RSPB Birdwatch

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Last week our pupils engaged in activities related to the RSPB birdwatch. It was fantastic to see so many of you our exploring the wildlife during a gorgeous week on our lovely Island. Several competition categories were open for entry and once again trying to decide on winners was a challenge. The eventual winners were named in the following categories;

Photography Competition : Lucia

P1-3 Writing and Drawing : Tyler, Olivia and Arthur

P4-7 Writing : Brooke

P1-3 Bird Feeder : Callen, Logan and Cahal

P1-3 Bird Facts : Frankie

P4-7 Bird Feeder : Brooke

Weekly Update : 29 January

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We have almost made it through January!  A huge well done to everyone for keeping going through such a difficult month of lockdown.  As you will be aware, a review is meant to take place on Tuesday, 2nd February in regards to the reopening of schools and we hope to have more information on this by the time of next week’s update.

Parent/Pupil Feedback

Given that we are now 3 weeks into remote learning with at least another 2 ahead of us, surveys have been issued today for parents and P4-7 pupils to gather your views on the current arrangements in place.  We would really appreciate your feedback on this and will collate responses next Tuesday.  These will inform our next steps as and when we have an announcement of how long the situation will continue.

Submission of work

A reminder regarding submission of work.  Currently there is an expectation that pupils in P4-7 are submitting two pieces of work each week for detailed feedback.  These pieces of work are clearly identified by class teachers and must be chased up when not submitted.  All other work completed should be kept in jotters for review when we return to school. Please encourage pupils to share all of their tasks with you as a matter of encouragement and also to flag up any concerns.  Any concerns should be shared with class teachers as they arise. Pupils in P1-3 are asked to send in a photo each week to show what they have been up to in their remote learning.

Contacting Staff

Many of our classes are job share situations and parents are reminded to contact the teacher assigned to the class on the day of their enquiry;

Primary 1             Mrs Templeman (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday), Miss Deplano (Tuesday)

Primary 2             Ms MacLennan (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) Mrs Martin (Thursday and Friday)

Primary 6             Mrs Dibble (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) Mrs Murray (Wednesday)

If you could direct your emails to the teacher responsible for the class that particular day, that will ensure the most effective response.

Weekly Focus Topics

Over the past couple of weeks, we have introduced a weekly focus which has been in the form of a variety of activities that pupils of all ages can take part in.  These are completely optional but the engagement with these has been fantastic both for Burns week and the RSPB week.  Next week is National Storytelling Week and a grid of optional activities to get involved with this is attached above.

Read and Write

As shared last week, the Highland Council have procured a license for Read and Write, an add on program that assists with literacy for pupils.  Parents and staff who have used this with pupils have commented on how effective it is.  The phrase “game changer” has been used.  This is available for all pupils regardless of which devices you are using.  A well-attended online training session was held last night and a recording of this can be viewed on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kZcqyhlLpg&feature=youtu.be

Staffing

There are a few changes in staffing to make you aware of; Mrs Anne Galloway, PSA at PPS for a number of years has recently moved to Inverness and taken up a PSA post there.  Anne was a huge asset to pupils and staff during her time here and we wish her all the best in her new post.  Miss Loughlin, currently on maternity leave, has accepted a post at Sleat Primary School (much closer to home for her!) and will take this up when her maternity leave comes to an end.  Most recently, Miss Loughlin was teaching Primary 5 and I know that pupils who were fortunate enough to be taught by her will miss her greatly, as will staff.  We wish her well as she returns to work in her new school.  These posts will be advertised in time and we look forward to providing you with an update on these.  

The ASN post for North Skye, which includes 3 days per week at Portree Primary was recently recruited for and David MacLean was the successful applicant.  We await further information about his start date, however, Mrs Strachan will continue to cover on a supply basis in the ASN capacity until Mr MacLean takes up his post.  Mrs Strachan has been invaluable to PPS over the last few months and will also be greatly missed.

Parent Council

The Parent Council will meet, virtually, on Wednesday 10th February at 7pm.  All parents are welcome to attend and instructions for joining will be issued closer to the time.

