Weekly Update:27 November

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As we quickly approach December, there are quite a few items to draw your attention to this week;

Tartan Day in aid of School Funds

In order to mark St Andrews Day on Monday, we will be holding a Tartan Day at school.  Pupils are invited to wear tartan in place of school uniform; this can be a small splash of tartan or kilted out from head to toe.  We are hoping to use this event to raise some money to fund upcoming Christmas Events; craft mornings, panto, Christmas parties etc.  Pupils are asked to make a donation, regardless of amount, for the privilege of the non-uniform day.  These will be collected on Monday morning.  We thank you in advance for your support in this.

Christmas Events

As part of our virtual assembly next Wednesday, we will be switching on the school Christmas lights to mark the start of December and the festive season. An updated December calendar is attached.  We have added two events on the final day of term, Tuesday 22nd December.  We will have an online Christmas Service that morning and will then take the pupils on a Christmas walk through the village.  Pupils are welcome to wear Christmas hats, tinsel etc. to help spread some Christmas cheer through the streets that morning.  Due to these two events, we will have our online panto on the morning of Monday 21st December.  The canteen staff will provide some Christmas goodies to classes that morning.

Pupils wishing to give out Christmas cards this year will be able to do so within their own classes.  Each class will have a system in place which will allow for cards to be handed in by Friday mornings to be given out each Monday.  This will ensure that all cards posted will have been quarantined over the weekend before being handed out.  We will not be able to give cards out with pupils own classes.

Christmas lunch for P1-3 will be held on Wednesday 9th December and for P4-7 on Thursday 10th December.  Christmas lunch will be traditional roast turkey with all of the trimmings with vegetarian/vegan options available.  On the Wednesday, Christmas dinner will be the only option for P1-3 pupils and the option for P4-7 will be hot dogs that day.  On the Thursday, Christmas dinner will be the only option for P4-7 and the option for P1-3 will be hot dogs.

Classes are busy preparing for the recording of our virtual concert and class teachers will be in touch if any particular clothing or prop items are required.  We will be able to record strings pupils in school, however, due to risk assessments around chanters and pipes, these are currently not permitted in school.  Pupils wishing to participate in the concert are asked to record their songs at home and email these to Mrs Matheson by Tuesday 8th December

Wet Weather

We continue to be required to have pupils outdoors as much as possible.  With the very wet weather we have had we are finding that many pupils are coming back into class with very wet feet.  Waterproof footwear is advised where possible, however, we would also request that all pupils have a spare pair of socks which they can leave in their trays at school in case these are needed.  P1-3 pupils have previously been requested to have a full set of clothes to change into and we thank you for sending those in.  If pupils in P4-7 could each take in a spare set of socks or wear waterproof footwear for outdoors, that would be appreciated.

Drop Off Zone

As part of the ongoing construction work around the Community Centre, resurfacing works are expected to take place from 30th November – 4th December.  We realise this will impact the school drop off zone and have agreed with Compass that parents will be permitted to use the diversion in place, pictured below and that pupils can be dropped off at the entrance to the car park.  A footpath will be retained from that point up to the existing footpath and Compass will ensure that personnel are present when construction vehicles are there to ensure safe crossing.  We appreciate that this is less than ideal, however, these works were intended to take place over the October holidays and were unable to proceed at that time.  Please see the following information from the project coordinators below and thank you in advance for your understanding of this.

Park Road will be closed to traffic (Monday – Friday) commencing 30 November with a diversion in place to allow cars to access the Car Park  between the new LSHA development and the Community Centre. Access to pedestrians will be maintained around the existing footway network and depending on the exact stage of works a crossing (pedestrians) may be permitted from the Car Park under control of the contactors traffic management.

Homework

In accordance with our school homework policy, homework will be reduced through the month of December and will consist mainly of reading.  We hope to be able to provide some photos on Google Classrooms over the month of December to provide you with an idea of classroom life at PPS.  We appreciate that the lack of open events and parents evenings has limited your ability to see classrooms in person and hope that this will be useful.

