Messages/government information relating to Coronavirus will be posted below. Please check this page daily for any updates.
School Update – Tuesday 2nd June 2020
I trust you are all well and have enjoyed the sunshine over the weekend.
This update covers following items:
- Release of Scottish Government guidance for re-opening schools
- Your voice matters! – Pupil and Parent consultations (ACTION REQUESTED)
- Message from Mrs Vanessa Quinn, Chair of Gairloch High School Parent Council
- Financial support for parent/carers: Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and School Clothing Grants
Release of Scottish Government guidance for re-opening schools.
We know this has been a very challenging and unsettling time for our pupils, parents and families. I do feel there is a message of hope and positivity as last Thursday the Scottish Government released guidance for re-opening schools in August. This is step 1 in the process indicated below and allows our local authority and ourselves to start preparing step 2 and step 3. You can find more information on https://www.parentclub.scot/topics/coronavirus
Your voice matters!
As we continue to review the current situation and plan the next steps in supporting our pupil’s education and wellbeing, we are gathering the views of young people and families to inform the planning process (part of step 7 and 8). To help us to do this you will find links to questionnaires for pupils in the Broad General Education (S1-3) and Senior Phase (S4-6) of their education. We will also send these links to pupil’s school email address. You will also find a link to a parental questionnaire.
The questionnaires are quite short and include several questions about any worries you or your child may have, and any concerns about learning or wellbeing. The questionnaire is anonymous and data will be collated into themes to support the planning and delivery of education as we look to school returning after the summer. Thank you for taking the time to complete the questionnaire, which will close on 8th June. If you have any specific concerns that requires a reply, please contact me directly.
BGE Consultation – Young Person:
Click here to complete the form online now
BGE Consultation – Parent/Carer:
Click here to complete the form online now
Senior Phase Consultation – Young Person:
Click here to complete the form online now
Senior Phase Consultation – Parent/Carer:
Click here to complete the form online now.
Gairloch High Parent Council
The Gairloch Parent Council would like to thank our great pupils, the dedicated parents and carers and especially our brilliant teaching staff for keeping school life going, virtually, through these last few months. We don’t know yet what to expect when school returns to ‘new normal’ but have to be prepared for big changes.
Not being able to meet up with friends, parents having to help our children with their course work more and creating a safe and enjoyable online teaching environment for the pupils, have been firsts for many of us. The Parent Council is available should you have any issues you would like to discuss. This is a very difficult time for everyone, so being kind and understanding is vital. Should you wish to get in touch with the Parent Council, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
SQA estimate process – Highland Council statement
“Friday 29 May was the deadline for schools to send estimates to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) as part of this year’s process for arriving at final grades, following the cancellation of this year’s exams. SQA will now check and validate the information we have submitted. SQA will now moderate it, if necessary, to ensure consistency across schools and colleges and with results from previous years and will use the information from these estimates, in addition to prior learner attainment, where this is available. For example, if learners achieved National 5 or Higher courses, in a previous year. SQA will also look at schools’ previous history of estimating and attainment in each subject and level. SQA may moderate these estimates, up or down, if that is required. This process will produce the results for learners, which will be issued to candidates on 4 August.”
Nicky Grant, Interim Head of Education, said, “We would like to thank all of our teaching staff who were involved in the crucial process of submitting estimates. We very much appreciate their hard work and professionalism as they carried out a complex task that was operating for the first time ever. Their overall professional judgement, based on the available evidence from all candidate activity across the year, is a key part of the process. We are also very grateful to our Principal Teachers, Depute Head Teachers and Head Teachers for carrying out rigorous quality assurance of the estimates across all subjects and courses, to ensure that they accurately capture the attainment of our young people during this very unusual session. It is now over to SQA to apply their moderation procedures and we look forward to seeing our Highland-wide results in August.”
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) provides financial support to eligible 16 to 19 year olds who want to continue learning.
- How to apply
The Scottish Government require a new application for EMA to be made each academic year. Applicants can apply for EMA online on the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/ema
Guidance about EMA is available on the Council’s website:
- Age Criteria
To be eligible for EMA for the academic year 2019/20 applicants’ date of birth must be between 1 March 2001 and 28 February 2005.
