Tag Archives: Bernera School Handbook

Contact Details

Name of Head Teacher:- Miss Kirsteen J. Maclean

Name of School:- Bernera School

Address:-     Breaclete

                  Great Bernera

                  Isle of Lewis

                                                          HS2 9LT

Telephone Number:- 01851 822 892

Website:- https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/es/berneraschool/

Email Address:- berneraschool@gnes.net

About Bernera School

Stages of Education Provided For:- Nursery to Primary 7 (Ages 2 ½  to 12)

 Present Roll:- Nursery – 2 pupils and Primary – 12 pupils

Gaelic Medium Education is provided from Nursery through to P7. Currently there are only Gaelic Medium pupils in Nursery, P1 and P2.

English Medium Education is provided from Primary 1- Primary 7 and there are currently 10 pupils in that stream.

Organisation of the School Day

Start Time: – 9:10am

Morning Break:- 10:50am

Lunch Time:- 12:45 – 1:45pm

Close of School Day:- 3:25pm

Currently our pupils receive teaching and instruction from visiting staff on the following days:

DAY/TIME 9:10-10:50 11:05-12:45 1:45-3:25
Tuesday SUPPORT FOR LEARNING(Fortnightly am)



Thursday   ART  

Agreed Term Dates for Session 2013-14 and Session 2014-15

Please find the term dates for both Session 2013-14 and Session 2014-15.

SESSION 2013 – 2014

12 August – School opens (Teachers)

15 August – School opens (Pupils)

10 October – Local Holiday – School closed

11 October – School closed for Autumn Holiday


22 October – School opens (Teachers)

24 October – School opens (Pupils)

29 November – 2 December – Local Holiday – School closed

3 December – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

20 December – School closes for Christmas Holiday


7 January – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

13-17 February – Local Holiday – School closed

18 February – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

28 March – School closes for Easter Holiday


14 April – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

2-5 May – Local Holiday – School closed

6 May – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

27 June – School closes for Summer Holiday

SESSION 2014 – 2015


11 August – School opens (Teachers)

14 August – School opens (Pupils)

9 October – School closes for Autumn Holiday


21 October – School opens (Teachers)

23 October – School opens (Pupils)

28 November – 1 December – Local Holiday – School closed

2 December – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

19 December – School closes for Christmas Holiday


6 January – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

12-16 February – Local Holiday – School closed

17 February – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

27 March – School closes for Easter Holiday


13 April – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

1 – 4 May – Local Holiday – School closed

5 May – School opens (Teachers and Pupils)

26 June – School closes for Summer Holiday


Attendance and Absence

Pupil attendance is recorded electronically every morning and afternoon by a member of school staff. If pupils are unable to attend school for any reason, parents are asked to telephone the school on the first day of   absence by 9:30am to inform the school office of the absence and to indicate the reason for absence. Should parents fail to do this one of our two School Assistants – Meg Gilmour and Ros Paterson, will phone parents/emergency contact to ascertain what the reason for absence is. 

All parents are required to provide the school with written explanations for all absences. Children will be issued with absence certificates on their return to school, which  parents are obliged to complete and return to school within three days following the child’s return to school. Where no     explanation for an absence is given the absence will be recorded as “unknown.” It is useful in the case of long term absences if the school can be informed of the reason for absence prior to the pupils return in order to support pupils appropriately in their schoolwork at the time of their return, or indeed during their absence. Parents must put all requests for leave of absence for their child to the Head Teacher in writing giving full information on the exact date, time and reason for the absence.  Where possible,  requests for  absence should be submitted at least one week in advance of the proposed date(s).

Where pupils are removed from school by parents for family holidays,  weddings etc, these absences are classed as “unauthorised,” and show up as such on official data.

The Head Teacher is required to report all attendances which fall below 90% to the Social Worker (Education) for Learning Community Areas 3/4 who will investigate the matter further.

School Uniform

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Dress Code Policy states that “pupils attending schools within the Western Isles shall wear school uniform.” We support that policy and encourage our pupils to wear uniform on a daily basis. A copy of the Policy can be found at:- 


The school has a uniform which consists of a sweatshirt, polo shirt and fleece with black trousers or skirt. The School badge is very distinctive and is embroidered on to items of uniform. Order forms for school uniform are issued to parents once a year but the school office does keep a small stock of uniform which can also be purchased throughout the session.

Footwear and Clothing Grants

All parents in receipt of Family Credit or Income support are eligible for a clothing grant to ensure that their children are able to make use of educational provision.  Application forms for clothing grants are available from: 

Department of Education and Children Services

Comhairle nan Eilean,
Sandwick Road,

Isle of Lewis

TEL: 01851 822 763

School Meals

Primary and Secondary School Menus offer healthy and tasty meal options which reflect the Scottish Government food and drink legal requirements for school lunches. 