We look forward to updates next week around the return to schools/extension of remote learning and will hopefully have further information in time for next week’s update.

As always, keep up the good work, remember that the health and wellbeing of everyone is the priority at the moment.  Please get in touch with any questions or concerns or if there are any ways that we can support you further.

Regards,

Sara

https://portreeprimary.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/national-storytelling-week-activity-grid.pdf

Burns Competition

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Happy Burns Day to you all!! Our pupils were involved in Burn Day competitions last week and the winners of each category are announced below. Trying to choose winners from all of the amazing entries was, indeed, a challenge. A huge well done to you all on such a fantastic effort!!

P 1 – 3 Art :                                         Zayne and Ellie

P 1 – 3 Burns/Scots writing :          Roidh’s Haggis Story

P 1 – 3 Food :                                     Joni and Rudy

P 1 – 3 Recitation and Songs :        Caterina

P 4 – 7 Art :                                         Lucas

P 4 – 7 Food :                                     Elana and Ailsa

P 4 – 7 Music/Recitation/Songs :    Freya

P 4 – 7 Burn Facts Writing :            Rosa

Weekly Update : 22 January

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I hope that this finds you all well and surviving this period of remote learning!  You will be aware from the FM announcement on Tuesday that schools will not open before mid February and this will be reviewed on the 2nd February.  We do understand how challenging this is and ask that you please get in touch if we can offer further support.

There are a few things to make you aware of as part of this week’s update;

Attendance

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of daily registration.  As oppose to the last lockdown where we kept attendance records within school, during this lockdown phase, attendance continues to require to be input into the data systems and is recorded on a daily basis.  Absence from online learning must follow the same protocols as absences from in person learning and will all contribute to a percentage rate at the end of the year.  Where attendance falls below 80%, we are duty bound to involve other agencies. Registration is taken each day upon completion of the Google Form issued on the Classrooms.  If you are struggling with the form, please email class teachers to let them know that pupils are present for home learning.  Equally, if a pupil is unwell or unable to attend online learning, please inform the school by 9.15 each morning, as you would during normal openings.

Google Meets

With the period of online learning now being extended, we are increasing our expectations in regards to Google Meets.  Every pupil will have at least one opportunity each day to engage in a Google Meet.  Attendance will be taken at these (except where a teacher indicates an optional session).  While the last lockdown period was focussed on consolidation, this time around, teaching of new content will continue using online platforms; recorded videos, web links and Google Meets among others.  Again, if there are issues around connecting to these, please let class teachers know.

Learning Packs

Also in response to the extended closure period, learning packs are being distributed today.  Class teachers will be in touch with reference to how these are to be used and we would ask your cooperation in waiting for these instructions rather than working ahead.  For pupils requiring additional tasks, there are grids available on the school website.  Textbooks should not be worked at ahead of time.

It is essential that all items sent home are returned to school when we return to classes and we ask you to make a note of what you have received. These will all be checked back in when school returns to normal.

Pupils attending for in school provision should take their packs and their Chromebooks with them each day that they attend.

It is hoped that by issuing these textbooks and resources, we can cut down on some of the screen time required to take part in remote learning and will provide some consistency and familiarity for pupils.

Read/Write

The Highland Council have invested in an app called read/write which will support pupils in their online learning.  Staff have been learning about this feature and the potential to support pupils is fantastic.  This will be particularly relevant to pupils using Chromebooks.  An information session for parents is being held next week and a poster advertising this is attached above.  I would encourage you to attend if you are able.  The facilities that this app provides will be of huge benefit to pupils.

Weekly Focus

Well done to all of you who participated in the Burns week activities.  I look forward to seeing your entries.

As an addition to this week’s Google Classroom tasks, please find attached a grid of activities that focus around the RSPB Birdwatch for those who wish to participate.  This is a great opportunity to tie in with this national initiative and spend some time focussing on our wider world.

As always, we very much appreciate your ongoing support and efforts.  Please get in touch with any questions or concerns that may arise.

