Shutdown School Handbook


Key point: you do not need to inform the school on a daily basis if your child is ill or otherwise unable to complete work or join video conferences.

We know that the shutdown situation will be stressful for many families. Some of you will encounter difficulties with home life, your own work and may be caring for vulnerable or ill older relatives. We all understand this.

I propose we proceed through the shutdown in a mutual spirit of ‘best efforts’. We will make our best efforts to keep the learning and teaching going through a shutdown and we will only ask the same from you.

There will be times when doing school work isn’t possible for families - particularly those with younger children. There will be times when computers or internet connections break down, or a relative or neighbour needs help. We must prioritise helping and looking after each other in challenging times. Don’t allow school work to become an additional stressor on your family.

During shutdown, we will be marking everyone as "Visit" (code V) on the register. This will not count against attendance statistics.

For classes that are being taught online, we will take a register for each class to record who was able to join the videoconference. Please note that we are only doing this to identify anyone who may be having difficulty accessing the conferencing system to see if we can help.

Obviously, if COVID-19 does unfortunately visit your family, please absolutely prioritise health and care over school work.

Child Wellbeing and Child Protection

During the shutdown we continue to take our Child Wellbeing and Child Protection responsibilities seriously, although our ability to observe difficulties will naturally be limited when we are not seeing young people face to face.

During the shutdown, if you are facing any wellbeing problems or concerns, please contact the following people first:

  • Primary classes: class teacher

  • Secondary classes: guidance teacher

  • If you need support with Mental Health First Aid: Miss Rukin

Child Protection

The definition of a Child Protection concern is that a child is "at risk of significant harm". This can be caused by physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.

If you have Child Protection concerns during the shutdown, please contact the Head Teacher directly.

Details for all staff are on our contact page.

Illness or Self-Isolation

You do not need to inform the school on a daily basis of illness or self-isolation actions that you are taking during the shutdown.

However, it would be helpful to know if any child or immediate family member has developed a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Please email the school with this information:

School Holidays

We will be observing school holidays as normal during the shutdown. This means there will be no online teaching in the following weeks:

  • Week beginning 6th April

  • Week beginning 13th April

  • Friday 8th May

  • Week beginning 25th April

The school term will end as normal on Friday 26th June. We are currently planning to open as expected for Session 2020-21 on Thursday 20th August at 9am.

SQA Exams and Coursework

With the cancellation of SQA Exams in 2020, there are still a number of outstanding matters to deal with. Teachers are currently working on plans for individual pupils and will communicate those plans directly.

Fortunately, as of Friday 20th March, all National 5 coursework except Art and Design has been completed and sent away to SQA. Most Higher and Advanced Higher coursework has also been completed as of 20th March but a few items are still outstanding.

Udpdate 26/3/20: The Deputy First Minister and SQA have announced that none of the outstanding coursework will be uplifted from schools for marking by SQA. We are still asking pupils to continue to work on these items, as we will still be able to use them to inform our grade estimates. At this time, we still do not know how grades are going to be allocated by SQA.

School Work - Primary

Teachers have been preparing packs of material for primary classes to take home during the shutdown. These have all been prepared and sent home or posted home by the end of 20th March 2020.

We have sent home a number of reading books but we do not necessarily have enough copies of books for everyone to take the next 5 books home with them at the same time. I would suggest that you supplement with your own books - either reading with your child, or reading to them depending on the difficulty of the book.

I would also suggest that you could use any shutdown as an opportunity to train your children in helping in the home and becoming more independent. We will provide links on our resources page.

Supporting Reading At Home

Many parents will primarily be concerned about supporting your child's progress in reading. This excellent article "Home Reading - A Guide for Parents" covers the core ideas of supporting a child's reading at home.

School Work - Secondary

Secondary classes are already well-established in using Google Classroom - an online learning management system - to receive materials and submit work.

We have also enabled Google Meet, which is a videoconferencing system, to allow teachers to connect with pupils online at class times. This has already been tested and practiced in school with most secondary classes.

Which Classes will Run?

Secondary pupils should follow their timetable and expect to connect to each class at the time they would normally have that class.

The following timetabled classes will not run by videoconference and pupils should fill in these times with individual reading, study, exercise or catch-up if other classes have been missed:

  • PE

  • Broader Curriculum (P7-S2 only, Wednesday Per. 6 & 7)

  • Library periods

  • Study periods

  • S3 & S4 Study Skills Class (Wednesday Per. 1 & 2)

  • Assembly

  • Choir

  • Music

  • PSD and RME classes

We have prepared modified timetables with the actual clock times of each period. On these timetables, the classes above that will not run have been replaced with a range of suggestions. These suggestions do not have to be done at these precise times and can be used for any purpose you deem appropriate.

How Will Classes Run Through Videoconference?

We have been consulting with colleagues who have been teaching by videoconference to a school in China for the past couple of months. They have shared with us some things they have learned about teaching by videoconference.

The main thing is that young people find it very mentally demanding to work by videoconference. Those of you who do this for work will know that it’s much more mentally tiring to videoconference than to meet face-to-face. It would be unreasonable to expect young people to cope with 7 hours of continuous back-to-back videoconferencing every day.

We have asked teachers to structure their lessons to include around 15-20 minutes of videoconference interaction and then set tasks to be worked on independently through Google Classroom.

Under our ‘best efforts’ approach, I recognise that there may be technical challenges in this approach for both pupils and teachers. We do not know how fast or reliable your internet connections are at home and it’s possible that mass work-from-home might put quite a strain on broadband networks.

The most frequent question I have been asked by pupils is: “do we need to wear school uniform for videoconferences?”! I have told pupils that they don’t need to wear school uniform but that they should be dressed - and dressed appropriately. In particular this means no pyjamas!

School Trips and Events

All school events are cancelled until the school reopens. This includes parents' nights, end of term services, induction days and any other events.

Our three residential trips have also been cancelled:

  • Lake District (week of 4/5/20)

  • Edinburgh (week of 11/5/20)

  • London (week of 8/6/20)

We are currently working on obtaining refunds bookings already made for these events and will update parents in due course.

Visiting the School Building

Please do not visit the school building except by prior arrangement with teachers.