- Income Thresholds
Household income is assessed on gross taxable household income for the period April 2019 to March 2020. The household income thresholds for EMA for academic year 2020/21 are as follows:
|INCOME||NUMBER OF DEPENDANT CHILDREN IN THE HOUSEHOLD||AWARD PER WEEK|
|£0-£24,421||One||£30 per child per week|
|£0-£26,884||Two or more||£30 per child per week|
*** Apply without delay ***
● To be eligible for a full year award the application must be received by the EMA Unit by 30 September 2020.
● If the applicant’s date of birth falls between 1 March 2001 and 30 September 2004 they may be eligible for an EMA from the start of the academic year 2020/21, 11 August 2020.
● If the applicant’s date of birth falls between 1 October 2004 and 28 February 2005 they may be eligible for an EMA from the start of the January term 2020/21, 6 January 2021.
Help to complete an EMA Application Form
If you require help to complete an EMA application form, please contact the Council’s Welfare Support Team on 0800 090 1004 or by emailing: email@example.com
School Clothing Grants
The Highland Council will provide support towards the costs of school clothing to many families. This will help children from primary 1 to secondary schools in Highland to be better equipped to attend school, focus on their education and fully participate in school life whilst easing the financial pressures for parents and carers.
Applications are now being invited by The Highland Council for the academic year starting in August 2020. Assistance with school clothing can be claimed if parents and carers are receiving any one of the following:
● Income Support
● Universal Credit (where the monthly earned income does not exceed £610).
● Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
● Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
● Child Tax Credit, but not in receipt of Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105 (as assessed by the HMRC)
● Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and an income below £6,420 (as assessed by the HMRC)
● If a young person is 16 to 18 years old and receive any of these benefits in their own right, then they can claim for themselves.
● An asylum seeker receiving support
● Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
To streamline the application process, the Council has a single application form for school clothing grants and free school meals. Applications can be made online at
Many thanks for your support. Stay safe and well.
Mr Wim Chalmet
School Update – Friday 22nd May 2020
Dear Parent / Carer,
As always I hope that you and your family are well and continue to remain resilient in the current circumstances.
Following the announcement by the First Minister on Thursday about the phased reopening of schools, I know that you will have lots of questions about when and how our pupils will return to school.
I am delighted that the First Minister explicitly recognised the efforts of pupils, parents and teachers and would like to echo this statement as I am in total awe of how our school community has tackled the challenges with a great deal of resilience and care for each other. Proud to be able to serve such a great community and confident that this positive culture will continue and see us all through this unprecedented times.
With the announcement that pupils will return to school from the 11th August, I am glad there is some clarity and a message of hope and perspective for future to all of us. I would highlight that 11th August is earlier than our planned date of 19th August for pupils to return to school after the summer holidays.
In a message received on Friday 22nd May from Paul Senior (Highland Council Executive Chief officer for Education and Learning) and Nicky Grant (Highland Council Interim Head of Education), we were informed that they will be taking the initial time to evaluate and gather vital information following this announcement, to inform a proposed road map for Education Return for the Highland Council area.
Once guidance is received from Highland Council and National Education Recovery Group next week, we will consider the implications for Gairloch High School with regards to the blended learning model (mix of in-house and home learning). In the meantime, I will continue to update you accordingly. We all want to get back to school very soon, but please rest assured that a safe and measured way is vital.
Again I would like to thank all parents, carers and pupils for their patience and understanding as we work through a very complex situation. I know this has been a difficult and uncertain time and we are committed to sharing further information with you as soon as we can. We very much appreciate your continued support in the learning engagement of your children in the lead up to the summer holidays.
Take care and stay safe.
Mr Wim Chalmet
School Update – Monday 4th May 2020
I continue to hope that you receive this communication in good health and hope you and your family are safe.
Considering the challenging and difficult times we are all facing in different ways, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all pupils and parents. The engagement of our pupils has been exceptional and each pupil deserves to be applauded for their commitment. We also know that this only happens with the support from yourselves as parents/carers. THANK YOU for making a difference. I am fully aware that this can’t be easy at times when you are juggling with so many other things. I have included some specific support mechanism further in this email.
So many times I read or see in the media about ‘Schools Closure’, and I disagree. Schools are not closed – the building is. What makes a school for me is the pupils, parents/carers and our teachers. The positive relationships are the glue for the school community and the wider community. We should be proud of our school community as we have proof that in the face of adversity we are all showing strong resilience and support and care for each other. The determination and positivity of us all is what makes Gairloch High School, not the building. I am proud to be part of it.