As always, we thank you for your ongoing support and ask that you please get in touch with any questions or concerns that you may have.

Regards,

Sara

Weekly Update:20 November

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Quite a brief update this week as there have been quite a few emails through the week about various things.

Just a reminder that homework is currently issued via Google Classroom.  If you have any trouble accessing this, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can look into this.  Homework will be reduced during the month of December in line with our Homework Policy, however reading tasks will still be issued on the Classroom and we also hope to share some photos to give you a glimpse into classrooms in the absence of open events and parents evenings.

This week we held our school Youth Speaks event for Primary 7 and we are delighted that a team consisting of Isla Preston, Donal Preston, Penny Meekings and Lucia Cecchini Fraser will represent us at the wider Skye event which will be held, virtually, on 1st December.

Calendars of event in November and December are attached above.  There are no changes from those that were issued last week.  I will try to highlight changes/additions as they come up.

Regards,

Sara

Weekly Update:13 November

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As we come to yet another week, there are a number of weekly reminders to make you aware of.  In order to try and keep track of a busy couple of months, I have prepared monthly calendars and attached these above for reference.  There are likely to be additions and changes to these and we will make you aware of those as soon as they come up. 

First and foremost – a huge thank you to everyone for your amazing support of Children In Need. It is so refreshing, in these changing times, to see that the enthusiasm of our pupils and families in supporting these worthy causes is just as strong as ever! We will update our Facebook page later today with some photos from today.

With the winter weather appearing, a reminder of our arrangements for Adverse Weather are detailed below. 

Adverse Weather Arrangements

It is the responsibility of parents or carers to decide if a pupil should attempt to travel to school, by transport or on foot, in adverse weather conditions.  The council encourages full attendance at school but in severe weather condition the safety of pupil is much more important. 

Parents and pupils are often concerned about content that may be missed, but this should not over-ride good judgement.

Communication

Every effort will be made to keep parents informed of details of school closures, early closures etc. brought about by adverse weather.

When the school is not going to open, this will be communicated by the school Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/portreeprimary/ on the Highland Council Website www.highland.gov.uk/schoolclosures and on the schools telephone information service line, which is available by dialling 0800 564 2272 and entering the school’s PIN 042810

Bus Pupils

Parents should note that the final decision on whether it is safe to operate rests with the driver of the school transport vehicle.  Therefore there may be occasions on which a school is open but some routes, or part of routes, are unable to operate.

When weather conditions are poor, parents should ensure that children are met at the “drop off” point, especially where public service transport it used.

In the event of the school closing early due to adverse weather conditions, the three schools in Portree will make a collective decision about whether buses will be called early.

Where this is the case, school staff will make every attempt to contact parents directly to ensure pupils are to get onto school transport.  In cases where parents cannot be contacted, pupils will not be put onto busses but will be kept at the school for collection.

All Other Pupils

In the event of the school closing early due to adverse weather conditions, this information will be shared as listed above.  We ask parents to share this information widely and to make arrangements to collect pupils from school as soon as possible.  All pupils are to be collected via the school reception.  Once school transport has been arranged for pupils travelling by bus, and if the telephone lines allow, parents of pupils still at school will be contacted directly to ascertain arrangements for collection.  Often adverse weather can also mean a loss of phone lines and in this instance, staff may use mobile phones to contact parents.  It is essential that we hold up to date contacts for all pupils  Pupils will not be permitted to walk home unless that has clearly been stated by parents.

Please discuss this with pupils so that they are aware of what their plan is if this circumstance were to arrive.  For pupils who are permitted to walk home in this situation, class teachers must be given this permission in writing.

