline. Assessments will be classroom-based and will not be ‘one-off’ events. Teachers have tailored assessments, validated by external partners, to meet the needs of our pupils while aligning with the rigorous expectations of the qualification.
We understand this will be a period of pressure for our young people and they may find that they have more than one assessment on any given day. We will try to minimise this as best we can and provide additional support where required.
Pupils will receive the outcome of their assessments for each subject before 25th June and will receive their SQA certificate in August. There will be an appeals process and I will update with further information on this when it is received from the SQA.
Implementing the Alternative Certification Model is a challenging exercise for all concerned, however I am confident our teachers and pupils will rise to this. I wish all our young people every success in their qualifications this year. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this further feel free to contact me or your child’s Pupil Support Teacher or Year Head.
We will celebrate the end of the term via virtual assembly tomorrow. I would like to thank you for your support over the past term and wish you and your families all the very best.