Tag Archives: Bernera School Handbook

Welcome from the Head Teacher

Dear Parents,

The staff and I would like to welcome all parents and their children, particularly those who are new to the school. We hope that this handbook will offer an introduction to our school and a general overview of the  education your child will be getting at school.

We do value the contribution parents make to support their children’s education and we look forward to working in partnership with all of you during your child’s time here.

The purpose of the School Handbook is to provide parents with some basic information about the school and to provide a point of reference for many of the common questions that arise throughout the school year.

We welcome all our parents into the school and are happy to meet with you to discuss any issues or concerns you may have regarding your child. We hope that your child will be happy during their time in Bernera School and similarly we hope that you will be keen to actively join in with the school community during that time also.

Along with my staff, I look forward to meeting with you at various points throughout the course of the year.

If you have any questions, or would like any further information on any aspect of this handbook or the education of your child, please do not hesitate to contact me.

To make our handbook easy to use, we have divided the information up into five different sections.


This section provides you with some background information on our school.  It deals with the practical aspects of your child’s attendance at our school.  It provides details on such things as:

¨ the school day and school year

¨ how to contact the school if your child is ill

¨ travelling to and from school

¨ school meals

¨ financial assistance with school clothing, transport and school meals

¨ school closures in an emergency or unexpectedly for any reason

¨ general supervision available for your child in the morning and at lunch time

¨ wet weather details

¨ how the school communicates with parents

¨ how to complain if you are not happy about something

¨ an overview of school policies.


This section contains information about how parents can be involved in supporting learning at home as part of a home – school partnership.

You can also find out more about the ethos of the school, what our values are and our aspirations for our  pupils including how we celebrate pupil success, links we have with partner organisations and the wider local, national and international community.

Lastly, it includes information on our Parent Council, how to contact them and how parents can get involved in the life and work of the school.


This section describes how the curriculum is planned and delivered in the school including the range of subjects and subjects your child will be learning.  It also includes information on how pupils develop skills for learning, life and work including literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in and out of the classroom.

As well as giving you information about the statutory curriculum requirements we have included details on sports and outdoor activities available to pupils and the range of facilities available within the school.

Details of how parents will be informed about sensitive aspects of learning e.g. relationships, sexual health,  parenthood and drugs awareness are included as well as information about religious education and observance and arrangements for parents who wish to exercise their right to withdraw their child.

This handbook also tells you how we will report on your child’s progress and what written reports may be sent out to parents.


This section gives information about how pupils’ additional support needs will be identified and addressed and the types of specialist services provided within our school.  This handbook also explains who to contact for more information if you think your child has additional support needs.

This section also gives information about transition – from primary school to secondary school – what the  arrangements are and contact details of the secondary high school to which our pupils normally transfer.  There are also details about making a placing request to another school.


This section gives you an overview of the main achievements of the school within the last twelve months and performance information relating to literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.

While Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is happy to provide this information, we do have some reservations that the publication of raw statistics, without any kind of informed qualification, can be misleading to the reader.  In particular, they should not be construed as offering an indication of the quality of education provided in any of our schools.

We have also shown where you can get further information about our plans for the next three years to improve our performance and how the school will involve parents in that improvement.

We hope you find all of the information helpful and self explanatory.  If you have any queries about any of the information contained in this handbook, or indeed about any aspect of our school, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

I would like to make it clear that all information contained within this School Handbook was considered to be correct at the time of publication in December 2013.  It may be that if you are viewing this Handbook at a later date that some information may have changed and that some inaccuracies are included. If you are in any doubt about the veracity of information contained within the Handbook, please do not hesitate to contact the school to speak to myself or a member of my staff who will be happy to provide you with up-to-date and accurate information

Your sincerely

Kirsteen J. Maclean

Head Teacher

Bernera School

Transfer from Nursery to Primary

Before leaving nursery, a profile and transition record for each child will be prepared by Sgoil Àraich staff to hand over to Primary School staff to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of education for the child transferring to Primary. There will also be a number of visits to the    Primary Class in the lead up to the child commencing in Primary 1.

