December 2016

Welcome to our December parents’ e-bulletin.

Ever wondered what is going on and what all these parent groups achieve? Want to have a chance to have YOUR views heard? Once again it’s all here in this month’s e-bulletin, read on for information on report cards, parents evenings, school funds, careers and ALL your questions answered by Mr Wilson – we hope it is useful to everyone!

Parent Group Updates

Parent Council

Minutes from last Parent Council meeting 

The next Parents Council meeting is on Tuesday 6th December in the Sports Centre at 7.00pm –
http://www.peebleshighschool.co.uk/support/parent-council

PTA

The PTA stall at the Bridge Christmas Market (Sat 19 Nov) was well supported and raised £126.30. Thank you to everyone who donated items for us to sell and to the volunteers who ran the stall on the day.
The PTA are providing refreshments and a raffle at the Christmas Concert on Wednesday 14th December. We are looking for volunteers to help set up and serve (6pm set up). Please contact peebleshighschoolpta@gmail.com if you are able to help.
The senior students have asked for help serving refreshments (6pm set up) at the School Show (Grease) on Monday 19th, Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st December. Please contact
peebleshighschoolpta@gmail.com if you are able to help.

PHS200

Thanks to phs200 and all staff and volunteers for their tremendous efforts again at the career event in November- look out for future support required for advisory boards and new careers corridor.
(see DYW for more information below).

PHS 200 Club

The objective of the 200 Club is to raise essential funds for PHS. It is a donation scheme of £2 (minimum) per month and offers the subscriber a quarterly chance of winning £100, £50 or £25 with the remainder going directly into school funds. This money is used to enhance our children’s education by providing materials, equipment, floodlights, musical instruments, funding towards S1 Residential and more. The next quarterly 200 Club draw will be made in December. For more information on the 200 Club please visit here.

LSPHS

Introducing LSPHS (Learning Support @ Peebles High School) – “Enabling every child to reach their full potential”
Coming together to fundraise for our children’s benefit We are the Learning Support @ Peebles High School (LS PHS) – a small group of parents set up in August 2015.
Our main goal is to fundraise on behalf of the Additional Needs Department, and ultimately to promote the full integration of young persons with additional needs in the High School, and in the wider community.
£4,000 raised in our 1st year In our first year, we have raised around £4,000. Recent department purchases funded by LSPHS include:

  • A big pile of LEGO – to help promote social interactions through small groups
  • A smart screen projector – for the complex needs department – essential to ensure lessons are
    fun and engaging
  • The refurbishment of the school’s memorial garden
  • Outdoor equipment to create quiet spaces

Please support our Christmas Coffee and Craft Fair morning Ex-Servicemens in Peebles on December 10th, 10-12, entrance £1, cakes and candy, craft stalls,
Music by PHS students

Progress on our Key Priorities within the School Plan

Tracking and Monitoring

Mr Noon (Depute Rector) presented to the PC on the significant progress to date on this. This included more frequent reporting, (i.e. this year students can expect 1 early “settling in report”, then a parents night followed by 2 more tracking reports ( 3 for seniors) and a new format to parents’ evenings. He also led a discussion on the type of interventions followed up by staff as a result of these reports including the role of guidance. Going forward, once most parents’ evenings have been held for this session, it is planned to survey parents, staff and students on the impact of these changes. NB: The change from a detailed report to more frequent tracking reports is intended to alert all stakeholders when a problem in learning exists so everyone is aware of issues earlier and interventions can be planned. This is an interim solution and the school will continue to work with parents on the next step which includes working on the content of learning conversations between teachers and students. Parents were keen to see what is discussed at these meetings as well as Personal Support conversations and how this can be recorded eg in a log. (Please see Parent Council Minutes for more detailed information – http://www.peebleshighschool.co.uk/support/pc-minutes

Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce – follow us @PHS_DYW
Firstly, thank you to over 80 volunteers who gave their time to educate and inspire approx.250 S3-S6 students at the 2016 Career Fair. Students had access to a wide range of careers including apprenticeships, college or degree options to help them in either subject choice or further and higher education.
We are also grateful to My world of Work, Borders College, Queen Margaret University, the support offered for CVs etc. by Louise Bell and Ryan MacDonald for his talk on “Portfolio Careers”. Thanks to phs200 for their efforts again to pulling this off and the dedication of Mr Fagan and all the staff at the school.
Next steps, the school is working on a Peebles DYW advisory board which will support plans for work experience, interview skills training and CV writing. Ongoing work on careers advice will continue and we can update you next time on progress. A video on the night sponsored by Holland and Sherry will give ongoing training to staff. In the meantime please follow @PHS_DYW on twitter for advice on jobs, UCAS, colleges, apprenticeships and all other useful information on life after school.
Stephen Leith, Regional DYWF Officer, is coming to give a presentation at the next PC meeting Please reply to phspc@outlook.com if you are not sure how to use twitter and we can support you.

