Parents’ E-Bulletin – October 2017
Welcome to our October parents’ e-bulletin.
New School Website
We hope that you are making good use of the new school website peebleshighschool.org.uk
We would like to draw your attention to a new feature on the website – the daily school bulletin. If you haven’t already seen it, follow this link: http://peebleshighschool.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/bulletin/today.pdf
We hope that both parents and pupils will find this useful. Thanks to parent Simon Fraser from phs200 for his continued and daily support in posting the bulletin. In addition, we would like to thank Simon for his work in setting up the section “Supporting Students in the Senior Phase” on the website, following the recent parents meeting, see link for details: http://peebleshighschool.org.uk/parent-zone/support-a-young-person/
Parent Group Updates
We were pleased to have a fantastic turnout at our last PC meeting, including some new S1 parents. At the meeting we spent some time looking at the new School Improvement Plan (SIP) along with various topics raised by parents and the results from the exams in May. The minutes of our meeting can be found here :- http://www.peebleshighschool.co.uk/support/pc-minutes
Our next PC meeting is on Tuesday 24th October at 7pm in the Sports Centre meeting room. Please look out for the agenda for this meeting on the PHS Parents Facebook page.
Refreshments were served on 11th September at the German Exchange Concert raising £72.63 for the PTA. Huge thanks to all the PTA volunteers for making this possible.
Refreshments were also served on 18th September at a Developing the Young Workforce presentation. This was not a fundraiser for the PTA. Thanks again to the PTA volunteers.
If you have any fundraising ideas please contact Michael Pryor or Lisa Houston Email email@example.com
We have been involved in planning this year’s Careers Event along with Ms Gess (PT Pastoral, DYW). The date is Thursday 2nd November (evening) open to S1-S6. We are looking for ALL parent volunteers who are willing to join us and share their work experiences with students. (See later under SIP for more details). If you can help, email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be a regular feature in the e-bulletin for the next few months. Thanks to all the members of our new team who have worked on this.
We were also involved in attending the Apprenticeship workshop on 18th Sept as we intend to include this in the Careers evening too. Our thanks for the help received from Andrea Hall (our former Business Manager) in her new role in DYW Borders.
Acoustics in dining hall – now that we have received our funding from Tesco Bags of Life, we are getting technical help on the way to minimise sound. This has included working with the Physics department which turns out could become part of a project for Advanced Higher students. Many thanks also to parent Alison Graham and Mr. Campbell in the physics department for supporting us.
Supporting the German exchange – parents were involved in organising the food for the end of term ceilidh buffet for 120 people! This was a great event and PHS200 was most grateful to the help on the night from Elodie Sellar and Katrina Culshaw, all parents who donated food and especially the Music department for all the work they put in to make it such a great week.
Pupil Passport: Following involvement last year with tracking and monitoring, we have been involved in requests to support the next evolution of this. (See SIP).
PHS 200 Club
This lottery is open to all parents and has been supported for 6 years by Lucy Maclennan and over the last year by Laura Robertson. Our thanks to them for their help in training and advising our new team. Good Luck to Viv Leckie and Kirstin Worsley who will lead on this from now on! PHS200 will continue to offer marketing support to this great fundraiser for the school.
The winners of June’s quarterly draw were:
- 1st £100 – Ronan Toolis
- 2nd £50 – Catherine Forman
- 3rd £25 – Alison Caw
The winners of September’s quarterly draw were:
- 1st £100 – Cathie Todd
- 2nd £50 – Celia Cameron
- 3rd £25 – Alison Renwick
We currently have approximately 200 members in the 200 club. If you would like to join the club, please visit http://www.peebleshighschool.co.uk/support/200-club
LSPHS will be hosting a Craft and Christmas Coffee Morning at the Peebles Ex Servicemen’ club on Saturday 9th December. We are looking for donations for our raffle, along with helpers on the day. To help us raise money for the Additional Needs Department of Peebles High School, please drop a line to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rector’s Q & A
- Is it possible for the school to provide paper homework diaries?
We currently do not provided homework diaries to learners but pupils are welcome to use one if they want. Homework diaries cost approximately £2 each. The cost to the school to provide homework diaries for all learners is in the region of £2500 per annum. This is not a sustainable annual cost and is financially prohibitive. In lieu of homework diaries, we have an electronic homework planner, called ShowMyHomework, which pupils and parents can use to check assigned homework. There is a calendar overview of all assigned homework in the school, this can be further filtered by individual teacher, subject, class etc. Parents and learners have been provided with log in details so that they can access their personal homework. ShowMyHomework has created a popular app that can be downloaded and installed on mobile devices and tablets. Please ask your child for a copy of the letter or contact the school reception.