Primary School Admissions

Children who will be four years of age by 28th February 2013 are eligible for infant enrolment in August 2013.  Enrolment takes place at the beginning of February, on a date specified by press advertisement. 

In our school, pupils can be taught through the Medium of Gaelic or English and parents should indicate their preference on the enrolment form. At the time of enrolment, parents should bring their child’s Birth Certificate and should inform the school of any medical problems or special needs which their child may have. New entrants are invited into the school in June prior to entry to sample some typical Primary 1 activities. 

Other children, whose families have just moved into our catchment area, should be accompanied by a parent or guardian on their first day of reporting to school if they have not already been in contact with the school.  

Parents who wish to apply for a place at a school other than the local Primary School for new enrolments should apply in writing to:

Mr Bernard Chisholm

Head of Education and Resources,

Education and Children’s Services Department,

Sandwick Road,



Primary to Secondary Transfer

During the Summer term each session, Primary 7 pupils have the opportunity to attend their chosen secondary schools for an induction period.

When pupils complete P7 they will normally transfer to:  The Nicolson Institute

                                                                         Springfield Road


                                                                         Isle of Lewis

                                                                         Telephone Number:  01851 707000

On induction days,  pupils travel on the school bus, meet secondary teachers and sample part of their future weekly timetable. Each year a member of the secondary Guidance Team will travel to the school to meet P7 pupils prior to their transfer to secondary.  In addition, a member of the School Management Team will hold discussions with the Head Teacher each year to ensure that all aspects of a pupil’s work and personality are known in order to assist with a smooth transfer from Primary to Secondary. Every second year a member of the Secondary School Management Team will also visit the Primary School to meet pupils and staff.

The Principal Teacher for Learning Support visits our school in October/November of each year in order to meet those Primary 7 pupils with additional support needs and participate in review meetings with parents and staff. Such pupils may also be offered the opportunity of additional induction days which will be based in the Support for Learning Base. These induction days would follow a similar pattern with time also spent in the Support for Learning Base getting to know the staff.

 Over the last number of years a transition event has been held within the Learning Community for all Primary 7 pupils. This has proved to be most beneficial and has allowed Primary 7 pupils from smaller schools in the    surrounding area an opportunity to meet and engage in learning activities with one another.

 When possible, pupils in Bernera School meet with pupils in Uig and Breasclete Schools for a variety of sporting and other events. The purpose of this is to give our pupils greater opportunities to meet and engage in learning activities with one another prior to moving to secondary.

Placing Requests

As a parent, you have the right to make a Placing Request to be educated in a school other than the local school.  Every effort will be made to try to meet parental wishes but you should note that it is not always possible to grant every Placing Request to a particular school. 

If you wish to make a Placing Request, you should complete the appropriate form (available from school) and return it to:

Louise Smith,

Principal Officer,

Education and Children’s Services,

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,

Sandwick Road,


HS1 2BW. 

If a Placing Request is successful, parents will be responsible for the safety and transportation costs of their child to and from their chosen school.

Standards and Quality Report

Each year the school publishes a Standards and Quality Report which highlights the school’s major achievements in the previous year.

Some of the main achievements over the last 12 months include:

¨ Staff members undertook a raft of specialist training including Resucitation training led by Ospadal nan Eilean’s Resuscitation Officer and Makaton training led by the Speech and Language Therapy Service.

¨ P7 pupils participated in  and benefited greatly from both enhanced and regular transition days at the Nicolson Institute in preparation for their move into S1 and also additional transition events with pupils from Uig and Breasclete Schools.

¨ P6-7 pupils attended the Global Citizenship Showcase Day which was held at Sgoil nan Loch for pupils in Areas 2, 3 and 4. Pupils gave presentations and ran stalls highlighting different aspects of the work they had been doing in class relating to Climate Change.

