Professional Engagement Visit on Health and Wellbeing Wednesday 6th February
Our two visitors from Education Scotland spoke to the senior management team initially, then embarked on a series of meetings with individual staff holding responsibility for aspects of health and wellbeing in the school, two groups of other staff and two groups of pupils, several parents, and the Kitchen Supervisor.
Feedback at the end of the day to me was very positive. They felt the school knew its community, took very good care of pupils, including those who were most vulnerable, and was very aware of developments in health and wellbeing as laid down in arrangements for a Curriculum for Excellence. Staff were interested in their pupils and knew them well; our pupils liked being here and the younger ones looked forward to coming here and liked all the chances they had to be involved in different events. Pupils and parents knew who to contact if they needed support. They liked the variety of transition events which went beyond the traditional two day visits and handover of information. They felt the school had a strong ethos. There will be no formal individual report although their findings will be included in a document outlining good practice later on in the year.
Behaviour on buses
All schools in East Lothian have received a letter from the Transport section of East Lothian Council asking head teachers to remind pupils about the dangers of misbehaving on or near school buses. I thus remind pupils travelling on buses of the need to remain seated and not distract the driver at any time. Behaviour on the bus should be as good as in school, especially if pupils travel on a service bus shared with members of the public. Bus passes can be withdrawn temporarily or permanently for poor behaviour and we have done this in the past. For all other pupils, you are asked to be aware of moving vehicles at all times and this especially applies when you are crossing the road listening to music on headphones – make sure you look out for traffic.
Double yellow lines outside school
There have also been concerns expressed in the authority about parking near schools. The double yellow lines indicating no parking have been reinstated after resurfacing works at the turning circle outside the school. Please do not park in the circle – buses cannot manoeuvre safely to pick up passengers when cars are parked.
S2 reports and Parents Evening
Parents of pupils in S2 will now have received their S2 reports. I am very pleased with the vast majority of the reports, but do intend to see a number of pupils who are falling behind our expectations in terms of their effort, behaviour and academic progress. I am also sending out a letter of commendation to a number of pupils who are working and achieving very well indeed.
Our S4 pupils received their report cards in late January and should now be very clear about what they still have to do to improve their grades before the final examinations occur in May and June. This is a time of year when pupils will be pushing on with coursework in various subjects which must be completed to achieve a final award. Everyone should be aiming to hand in the best work he or she can manage. Revision classes are already running in many subjects and we plan to run Easter Revision classes as usual – but all pupils should already be revising their work, not leaving it until Easter, as work from S3 as well as S4 needs to be revised.
Champions at Musselburgh Grammar
The Champions in Schools programme has been very successful in all our secondary schools, but last week a session was spiced up by adding a cookery demonstration to the mix! Kris Gilchrist, Scottish Olympian and former world champion swimmer, visited Musselburgh Grammar to deliver a workshop to a group of enthusiastic S2 pupils. He was then joined by chef Steve Craik and the group joined in preparing (and enjoying) scotch beef fajitas, courtesy of Quality Meat Scotland. The visit was doubly successful as Steve was then invited to speak to a hospitality class about a career as a chef.
Mr Colin Parry OBE
We were privileged to host Mr. Colin Parry, OBE on Friday 1 February. Mr. Parry’s son Tim and three year old Jonathan Ball were victims of the fatal Warrington bombings in February 1993, with over fifty more injured. The event triggered a campaign for peace, with Mr and Mrs Parry working tirelessly to promote greater understanding between Britain and Northern Ireland. They set up a Peace Centre in the town and played an active role in the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, for which Mr Parry earned an OBE in 2004. Their centre challenges extremism and those who support acts of terrorism. They have travelled the world convincing politicians and youngsters to learn from their tragedy and help prevent further atrocities and challenge racism, in all its forms. An incredibly inspirational morning was had by students and teachers. Further information and a summary of the Q&A can be found at http://edubuzz.org/blogs/mgsmag/.
Congratulations to Sophie Bain S3 on her selection to attend the Scottish Golf Academy Development Centre where she will receive 30 hours of golf coaching and an additional 10 hours of non-technical coaching in the areas of fitness, nutrition, psychology etc. Also congratulations to Daniel Gaines S1 on finishing runner up and best handicap score at a recent Under 14 Scottish Junior Golf Tour event.
Talented footballer Lewis White in S4 has been attending Scottish football squad training sessions this year and will soon be travelling to Italy to participate in an international tournament for the A Squad – congratulations on this recognition.