Virtual Concert

You will be aware from previous emails, that we are working on putting together a virtual Christmas Concert.  In addition to this being shared with parents, we hope to offer it to Taigh Na Drocaid, Home Farm etc.  We would normally visit to present some Christmas songs etc but thought that this might be a nice way to engage when we can’t be present. As previously mentioned, please let us know if you would prefer for your child not to be involved in this virtual performance. We also hope to involve some pupils in writing cards and letters to some of the residents in these homes over the festive season.

Given that pipes and chanters are currently not allowed in school, we would still like to include these performances in our virtual concert.  Piping pupils are encouraged to take a video at home and send this to myself so that it can be included in the performance.  

Our days for filming on 7th and 8th December and class teachers will be in touch if pupils require any particular clothing or props on those days.

Internet Safety

Internet Safety continues to be part of our Health and Wellbeing Curriculum at school. However, recently there have been some incidents in school that have begun on social media and gaming platforms outside of school.  A reminder of the Net Aware website https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ which provides the most up to date guidance for parents around content and restrictions of the ever changing online world.  In particular, some of our pupils have been involved in a Call of Duty game which has an age rating of 18.  We try to contact parents when we become aware of this as in some cases, pupils have gained access to these without realising how age inappropriate these games are and without parents knowledge.  If you have any concerns around this, please get in touch.

Youth Speaks

Primary 7 pupils have been busy preparing their Youth Speaks entries for presenting in school next week.  We are hoping to select a team of 3 to represent PPS at the upcoming, virtual Youth Speaks competition which will take place on Tuesday 1st December.

Homework

We hope that everyone has been able to access weekly homework tasks via Google Classroom.  As per our school homework policy, homework will be reduced in the month of December and will just include reading. 

Parent’s Nights

While there was some mention that Parent’s nights may be able to proceed, virtually, this month.  The Council are still in the process of trialling different methods for this and as such, Parent’s night appointments will not take place this term.  We will update you on this once we have further guidance from the Council.  We hope that, through the month of December, we can share some photos on Google Classroom to give you some insight into what classrooms, displays etc are currently looking like as well as a sample of classroom activities.

As always, please be in touch with any questions/concerns.

Regards,

Sara

Weekly Update: 6 November

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Dear Parents and Carers,

Please find some useful information below as part of our weekly update;

Absences

At all times, but especially given the current circumstances, it is essential that we keep very accurate records of pupil absences and the reasons for these.  If pupils are absent for any reason, please email class teachers or telephone the school office as soon as possible.  While we seem to be into “bug” season, I would also like to remind parents that when pupils have had tummy upsets, they should not attend school until 48 hours after the last incident.

Poppies

Poppies are for sale in classrooms in exchange for a small donation.  As a school, we will observe 2 minutes silence on Wednesday 11th November at 11am.  While there is no formal ceremony due to restrictions this year, our school wreath will be laid, along with others at the War Memorial in the square on Sunday 8th November.

Children In Need

Primary 6 are coordinating our Children in Need appeal this year and a letter from the class is attached.  Pupils will have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets from their classes each day.  These are 20p each and exact change is required as we are unable to give change.  We will also have a sponsored walk to show our support for the Charity.  Pupils will have taken home a sponsor sheet which can be used if desired to raise additional funds.  All pupils will participate in the walk. Pupils are also given the option to dress up for Pudsey by wearing yellow and/or spotty attire.  School uniforms can be worn for those not wishing to take part.

Christmas Events

As intimated last week, we hope to record a virtual Christmas performance to be streamed online, either through Google Classroom or a password protected site.  If parents wish their children not to take part in this, please let class teachers know. This is still very much a work in progress but we hope to have this available for the evening of Thursday 17th December which would have been our concert night.  We hope to film this on Monday

We plan to have a Christmas Craft focus on Friday morning through December in classes, in place of our traditional Christmas Fayre and also intend to hold Christmas parties for each class.  We are also sorting out the logistics to have our Christmas Lunch and look forward to sharing more details about all of these events as they become available.

