Distance Learning Updates

The first week of digital learning has proven to be a learning curve for both staff and students but it has been fantastic to see large numbers of our students log in and access their learning!  We have seen wonderful interactions in Google Classroom and, while both Glow and Google Classroom, have been temperamental at times, it feels like we are now settling into a more settled routine.

Feedback from families

Guidance and Support for Learning staff have been checking in with students and families and some of the feedback has shown that the shift to online learning has been challenging for some students and their families.  Staff are now working towards creating a schedule that will allow us to balance the work set online to be make it manageable for all our young people, particularly where devices are being shared within families.  Pupil Support staff will continue to make contact with families and we are in the process of widening the ways we can do this.  Please bear with us while we build up our methods of communication.

Free school Meals

School staff have been working with our colleagues in CLL this week to deliver free school meal packed lunches to our students who are entitled to them.  Midlothian Council have informed us that they are currently working on a system that will allow them to make direct payments to families who receive free school meals.  They hope that this will be in place in the next week and the packed lunch deliveries will continue until this is actioned. We will keep you informed of the progress with this.

Important things to remember

At this time of change we must remember that home learning is very different to learning in school where a lot of work takes place I groups and through discussion.  There is no expectation that students should to be following their normal school timetable at home and young people should work at a pace that suits them.  If you are struggling with work that has been set please ask your teacher for help!

The current situation has families adjusting to being in the same workspace over extended period. Below are some top tips for managing learning during this time. We are living in a time of information overload, particularly in relation to Covid-19; this can cause added anxiety and stress for some of our children and families, so remember: it is ok to stop and switch off.

Here are our recommendations;

  • Try to have a structure and a routine for the day
  • Pupils should work at a pace they and parents/carers feel comfortable with. Pupils should not feel they need to complete everything immediately
  • Due dates for assignments are set as a guide, if your son/daughter thinks they won’t complete the work by that date they can contact the teacher and let them know
  • Pupils can contact their teachers during ‘normal’ school times. They can do this privately by using the email facility in Microsoft teams or openly with all their peers in class on the general posts section for each of the class teams they are in
  • If you feel your son/daughter is not coping with the work it’s ok to reduce the amount of work they complete.
  • These are not normal circumstances and pupils should try to complete between 2 and 3 hours of work across the course of the day – again don’t panic if this is not possible
  • Learning can take many forms e.g. reading, cooking, exercise, listening to music etc. YouTube (if used well) is also a wonderful tool for learning!

Our lives just now are in a time of upheaval and spending family time together is important and reassuring. If your son/daughter is overwhelmed then take time out from their school work.

When we return to school, the staff will be working to make sure that the learning of all our young people are supported and will work closely with families to ensure this.

Senior Phase

Senior Phase students will be continuing with work normally completed in class on Google Classroom, Scholar or Microsoft Teams. We have shared with you already the most recent guidance issued by SQA and we are awaiting further clarification. This is a difficult time for students, particularly for those who have work in the school building that cannot be accessed by pupils or staff. We are currently gathering information from Principal Teachers to enable us to send you more information and clarify some of the frequently asked questions you are emailing us about. Please bear with us as this will inevitably change as time progresses.

There is also lots of information and learning activities on the BBC Bitesize website (link below) which senior phase students can also opt into.


Ongoing Communication

We will be regularly adding information to our school website, along with sending relevant information by email and text message.

If you have any questions or queries please contact us through the school email address penicuik_hs@midlothian.gov.uk and these will be directed to the most appropriate member of staff for a response.

We hope that all of our families can have a chance over the Easter break to relax and enjoy time together away from school work at a time when family is so important.



3 April 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

As you will be aware SQA sent out an earlier statement on the cancellation of the 2020 SQA Exam diet.  At that point they indicated they would bring forward further clarification of the process for both schools and Learners, Parent and Carers.

Yesterday, 2 April 2020, the SQA Chief Examiner released new guidance to staff in schools and outlined the work required to ensure teachers make fair and professional judgements in terms of estimate grades across the range of qualifications.  Some of the required work is already in hand in school but further work will take place after the Easter break within subject areas to determine estimates.  Deadlines for estimate grades have been adjusted by SQA to take that work into account.

SQA have also released guidance for learners, parents and carers that outlines the new process and includes a frequently asked question section and you will find this document attached – please click on this link:

020420-SQA-NQ2020-Parent-Carer-covid-19-FAQ (2)

No doubt you will as parent/ carers have further questions and we will work to answer any questions or queries you have after the Easter break via email or by telephone.

Our utmost priority for students in the senior phase is to ensure that we give a fair and professional estimate based on the best possible evidence.

With my very best wishes to you and your family at this difficult time.

Yours sincerely

C Biddick

Mr Craig Biddick

Head Teacher (Acting)