Cluster Professional Engagement Visit
We have been notified that schools in the Musselburgh cluster, including ourselves, are to receive a Professional Engagement Visit on the topic of Health and Wellbeing from members of Education Scotland Inspectors and an Inspector of Nutrition will also attend. They will be in the school for one day in the week beginning 4th February. This is a new type of visit to schools and one that should be quite interesting to be part of. I expect them to talk to members of staff and to pupils and I have alerted the Parent Council chairpersons to the meeting. They are visiting clusters in several authorities in Scotland to discover good practice and good support for pupils.
Medicines and Medical attention
The secondary head teachers recently had informal discussions about how we handle medical issues in our schools. As a result, I think it would be helpful if I clarified a number of matters around medical matters for parents and pupils.
The blue mailshot book sent to all parents by post in September has a section on this, about what to do if your child has a serious medical condition which requires the storage of and access to prescription medicines. You need to complete the paperwork for this and send it to the school along with the medication in question. Mrs Harvey can then allow your child access to medication at the correct time of the day. Mrs Harvey is not a nurse or a pharmacist, but a qualified first aider. If she is absent from school, another qualified person steps into her role.
I think most parents are aware that the school’s medical room does not stock painkillers like aspirin or paracetamol for general pupil use, but I might not have mentioned this in a newsletter for some time. Mrs Harvey will thus not give out such painkillers if pupils have headaches. Parents may choose to allow their child to carry painkillers during the day if they wish, but the school will not hold them for the pupil. (If you do want your child to carry painkillers, we would suggest that it should not be routine, and we would advise any parent only to allow their child to carry one day’s supply of painkillers. It would be prudent to have discussed with them the time intervals between taking tablets and the importance of following advice about safe daily dosages.) We are however aware that some girls can struggle with bad period pains or some pupils struggle with migraines which might mean them being sent home regularly if they are unable to take medication. We would advise parents in this position to have a discussion with Guidance staff if extensive pain will affect attendance on a regular basis. If so, we think the best way forward on this is for the procedure for prescription medicines outlined above to apply.
I would like to remind once again the importance of parents keeping emergency contact numbers up to date. We must be able to reach you in an emergency, as we may advise you that a pupil needs more professional medical advice than we are able to give, and ask you to come and collect your child to take them to the doctor or to hospital. We do not call for an ambulance routinely for a child.
My thanks as ever to parents for their prompt response to a call from Mrs Harvey about their child.
Communication with the school
Several members of staff have contacted me recently expressing surprise and concern after receiving email messages directly from parents expecting instant answers to issues. We do not publicise the individual emails of staff at the school as emails are not the preferred form of communication with the school. I know that for many people this is the normal means of communication now but this creates difficulties for us as a school and I would ask parents not to do this please. Allow me to explain why we’d like parents to approach us in a particular way.
Emails can go astray and not reach the person intended. Emails can be sent in the heat of the moment and later regretted where a letter tends to be more considered. I have also clarified with the authority that an email is regarded in exactly the same way as any other correspondence so we will respond to your concerns as we do a letter – it will not be a same day reply.
If your concern needs to be addressed by a promoted member of staff, then telephone the school and the reception staff will try to connect you to the right person – but remember that such staff have teaching commitments and prearranged meetings and may not be able to take your call. You can leave voicemails and ask reception staff for our staff to return your call, however.
If you require to communicate with us on other matters, please write to us so that letters reach the right person and that school management can monitor and log parental complaints and concerns. (There is a formal authority complaints policy and the school has to be given the chance to respond to a complaint. The matter can be raised in the first instance with a PT Subject or Guidance or with one of the Depute Heads – and then with me as Head Teacher if you are still dissatisfied. If I am unable to resolve the matter with you, it is at that point you should contact the local authority. )
Good communication between parents and school is really important – which is one reason why I try to send out general newsletters on a regular basis – and we really want to deal with issues promptly and to the satisfaction of all parties. Please help us to get it right.
Dates for term
Wednesday 23rd January – S4 reports issued to parents
Thursday 24th January – S5/6 preliminary examinations begin and study leave begins.
Wednesday 30th January – 7-8pm Personalisation and Choice Information Meeting for S2 Parents
- 8-9pm Course Choice Information Meeting for S4 and S5 Parents
Monday 11th February to Friday 15th February inclusive – holiday week for pupils and staff
Wednesday 20th February – S2 Personalisation and Choice package issued
Thursday 28th February – S2 Parents’ Meeting 5-7pm
Wednesday 20th March – S5/6 Supplementary Reports issued
Friday 22nd March – school closes at 12.10 p.m. for Easter holiday (amended time)
Monday 8th April – school resumes at 8.45 a.m. for pupils and staff
Have a look here at our most recent newsletter. Thank you.
I invited parents of S3 pupils to come to a presentation about S3 Broad General education and how it would link into qualifications for S4. About 80 people attended and I said I would post the presentation when the edubuzz site came back. Here it is – it may take a little time to upload.