Newsletter 16.5.22

Dear Parents and Carers,

I have now been on the island for 6 weeks and in school for 4 and it has been a real joy getting to know the children.  It feels like I have been here for longer and I should know more but at the moment it is still all so new to me, but as ever the children  are kind and very understanding when I still can’t remember their name.  It will take a while to get to know them and their needs better- so that I can support them better, so please be patient with me during this learning phase. I have joined as we are transitioning into a new way of coping with Covid19 and illness in generally, at a time when we can invite parents and visitors back into school.  Although you have had contact with school through Teams and email over the last two years- that is just not the same, and now you have a new head teacher who is not only new to the school but new to Shetland, so it must feel like the school is very different and very distant. So please, if you can, do make the most of any opportunity to come into the school, through organised events- or to just pop in and have a chat and I hope you will discover that the school is still as nurturing and as friendly as it ever was.

What a busy and lovely week it was last week.

P2/3/4 had a visit from Yvonne Reynolds of the Shetland Amenity Trust to explain a project to revive the Croft House Garden which is very exciting.  The children will be involved in activities over the next few weeks working on this project and we will let you know when there is a grand opening of the garden.

Today Bruce Eunson from Educate Scotland was visiting P1/2 and P2/3/4 to run a session on the Shetland Dialect.

Primary Football League:  I am really excited to let you know that the Dunrossness team have been doing very well in this competition. In the tournament at Scalloway last Thursday, Lena, Magnus, Anders, Roma, Elijah, and Leighton must have played their socks off as they won two matches and drew the third.  Fearne, although missing from Thursday’s match, has taken part in the first round of fixtures at Sandwick where the team also played very well.   Having achieved 13 points, Dunrossness and Sound 1 progress to the finals which are to be held on Thursday 19th May at the Clickimin 60:40.  We wish them the best of luck for that.

Behaviour:  From time to time, children will run into problems.  Maybe they are struggling to regulate themselves due to emotional turmoil, or maybe they have just had a disagreement with a friend or maybe have been misunderstood.  All adults in school are here to help children and ideally children will come to us when the problem occurs so that we can help them to resolve it the same day.  It is always harder to sort something out the next days as memories fade and also is means children have gone home with unresolved problems which can then create further anxiety.  So please do encourage your child, as we do in school, to talk through their problems as they occur. Staff do follow the behaviour blueprint which you can find on the blog, with the emphasis on recognising the need and helping children to ‘restore’ when something has gone wrong.  This often involves children talking to each other to explain what has gone wrong so they can understand what has happened from the other point of view.  There is nearly always two sides to the event and as parents we only ever get the one.  However in school we give everyone involved the opportunity to be heard and to be treated fairly.

School gates:  If you have come to the school recently, you may have noticed a slight change to the main gate.  It has a new latch system which we hope makes it safer for our youngest children who can be tempted to open the gate to explore the world beyond.  If you do visit the school please shut all gates behind you with the safety latches.

School Grounds:  As you may be aware the local community does have access to the multicourt after school hours but we have noticed that there are some who are bringing dogs onto the schools ground and leaving dog litter in the bins and other litter around about which the children have spoken to me about.  If you are aware of any young people who are using the school grounds after hours can you remind them to respect the environment.  Thank you.

School Closure:  A reminder that school will be closed on Friday May 27th and Friday June 3rd.

Learner led event:  Monday May 23rd 5pm to 6.30pm.  You should now have received a letter with more details about this event which is for P1 to P7.  The time slot you have been allocated may seem a bit short if you have more than one child’s class to visit so don’t worry if you need a bit more time.  All we are trying to do is spread the numbers out a bit over the evening.  We do hope you can make it.

Sun cream:  Just a reminder that although it often does not feel very warm there is a lot of strength in the sun so please do apply sun cream to your child’s exposed skin before coming to school.  Also remind them to bring their water bottle which they can access throughout the day.