Regards,

Sara

https://portreeprimary.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/rspb-birdwatch-challenge-2-1.pdf

https://portreeprimary.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/highland-parent-evening-1.pdf

Weekly Update: 15 January

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Firstly well done for making it through Week 1 of online learning!  We have had almost 100% attendance this week for pupils working from home which is fantastic.  There are a few changes and updates to make you aware of this week;

Photos

As with the last lockdown period, we are keen to share some of the amazing work that is going on at home through our Facebook page.  Teaching staff will share these with me at the end of each week.  If you prefer the photos that you have sent in not to be shared, please make teaching staff aware.  Pupils will not be identified by name in these posts.

Expectations for work

Where the emphasis last lockdown was very much on consolidation, we are hopeful that this situation will be as temporary as possible and will endeavour to keep up with as much teaching and learning as possible.  In light of this, we have revised our suggested timescales that pupils should be working each day.  Please keep in mind that these are guidelines.  The health and wellbeing of all, including parents, is paramount at this time and if at any time, you find that this is too much, please get in touch.  All work is posted each morning at 7am which will hopefully allow time for getting the day organised.  Due to staffing implications, it is not possible to release work any earlier than that.  If it is easier for your child to work a day behind to allow you to organise the night before, this is an option as well.  As long as pupils attend their meets at specified times, we can be flexible where required.  From next week, the advised times for school work will be as follows;

Literacy (Reading, Writing, Listening and Talking)

  • 20-30 minutes: P1-P2 
  • 30-45 minutes: P3-P4
  • 45 mins -1h15: P5-7

Numeracy

  • 20-30 minutes: P1-P2 
  • 30-45 minutes: P3-P4
  • 45 mins -1h15: P5-7

It is also recommended that as part of their health and wellbeing, pupils take part in physical activity each day between Joe Wickes, Highlife Highland, Active School and the PE grid, there should be plenty of options to suit everyone.

We also issued an art grid last week with suggested activities which pupils can choose to do, one per week.

There are additional tasks in a grid on the homework section of the website should you require these.

Google Meets are in addition to the timings suggested above. 

This is an ever changing landscape and will continue to evolve as time goes on.  Some teachers are currently putting together work packs of textbooks etc. which may help to reduce screen time and also help with consistency and routines that pupils are familiar with.  We will be in touch with further information around these. 

Teaching staff continue to be available on email during school hours, except when they are providing in school supervision.

Where there are any questions or concerns about any school related matters, these should still be directed to the school using the correct channels and parents are reminded that discussing these over social media is neither appropriate nor productive.

Burns Day Focus

With Burns Day approaching next week, information is attached regarding a competition and some additional activities to celebrate the occasion. These are completely optional but will provide a focus and some motivation away from Literacy and Numeracy.  We look forward to seeing your entries!

In School Provision

The school continues to be open for the pupils of Keyworkers and for some vulnerable pupils, however, as you will be aware from the media, there are concerns, nationally about the numbers attending.  In light of this, we have been tasked with reducing our numbers and ensuring that Keyworker places are only being used by those in the new Keyworker categories 1-3 advised by  the Scottish Government and only at times when both parents are required to be out at work, rather than working from home.  Individual parents have been contacted about this however, if you have specific questions, please contact the school.

Once again, we thank you for your continued support in home learning and for your understanding and patience in this ever changing scenario.

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

Regards,

Sara

https://portreeprimary.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/robert-burns-competition.pdf

Update from Highland Council

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Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all enjoyed a restful Christmas.

Please see attached letter from Nicky Grant, issued just now, with updated information about extended school closures and remote learning.

As intimated before the Christmas break, the school holiday has been extended for pupils until Monday 11th January.  Remote learning will begin on 11th January and will now continue until at least the end of the month.  School staff are back at work tomorrow and will be planning for online learning.  We hope to have an update on these plans to all parents by Friday 8th January but ask that in the meantime, you please ensure that you can access Google Classroom and get in touch with Class Teachers if there are any difficulties in this.