As tomorrow we are starting the 7th week of lockdown, I thought it would be good to provide you an update. Needless to say that over the last couple of weeks, there have been many updated guidelines from the Scottish Government and Highland Council of which I aim to have most of the key educational messages included in this update.
Learning moving on into new courses starting on Monday 4th May (INCLUDING SENIOR PUPILS)
As the SQA exam diet for senior pupils has been removed (and alternative processes are in place) and course choices have been finalised, there is now an opportunity to move the school session forward to next stages. All pupils will receive invitations from teachers to join new Google Classrooms soon and we would like to ask pupils to respond promptly.
S1 will be invited to S2 classes, whilst S2 will be invited to a more personalised curriculum based on their choices made in March. S3 will be making the transition into the Senior Phase curriculum. S4 and S5 pupils will receive invitations for their chosen courses.
Please contact Mr Caddell (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly with any questions regarding course choices and/or SQA related matters.
Learning at home
As mentioned above we are very appreciative about the efforts pupils and parents/carers are making to ensure engagement with work being provided by our teachers. We encourage families to continue in this process of engagement, thus ensuring that education continues for all of our pupils. Parental and pupil feedback have been very positive so far with the vast majority of pupils engaging with the current set-up of 9am-1pm with weekly task being set by the teachers.
I totally understand that individual circumstances and your personal work commitment can make this set-up difficult. School work is designed by teachers that does not require a lot of support from parents and can be done in a different working pattern to what we are suggesting.
I would also like to make reference to following documents recently released regarding learning at home:
1. On the 20th April Scottish Government released: Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting pupils, parents and teachers – learning during term 4
This document contains the following information:
“We are living in extraordinary times and we understand that learning in Term 4 will be different. We also know that this is a new and evolving situation and that we must be both ambitious for our learners, yet realistic too. In addition to supporting wellbeing, a key goal during this period will be to maintain engagement in learning, with approaches that are appropriate to children and young people in different age groups; in different home circumstances; and with different levels of digital connectivity.
Not all learning, however, will be done online or through digital channels or platforms. We know that there are many other learning resources and activities, including books, television, radio, and creative activities that will help with learning at home.”
2. The EEF (Educational Endowment Foundation) is a charity that does extensive research in learning and teaching, has published an evidence assessment that examined the existing research for approaches that schools could use, or are already using, to support the learning of pupils while schools are closed due to Covid-19.
‘Support the pupil to work independently’ is one of the five key findings in order to support pupils’ remote learning, or supporting parents to do that can improve learning outcomes.
Multiple reviews identify the value of strategies that help pupils work independently with success. For example, prompting pupils to reflect on their work or to consider the strategies they will use if they get stuck have been highlighted as valuable. Wider evidence related to metacognition and self-regulation suggests that pupils are likely to particularly benefit from explicit support to help them work independently, for example, by providing checklists or daily plans.
Finally I would like to share the Highland Council Guidelines regarding distance learning:
Guideline for Learners on Distance Learning
Morning registration before 9.30 am (this is a statutory requirement)
School work will be set at the start of each week by teachers
Regularly check either Google classroom for information on classwork.
Identify a comfortable and quiet space to study/learn.
Try to complete all the learning activities posted by your teacher.
Ensure you look after your own health and wellbeing. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything that your teacher has set. Pupils can contact their class teacher/Guidance teacher through email.
Guidelines for Parents on Distance Learning
Ensure your child/ren have registered each morning before 9.30am (this is a statutory requirement) – this includes current S6 pupils and school leavers until further notice
Parents know their own child best and individual circumstances will dictate the pace and type of learning which is appropriate
Support their child/ren in their learning by:
Providing an environment to support learning (access to technology if possible, safe and quiet space during daytime).
Engaging your children in conversations on posted work.
Monitoring time spent engaging in online and offline learning.
Support health and wellbeing by providing plenty of time for physical activity, conversation and play.
Education Scotland has shared a link to “Parent Club” which is here. From mental health advice, tips for learning at home, keeping active and eating well to talking to your kids about coronavirus, Parent Club offers useful information for families on how to cope with this huge change.
