Letter to parents of new Primary 1 children


Dear Parents and Carers,

We are looking forward to your child joining us at St Mark’s Primary. I understand that it has been an unusual time for the children and they will no doubt have been missing their friends and the staff from their nursery. We are very much looking forward to meeting the children and welcoming them to St. Mark’s.

Due to the current circumstances our transition programme is restricted. However, we are hopeful that we will be able to arrange a time for your child to come and visit the school.

We are currently preparing for those visits and for next session’s blended approach. We will be in contact soon with more details. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time, and be assured that we will do everything possible to provide as smooth a start to school or your child as we possibly can.

I look forward to meeting you all very soon.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Hutcheson

Head Teacher

School Feast Day

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mark. This year, we cannot be together in school and in church to celebrate, but we can reflect on the many inspiring qualities of our patron saint. We have taken some time to think about how St. Mark’s example helps us to stay close to God and try to live  a good life. Next week we would love to hear from you and your families about how you are “making your mark”. You can upload to Google Classroom, email or tweet us with pictures of you with a letter you have designed and a phrase that explains how you try to follow Mark’s example. Encourage your whole family to join in, be creative and have fun. Once we receive all your pictures, we’ll put them together with ours to make a film that represents as many of our school community as possible.

God bless and happy feast day to all of you.

Click on the link below to watch our short film.


Home Learning Guide for Parents

Dear Parent/Carer,

You will be aware that the Scottish Government published a document yesterday to support pupils, parents and teachers during the ongoing school closures.  This document is available at the link below.

‘Supporting Pupils, Parents and Teachers – Learning During Term 4’

To provide further support in this area, the following documents have been produced to help as you undertake learning activities at home with your child(ren).

Learning at Home – Guidance for Parents and Carers

Useful weblinks for online learning

We hope that you find this information helpful. If you require any further support or advice during this time, please email schoolmail@st-marks.e-renfrew.sch.uk and a member of staff will get back to you as soon as possible.


Home Learning – advice for parents

Dear Parent / Carer,

Many of you are perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the current situation and are worried about the level of support that you are able to give your child with their home learning. We would like to reassure all families that the main priority during this unprecedented situation is ensuring that everyone stays healthy (mentally and physically).

Whilst we hope that all parents will support their children with the learning tasks assigned to them by their teachers, we would like to stress that we do not expect you to become a teacher yourself. All we ask is that you encourage your children to access Google Classroom every day and provide them with a quiet, comfortable space to complete their assignments. In the same way as homework should not become a battleground, neither should the current home learning experience. All teachers are available on Google Classroom to answer pupils’ questions and parents can contact the school by email if they need additional support.

You are, and always have been, your child’s primary educator. If you cannot facilitate the online learning at some points then that is okay. There are many alternative activities that you can do with your children that will have a positive impact on their academic achievement. For example:

  • Reading every day
  • Writing to loved ones that they cannot visit at the moment, recounting a special memory or keeping a diary
  • Practical maths: cooking, sorting items, scavenger hunts (e.g. find 5 red objects or 3 objects beginning with ‘s’)
  • Fine motor work: lego, cutting, playdough, tidying up small toys
  • Research a topic of interest (country/famous person/invention, etc)
  • Board games and card games
  • Lots of imaginative free play

There is now a ‘Home Learning’ page on our website that has a range of helpful documents and videos to support you and your child with Glow, Google Classroom and other online tools. We will update this when necessary. Click here to access the page.

School Closure Update – 22nd March 2020

Continuing Education Arrangements – 22nd March 2020

Dear Parent/ Carer,

St. Mark’s Primary School is now closed in line with the Government guidance on Coronavirus. All children are encouraged to stay at home and follow social distancing guidance- with the exception of families who are part of the vital services required at this time and those children and young people who would benefit from continued attendance. The vast majority of children will be accessing learning online. School staff have been working hard to prepare online learning for all pupils and you can find out more about how to access this by visiting the class blogs and watching the video https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/er/StMarks/curriculum/pupils/class-blogs/ .