¨  Primary 7 pupils engaged in learning activities and subsequently sat and passed their Young Leadership Awards.

¨ P5-7 pupils participated in a variety of sporting competitions throughout the session under the auspices of the Lewis and Harris Sports Festival.

¨ P6 and P7 pupils participated in Childline’s school’s seminar and Assembly and welcomed pupils from Uig and Breasclete School in joining with them.

¨ Pupils experienced first hand the music of an African Gospel Choir who visited the school with the School Chaplain.

¨ School staff and pupils held a number of charitable events to raise money for charities such as Children in Need, Blythswood, Unicef, Bethesda Hospice and Sport Relief

¨ The school held its annual Christmas Concert in December, performing “Sheik, Rattle and Roll” Once again this was organised as an Enterprise project and was held in the Community Centre in order to allow the wider community to attend. The concert was a resounding success, with superb performances from the pupils and an excellent attendance from the local community.

¨ Pupils hosted a visit from Mr Tim Gorrod, a Curriculum Development Officer from New South Wales,    Australia who was Premier’s Xstrata Coal Rural and Remote Education Scholarship Holder for 2013. Pupils shared the work they were doing on their E-portfolio’s and Blogs with Mr Gorrod who was very impressed at the level of their ICT skills.

¨ All P4-7 pupils participated in and completed the Jumpstart programme run by the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Ospadal nan Eilean.

¨ The school hosted a number of visitors throughout the school year, many of whom addressed the pupils at   Assembly times.

¨ Pupils rowed the Minch and in doing so raised the magnificent sum of £566 by holding a Sponsored Rowathon in order to kick start the fundraising effort to raise money for the 2014 Residential School Trip to Fairburn Outdoor Centre.

The Standards and Quality Report for the School can be obtained by clicking on the link on the menu on the right hand side. You will find the Standards and Quality Report for 2012-13 there. Should any parent wish to receive a hard copy of the Standards and Quality Report for Session 2012-13 in Bernera School they may request one from the school office.

School Improvement Plan

The School Improvement Plan details the Improvement Agenda for the school on an annual basis. All projects which are included in the Improvement Plan are discussed with the Parent Council and the Head Teacher also updates the Parent Council regularly on progress with specific projects throughout the session.

The table below demonstrates the intentions of the School with respect to its Improvement Agenda for the next three years. The Three Year Plan, whilst not fixed, does give cognisance to the Business Plan of the Education and Children’s Services Department and also indicates which areas the school will likely focus on in order to make improvements in coming sessions.

Should any parent wish to receive a copy of the School Improvement Plan for Session 2013-14 in Bernera School  they may request one from the school office.

2013-14 2014-15 2015-16

Assessment and Moderation within the Learning Community for         Curriculum for Excellence.


Curriculum Design


Leadership of Improvement and Change

Improvements through Self Evaluation


Curriculum for Excellence – Literacy across Learning


Meeting Learning Needs –       Additional Support Needs


Curriculum for Excellence – Literacy across Learning


Teaching for Effective Learning—Tapestry Partnership


Partnerships with Parents


Curriculum for Excellence

Religious and Moral Education

Transferring Educational Data About Pupils

Education authorities and Scottish Government have collected data about pupils on paper forms for many years. We now work together with schools to transfer data electronically through the ScotXed programme. Thus Scottish Government has two functions: acting as a ‘hub’ for supporting data exchange within the education system in Scotland and the analysis of data for statistical purposes within Scottish Government itself. 

Why do we need your data? 

In order to make the best decisions about how to improve our education service, Scottish Government, education authorities and other partners such as the SQA and Careers Scotland need accurate, up-to-date data about our pupils.   We are keen to help all our pupils do well in all aspects of school life and achieve better examination results. Accurate and up-to-date data allows us to: 

¨ plan and deliver better policies for the benefit of all pupils,

¨ plan and deliver better policies for the benefit of specific groups of pupils,

¨ better understand some of the factors which influence pupil attainment and achievement,

¨ share good practice,

¨ target resources better. 