Parents and families are dealing with a vast amount of information on a wide range of topics about COVID-19. The information found on Parentzone is intended to help provide guidance and support to parents and families regarding their child’s learning at home and signpost to other information which may be of interest. Information on Parentzone Scotland will continue to be reviewed and updated as required, so please encourage families to visit the website. The Learning at home area of Parentzone Scotland contains information and resources your families may also find helpful, it can be found here .
The Scottish Government have launched the #ClearYourHeadChallenge. From 1st May Young Scot have put together 31 days of fun ideas and challenges for our young people to get involved with – all from the comfort of their own home. More information can be found here.
Staying Safe Online
Not everyone is confident going online and many families will be worrying about their children being safe. Lead Scotland supports disabled people and carers and they are hosting free classes to help people to use the internet confidently and safely during COVID-19. In these webinars, Lead Scotland will look at ways you can help support others to be safe online during the Coronavirus and answer any questions you might have. Each webinar will give the same advice so you only need to attend one. Everyone is welcome to join. Find out more on the Lead Scotland website.
I certainly hope you find these updates valuable and would appreciate any feedback with a view to improve the support our pupils or yourselves. Please continue to follow us on our social media channels for a variety of information or activities to stay connected with Gairloch High School.
Please make note that Friday 8th May is Bank Holiday with no online learning taking place. This holiday was moved from the first Monday of May to this Friday with the intention for the nation the celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day, the surrender of Nazi Germany and victory of Europe. With the cancellation of some community celebrations due to Coronavirus, I would encourage all pupils to do some research on VE day and watch some of the programmes on television. Take some time to reflect and thank a generation that gave so much to ensure we have the freedom today. What can we do as a generation to be remembered in such a way?
Take care and stay safe.
Mr Wim Chalmet
SQA Update – Tuesday 21st April 2020
I hope that you and yours are all fit and well.
Following yesterday’s press release by the SQA, we have received information that describes the new process for making estimated grade decisions.
Over the coming days, I will be working with staff on digesting the new process and making sure that all estimate grade and bandings are generated and accurately match your child/children’s expected attainment in-line with this new guidance.
The SQA expect to release results to pupils, as planned on 4th August 2020.
In the meantime, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email on email@example.com and I will aim to answer any queries you may have.
You can also find information out from the SQA directly by visiting: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93824.html.
Mr Stuart Caddell
Depute Head (SQA Coordinator)
Update – Monday 13th April 2020
As we are approaching a new term I would like to wish you a Happy Easter and hope this update reaches you and your family in good health.
I would like to thank all parents, carers and members of the community for the continued and unconditional support in particular since school closure a couple weeks ago. As much as I am looking forward to have our school open again and return to our normal routines as early as possible, at this stage our priority is the safety and health of all our pupils, staff, community and nation. We need to focus on the bigger picture and ensure we are all effectively contributing to this national emergency and adhere to government #StayAtHome guidelines.
Learning at Home
We recognise that everyone is doing their best at this unusual time by keeping young people happy, healthy and active. These unprecedented circumstances create valuable learning experiences and develop important ‘soft skills’ such as empathy, listening, being mindful, self-care, kindness, contributing at home.
Teachers will continue to provide formal learning guidance and resources through Google Classroom at the start of each week to keep minds active and engage with some formal academic learning. I have been particularly impressed by the level of engagement from our pupils, with the support from parents/carers, and would like to encourage all pupils to continue with this level of engagement from tomorrow, Tuesday 14th April.
Taking into consideration some of the parental feedback on my previous update ‘How are you?’ dated on the 27th March combined with pupil and staff feedback, I am pleased to hear that in general the current arrangements are working well. As usual your feedback is much appreciated so please continue to provide any feedback so we can maximise our support. We are in this together.
Here is an overview of our current arrangements:
Link to video for S1, S2 and S3 pupils:
Link to video for S4, S5 and S6 pupils:
We have a daily registration form for all pupils to check-in, Monday to Friday during term time
Please complete this before 0930
In addition, we have a system in place where we have a member of staff acting as a virtual mentor
Mentors will email you during term time, on:
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
You can email mentors AT ANY TIME should they need support.
Pupils should respond to their mentors, even if everything is fine
Any concerns disclosed to mentors may be passed on to Guidance and/or Senior Leaders to follow up.