Parent Council: are organising a fundraising and social event on 4th June at the Ness Boating club at 7pm.  Please come along if you can to have, what I am told is a really good fun evening. This is to raise further funds for the development of the school playground.  The children have been consulted and have lots of ideas about how the playground could be improved. See more information on Parent Council Facebook page.

Upcoming dates:

17th May:  Netball and football tournament at Brae

17th May:  P7 visit to Anderson high School 4pm to 5pm

19th May:  Primary Football League Final

20th May:  P7 transition to Sandwick Day Camp

Monday 23rd May:  Learner led event 5pm to 6.30pm.

25th May:  musical demonstration by peripatetic teachers.

26th May: P7 taster Day at Sandwick

27th May: School Closed

30th May: Children Classic Concerts will be performing Peter and the Wolf live for our oldest children.

30th May: African Drumming sessions will start for each class for 5 weeks

31st May:  P7 Taster session at Sandwick

3rd June:  School closed for Queen’s jubilee.

4th June:  Parent council Bingo at 7pm to raise funds for school playground refurbishment

21st June: Sports Afternoon

23rd June: JRSO presentation in the Town Hall

23rd and 24th June: P7 transition days to Anderson high School

30th June 2pm:   Leavers Assembly – P7 parents/carers only

As other dates are confirmed I will update you here.

Best wishes,

Gina Finch

Newsletter 6th May 2022

Dear Parents and Carers,

P7s and John Muir Day:  The P7 had their last John Muir day this week  and another great adventure they  had.  The children excelled  in challenging themselves as well as supporting one another- all great skills as they prepare for transition to secondary school.

Staffing Update:  Mrs. Jacquette Dutch will be leaving her post of Acting Senior Practitioner  of our nursery at the end of next week to take up an exciting opportunity at Sandwick School Nursery.  We shall miss her as she developed warm and nurturing relationships with all the children and worked tirelessly to ensure their wellbeing.  We wish her all the best as she starts her new role.

I am pleased to say that Mrs. Leona Smith will become Senior Practitioner at the end of May- congratulations to her for being successful in this recruitment.  These changes mean that we are now recruiting for a full time and part time support worker as well as a full time and part time practitioner for August.  To fill in the gaps while we recruit, Ms. Clair Gillespie will be supporting nursery on a Monday to Wednesday and she will be visiting on Monday to get to know the children. Ms. Jenny-Lane Thompson will be covering  Thursday and Friday till the end of term and she will be visiting on Thursday.

Play practitioner- After School Club. I am pleased to say that we are at the preferred candidate stage of this recruitment so we very much hope that after school club will be able to re start in August.

Clerical Assistant. Our newly appointed clerical assistant – Honor Rosie- will be able to start at the beginning of June.  Mrs.  Sonja Flaws will continue to support us till then for which we are very grateful.

Transition:  We are in the process of working out our transition plans for Nursery and those children who will be moving classes in August and will let you have details as soon as plans are finalised. P7 transition is already underway and parents should have details of those events already.

School development:  We are at the time of year when we starting reviewing how well the school is doing and has done against its improvement plans.  As a new comer this is a chance for me to consult with a wide range of stakeholder to gained  various views about what has gone well and where we need to focus our attention. Of course the last two years have been extraordinary and been a tremendous strain of all members of the school and wider community- so many planned developments and events simply could not happened due all the restrictions in place.  I will be looking to gather your views and will send out some kind of survey /questionnaire over the coming weeks.

Concerns or complaints: Just a reminder that if you have a concern about your child please arrange a meeting with the class teacher and /or myself- We are always ready to listen and support.

If you have thoughts, opinions, ideas about wider school issues please email me or Parent Council who represent the parent forum.  Whilst the school  listens to all constructive ideas and thoughts as  it is really positive  to have dialogue and debate meanwhile realizing that views may differ from person to person and so the school at times has to make overall decisions which may not fit in with all views, but we try our best.