A ‘Hub School’ has been set up in Carlibar Primary to accommodate the small number of children who need it. The hub school is an option of last resort for families who have no alternative but to send their children there in order for them to work in a front line role.  The Barrhead Hub will be open from 9am on Monday morning (23rd March) at Carlibar Primary School. Children and staff from all five primary schools (Carlibar, Cross Arthurlie, Hillview, St Johns and St Marks) plus Arthurlie and McCready Family Centres will be working together at the campus.

The Hub will operate a morning and afternoon session during regular school hours from 9am to 3pm and children should wear their St. Mark’s uniform.  If the children are staying for a full day, lunch will be provided, however, it is recommended that they bring a packed lunch if possible.

There will be a dedicated ‘St. Mark’s’ space in the Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) where staff from our school will be waiting to welcome the children and line them up to get ready to go into class. At this time I would ask that once you have dropped your child off at school with a recognised member of the staff, unless you urgently need to speak to someone, you leave the area to minimise congestion.

Arrangements for families with free school meal entitlement will follow in due course.

Yesterday (Saturday) was spent contacting families who responded to our initial survey regarding staff in frontline services. If, for any reason, you missed this survey or you have any questions regarding this, please contact me through the school email address schoolmail@st-marks.e-renfrew.sch.uk  and I will endeavour to get back to you before Monday morning.

Finally, although Sunday mass is cancelled today, there are a number of masses being offered online and we have shared details of these through our Twitter feed. We ask you to continue to pray for everyone affected by the Coronavirus and also that you keep the hub staff and our whole community in your prayers.

Thank you for your continued support at this challenging time.

God Bless


Anthony Hutcheson

Head Teacher

School Closure Update – 19th March

Dear Parent / Carer

You will be aware that the UK and Scottish Government have made the decision to close schools tomorrow (Friday 20th March) in response to the spread of Covid – 19 (Coronavirus). Further guidance will follow tomorrow for parents and carers who are frontline key workers and are unable to access alternative childcare. I would like to reassure you we have plans in place to make sure our pupils have every opportunity to continue their education regardless of the circumstances we may face. Please see the Remote Learning Policy which reflects a clear commitment to reinforce skills and give our pupils access to learning activities which will meet their needs, building upon prior learning.

Our staff will follow the class timetable as far as possible with reinforcement and consolidation of skills and concepts. All classes from Primary 1 to Primary 7 have a Google Classroom, which can be accessed via Glow. Please use the links below to assist you and your child when using Google Classroom.

Using Glow tools at home

Google Classroom Helpsheet

Please ask the children to log in and each classroom will have instructions for the pupils thereafter. Regular online teacher check-ins with pupils will provide direction, give feedback and offer an opportunity for pupils to ask questions.

 If you indicated that you required a device for home learning, you may sign this device out from the school from 2pm onwards tomorrow (Friday). The children will be issued with a pack of home learning jotters for literacy and numeracy in order to record any written tasks set by their teacher. Reading books to cover the period up to Easter have been issued and we will make arrangements to refresh the reading books after the Easter holidays. If your child has been absent you can collect the home learning packs and reading books from school from 2pm tomorrow (Friday).

 I want to thank you for your recent understanding as we have made changes to planned events. We want to ensure we are helping protect our community as well as our pupils. I also want to thank all staff in St. Mark’s for their dedication and determination to respond quickly and effectively to the current situation. As a school community we are following Pope Francis’ suggestion to offer a decade of the Rosary daily to pray for all affected by this situation. May God bless you and your loved ones at this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Hutcheson

Head Teacher

Parent update – Coronavirus

Dear Parent/Carer,

Continuing learning in light of Coronavirus

You will be well aware of the rapidly changing situation across the country due to the Coronavirus. As you know schools, in line with everyone else, are following national guidance which in itself is necessarily changing on a daily basis. More information is available from the NHS at www.nhsinform.scot.

At the moment, all schools and Early Learning and Childcare Centres remain open. However, over the next few days and weeks, it is possible that an increased number of pupils and staff will catch the virus and have to stay at home.  This will mean whole families having to stay at home for long periods of time, unable to come to school or go to work.

