Parental Information – UPDATE Tuesday 15 September 2020

Tuesday 15th September 2020

This update will cover the holiday dates, return to uniform from Tuesday 22 September 2020 and an update on how young people are doing in school.

The September weekend break is nearly upon us and a reminder students will not be required to attend School on Friday 18 September or Monday 21 September 2020. I hope all young people enjoy the break but keep to the rules in terms of mixing and social distancing.

Return to Uniform

As you will be aware we suspended uniform at the beginning of session to alleviate any concerns around washing clothes or being able to access uniform through retail outlets.

We have reviewed this policy and it is clear from parent and staff feedback that many felt we should move back to uniform after September break. We also note many students are already arriving at school in uniform or partial uniform.

This will mean that as from Tuesday 22 September 2020 we are requesting that all students arrive at school in the correct uniform which is as follows:

White shirt or blouse

Black V neck jumper or cardigan

School tie – All S1 will receive a free tie on Tuesday 22 September

Black trousers or skirt

Black shoes

The senior tie has been slightly modified but is still black. From Tuesday 22 September 2020 all S5 will receive the new tie free of charge. More ties have been ordered for S4 but due to Covid restriction they may take up to 6 weeks to arrive. Once these have been delivered all S4 will be given the new senior tie free of charge. S4 should remain in the blue and white striped tie until that time. Old ties will be collected for recycling.

Please also note – Outdoor clothing must be removed in all classes.  Football scarves and colours are not allowed in school.  The present school uniform policy was introduced into Penicuik High School with the full support and agreement of pupils, parents and staff and therefore we do expect it to be followed.

There are some exceptions to this rule:

If a student has PE on a particular day they may wear their PE gear to school and either change later (an opportunity to do this will be given) or remain in their PE gear if they feel it is hygienic to do so. We are trying to cut down on the use of changing rooms at the start of the day – thus the request they arrive in their PE gear. They will be given an opportunity to change if they wish to do so and we have a cleaning regime in place to regularly clean the Gym changing rooms.

In order to allow parent to catch up on washing uniform we will allow students to dress down on the Friday of each week if they wish. This will only be in place until Friday 16 October 2020.  We ask that students who dress down are appropriately dressed – this means no crop tops, ripped jeans or revealing clothing. A number of students have flouted these rule over the past few weeks and we will contact parents if we have concerns.

We realise that some parents have come under financial pressure due to the Covid 19 pandemic and we are very keen to help. You may be eligible for a clothing grant. Please follow the link below.

There is now also a parental initiative across all Midlothian schools to support uniform swaps through a Facebook site called Midlothian School Uniform Swap Shop. You just need to ask to join and either offer uniform or request uniform items.

Follow this link:

If this sudden change in policy is of concern please contact the school to discuss how we can help.

Other Matters

In general most students have settled well in school and are following the health and safety guidelines and we are continuing to seek their views on our measures.

While most students are wearing masks and some have informed the school of an exemption there are still quite a number arriving without a mask. The school has only limited supplies and we would respectfully ask that parents/ carers obtain a reusable           face covering for their child to wear at school as per the guidelines.

Students also need to remember to wear these in all corridors and crowded situations. They also need to put them on before they first enter the school in the      morning.

While we have been lenient on lateness to school for the first few weeks we now expect all student to be on time for school for their staggered start time. Students who continue to be late will be required to make up time through Covid safe detentions which we will normally notified by text. If there is a good reason for lateness please inform the school.

We are currently entering our first tracking period for senior phase students and S1-3 will be following later. These new tracking periods will help us share and review young people’s early attitude, behaviour and progress in subjects. All students should be completing class work, homework and assignments on time and to a good             standard. In particular, if students in the senior phase do not behave appropriately           in class and do not complete coursework we will look at sanctions and meet with parents to clarify what they want to gain in the subject and their longer term school goals. We will be looking to resolve such matters quickly and with parental support but the option to take a subject and sit an exam is not a right and involves a responsibility from the young person. Future success in courses outside   school means they need to develop maturity, independence and a good work ethic.

All S6 have signed a Student contract and I will write to all parent/ carers of S6     separately and attach a copy of the contract. Outside of tracking periods we will still be maintaining scrutiny of individual student            progress but if you have any concerns at any stage please contact your child’s guidance teacher in the first instance.

We continue to be vigilant around student health and we may call you if we feel your child is presenting with symptoms. Where there is disagreement over the possible need for testing we will seek advice from the local Health Protection Team and work with you respectfully to resolve any issues. We continue to follow specific Scottish           Government and Public Health guidelines and we have recently posted FAQ from NHS on our website.  The key motivation is at all times to keep everyone in our school community safe.

We are continuing to pick up the thread of delayed school developments and activities that were affected by lockdown. This week student will vote for the S6      Leadership team including the school leaders and these will be announced in school and via the School website, when they become available.

Thank you once again for your continuing support of the school at this challenging time.

Craig Biddick

Head Teacher (Acting)

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