If your child wises to use a paper diary that of course is their choice however we believe that by encouraging pupils to engage with technology in a constructive way we better prepare them for the world of work. It is true that many professionals work entirely paper free, something that will become increasingly more common throughout the lives of our young people as we move towards reducing our carbon footprint.
If you would like to get further involved why not join The Parent Council who have now set up a Homework Subgroup to look at the whole topic of homework in greater detail.
- My child finds “dress-down days” stressful. Is it possible to restrict the frequency of these days?
We have not had a dress down day this year at PHS and currently have no plans for one but it is true that inevitably we will. These days are largely enjoyed and can raise money for charity and equity projects however careful consideration is given to the number of fundraising/charity activities that the school is involved in each year. Last year the poverty proofing group did negotiate with the Rector that payments for these days would be voluntary but this does not deal with all of the pressures of these events. Any child that finds this or any other aspect of school life stressful should talk to their guidance teacher and we will do our best to help them enjoy this part of school life.
- Can anything be done to reduce the time spent in dinner queues and ordering school dinners?
We are lucky to have a great team of canteen staff that manages to provide for our students and staff a variety of meals at break and lunch and serve everyone on most days within 25mins of lunch starting. However we, like all schools, are constantly trying to reduce the time our young people are queuing. One alternative to queuing in the Canteen or Snack Shack at the back of school is the ‘Grab and Go’ system which enables a pupil to pre order their meal and collect this from the assembly hall at the start of lunch. This is a popular option and to cope with demand a new ordering machine is being placed in the school in the next few weeks.
Our Key Priorities within the School Improvement Plan (SIP)
You may be aware that annually the school produces a plan called the School Improvement Plan (or SIP) which states the school’s priorities for the year ahead.
The parent groups have met with Interim Rector Paul Fagan to look at this plan and decide where we can best support the school, in partnership, to deliver these objectives. The following areas have been highlighted and we are already working together with the school on these priorities.
Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce (DYW) – follow us @PHS_DYW
The aims here are to improve employability skills and ensure all pupils achieve a positive school leaver destination.
As discussed in the phs200 section, the Careers Event will be on the evening of the 2nd November and is open to all S1-S6 for the first time. We hope to include break out groups for Additional Needs, College Applications, Apprenticeships and Personal Statements if enough volunteers come forward. This is an exhibition style event and links to the wider program of Developing Young Workforce. This program provides support for students in order to help them gain a great place after school. Additionally, it helps with subject selection in S1, S3 and S5 and assists with applications for volunteering, work experience, apprenticeships, jobs, college and university. We are also looking for former students to come this year – again offering up to date experiences of courses. Please ask siblings if they would come on the night – this is a great asset for our students.
Parents are supporting the creation and design of a Pupil Passport. This is being led by Mrs. Veronica Boyd (PT) who is leading a working group to design a document that can record everything from academic achievements and goals, coaching sessions in personal support to work and volunteering experiences. The aim is to collate evidence to help students work more effectively in their studies but can also be used to help write CVs and applications further down the line. This will now also link to the tracking and monitoring project below as it is an umbrella initiative across DYW and The Supporting Learning Conversations priority (again see below).
Improving Health and Wellbeing
We believe that good mental health and wellbeing is essential for the successful learning, happiness and preparation for independent living for all our young people.
The Poverty Proofing Working Group which includes the PTA Chair Michael Pryor and Depute Rector Jeremy Lee will continue to look at how they can reduce the effects of low income on the education of young people. For more info, see our latest PC minutes.
Supporting Learning Conversations
The school would like to develop a system which combines the existing tracking, monitoring and reporting system with pupil/teacher conversations and personal support learning conversations. Margaret Hogg , PC Chair, will assist Depute Rectors Justin Noon and Donna Moretta in working out the best way to achieve this.
The Parents Council would like to fund a new school sign at the entrance to the school grounds. We are looking for parents who have expertise in designing and producing signs who may be able to help us. If you can help in any way, please contact Margaret at email@example.com
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.
Peebles High Parent Groups –
Parent Council, PTA, phs200, Learning Support PHS, 200 club.