March 2017

Parent Group Updates

Parent Council

Minutes from last Parent Council meeting –

The next Parents Council meeting is on Monday 27th March in the Sports Centre at 7.00pm.    Every PHS parent is welcome to attend.

The main focus of this meeting will be on the Pastoral issues of self-esteem and peer pressure and how these link with make-up and uniform policy.  –


The PTA provided a raffle and refreshments at the Spring Concert on 22nd March.  Thank you to everyone who baked, volunteered, purchased raffle tickets or enjoyed something from the refreshment stand. 

If you have any fundraising ideas please contact Michael Pryor or Lisa Houston Email


This month phs200 priorities have been focused on developing the new website which is currently going into final stages. Many thanks for all his computer wizardry to Simon Fraser for the major design work. This has now been shared and revised by Margaret Hogg (PC) and Lisa Houston (PTA) and Lisa has kindly offered to continue to support the final stages of design. This is a significant saving to the school and normally would cost thousands to commission externally.

In addition, we have been tasked with looking into supporting noise minimisation for hard of hearing students by deadening the noise in the dining room (including curtains, sound absorbing panels etc.) This may help too at parents’ evenings where the noise is significant. The PTA have submitted an application for funding from the Tesco Bags of Help Programme and we will be in touch when we need further hands-on support from parents.

PHS 200 Club

PHS200 are delighted to report that the 200 club was able to contribute to purchasing a new Kiln for the Art department which broke down irreparably just before the exam period. Many thanks to all parents who have contributed to the 200 club – this was an unexpected problem and we are delighted that the students will be able to continue with work for exams as well as all other years who study art. Please contact the school if you would like to join for only £2 a month and you can enter our free prize draw!


LS PHS is a parents group that offers a support network for parents and carers of children with Additional Needs, and fundraises for the Additional Needs department. We’d love to welcome new members and helpers (Additional Needs children at the school not a prerequisite!). To get in touch:

Progress on our Key Priorities within the School Plan

Tracking and Monitoring

As we approach the end of the T&M calendar we are looking towards evaluating this pilot year.  Senior Management have carried out focus groups with senior students gathering their views on the worth of the new reports, the quality and frequency of staff interventions, the availability of support and steps to be taken to improve the system. The students responses add to the body of evaluative information and are also instrumental in helping shape the questions for the forthcoming survey to staff and parents. This is due to be completed by the end of April.

Developing Scotlands Young Workforce (DYW)- follow us @PHS_DYW

Resilient Communities

There has been very significant developments with Peebles high School engagement with the DYW agenda. On Tuesday 28th Feb all S3 Pupils were involved in a Resilient Communities Event at PHS. The day aimed to develop effective contributors, promote the value of community and progress the Developing the Young Workforce initiative by providing students with a series of challenges led by emergency services, resilient community leaders and other support agencies.

Each student participated in seven 25 minutes events including:

  • CPR and use of defibrillators (Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service)
  • What to do at the scene of an accident (Police Scotland)
  • First Aid and Splinting (Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue)
  • Emergency Planning Scenarios (Scottish Borders Council Emergency Planning Officers)
  • Establishing a Youth Volunteers Group (Peebles Resilient Communities Group)
  • Emergency Response (Salvation Army)

The event, broadcast by Borders Television received great praise from councillors, participants and students:

“It was great to see the pupils and staff engaging so well on what is a very important subject. I was very impressed with the event” Councillor Keith Cockburn

“learned about locations of defibrillators in Peebles, so handy knowledge!”  S3 Pupil

“I now know what to do in a flood situation” S3 Pupil

“I am now aware of difficult situations elderly people face during winter.”  S3 Pupil

“It would have been nice to have been able to have gone through all the activities, but overall an insightful and fab day! Thanks to everyone who made it happen.” S3 Pupil


Women into Construction

On the 7th of March 14, S4 girls attended the Women into Construction event at Borders College.

The group heard stories from industry insiders, spanning a range of career options from joinery and painting to architecture and civil engineering.

