August start to timetable
This item is important to parents in all yeargroups S1-S5 and with children in primary school.
For many years, secondary schools began their new timetable at the end of the SQA diet of examinations, leaving 5 weeks for classes to settle in with staff. However, the SQA examination diet lasts for longer now and we barely have 3 full weeks once we change timetable. The Senior Management Team felt the arrangements should be reviewed.
When we discussed this with teaching staff, the general consensus of opinion was that the benefits of the early change of timetable are far less than they once were. Staff could see opportunities in continuing with their classes for longer in June. These opportunities included having time which could be used more flexibly in line with the approaches we are taking to Curriculum for Excellence, releasing time for curricular visits out of school, and using the time for interdisciplinary work across departments. Two other schools in the authority are already thinking along similar lines. This change also reduces the administrative burden on the school since we are not gearing up to deliver a timetable to all pupils once in June and again in August. I discussed this with the Parent Council at our last meeting.
At last week’s Senior Management Team meeting, we concluded that we wished to go ahead and begin the new timetable in August rather than in June.
Pupils will thus remain with their existing teachers for the month of June. The exception to this may be in the senior school where a subject with several classes coming at the same time may choose to reorganise. It means that S2 pupils will not be taking up their course choices but will remain with their teachers – this is entirely consistent with the broad general education for S1-3 which is a driving principle for A Curriculum for Excellence.
I would wish to emphasise to all parents that this change does not mean that the school is winding down for the month of June and that little work will be done – far from it. Teaching and learning will continue. No parent should be using this change as an excuse for taking their child out of school on holiday. Any senior pupil who does not return to school in June will not be admitted in August – we will assume that they will have left us.
Revision classes for S4-S6
I was asked by a parent who is also a teacher in another school if I could publicise the various subject revision classes which occur in the school for S4-S6. Initially, I agreed to this. However, as staff are voluntarily running classes without payment, I feel that listing such classes places them under pressure to continue or implies that other staff not running classes are less professional in some way. I will simply say that some staff are generously offering their time to pupils and that it is the pupil’s responsibility to find out if a class is available to them.
Easter Revision classes for S4-S6
As usual, the school plans to offer revision classes during the Easter holidays. Mrs Mackie organises this and pupils need to sign up for classes – they cannot simply turn up on the day. I would emphasise that all pupils should already be revising and that Easter study is not a substitute for hard work over the course of the year.
Mr Semple has taken over as DHT for Moray House in the absence of Mr Burns. Mrs Robertson has joined the Caird Guidance Team. Ms Kazimoglu joins the Art and Design Department as the replacement for Ms Lawrence who has left on maternity leave. Mr Gillespie has joined the PE Department as cover for Mrs Fruish. Mrs Smith has joined the Biology Department to cover Mrs Robertson’s timetable.
We had a dress down day with other events just before the February holiday. Congratulations to all who contributed to the sum raised of nearly £2000.
STEM Project in conjunction with Learning and Teaching Scotland
Recently the majority of the S2 year group has been working on a project, ”Counting Up to health”, supported by Learning and Teaching Scotland. The main focus of the project is to provide our pupils with a better understanding of the issues concerning healthy lifestyles. The project involved four different subject areas: Biology, Home Economics, PE and Mathematics, each contributing their specialist knowledge. The pupils have been looking at lifestyle choices including exercise, diet and health issues. The project has now been completed in Biology, Home Economics and PE, and each pupil has collected data on themselves, which they are currently using in Mathematics. Subjects working collaboratively will be an important part of the new Curriculum for Excellence, and the “Counting Up to Health” has been an excellent and worthwhile example of this type of learning. This has also been a great opportunity for the pupils to use their numeracy skills in a practical setting with real data.