September 2020 Issue 1
Welcome back everyone! What a bizarre few months this has been! Such a devastating turn of events in March – I doubt anyone could have predicted that it would ever have happened. I honestly believe that, although lockdown was not pleasant for most, it has made us stronger and more appreciative of what we have in life – and this includes education. Our pupils have come back to school with energy, enthusiasm, good manners and a great focus on learning. What more could any of us ask! It has been an absolute joy to have the pupils back in school every day and to see our parent group around and about. Everyone seems happy but if you have worries, concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
We have got a super bunch of primary 1 pupils this session! They have come into school, in slightly unusual circumstances, and settled beautifully! We are enjoying watching them learn and grow and look forward to their development as time goes on.
Well done children and well done parents – you did each other proud!!
Glasgow City Council is very focused on ‘Resilience, Recovery and Reconnection’. We strive to settle our pupils back into school and gather momentum in learning again. We have made some small but significant changes in school to help us recovery quickly and ensure no more time is wasted. We are focusing heavily on literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing just now with gradual addition of topical work and expressive arts. We are encouraging a major focus on pupils working together collaboratively in order for them to practice the social skills they have missed during lockdown in addition to ensuring very active ‘hands on’ classrooms.
In a more practical sense there have been some slight changes to how we work, for example staggered entry in the morning, staggered and shortened lunch and limitations on shared resources. We have only introduced changes that are necessary during the present time. I think if you asked the pupils about changes, they possibly have not noticed! This is our aim as we wish to keep school as normal and predictable for pupils as we can just now.
Normally at this time in term 1, we would have had a parental engagement session. Last year we had a Parent Pizza Party! This was a nice opportunity for you to meet your child’s class teacher and chat with them informally about things. Unfortunately government restrictions mean that we cannot do this. Therefore every class teacher will be phoning each parent to say hello and
check in. This is not an ideal situation but sadly it is the best we can offer at the present time. Phone calls will commence this week – please answer if you can!
After school clubs
Clubs are on hold for term 1 – but we are getting set to start up as soon as we are allowed! Parent and child cookery is back in October along with some of our usual clubs. As soon as we can find coaches willing to come in we will let you and pupils know.
Our school fund is very low! I am ever hopeful that we will be able to organise and attend a Christmas event with all pupils but we need to raise a bit of money to make this possible! To that end we have organised a sponsored walk/run. Classes will walk/run the distance of the West Highland Way (96 miles) over a 2 week period 21st Sept – 2nd Oct. This will be quite a challenge but I know we can do it! Mr Steer will be tracking class progress and pupils will be able to see their progress virtually on a map! Very exciting! All pupils will soon be given a donation sheet and we would be delighted if every pupil could raise a few pounds – and if pantomimes do go ahead, we will be there!!
You will have received a letter from Public Health – both in paper form and by e-mail, if you have supplied us with your e-mail address. It is important to read and understand the letter as it is specifically regarding symptoms and testing for COVID-19. It is perfectly understandable that we are all nervous about this issue but we must continue to think rationally about it. If your child has one of the key symptoms – persistent cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell, they should be absent from school and you should organise a coronavirus test for them – contact www.nhsinform.scot. If you are looking for more information please visit www.nhsggc.org.uk/covid/schools to learn more.
As I’m sure you are aware, all PE has to happen outside for the time being. Although class teachers have an inclination as to when this will happen, it is always weather permitting. We will not take our pupils outside if there is a health and safety risk with weather conditions. This does not mean they will not go outside in the rain. Rain is fairly common in Scotland and pupils should try to dress as well as they can for wet weather. If pupils want to bring in some spare clothing, along with their waterproof jacket, sensible shoes etc then this will be fine. I would always advise spare socks in everyone’s school bag as standard!
