Parents’ E-Bulletin – March 2018
Welcome to our March parents’ e-bulletin.
Parent Group Updates
School Building Review
SBC are undertaking a review of our school buildings, along with 3 other SBC High Schools. The Parent Council held a special meeting in January to discuss this subject.
SBC will be holding an Open Consultation Meeting on Monday 26th March when they will be asking parents, staff, pupils and the wider community the question:
“What do we need to do to improve the learning environment for your school in the future?”.
Depending on the outcome of this meeting, SBC will then consider how best to invest in our school for the future.
We encourage everyone to come along to this Open Meeting between 2.15 and 8pm to find out about the options available to us and to give your feedback.
PC Meeting of 29th January
Our regular PC meeting on Monday 29th January focused on the topic of mental health. Mrs Moretta and Mr McColm introduced the “Growing in Confidence” programme to the PC and talked about the series of workshops that will be taking place over the month of March. You can see the minutes from this meeting here http://peebleshighschool.org.uk/parent-zone/parent-council/pc-minutes/
The PTA have been asked to provide refreshments and a raffle at the Spring concert on March 22nd. If you’d like to volunteer please contact email@example.com. All help very gratefully received!. If you are attending the concert please remember to dig deep down the back of the sofa for loose change. Teas and coffees £1, cans 50p.
We have also been asked to provide refreshments on March 26th from 2.15pm – 8pm. If you’re able to volunteer for an hour please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Again all help very gratefully received.
Duke of Edinburgh
We have updated the school website following a consultation with parents who asked the PC for more information on the Duke of Edinburgh. Thanks to all parents who contributed to the Q&A and to Miss Marsden for answering them! Look in the “pupil zone” section of the school website. It was discussed at the PC meeting that it would be helpful to do a “user survey” of the DofE to analyse this huge effort by school and pupils as we do with other areas of the school. To be discussed further at the PC.
S3 subject choices
Thanks to Simon Fraser for all his help updating the site for the S3 subject choices. Mr Noon has done a ton of work to update this again and we hope that a file is saved on the school intranet now too!
Acoustic curtains – unfortunately we were let down by a supplier but phs200 have offered to help find a new one – two options are available and one is hopefully going in to look at the school this week. Second one to agree an appointment with the school shortly.
PHS200 recently offered help to DYW Borders on how we ran our careers evening in order to help Galashiels organise their own event. The PHS Careers event is moving “in-house” to be administered by the school now, with Mr McLaren on board along with Ms Geddes, which makes a massive difference to resource in school. Thanks to everyone who helped with all the administration and running of the event for the last 5 years. It was a huge undertaking when there had never been such an event in school before and long before DYW was born!. Note we will still need helpers on the night as usual though!!!
PHS Lottery (formerly PHS 200 Club)
With the reorganisation of the PHS Lottery well underway, we are looking forward to our March Draw with first prize £100, 2nd £50 and 3rd £25.
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning in the June draw, please complete the mandate on the school website, under PHS Lottery, and return it by the beginning of May.
Rector’s Q & A
There were no new questions raised via the Parent Council for the Rector. Please email Margaret at email@example.com if you have any questions you would like answered.
Our Key Priorities within the School Improvement Plan (SIP)
Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce (DYW) – follow us @PHS_DYW
The school continues to be involved in many exciting initiatives, each seeking to contextualise how learning in the classroom directly affects the skills needed after school. Staff have been involved in coordinating various events over the past three months, or are currently working on the following;
- CITB Building futures event
Mr Whatley led fifteen S3 pupils to the CITB “Building futures” event at Borders College. For pupils interested in exploring careers in the trades, the event provided an opportunity to find out more about what is involved.
Pupils in S6 spent an afternoon in a range of workshops specifically chosen by them to develop skills in a range of areas including mock interviews and assessment centres, CV writing, personal finance, how to be your own boss and managing your online profile.
- The Royal Marines Education Awareness team (RMET)
Fifty pupils in S4 attended workshops with Mike Beaton from the RMET. The event sought to highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a positive approach and strong work ethic for a range of careers post school.
- Royal Highland Educational Trust (RHET) Food and Farming day
Mrs Gess led twenty five pupils from S2&S3 to the RHET Food and Farming day. Pupils experienced an introduction to the wide variety of career opportunities within the food and farming sector.
All pupils in S3 were involved in our STEM day. Working with partners EDT, PPMA best and local business Evolution – Bottling and Packaging solutions, careers across a broad range of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths were highlighted and pupils undertook a range of challenging activities testing their STEM problem solving and creativity skills
- Resilient Communities day
Twenty one S3 pupils are working with Mrs Geddes to plan an event for all pupils in S3. To date, the planning group have visited “the Bunker” and Council HQ and are putting final touches to a day where pupils will learn about how emergency services and community groups work together, communicate and respond to a crisis.
