Parental Newsletter October 2005
PTA Car Boot Sale
You should already have received a flyer for this via pupil post. The car boot sale will take place from 10 a.m. on Saturday 8th October. Members of the PTA will be on hand to charge sellers and direct car parking for customers. A chance to clear away those unwanted items or find some bargains…..
School Board Elections and Parental Consultation Bill
Closing date for applications to become a School Board member is 4th October. Details of the new bill came out on Friday and can be accessed via the Scottish Parliament website.
When your child is absent from school, please write a note explaining the reason for his or her absence and have your child hand it in to his or her register teacher on the first day back. Guidance staff are wasting time having to chase pupils up for absence notes.
We introduced an automated call system for absence for all years in August. The system is working well apart from the occasional mistakes caused by human error, and is certainly helping us identify when pupils are absent without parental knowledge. When your child is absent from school, it is still obligatory for you to provide a written note explaining his or her absence on his or her return even if you have telephoned the school.
Our Modern Languages department has been busy! Mr. McIntosh was in London in late September collecting the European Award for Languages which we won earlier this year, and will be taking 2 pupils with him to Graz in Austria later this session as part of that award. Last week was Languages week and pupils had the chance to learn German, Italian, Swahili and Sign Language at lunchtime from Monday to Thursday. Pupils also had basic words from other languages read out to them each day from the daily pupil bulletin including Greek and Turkish.On the theme of languages, a group of our S6 pupils took part in the annual East Lothian conference “Europe: the Business” which seeks to make pupils aware of the importance of modern languages to business ventures.
Parents of pupils in S1 will be pleased to know that their children have very quickly settled into life at the Grammar and have found their feet – and their voice, since several have been elected to serve on the Pupil Council. We look forward to hearing their views.
S1 pupils also sat their Cognitive Ability tests after the September break – three separate tests over 2 days in the Assembly Hall. Mrs Mackie and I were very impressed with their powers of concentration, positive attitude and behaviour during these tests and we now await the results. The school will send details of a pupil’s results to each parent inside the next 4 weeks.
Assemblies for S1-S4 on the theme of homework
I spoke to each of the above yeargroups recently about homework. My assembly on the opening day had been about pupils taking responsibility for their own learning. This assembly continued on the same theme. I emphasised the need for all pupils to be carrying a bag to school with their planner in it and for the planner to be used to record homework for the day it is due. Pupils need to practise their skills, test their knowledge and work independently of others – homework allows them to do all these things. We expect homework to be set by teachers and completed and handed in on time by pupils.
No pupil in the school should be without homework and parents should contact their child’s guidance teacher if they hear claims to this effect. We will be happy to investigate further on your behalf.
I am pleased to announce that East Lothian have appointed Robert Woodhead as our Active Schools Co-ordinator. He will be responsible for encouraging more pupils to become more physically active and to encourage new sports and activities in the Musselburgh area. There are already many opportunities for pupils to participate in sporting activities at the school – junior pupils have these listed in their planner and details are also up on the noticeboards in the Transit area.
Roger Knox, Chair of the School Board, reported to me that a number of parents had said that their children had been unable to get their lunch finished in the Dining Hall by the end of lunchtime. Senior Management were surprised at this claim since our perception is that all pupils are served by about 1.10, 20 minutes before the end of lunchtime. Roger came in last Thursday to see how the Dining Hall was functioning with the new Smartcard arrangements and to see how quickly pupils were being served – and pupils were indeed all served by 1.10.
We would encourage all parents to urge their children to use the school’s facilities rather than go to fast food outlets in the main street. We also note that the number of pupils carrying water to school in the last 12 months has risen noticeably. Pupils can of course purchase water bottles from the vending machines and at the meals counter – and are allowed to drink water in class.
I will be interviewing for the post of PT Health Education later this week. Miss Atkinson was the previous appointee but has moved on to be PT Science. The successful person will act as a co-ordinator for the many health initiatives at local and national level and will assist departments build health education issues into their curriculum.
Auxiliary and Special Educational Needs Auxiliaries Posts
Joanne Fairgrieve of the Personnel Department has asked me to point out that the authority has vacancies for these posts, which are proving difficult to fill. Anyone interested should contact her at Personnel and ask to be placed on the supply list. She can then send out an Information Pack and other details.
Work Experience and industrial expertise for Determined to Succeed
Like other schools, we look to arrange a week’s work experience for all of our S4 pupils, but we are finding that the database provided for this purpose by Careers Scotland is shrinking. If any person is in a position to offer work experience places and is not on the database, could he or she please contact Mr. Dewar at the school?
On a related matter, the school is trying to develop contacts with the world of work to prepare pupils for adult life. We already arrange visits to a number of workplaces and have visiting speakers for pupils. If you are interested in this, please contact Mr. Dewar.
Photographs for School Handbook
At this time of year, the school begins to gather together material for the school handbook which is distributed to P7 parents. The handbook always includes photographs of Musselburgh Grammar School pupils, though any pupil featured is never named. Any parent who expressly does not want a photograph of their child to be used in this way should please make that request to me in writing by the end of October 2005.
R I Summers