School meals are cooked on the premisesby our School Cook Mrs Vicky Mayers. Choices offer a varied and attractive dinner each day.  A “fruit only” dessert is offered twice a week to all pupils. Under the “Fruit In Schools” initiative, jointly funded by the Western Isles Health Board and the Education and Children’s Services Department, all children in Primary 1-2     receive a piece of fruit three times a week. This is offered at the morning interval.

In agreement with the parent body, all pupils receive, milk every day and fruit, and toast at alternate morning intervals. Where initiatives are not in place to fund these snacks, parents pay for the snacks on a weekly basis. In this way parents support us in our endeavours to promote healthy living across the school.

 The School Cook issues weekly menu’s to pupils who are encouraged to take these home and make their choices before returning them to school. This practice helps the Cook to reduce waste with pupils being able to “pre-order” their school meals on a weekly basis. 

The school operates a system of money pockets which go out to pupils each week. Parents are asked to place dinner money for the week in the envelope on a Monday and any change owed to them will be returned in the same way.

Pupils who wish to take packed lunches to school may eat them in the canteen with the other children.  However, the following points ought to be carefully noted;

¨ Pupils eating Packed Lunches should generally eat their lunch in a separate area from those eating School Lunches, However, since in Bernera School, we are at a premium for suitable space we do allow the children to sit and eat together on the provision that parents and pupils  recognise why distinctions are sometimes made between those eating School Lunches and those eating Packed Lunches.

¨ Canteen staff have no responsibility in any way to assist pupils with the making up of their lunch items. Parents should therefore ensure that pupils Packed Lunches are ready to eat and that any necessary cutlery/tableware is included with the Packed Lunch.

Parents should let the School know in advance if their child has any special dietary requirements.

School pupils are not allowed to leave the premises at lunchtime unless they are going home for lunch.

Children of parents in receipt of Income Support are entitled to a free midday meal. Further information and application forms can be obtained from the School, or from:

Department of Education and Children’s Services
Comhairle nan Eilean,
Sandwick Road,

Isle of Lewis

TEL: 01851 822 763

Travel To and From School

Primary School Children living two miles or more from school and Secondary School Children living three miles or more from school are entitled to free transport.  Children who are not eligible for free transport will have to pay a contribution towards the cost of transport if they make use of it.  It will be possible for parents to:

 ¨ buy weekly books of tickets or

                                         ¨ purchase a termly pass or

                                         ¨ purchase a session pass.

 Payment for the above can be made by direct debit if parents wish.  The overall price is the same regardless of which method parents choose – i.e. there is no cost penalty for choosing to pay weekly or monthly.

 There is also a system of stepped discounts for families with more that one child travelling to school.

 It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child arrives at the pick up point on time and behaves in a safe and acceptable manner while boarding, travelling in and leaving the vehicle.  Children who misbehave can lose their right to home to school transport.

 It should be noted that under guidelines issued in October 2002, the transport operator is responsible for taking reasonable care of the children on the bus. We are very fortunate to have extremely caring drivers who take an interest in the children and are concerned for their welfare. Our drivers ensure that pupils board and alight safely at pick-up and drop-off points.

 Pupils are also expected to follow the  behaviour code for travel on the bus, details of which have been issued to parents in the information guide “School Transport – A Guide for Parents and Pupils.” A copy of this     information guide may be found at:-


Unexpected Closures

It may be necessary, occasionally, to close the school at short notice and send the pupils home, for example, in exceptionally bad weather or if the electricity, water or heating fails.  If parents are not regularly at home   during school hours, they should always make arrangements to have someone available to receive their children should such an emergency occur.  The school asks each parent at the point of enrolment and every August thereafter to provide the address and/or telephone number of a person who can be contacted in these circumstances.  Please ensure this information is kept updated and notify the school of any changes.

In the event of severe weather conditions materialising overnight – we will, after consulting with bus  drivers, put out a notice on Radio nan Gaidheal and Isles FM between 8.00am and 8.30am. It should be noted however, that in the event of severe gales, the school will only exercise an emergency closure if  children are deemed to be at risk from remaining in school or if the transport operators inform us that conditions have worsened to the extent that they are unable to carry out their duties. A copy of the Policy on Disruption to Education on Account of Bad Weather may be found at:- 


 Parents should also feel free to contact the school if they are concerned about the safety of the  children  because of severe weather conditions and are free to call for them at any time.