Up to thirty pupils in S2 will have the opportunity to attend an event run during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2018. It aims to raise general awareness of the ‘family’ of apprenticeships that Borders College are involved with and encourage the uptake by both students and employers.
- RHET Food and Farming day
All pupils in S2 will attend an event run in school by the Royal Highland Educational trust. Building on the event held earlier in the year, students will meet experts in the rural sector, and will have the opportunity to see how many different careers are involved in the production of our food. Fourteen different workshops will be delivered by experts in the rural sector and cover a wide range of industries involved in farming, food production, research and development.
All pupils in S3 will seek to undertake work experience during the month of May. Pastoral staff are currently working with pupils in PSE to identify, arrange and plan for a week long work experience where pupils will have the chance to practise many of the skills and qualities developed in the many other events they have been involved in.
Improving Health and Wellbeing
Our January PC meeting focused on this subject.
Donna Moretta began by explaining that the school will always provide the initial support needed by any distressed pupil. Moving forward, they aim to help build resilience and teach about strategies which students can use to help them keep a ‘good mental health’. Part of this will also be about educating pupils regarding what is a normal reality (eg busy times, sadness and stress) and what are more serious mental health issues.
Terry McColm introduced the new ‘Growing in Confidence Programme’. It has already been run in some Edinburgh schools for 10 years and looks at the challenges faced in teenage years along with the strategies to help young people through these challenges. Of key importance is keeping busy, physically active and talking.
S2 pupils will be the first to receive the full programme (starting Feb18) which will continue throughout their school life.
All staff have already received training sessions on the programme. They are now offering this learning opportunity to parents with 4 sessions taking place on 7th, 13th, 19th and 27th March starting at 6pm.
The PC encourage as many parents as possible to attend these sessions.
A number of other activities to improve mental health are also starting up within the school. You can read about these and other matters relating to Mental Health and Well-Being in our January PC minutes here http://peebleshighschool.org.uk/parent-zone/parent-council/pc-minutes/
Pupil Equity Funding
All Scottish state schools have been allocated with a fund for each pupil in receipt of a free school meal in S1-S3 in order to raise attainment in literacy, numeracy and improve health and well-being. Scottish Borders Council has instructed the school that this fund should also be used to support pupils who are in care.
This year a working group of parents, pupils and staff was formed to decide how best to support the PEF group. After a rigorous analysis of the groups needs, it was decided that the following actions should be taken
- Targeted support in Success at Arithmetic programme. This will involve extraction of pupils from class four times per week. Three 15 minute sessions and one 30 minute session.
- Targeted support in Reading Recovery Scheme. This would involve extraction of pupils from class one period per week.
- Appointment of an Additional Needs Assistant with experience of supporting Maths.
- Appointment of a Learning Support Teacher to deliver Reading Recovery Scheme
- Purchase of software: Progress in Math’s, Progress in English and Pupil Attitude to School and Self program to establish baseline in literacy, numeracy and health and well-being and future evidence of progress.
- Purchase of laptops to ensure equal access to Bring Your Own Device policy for PEF cohort.
PHS has now appointed Ms H Hayes to the position of ANA to support Numeracy. Purchase of Laptops and software is almost completed, awaiting approval from HQ.
Learning and Teaching
Learning Passports Launched
The new term saw the introduction of the Learning Passport pilot project for all S1 and S5 learners. Developed by pupils, staff and parents, the project aims to help learners get more out of their Personal Support Learning Conversations by recording reflections on wider achievements, skills development and subject learning in their Learning Passports. Personal Support Tutors have access to more information to support learners in identifying general and subject-specific learning strategies to set meaningful learning targets.
Increasingly used in a wide range of careers, reflective learning logs have been shown to improve motivation, improve self-organisation, improve relationships with teachers and increase achievement.
SQA Personal Development Award
As part of this year’s school improvement plan we are looking to improve the engagement and achievement for some of our young people in S3 who have been identified through our tracking and monitoring report as facing challenges with their effort, behaviour and progress. Between January and May this group of students will be taken off their timetables classes for one day a week and given the opportunity to complete the SQA Personal Development Award. This award is made up of 4 units each one will last 4 weeks and together they are the equivalent of a National 4 qualification.
The units are
- Self-Awareness – planning an outdoor activity for Health week.
- Self in Community – volunteering or supporting a local charity.
- Self and work- placement for work experience.
- Practical Abilities – how to service a car.
Have Your Say!
Please feel free to send us, as your parent representatives, any questions you would like raised with the school either at Parent Council meetings or via the Rector’s Q & A section and we will aim to get as many answers as possible to you. Contact Margaret Hogg with your questions via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also encourage you to come along to all future Parent Council meetings to have your voice heard.
PHS Parent Council, PTA, PHS200, PHS Lottery and Learning Support PHS