Personal Support

Personal Support has been operating now for a couple of months and all children should have received at least one 1:1 session with their Personal Support teacher. It is still early days but the school is currently in the process of surveying teaching staff for their feedback and the intention is to survey a subset of pupils in the spring and parents in May. The information gathered from these will
be used to inform the process going forward.

Poverty Proofing the School

The working group, headed by the PTA Chair and Depute Rector Jeremy Lee is currently focusing on gathering information on the ‘cost’ of being a student at Peebles. We are looking at charges raised by departments for materials, the cost of trips and sporting events and other calls on parents and carers for financial contribution towards materials, uniform etc. Alongside this a letter was recently sent out to parents providing more information about financial support that can be claimed and how to go about doing this.

Scottish Government’s Governance Review

The Scottish Government is currently looking at how education is run in Scotland and are asking for your feedback on this very important subject. There is a document called “Empowering teachers, parents and communities to achieve Excellence and Equity in Education – A Government Review” which includes 17 questions to answer and the Parents Council would encourage you to look at this and give your feedback on the proposals.
To give you an idea about the scale of this review, here are some quotations from the above document:
We are seeking your views on how education -from early years through to secondary school – is run including, who should take decisions in relation to the education of children and young people and how the funding of education can be made fairer. We know that teachers and practitioners need support to do their jobs and that they need opportunities for high quality professional development.
The governance review also seeks your views on how this can be improved.
We want to empower our teachers and early years workers to make the best decisions for children and young people. We believe that decisions about children’s learning and school life should be taken at school level, supported by parents and the local community.
This review is seeking your views on how education – from early years to secondary schools – is run to ensure that it delivers excellence and equity for all children and young people.
This link http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00505633.pdf will give you the information on the proposals and how to respond. You can complete the questionnaire on-line and you do not need to answer every question. The deadline for responses is 6 January 2017.
Please feel free to send your responses directly to the Scottish Government. However the Parents Council will also submit a formal response and would be interested to hear your views. Please send them to phspc@outlook.com by 12th December. We shall also be discussing this at the Parents Council Meeting on 6 December.

Rector’s Q & A

The following questions were raised at the September meeting

  1. Can we review the current curriculum structure?
    A subgroup has been set up to look at the current curriculum structure and how we could make it
    more flexible within the framework set by SBC and Curriculum for Excellence.
  2. Can we improve the general conversational language of Modern Language students through
    language clubs?
    The school are currently looking at this possibility.
  3. Will the school support a Young Engineers Club?
    At present there isn’t a Young Engineers Club at the school. At the September Parent Council
    meeting all agreed the new Socialize Technology Club, which takes place fortnightly at West Linton
    Primary School, on Friday evenings, could work as an ‘outpost’ of the Peebles High School Young
    Engineers club.
    The First Lego League club has eight pupils who are entered into the competition which takes place
    on Saturday 3rd December at Murray House, University of Edinburgh. Once the competition is over
    the group will cease to function until next August, when next season’s competition is announced.
  4. Can we reduce queues for ordering Grab and Go and for school dinners?
    We are currently looking at ways in which we could improve pre-ordering of Grab and Go and also
    the possibility of obtaining an additional ordering machine.
  5. Can we improve facilities provided for non-contact periods?
    Students can currently make use of CDT1, LRC (when available) and the Dining Hall. The Assembly
    Hall will be available for senior students around exam time and S6 students have access to tutor
    rooms throughout the school. We will continue to monitor the situation.
  6. Can the school explain how prefects are selected?
    The process this year was fairly complex and involved a combination of number of votes by students
    and staff along with the record of duties completed. There were also 9 faculty prefects, with one
    prefect selected by each faculty based on their dedication to the subject and support of others in
    that subject. A good record of general behaviour and positive attitude was also a requirement. The
    process will be reviewed and communicated to students in advance of next year’s selection.
  7. What is the school uniform policy?
    You should recently have received a letter from the school on this subject. The school uniform
    policy can be accessed here http://www.peebleshighschool.co.uk/handbook/policies
  8. What is the school policy on homework/assignments during holidays?
    In general, the policy is – for S1-S3, no homework should be set over holidays, for S4-S6 – homework
    can be set over holidays but with some extra days either side of the holiday to allow some flexibility.
    The topic of homework will be on the agenda for our next PC meeting on 6 December.
  9. What is the school’s Reward and Recognition Policy?
    This is something that is being looked at within the whole Tracking and Monitoring topic.
  10. Can we improve the use of Show My Homework?
    Hopefully, Yes! We will be discussing this at the next Parents Council meeting on 6 December.

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 this 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 phspc@outlook.com.
We also encourage you to come along to all future Parent Council meetings to have your voice heard.
Best wishes
Peebles High Parent Groups –
Parent Council, PTA, phs200, Learning Support PHS, 200 club.
(Dec 2016)

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