The school will be open only for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.  Please note that vulnerable children have all been contacted by the school and key workers have been in touch to identify their need of a space.  In light of the latest lockdown and Stay at Home guidance, Highland Council have now stated that a place in school will only be available when there are no other possible solutions for childcare”.  For parents working from home or where only one parent is classified as a key worker, parents are asked to reconsider their need for a place. As indicated in the attached letter, the school will be running on skeleton staff as per the Scottish Government guidance and contacts are to be kept to an absolute minimum.

For parents that have requested key worker places, these are required to be reviewed and we ask you to please reconfirm which days that a space for your child is absolutely required. Pupils should only be attending only when required to allow parents to go out to work.  This may mean that you only require a space for certain hours of the day or certain days of the week.  Please get in touch as soon as possible to confirm your requirements in light of the guidance issued above.

We will send out guidance as and when it becomes available but please do get in touch with any questions or concerns.

Regards,

Sara

https://portreeprimary.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/letter-from-nicky-grant-1.pdf

Update:Announcement by the First Minister

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As you know, the First Minister announced at the weekend that there will be some changes to the way schools return after the Christmas break.  Tomorrow, (Tuesday 22 December), a letter will be issued to all parents and carers of children and young people in Highland schools to give you the key information about this.  Please do not contact the school today about the new arrangements, to allow School leaders and staff to focus on planning for the new term.

Weekly Update: 18 December

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While there may be bits of information going out next week, this will be our final weekly update of 2020!

The Christmas concert will be available for viewing on Google Classrooms from 2pm this afternoon.  We apologise again for the delay, however, technology was no cooperating yesterday at all.  The thought of attempting this with current restrictions against singing, dancing, piping etc.was a daunting one, however, thanks to the creative efforts of staff, the continuing enthusiasm of pupils and the technical skills of Mrs MacDonald, this was made possible.  The concert has been shared with local care homes today which has been very much appreciated. 

Pupils in the school have been involved in writing to care home residents with Christmas cards and letters and have also been decorating boxes which will be used for hampers and food parcels that are being delivered to members of our community over the coming days.  The children have taken great delight at being able to share the spirit of giving, especially in these challenging times.

On Monday we will have the online panto Cinderella which will be streamed to all classes. Primary 6 will have their party on Monday and Primary 7 on Tuesday.  Tuesday morning we will have our online Christmas service and hope to take the pupils on a festive daily mile to spread some Christmas cheer through the village.  Pupils are invited to take in any festive hats or accessories that they may have on Tuesday.

The lining of the car park at the Community Centre intended to take place on Monday has now been postponed until Tuesday due to the weather forecast.  It is possible that this may be delayed again.  Arrangements for diversions will be as they were during recent car park works and this will be signposted when the works take place.

School will finish next Tuesday 22nd December at 3.30pm.  The school lunch option that day will be a packed lunch and will be served in classrooms rather than the canteen.  The new term will begin on Wednesday 6th January.

There are several coughs and colds going around at the moment, however, while we realise that most of these are normal for this time of year, we are required to be vigilant with our risk assessments and to follow the national protocols around Coronavirus prevention.  Any child who develops a new cough should not come into school until NHS inform have been contacted for further advice.  This is quite often a quick process using an automated phone line which can advise what the next steps should be.  In some cases, pupils have been asked to be tested, in which case the entire household should isolate until results are received.  In other cases, the advice is that a test is not required and that pupils can return to school once they are well enough to do so.  We fully appreciate the inconvenience that this process can cause, however, this process must be followed in line with national guidance and in the best interest of keeping everyone safe.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions regarding this.

All that remains is for me to thank you all once again for your support over the past few months since we have returned to school.  Working with your children is a privilege that I am more grateful for than ever.  They continue to amaze me with their resilience and their enthusiasm.  While I realise that Christmas for many of you will be very different this year, I trust that you will enjoy some rest, time spent with those close to you and the joys of the festive season.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy start to 2021!

Regards,

Sara