Upcoming dates:

12thth May  7.30  Parent Council Meeting in the Noosc building

Monday 23rd May:  Learner led event  5pm to 6.30pm  Further information to follow.  Parents- (up to 2 per family) will be invited to come at a particular time during the session, wearing a face mask, so that we do not have too  many on site at any one time, so that children can share their work with you.  If you need to have a conversation with the class teacher please book an appointment at another time. More information nearer the time.

25th May:  musical demonstration by peripatetic teachers.

27th May: School Closed

30th May:  Children Classic Concerts will be performing Peter and the Wolf live for our oldest  children.

30th May:   African Drumming sessions will start for  each class for 5 weeks

3rd  June  School closed for Queen’s jubilee.

21st June  Sports Afternoon

23rd June JRSO presentation in the Town Hall

30th June:   2pm:   Leavers Assembly   P7  parents/carers only


As other dates are confirmed I will update you here.


Best wishes,

Gina Finch



Newsletter 29th April 22

Dear Parents and Carers,

Covid Update:   Today, we enter a new phase of managing COVID-19, as public health advice has changed to a ‘stay at home’ message replacing the self—isolation requirements for people who have symptoms or who have tested positive for COVID-19.

More information is available at:  Changes from 1 May – Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying at home – (

You will be receiving a further update from central services today, but the upshot is that as life is returning to normal we must use a good deal of common sense so that we can prevent illness of any kind spreading  but also ensure children are  accessing education as much as possible.  In brief

  • Although masks are advisory we do still ask that visitors to school wear a face covering when moving around and in crowded spaces
  • There is no longer the requirement for regular testing and tests are no longer freely available, so if you have some spare use them if you suspect covid 19.
  • Children and young people with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education setting.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare, and resume normal activities when they no longer have a high temperature and they are well enough to attend.
  • Adults who have symptoms of COVID-19 and who have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities will be asked to ‘stay at home’ whilst they are unwell or have a fever.  They will no longer be advised to take a PCR test.

Swimming : There were some issues last week with some of the timings  getting all the children to and from the pool, allowing them time to get changed and having a full allocation of time in the pool for their lesson.  We have made a few changes to the plan to hopefully improve matters, but time will still be tight so children will need to get changed as quickly as they so as not to hold up the next class.

Da Voar Redd:  Everyone keeps telling me how awful the weather can be on Shetland, but so far I have experience mainly lovely conditions even if cold. But Friday afternoon was a joy to walk with the children down to the beach, in such warm and still conditions,  to clean up as much of the plastic rubbish as we could.   The children all did work hard and between us all collected 19 sacks of waste- waste which may have ended up being eaten by birds and animals.  Every little act of protecting the environment makes a difference. Well done  to all the children and staff.

P7s and John Muir Day:  I count myself very lucky to have been allowed to accompany such a great group of young people on their latest adventurous journey with the John Muir Trust.  Our thanks go to John and Pete who led the day, making it challenging and fun. It was a privilege to see the confidence of the whole group swell over the day as they faced physical challenges- walking and rock and cave scrambling.  I was very proud of them all.  The children should be able to share photos of their day through their class Teams area.

  The Caledonia Super Cup 2022 Two of our P7 girls- Roma and Lena attended a football competition over the Easter break, playing against several teams either drawing  or winning. They played so well that their performance was noted by the officials which may result in an invitation to play against the top Scottish girls clubs.  Well  done Roma and Lena.

Young Fiddler Competition 2022:  Three of our young musicians took part in this competition- Freya, Jessie and Fearne.   It takes a lot of courage to stand up and perform as well as dedicated practice so  we are all really impressed with them and the performances they gave.

Childminder Recruitment Campaign – Shetland

Shetland Islands Council is looking to help potential new childminders into the profession.

A new partnership pilot project has recently been launched to support the recruitment and training of professional childminders in specific communities within ten defined areas of Scotland.    Shetland is one of these identified areas.   As a Local Authority we are really keen to take part in this nationwide recruitment to strengthen our childcare model within Shetland and to support working families.  A recent childcare consultation across Shetland has highlighted a lack of childminders within Shetland and we are keen to support this form of childcare provision, particularly within our remote and rural communities.