To help with our planning to continue to offer opportunities for learning we would be grateful if you could take 1 minute to answer the questions via the following link:

St. Mark’s Continuing Learning Questionnaire

I know this is a worrying time for everyone. I want to assure you that we are working hard to plan for different situations and to continue providing learning and teaching for our children. It is also important to note that we are following an updated business continuity plan and that certain aspects of school life will be altered for the children. For example, we will not deliver whole school assemblies to avoid having too many children in close proximity. We will, of course, continue our Lenten prayer focus with our thoughts and prayers focussed on all those affected by the Coronavirus. I would like to thank our dedicated staff team in St. Mark’s who are making every effort to reassure the children and to continue supporting each and every child in their learning.

We will continue to communicate with you through our usual channels on the arrangements for your child, including any information we have about the plans for children making their sacraments. Please follow the updates provided through the school and Council social media sites.


Yours sincerely,

Anthony Hutcheson

Head Teacher


Read Aloud 2020

This week kicks off Read Aloud 2020- a celebration of children’s reading.

This years theme ‘Get Caught Reading’ will see the pupils at St. Mark’s trying to get caught 20 times over the week to complete a special bookmark and earn house points!

We will be on the lookout in school and need your help at home too! If you catch reading, tick off the bookmark or even better- get a picture caught in the act! Don’t forget to post it on twitter and tag @StMarksPrimary1 as well using the hashtag #getcaughtreading!

We look forward to lots of catching this week!

Safer Internet Day 2020

Safer Internet Day 2020 is being celebrated globally this month with the theme: Together for a better internet. 


At St. Mark’s we take digital safety very seriously and it’s important everyone knows and understands how to keep themselves safe online.

Whilst we discuss this at school this month, it is also helpful to discuss how your household keeps themselves safe online.

Why not take this quiz to see what your identity looks like online and do you feel free to be yourself?


Free Taster Swimming Lessons

East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Swimming Development are looking for children aged 4 to 12 years to come along to FREE Lessons again.

If you are interested in bringing your children along to their free taster swimming lessons at Barrhead Foundry, being taught by their probationary teachers, then please see dates and times below.

Saturdays  22, 29 February and 14 March.

Sundays 9, 23 February, 01 and 15 March

Times as follows:-

Saturdays-11.30am-12.00pm, 12.00pm-12.30pm, 12.30pm-1.00pm and 1.00pm-1.30pm.

Sundays-12.30pm-1.00pm and 1.00pm-1.30pm 1.30pm-2pm and 2.00pm-2.30pm

Please choose which time slots you would like, (you can attend more than one session)

You can contact them at  Neilston on 0141 577 4811 – opening hours (9am-12.30pm & 3.30pm-8pm) or Barrhead on 0141 580 1174 or pop into the centre and put their name down on the list.

ERCL FREE Schools Letter – Course Feb 2020

Specialist Diets

If your child requires a special diet for medical reasons, you should obtain a Medically prescribed diet registration form, from the school office and send with an accompanying letter from a medical practitioner or dietician confirming the specific details of the diagnosis to your school office.  Once the form has been received you will be contacted by one of the catering team to discuss your child’s dietary needs and outline the process ensuring a suitable meal is provided.

For pupils wishing to access the Halal menu then a Cultural diet request form should be completed and for any pupils wishing to access the Vegan or Vegetarian menu then a Lifestyle request form should be completed, both forms are available from the school office.

Please note that it’s your responsibility to inform us about changes in your child dietary needs.

Please click the links below to access school lunch menus

Halal lunch menu

P1 – P7 School Lunch Menu


Families Connect P1 Sessions at St. Mark’s Primary

Recently we sent out an invitation to all parents and carers within Primary 1, to join our Families Connect programme starting Monday 25th November, 3-5pm in our Family Room. 

This is a great opportunity to try our free games to share as a family at home that will help your child at school.

What will I do?

  • Learn and play together as a family
  • Understand feelings, praise and listening
  • Explore books and stories
  • Play with numbers and counting

Spend time with other parents and carers

  • Talk about the activities that help your children learn
  • Share new games before taking them home
  • Share your own advice and challenges

The sessions will run:

3pm – 4pm Parents Only (children at after school club)

4pm – 4.20pm Child and parent snack time

4.20-5pm Parent and child activity time


If you interested and haven’t already done so, please reply via the link below and we look forward to welcoming you!


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