Headteachers’ Newsletter – April 2021

After another extended period of time away from the building as a result of the most recent lockdown, it has been fantastic to welcome everyone back to school.  As we begin the third week of the new term, I would like to both thank and congratulate our young people for the way in which they have conducted themselves since the return to school.

It is important as we progress through this term, that each and every one of us remain vigilant and continue to carry out the required steps to keep ourselves and each other safe. We have all played a vital role in reducing the number of infections within Dumfries and Galloway, but it is equally important that we continue to be cautious as restrictions ease over the coming weeks.

S4/5/6 Assessments

As of Monday 26 April and for a period of seven weeks, pupils in S4/5/6 undertaking National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will begin a series of assessments within subject classes. Performance within these assessments will help to determine the provisional grade that is put forward to SQA to enable certification to take place this year.

During morning registration in recent days, pupils across all year groups have been reminded about the importance of moving from lesson to lesson quickly and quietly, being mindful of where and when assessments are taking place. As we all know, these are incredibly important assessments and pupil misbehaviour impacting on how these are undertaken will be severely dealt with.

Please reinforce the standards and expectations that we have as a school regarding behaviour generally, but especially during this important period of assessment for our senior phase pupils.

If a change of presentation level is required to be made over the coming weeks, staff will speak with a pupil directly and parents/carers will receive a letter from the relevant Principle Teacher Curriculum detailing specific changes. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss any issues should you need to do so.

May Day Holiday

A quick reminder that Monday 3 May is a holiday and as such school will be closed to pupils and staff.

Additional In-Service Days (Secondary Schools Only)

Following the Scottish Government’s instruction that two additional in-service days should be allocated to secondary schools, please note that all Dumfries and Galloway secondary schools will be closed to pupils on Friday 14 May and Friday 11 June. The purpose of these days is to allow for the planning and moderating of ‘Alternative Certification Model’ assessments to be undertaken.

Physics Geneva Trip 2021

Following the cancellation of this trip earlier in the school year, we have been in regular contact with the local authority and insurers to reclaim the deposits paid by all parents/carers. It has taken much longer than I would have hoped to reclaim this money, but I am pleased to announce that we received confirmation on Friday that the money will be with us this week. We will contact parents/carers in due course to ensure refunds are paid directly into back accounts as soon as possible.

Once again, apologies for the delay with these refunds, but we were very much at the mercy of the insurance company.

S1 Science Trip Refunds

All refunds from last year’s S1 Science trip (pupils now in S2) have been repaid. We had hoped to run the trip this year, but given the ongoing uncertainty about school trips generally a decision was made to cancel the trip altogether.

Refunds have been paid directly into the bank accounts of parents/carers. Please contact the main office if there have been issues with this in any way.

Litter in the Community/Anti-Social Behaviour

Even at this early stage of the term following our return to school, it has been brought to my attention that a minority of our pupils have fallen short of the standards we expect at various times of the day including before school, lunchtime and after school.

Please remind your child/children of their role as a responsible citizen when in and around the Dumfries High School community and beyond. The irresponsible behaviours of a small minority unfortunately reflect on us all and is not in keeping with our school value of ‘Respect’.

Police Scotland and the Community Warden Team will deal with incidents on an individual basis as they are reported and appropriate sanctions taken.

As a reminder, please note that S1 pupils are not permitted to leave the school grounds during lunch.

Change of Timetable

With the ‘Alternative Certification Model’ in place as a result of SQA exams being cancelled once again, it is necessary to slightly delay the change of timetable for this year.  Therefore, all year groups will move forward and pupils begin their new school timetable as of Monday 14 June. This will allow two weeks of learning to take place with new subjects and teachers prior to the end of term on Friday 25 June.

Uniform

With your help, we have worked hard to improve the standards of uniform within Dumfries High School in recent years. This is important as it underpins a culture of achievement and success for all of our young people.

If you would like help or support with purchasing items of school uniform, please do not hesitate to contact the main office. We have a supply of school uniform items that we can allow pupils to borrow for a short time while new items are purchased at home when required.

The following link can be accessed to provide financial assistance to purchase uniform items also:

http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15246/School-clothing-grants.

Email Communications

The majority of communications from Dumfries High School are now electronic and as such it is vital that your email address details are accurate and up-to-date. If the main parent/carer email communication address for your child has changed recently or you think there may be an issue resulting in you not receiving information, please confirm the correct email address by sending it to: gw08officedumfries@ea.dumgal.sch.uk. Please include the name of your child in the email.

The term ahead will be busy for pupils, parents and staff alike. It is important that all pupils continue to demonstrate a positive attitude towards their learning and give their best at all times to enable them to finish the school year off in the best possible way.

As always, thank you for your support. Best wishes.