The Scottish Rural Childminding Partnership pilot is led by the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) with £170,000 partnership funding from the South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).  It aims to support economic and community development through the creation of more professional childminding jobs and to fill much needed childcare spaces for families in remote and rural communities. This is vital in enabling parents and carers to work and contribute to the local economy.

Those who apply and are accepted on to the pilot will be supported every step of the way by a dedicated member of the SCMA team, from induction training and support through the registration process to establishing their new business.  On completion of registration with the Care Inspectorate and HMRC, the new childminder will receive a £750 start-up grant to help cover any costs associated with setting up their new business from home.  They will also receive a unique package of childminding-specific training courses.  More information on the target areas where new childminding businesses are needed, including eligibility and criteria is available at

No previous childcare experience is required to become a childminder but applicants do need to be passionate about working with children.  It is a rewarding career which provided the opportunity to contribute to children’s development, learning and wellbeing and provides a valuable childcare service within the local community.  Childminders are self-employed business owners who come from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds.  They often switch to a career in professional childminding to enable them to combine caring for their young children whilst running their own business from home and earning an income.

Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive, Scottish Childminding Association, said “Childminding is a vital community asset providing local flexible childcare and family support with is so important to remote and rural communities.   The pilot is an important step towards addressing the urgent demand for high-quality childcare from parents and carers, recruiting childminders in areas where they are most needed.  As we emerge from COVID-19 there may be people considering a change of career which supports working from home – this is a fantastic opportunity for this living in these target areas to access a wealth of support in setting up their own sustainable childminding business and to undertake a rewarding new career.”

If you would like to find out any more information then please make contact at a local level with Ann-Marie Flaws, Education Support Officer for Early Learning and Childcare – or at a national level with Lianne Paton, Marketing and Communications Manager SCMA –

Upcoming dates:

5th May  Parent Council Meeting

6th May  Blue, Green and Yellow Team Peg awards, reward afternoon for Term 2 and Term 3.

Monday 23rd May:  Learner led event  5pm to 6.30pm  TBC.  Parents- (up to 2 per family) will be invited to come at a particular time during the session, wearing a face mask, so that we do not have too  many on site at any one time, so that children can share their work with you.  If you need to have a conversation with the class teacher please book an appointment at another time. More information nearer the time.

25th May:  musical demonstration by peripatetic teachers.

27th May: School Closed

30th May:  Children Classic Concerts will be performing Peter and the Wolf live for our children.

30th May:   African Drumming sessions will start for  each class for 5 weeks

21st June  Sports Afternoon

30th June:   2pm:   Leavers Assembly   P7  parents only

As other dates are confirmed I will update you here.

Best wishes,

Gina Finch

Newsletter 22.4.22

Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome back to term 4.  I do hope you have had  a lovely Easter break and feel a little refreshed.  It is certainly good to see the sun shine more and to feel the possible warmth of spring- even if only a hint!    It has been lovely to welcome the children back and to see their happy and smiling faces.  There is a lot of exciting  learning  planned for this term which I will try to keep you up to date as much as possible.

Swimming  This starts next week  Tuesday 26th April  every Tuesday for 6 weeks.   Each class will be bused to and from  Sandwick pool for a 30min lesson.  Your child will need to bring a swimming costume, towel and any foot covering if they have  a verruca or athletes foot.

Da Voar Redd up event:  Friday 29th April 1.30pm  the whole school will be walking down to the beach to do the annual beach clean.  We have been supplied with bags and gloves, but can you make sure  your child comes suitably dressed for a walk along the beach.  We could do with some parent helpers on that day- so if you are able to volunteer please contact the school. I am so impressed that this is at least an annual event on Shetland- it seems appropriate as today is Earth Day which is designed to remind us all how fragile our planet it and how in need of our care.