Data Policy

The ScotXed programme aims to support schools and Local Authorities by supporting the collection, processing and dissemination of statistical information required for planning, management and monitoring of Scottish education services. 

A subset of this information is passed to Scottish Government for research and National Statistics publications.  Education data within Scottish Government is managed effectively by secure systems and is exploited as a valuable corporate resource, subject to confidentiality restraints. As part of its data policy, Scottish Government will not publish or make publicly available any information that allows individual pupils to be identified, nor will data be used by Scottish Government to take any actions in respect of individuals.  Data is held securely and no information on individual pupils can or would be published by Scottish Government.  

The individual data collected by Scottish Government is used for statistical and research purposes only.  We hope that the explanations contained on the ScotXed website will help you understand the importance of  providing the information. 

Your data protection rights 

The collection, transfer, processing and sharing of ScotXed data is done in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998). We also comply with the National Statistics Code of Practice requirements and other legislation related to safeguarding the confidentiality of data. The Data Protection Act gives you the right to know how we will use your data.  This message can give only a brief description of how we use data.  Fuller details of the uses of pupil data can be found on the ScotXed website (http://www.scotxed.net

Scottish Government works with a range of partners including HM Inspectorate of Education and the SQA. On occasion, we will make individual data available to partners and also academic institutions and organisations to carry out research and statistical analysis. In addition, we will provide our partners with information they need in order to fulfil their official responsibilities. Any sharing of data will be done under the strict control of Scottish Government, which will ensure that no individual level data will be made public as a result of the data sharing and that these data will not be used to take any actions in respect of an individual. Decisions on the sharing of data will be taken in consultation with relevant colleagues and individuals within and out with Scottish Government.


If you have any concerns about the ScotXed data collections you can email the Senior Statistician, Peter Whitehouse, at Peter.Whitehouse@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or write to The ScotXed Support   Office, Area 1B, Victoria Quay, Leith, EH6 6QQ. Alternative versions of this page are available, on request from the ScotXed Support Office, in other languages, audio tape, braille and large print.

Want more information?

Further details about ScotXed are available on the ScotXed website http://www.scotxed.net which contains a section on ‘frequently asked questions’ at: 


Bernera School Handbook – Contents

You will find information about the school in the following sections of the School Handbook. Please click on the link for the appropriate section on the menu on the right hand side and scroll down through the section till you locate the information you require.


¨ Contact Details

¨ About Bernera School

¨ Organisation of the School Day

¨ Agreed Term Dates for Session 2012-13 and Session 2013-14

¨ Attendance and Absence

¨ School Uniform

¨ Footwear and Clothing Grants

¨ School Meals

¨ Travel To and From School

¨ Unexpected Closures

¨ Communication with Home

¨ Mobile Phone Policy

¨ Complaints, Comments and Suggestions Procedures

¨ Medical and Health Information

¨ School Policies


¨ Parents Welcome

¨ Parental Involvement

¨  Formal Parent Representation

¨ Pupil Council

¨ The Vision, Values and Aims of Bernera Primary School

¨ School Ethos

¨ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Values

¨ Pupil Conduct

¨ Dealing With Bullying

¨ Promotion of Positive Behaviour


¨ Curriculum for Excellence

¨ Planning and Delivery

¨ Homework Policy

¨ Sensitive Aspects of Learning

¨ Active Schools

¨ Assessment

¨ Reporting to Parents


¨ Additional Support Needs

¨ Pastoral Support Arrangements

¨ Transitions

¨ Transfer from Nursery to Primary

¨ Primary School Admissions

¨ Primary to Secondary Transfer

¨ Placing Requests


¨ Standards and Quality Report

¨ School Improvement Plan

¨ Transferring Educational Data About Pupils