Once each term we have snapshot week. During the assigned week, all pupils will record their learning experiences in a special jotter. At the end of snapshot week pupils will bring the jotter home to let you see what they have been learning about. Over the weekend please have a conversation with your child about what they have in the jotter. Ask them what they have been learning to see if they can give you an explanation. Ask them what they enjoyed most in their learning. Ask them if they feel they have been successful in their learning. Ask them if they felt challenged in the learning or if it was easy! Please then complete the ‘parental comment’ sheet in the jotter – we always need your thoughts and comments in order to ensure continuous improvement in teaching and learning.
During lockdown we successfully secured some funding to support our pupils and their families. We have created cooking packages (similar to the creative packages given out during the school closure period.) There is one package per family and pupils will bring this home over the next few days. This is a gift to each of our families and I hope the items will be useful. Happy cooking!
We are been saddened to hear that some of our pupils are not demonstrating good cycle safety habits whilst out cycling their bikes in the community. I have contacted community police about this and they will increase their presence in the Royston area in order to observe and support. Pupils appear NOT to be wearing helmets. It is a parental responsibility to ensure a child wears a helmet when cycling in the community – please ensure your child does not go cycling without one. Some pupils have said they don’t even have one. To this end I have bought two helmets to show pupils and allow them to try on. If you would like to buy one I can order more. Please do get in touch.
Staffing this session is looking excellent. We welcome our new staff – Mr Gillen and Miss Sutton and a warm welcome back to Mrs Mair. All classes have 2 teachers assigned in order to support intensive teaching after such a lengthy period of time away from formal education. This is working well at present and we will soon commence our usual suite of assessment – this will help us specify, on an individual basis, what type of teaching support is needed for each pupil.
Attainment in core areas of reading, writing, listening/talking and numeracy are on the increase. Our attainment statistics present a very positive picture. From 2015 until now, our general increase has been around 10-20% approx. in almost all aspects, apart from listening and talking where our attainment has been fairly ‘jumpy’. We are trying to analyse why this is the case and are doing some training and research on how we can get better at this. In addition many of our homework tasks are designed with a focus on talking and listening – it would be very useful if you could make these tasks a priority. I would also suggest you engage in as much conversation as you can with your child in order to give them practice at these social skills.
Some pupils may have had their new homework grid sent out, others will get it this week. Please see the accompanying parent information on homework which will help support homework for pupils.
Pupils in P7 will soon get a personal school iPad to use for learning. They will be able to use this in class and at home. This is part of the council digital roll out. The iPad will always belong to Glasgow City Council but pupils will have these individually to support their learning. The date for this is 27th October and we will be looking for parental support in this project. There will be agreements on safe use to be signed and pupils will be taught how to use the learning tools on the iPad.
Healthy drinks and snacks
We continually try to pass messages of healthy eating and drinking onto pupils. Pupils can drink water at school. During class time pupils can drink plain water. Research proves that this actually enhances performance in the classroom – class teachers will encourage this. Pupils can bring flavoured water (eg lemon lime, strawberry) for break times although we do try to dissuade them from this as there is some sugar contained. We also try to encourage pupils to bring healthy snacks to school. A piece of fruit or chopped vegetables are excellent choices. Pupils are rewarded for making healthy choices in eating and drinking and can win a special active treat if their good choices become consistent.
I am always disappointed when I see pupils coming to school eating sweets and drinking fizzy drinks. I’m not sure if parents and carers know pupils are doing this but I would encourage you to speak with your child about this. It does not make for a great start to the day!
Just a little update on assemblies and awards for you. Unfortunately I am unable to lead the school in our usual weekly celebration assembly. Sadly we are unable to do any singing at present and gatherings of more than 50 people in fairly close contact are not allowed.
However, we do not let this get in the way! We have continued to give out our special weekly awards and Birthday certificates by going round classrooms on a Friday. We award one pupil in each class a Star of the Week and one pupil a Worker of the week. I’m sure you will be very proud of your child when they come home to show off their award! We also give out Healthy Choice Awards for those pupils demonstrating healthy habits during the week – either in eating or in exercise.
Although not quite the same as our special Friday assemblies, pupils are pleased to still be involved in celebrating the successes over the past week. Hopefully assemblies will return soon!