Headteachers’ Newsletter – May 2020

As I write to you, it remains unclear as to when pupils and staff will be returning to school following this period of ‘lockdown’. I would however like to take this opportunity to thank all staff, pupils and parents/carers for the significant efforts that we are all demonstrating to try and give as much continuity to pupil learning as possible under the most difficult of circumstances.

Change of Timetable

The timetable for new S4/5/6 classes will begin on Monday 18 May.  This relates to pupils who are currently in the S3/4/5 year groups who will move forward a stage and begin to study subjects they recently selected as part of the options process in February and March. Details about work that pupils can undertake in preparation of beginning new courses has been emailed to all parents/carers and I would ask for your support to ensure all pupils are working through this prior to Monday 18 May.

A separate email will be sent to parents/carers next week confirming the subjects that your child will be studying as part of their new curriculum for the next academic year.  As distance/online learning will remain to be the main delivery method for courses, staff will be making contact with pupils directly when creating new ‘teams’ to exchange information and materials.

It is crucial that pupils are motivated, focused and engaged as they undertake new courses in S4/5/6; a good start to new certificated courses is important to set a foundation for the rest of the academic year.

All pupils in current S1 and S2 classes will remain with their teachers until Monday 1 June 2020 when the timetable will change for them also as planned.

S4/5/6 SQA Exams 2020

During the past few weeks, staff at Dumfries High School have been incredibly busy collating information to send to SQA for pupils in the senior phase who have undertaken National Qualifications this year.  Results for pupils will be issued on Tuesday 4 August.

S1 Reports

Reports for all pupils in the current first year cohort were scheduled to be issued on Friday 15 May.  These will now be issued in mid-June and reflect progress pupils have made up to the period of time when lockdown began.

School Trips/Events

I am delighted to announce that full refunds will be made available for all parents/carers who had paid money towards the S1 Paris trip. We are currently processing this and hope to return payments made as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, we have made the decision to cancel our school show ‘High School Musical’ this year. A huge amount of work has gone into getting the production to this stage with many pupils, staff and DHS partners coming together to help put on another fantastic show and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts to this point.

Junior Prizegiving and the S6 Prom have also been cancelled as a result of the current situation we find ourselves in. We hope to be able to rearrange these important events at a future date.

Duke of Edinburgh

The parents/carers of pupils in S3 who have been completing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award this year will have received communications from Miss Holmes and Mr Waugh in recent days.  The S3 group have worked incredibly hard throughout the year and it is important they finish off the required elements to be able to gain the Bronze Award.

Pupils will also have received an email directly and it vital that they reply to Miss Holmes and Mr Waugh. If any parent/carer has a query in relation to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, please contact Miss Holmes of Mr Waugh.

Safe Social Media

Whilst in isolation many of us have engaged far more than usual in the use of social media to help us feel connected with the outside world. This is especially true of many of our pupils who regularly go on-line to chat with friends. When in school, pupils are regularly reminded about the need to take care and be mindful whilst using social media; pupils must be appropriate at all times.

Could I please remind parents/carers to be vigilant and remind your child that should they receive any unkind or inappropriate communication they should tell you immediately and block the sender. If you are significantly concerned, please contact Police Scotland.

Pupil Achievements

Although we remain in lockdown, I am certain that many of our pupils have engaged in ways to support other family members, neighbours or members of their local community. We would very much like to hear about such examples so we can, as always, share and celebrate this with the wider community.

Examples could be playing instruments during the ‘Clap for Carers’ each Thursday evening, helping an elderly neighbour with shopping, cooking/baking efforts, dance moves or any other funny or unusual activities that have been attempted during lockdown; we would love to hear from you with a picture, film footage and a few short words that we can share.


School Contacts

During this period of uncertainty, it is important more than ever that parents/carers and pupils are able to keep in contact with staff at Dumfries High School. Various contact details are listed below to support families during these times:

Additional contacts if required: Childline: 0800 1111   Social Work: 030 33 33 3000

Please get in touch with the school if you have any queries at all about an aspect of school life as we continue in the current situation.  On behalf of the staff at Dumfries High School, I would like once again to extend the very best of wishes to every pupil and parent/carer within our community.

Take care and stay safe
Phil Cubbon