Normally, our Christmas events, including our Christmas Fayre and our Christmas Concert are an opportunity to raise funds for the school which are vital to continue providing these opportunities for the pupils.  More than even this year, we want to make sure that we celebrate the season as much as always, despite changing circumstances.  In order to raise some funds to purchase Christmas craft supplies, provide parties etc., we are going to hold a Tartan Day on 30th November.  Pupils will be invited to wear tartan in place of school uniform and will be asked for a small donation in return.  We are hopeful that this will help to fund organised Christmas activities.

SIP/SQR

Our School Improvement Plan and Standards and Quality Report for 2020/2021 have now been submitted and are available on the school website for your information.

WOW Certificates

Please continue to keep us informed of all the amazing things pupils are getting up to outside of school.  We are issuing WOW certificates and house points to celebrate these achievements.

One final reminder, in regards to updated government advice, parents are requested to wear face coverings when collecting pupils from school.

Once again, thank you for your continued support!  It is very much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Sara

Sara Matheson

Head Teacher

Weekly Update: 30th October

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Dear Parents/Carers,

As we come to the end of the first week of term, I just wanted to draw your attention to a few items;

WOW certificates

Over the past few years we have been encouraging parents/carers to let us know of achievements pupils have been making outside of school; at home, at after school clubs and generally in the community.  While we are discouraged at the moment from pieces of paper going back and forth, we would still love to hear about the great things pupils are up to when they are out of school.  The format is attached above just for your reference but please email class teachers with news of achievements so that these can be recognised through housepoints at school.  These can be for learning new skill at home, showing kindness to family members, effort at after school activities etc.

Blythswood Appeal

Our infant classes are coordiating our Blythswood Shoebox collection this year and any items to be added to boxes should be sent into school by Monday 2nd November.  Full shoeboxes should be at school by 5th November.  Your support in this is greatly appreciated!

Poppies

Poppies will be available in classes from next Monday for pupils wishing to have one.  A small donation is requested.

Christmas Activities

We are hoping to prepare a small scale virtual Christmas concert this year in order to give pupils something to work towards and help us celebrate Christmas even though restrictions are in place. With being unable to sing etc., this is a challenging endeavour!  While we are still in the early stages of planning this, the concert will either be streamed through the Google Classrooms or via a password protected app such as dropbox.  If you would prefer your child to not appear in this, please let class teachers know as soon as possible. 

Children In Need

Primary 6 are coordinating activities to support the work of Children in Need on Friday 13th November.  Further details will be made available next week,however, plans include a raffle, a sponsored walk and a dress up day with a yellow/spotty theme. 

PE and Ventilation

We are still in a position where indoor PE is not permitted.  While we hoped to have an update on this at the beginning of October, this has been delayed due to further restrictions coming into effect.  We are also awaiting further guidance about ventilations but are currently operating with windows open.

With the colder and wetter weather upon is, we really need to emphasise how important it is for pupils to be attired appropriately for being outdoors both for PE and for break times.  We realise the concern that this has caused but until we have an update on these restrictions, we must continue to follow the government guidance and have the children outdoors as much as possible.  We thank you for your patience with this.

As always, please get in touch with any questions or concerns you may have.

Regards,

Sara

Sara Matheson

Head Teacher

https://portreeprimary.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/wow-certificates.docx

Weekly Update 5th June 2020

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As we come to the end of another week, I fully appreciate that you will be, as we are, anxious to know the plans for returning to school and the blended learning model for August will look like. While Highland Council meetings are taking place on a daily basis with all involved parties, final decisions on this are yet to be made. Management staff will be working in the school building next week to complete initial risk assessments and identify floor plans for moving forward. This is a large task which will follow very clear and strict guidance from the Highland Council.

I am hopeful that we will have further developments to share at the start of next week and will get that information out to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, our arrangements for online learning will continue as they have been. Please be reminded and reassured that learning at this point is consolidation. There will be clear frameworks in place for assessing where pupils are at when we return to school and that will be our starting point to inform next steps. You are all doing your very best in difficult circumstances!