Absence:  May I remind parents and carers that if you child cannot come into school due to illness to phone the school on the first day.  As we are really keen to try to maximize the time children have in school, if at all possible please try to organise appointments outside of school times and if planning other absence please complete,  well ahead of the time, the absence request form  which you can find on the Forms section of the blog.

Daily school transport:The JRSOs and I have been reviewing the safety of the children on the school buses and as a result have decided to alter a little the way the children come out of school at the end of the day. From Monday the children will line up in bus groups with a JRSO and will be lead  on  to the bus  by that JRSO.  They will be asked to walk to the bus, looking and listening and when on the bus to stay sitting with their seat belts on.  Those who do not go on a bus/taxi will then come through the gate once all the buses are loaded. We have explained this in assembly today as well as how to be kind and respectful when on the bus.  Please  can all parents remind children about how to keep safe and respectful on the buses.  All children should remain seat belted in for the whole journey as well as show consideration and kindness towards each other and the driver.

Healthy Snacks:  Just a reminder that we would like to encourage  all children to bring a healthy snack for snack time in the morning for example  a piece of fruit,  cheese,  a low sugar cereal bar and try to avoid high fat crisps and  high sugar biscuits or chocolate bars. Developing healthy eating habits while young leads to improved wellbeing and to a longer more healthy adult life. It would be great if we can work on this together with our children.

Safeguarding and photos:  A reminder not to  share photos  of children other that just your own on any kind of social media, unless  you have the permission of  the parent of the other children in the picture.  From now on school staff will only put photos of children that we have permission for on the school blog.  If you would prefer you child not to be in photos on the blog please let the school office know.

Upcoming dates:

Monday 23rd May:  Learner led event  5pm to 6.30pm  TBC.  Parents- (up to 2 per family) will be invited to come at a particular time during the session, wearing a face mask, so that we do not have too  many on site at any one time, so that children can share their work with you.  If you need to have a conversation with the class teacher please book an appointment at another time. More information nearer the time.

30th May:  Children Classic Concerts will be performing Peter and the Wolf live for our children.

30th May:   African Drumming sessions will start for  each class for 5 weeks

30th June:   2pm:   Leavers Assembly   P7  parents only

As other dates are confirmed I will update you here.

Best Wishes

Gina Finch

Walk and Wheel Challenge on Friday 1st April

Just a little reminder, this Friday the buses will be dropping all of the pupils off at the Boddam pitch for our Walk and Wheel Challenge.

We are all going to walk together, following the path to the school.

When the buses stop, pupils will need to stay seated so that one of the JRSOs can explain to everyone what will happen when they get off the bus.

If any parents are able to come and help us on the day, please get in touch with the school.

Kind Regards,

Ryan and Georgia (JRSOs)

1 Star (3 votes, average: 1.00 out of 1)


Our Dunrossness Euroquiz Team were excited to take part in the Shetland Heat today.  We won’t hear any results until next week but we want to congratulate them for studying in their own time to prepare for the day and for the amazing support and encouragement they gave each other along the way.  They scored extremely highly in the languages round which is fantastic!  Whatever the result, we are proud of you all!  Thanks also, to Lily who prepared but could not take part on the day and to Mrs Colvin who sat with them through the test.
1 Star (3 votes, average: 1.00 out of 1)

Hello Dunrossness

Hello everybody,

Your new headteacher has finally arrived, yesterday!  It has taken a while to  go through a lengthy recruitment process and then at the final hour, a dose of covid delayed departure for a few days.  However I am here now and feeling very welcomed, by the children, staff and the whole community. Thank you.  I am very much looking forward to getting to know you all and I hope you will take time to make yourself known to me.  Please forgive me if I do not remember your name and which child is yours-  it will take a while to make all the connections.  I am looking forward to hearing your ideas  about how we can move  forward together- to recover from  the impact of covid and  build on the excellent work of Mrs. Henderson and the wonderful team here at Dunrossness.

With very best wishes,

Mrs Gina Finch


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