Head Teacher Blog
As we near the end of our official, though somewhat unusual, summer holiday period I am now in a position to be able to share with you the plans for schools returning next week. Only last week, the Scottish Government made their announcement about recovery plans. Since then, local authorities and schools have been working together to plan what that means for each school community. The Executive Director of Education, Derek Brown, sent a letter to all parents on Tuesday 4 August of this week outlining the authority’s plans. The NLC website has now been updated with answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding pupil and staff return.
The link for this information is www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/schoolplans.
The screenshot below shows the page and the categories of information available for parents, and whilst extensive, it will provide some reassurances to many of the uncertainties we have all faced over the past few months. This information will continue to be updated between now and the return to school and I would encourage you to read through all of the sections available.
In an attempt to summarise what the return means for Greenfaulds High School, I would like to highlight the following:
Return to School
In line with all NLC schools, we are preparing for our young people to return to school on a phased basis for the first 3 days of the new term, commencing Wednesday 12 August. This phased return will be as follows
|DAY||YEAR GROUPS IN ATTENDANCE|
|Wednesday 12 August||S1, S2 and S3|
|Thursday 13 August||S1, S4, S5 and S6|
|Friday 14 August||All pupils from S1 to S6|
The weekly pattern for school will be as normal, ie an 8.55 am start each day and finish times of
Mon/Tues/Thurs 3.45 pm
Wed/Fri 2.55 pm
The first day of return for each year group will be used as an induction day to reinforce aspects of the school which will have changed, for example: zoning of areas, movement around the school, canteen arrangements, hand sanitising arrangements, fire evacuation procedures etc. Time will also be devoted to familiarisation of timetable arrangements for each class and pupils will be issued with a copy of their individual timetable.
When pupils arrive on the first day signage will be displayed around the social area and on doors/windows at school entrances directing pupils to designated areas. These arrangements will also be uploaded to our school website/app on Tuesday 11 August. Staff will be on hand to ensure that pupil movement around the school is mindful of health and safety requirements.
Full school uniform of blazer, white shirt, school tie, black skirt/trousers and black shoes should be worn, however as stated in the letter sent to parents at the end of last session, we fully understand that there may be a delay for some families in being able to obtain some items of uniform. Please contact a member of the pupil support team if you are experiencing any problems and there is anything we can do to assist.
Pupils are able to bring schoolbags with them, however these will be kept on the floor in classrooms at all times and pupils should not share personal items with others.
The school cafeteria will be available for pupils. It is important to note however that this service relies on a cashless system. Previously pupils were able to ‘top up’ cards at paystations within the school but these have been removed from service to comply with health and safety guidelines. There is a more detailed explanation of the iPay cashless system which parents can access in the section of the website entitled ‘Breaks, Lunchtimes and Breakfast Clubs’. Please note that for those young people entitled to free school meals, pupil accounts are topped up automatically each day.
Many pupils in S2 – S6 are used to leaving school at lunchtime to buy food from local shops/food outlets/the van etc. However, given the current health situation and the social restrictions in place in shops, town centres etc, we would ask that parents/carers support the school in reinforcing that young people should remain on the school premises at lunchtime. This would reduce the potential for the spread of infection.
Parental Access to the school
Parents may continue to access the drop off zone at the front of the building and in Athelstane Drive (the turning circle at the top of the school grounds). In line with health and safety arrangements however, parents must remain in their vehicles whilst waiting for their child/children.
If a parent needs to speak with staff we would encourage where possible that this is done via telephone or email. In the exceptional circumstances where a face to face meeting may be necessary, this can only be arranged by prior appointment. At this visit, you will be asked to wear a face covering and to provide contact and time details on entry and exit to support Test and Protect arrangements.
It is important that we make our return to education as smooth as possible for our new and returning pupils. Our 3 day phased return will support our young people to be welcomed back in smaller groups and give them time to settle into the learning and teaching environment again. These first few days will provide time to allow our young people time to familiarise themselves with the new health and safety guidelines and hygiene routines which will help keep everyone in our school community safe.
Although many of the arrangements for a return to school may seem very prescriptive, I hope you will understand that the health and safety of pupils, staff and wider families is paramount. Please also be aware that this is different for all of us – the concerns, anxieties and changes to routines exist for staff as well as pupils. We will continue to work together to adapt and refine our practices as we encounter the challenges which an ever-changing health pandemic brings. Rest assured, the health and wellbeing of our young people lies firmly at the heart of our school. The responsibility each and every one of us, whether teacher or pupil, has for ourselves and each other has never been more important than it is now.
I hope you enjoy these last few days of the summer break and we are very much looking forward to welcoming our young people back to school for the new session ahead.
Best WishesHead Teacher