Just a reminder that pupils in P4-7 have 2 assignments each week to submit via the google classroom and we encourage pupils in P1-3 to send in a photo each week to show us what you have been up to. Teachers will be in touch with parents directly to follow up on these where necessary.

As always, we very much appreciate your continued support and I look forward to having more information to share with you next week.

In addition to the school update today, please see a letter issued to parents from the Highland Council in to regards their current position around the reopening of schools.

20 06 04 Return to School – parents carers

Weekly update 28th May 2020

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We hope you have all enjoyed a bit of a change this week with our Health and Wellbeing week! A reminder that Monday is an inset day so work will not be assigned until Tuesday. While we are still very unsure of the plans for moving forward with returning to school in August, it is clear that learning at home will be with us for the foreseeable future. In light of that, we would really like to use the next few weeks to establish sound patterns of home learning. Each week, Primary 4-7 pupils are expected to be “handing in” a piece of work. This is normally submitted through the classroom and is likely to be one literacy task and one numeracy task. If it is difficult for these to be submitted using the google classroom format, photos etc can be sent in. Where these are not submitted, class teachers will be in touch with parents to see if there are ways that we can support to enable this to happen. Pupils in P1-3 are asked to please send in photos of their work. While we realise that some of you have chosen to do this, we are now requesting that each pupil send in some evidence of their work each week. If you do not wish for these photos to appear on social media, please let the class teachers know when submitting these.

We would also like to make you aware of a feature currently being run by the Press and Journal which is encouraging parents to send photos of kids with their kitchen recipes. A selection of these will be published. These can be sent to pj.features@pressandjournal.co.uk Please remember to include full name, age and where you live.

Thank you to those of you who completed our Return to School surveys, is is by far that most wide ranging response we have seen in a survey. School staff have read all of this feedback and will take these concerns on board moving forward. The information collected in these will be anonymised and shared with our Associated School Groups as we work through the next phase of planning. While there continues to be much speculation in the media about the return to school, the Highland Council statement is as follows;

28 May 2020

For immediate release

Back to school and learning – ‘carefully and gradually’

The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister’s announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August.
Highland Council’s Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: “The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
“I understand the desire for parents and pupils to know what plans and preparations will be put in place to enable the start of term on 11th August; and that is exactly what our Education staff will be working on in the coming weeks.
“While I understand parental and pupil anxieties, especially for those starting at school – at this stage and ahead of formal engagement with local head teachers, parent forums and communities it is too early for the Council to provide any finalised plans or proposals on what the return to school will look like for Highland families. It is important that the local circumstances of each school will need to be considered along with consultations with key stakeholders. As soon as that information is available schools and the Council will promote this widely.”
Paul Senior, Executive Chief Officer Education & Learning added:

“There is a huge amount of preparation underway to return schools and our education settings in line with government guidelines. Before teaching and education staff can return to school, there are a number of measures we will be deploying to ensure that the views of Highland’s head teachers, parents, carers and communities inform our plans.

“These will include rigorous risk assessments that will need to be carried out, to ensure that safe distance working practices and other risk prevention measures can be adhered, to that will enable staff to return to the workplace safely in environments that are as safe as possible to minimise the potential for risk.

“Then, as soon as jointly agreed, risk assessed back-to-school plans are in place, the Council along with our schools and settings will provide information to parents, carers and pupils on what the new normal will be like.”
Pupils and parents should keep an eye on the news page of the Council’s website at: http://www.highland.gov.uk/news/archive; and the Council’s Twitter https://twitter.com/HighlandCouncil or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/highlandcouncil/ for updates on back-to-school information.

We fully appreciate the anxiety around the uncertainty and wish to reassure you that we will forward further information as soon as we are aware of it. In the meantime, please continue to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Continue to take care and look after yourselves and your loved ones. These are difficult times and your wellbeing has got to remain the priority!