The educational event was held by the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, between Monday, March 6 to Friday, March 10.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, delivered a talk to the girls. She emphasised the importance of the event in light of the fact that women are still vastly under-represented within the construction industry.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Youth Engagement

On the 14th of March seven senior students graduated from the Scottish Fire and Rescues Youth Engagement Programme. The event held at Galashiels fire station was attended by representatives from the emergency services, SBC councillors, educationalists and parents who all had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand the impact the project has had on the young people.

“Working with the young people from Peebles High School has been an exciting, emotive and humbling experience for all involved. To see the impact this initiative has had for the young people has been immeasurable. To witness the increase in confidence, self-awareness, and self-belief in the group over the six weeks we were privileged to spend with them was inspiring.  Young lives do matter”. Stephen Mitchell,Station Commander,Scottish Borders North

Work Experience

As part of Peebles High Schools’ commitment to the national initiative Developing the Young Workforce we have reintroduced the work placement scheme for S3 pupils between 8th May-2nd June.  During this time, S3 students who choose to take up this opportunity are treated as young employees of the organisation and can try a range of tasks or duties and find out about the skills and attitudes that employers are looking for.  This experience helps many pupils think positively about the qualities that they may need to develop, and about careers they may be interested in.

During a special assembly all S3 pupils were informed about the worth of placements and were issued with usernames and passwords for the WorkIT system where they can book prearranged places. However, the majority of placements will be self-found. Much more information including a comprehensive PowerPoint and copies of essential paperwork can be found in the news section of the school website.

Personal Support

All young people are being surveyed at the moment.  The school devoted their last inset day to Personal Support and the feedback from the staff survey formed the basis of this.  They discussed positive outcomes from the initiative, explored examples of good practice in terms of learning conversations, identified how to help young people set targets for themselves and had a guest speaker give a refresher in coaching skills.  The school has started to look at what the classroom experience is like for young people and how to develop this as the initiative rolls out.

Poverty Proofing the School

Works continues to gather better information about the cost of being a student at PHS, which is something of a challenge as the experience of each young person is different, depending on courses chosen among other factors.  This will give the Group a firm basis on which to build.  The Uniform swap shop is now up and running and work continues to implement initiatives around provision of a print room and taking the school towards being ‘cashless’.  Also being considered are criteria that would be used to assess the case for provision of financial support for school trips.

SBC Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Strategy Presentation

SBC held a meeting on CSE in the school on 21st February.  This meeting was aimed at providing parents with information on the different ways your child can be exploited and how to be more aware of what your children are up to, who they are texting etc.  SBC are looking for feedback on how they can best inform parents and children about keeping safe.

Rector’s Q & A

I was disappointed not to be able to get appointment slots with all my child’s teachers at Parents’ Night. Why are some teachers not able to see all the pupils in their class and what should I do if I can’t get an appointment?

Occasionally teachers will have more than one class from a year group. This is far more common in RMPS S1-S3 classes but can happen in any subject. This means that the teacher may not be able to meet the parents of all of their students who wish an appointment within the scope of the evening. Whenever this happens, and a parent is keen to speak to a member of staff that they have not been able to see on the night, we encourage parents to let us know who they have missed and we can follow up in several ways: arrange a phone call between parent and staff member; ask the member of staff to provide a written update of how the student is progressing; or help to co-ordinate a meeting outwith the scope of the Parents’ Evening, ensuring the member of staff is given appropriate time to do so. Every state school in Scotland agrees their own Working Time Agreement (WTA) with staff based on national guidelines. At PHS our recent WTAs have protected 30 hours per year for Parents’ Evenings (most schools protect 25-30 hours).

Why do we not get a written report about our child’s progress?  This would have really helped us to support our child in making her subject choices.

The new Tracking, Monitoring and Reporting system piloted this year has valued frequency and regularity of feedback over written comments and this has elicited both positive and negative feedback that is part of a wider review. We have worked hard to give significant supports to young people making their choices this year. Every child making a choice this year was given a 1 -1 interview with their pastoral teacher and parents were supported with an information evening for each year group as well as ensuring ParentsEvenings were positioned prior to choice points. All parents of S3 students were also offered a 1 to 1 meeting with a promoted member of staff to discuss choices in more depth. Please contact the school if you are worried that the choices made may not be right for your child and we can work with you to get the best outcome.

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

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.

(March 2017)

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