Pupils can also submit any concerns using the SHANARRI button on the pupil portal
We would continue to recommend parents/carers to support pupils with the management of the learning tasks to the best ability you can and suggest to organise a timetable for ½ day starting from 9 am and finishing at 1pm (including short breaks as in school). We would also suggest that the afternoon is for relaxation like reading, music or go out for a walk. Try to incorporate a minimum of 20 minutes of daily individual physical activity in the outdoors which counts as your PE.
SQA update, UCAS update, Course Choices
Mr Caddell will be in touch in due course with relevant updates regarding the above topics
Any queries directly related to Gairloch High School please contact via mail:
Head Teacher (general concerns): firstname.lastname@example.org
Depute Head Teacher (SQA, UCAS, Options queries): email@example.com
PT Guidance: firstname.lastname@example.org
PT Additional Support Needs: email@example.com
Take care, stay safe and stay connected.
Gairloch High School/ Àrd-Sgoil Gheàrrloch
Update – Saturday 21st March 2020
Head Teacher message
I apologise for overloading you with updates however considering the national state of emergency I do think it is important to inform you what the impact of national and regional decisions have on Gairloch High School pupils and staff.
I have the deepest empathy in these difficult and uncertain time for all families and our school community. I hope to address as many of your concerns within this update and emphasise that although schools are closing we have a robust plan to support all our pupils and families to the best ability we can. Yet again, I like to thank all our staff who have demonstrate exceptional resilience and focus on what is best for our pupils. Equally I would like to thank our pupils for their maturity in trying to understand the current situation for the school and community.
Following the letter from Donna Manson, CEO Highland Council released yesterday (https://gairlochnew.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/20.03.20-ltr-to-schools-coronavirus.pdf) I am highlighting couple topics below on how we are implementing this at Gairloch High School.
School closure from Monday 23rd March until further notice.
Senior Phase pupils – SQA outstanding units or coursework
Staff and pupils have been working tirelessly to complete SQA coursework, units and produce more evidence over the last couple weeks. We are gathering further pupil evidence, using estimated grades and we will update you once we receive clarification from SQA around this.
There may be pupils who have assessment tasks to complete that are essential for unit completion and certification. Teachers have provided us with a list of pupils in this position and Mr Caddell will be in touch soon with these pupils to organise completion of this work at school during Monday 23 March or Tuesday 24 March. As soon as the this work is completed pupils will need to leave the school and return home.
Please be aware and mindful that in some subjects the teacher might not be present in school due to self-isolation or other reasons. Pupils and supervising teachers will be obliged to follow advice in line with national guidance and health on social distancing and hygiene.
Home learning – S1/S2 and S3
Despite of the focus on finalising SQA work for Senior Phase pupils, our staff have also organised appropriate work for our Junior school pupils. With the provision of 1:1 devices by the Highland Council and digital learning already embedded at Gairloch High School, I feel that we are ready to cope with this unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in.
We ask all junior pupils to check in on their pupil portal each day at 9am where they find an overview of weekly tasks set by subject teachers. Subject teachers will set weekly task via separate Google Classrooms. Subject teachers will track progress and engagement with the tasks throughout the week. We would recommend parents/carers to support pupils with the management of the tasks and suggest to organise a timetable for ½ day starting from 9 am and finishing at 1pm (including short breaks as in school). We would suggest that the afternoon is for relaxation like reading, music or go out for a walk. Try to incorporate a minimum of 20 minutes of daily individual physical activity in the outdoors which counts as your PE.
To stay connected each pupils has been allocated with a teacher/mentor who will check in with you three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and see how you are and how you are getting on.
We have produced a video of the above and I would strongly recommend to have a look at it on our school homepage: https://gairlochhigh.org.uk/
On our school website you will also find more information on Home learning (for parents/carers) as well as additional free resources that are currently offered across the UK.
These arrangements will be starting from Monday 23rd March till Friday 27th March and will recommence on Tuesday 14th April (after Easter holidays)
Home learning S4/S5
Our focus for the next week will be to complete the outstanding work for Senior Phase pupils. We will start Home Learning for Senior Phase pupils when we have finalised your course choices for next session. We will inform you in due course.
Medication or digital devices
For any pupils who need to pick up digital devices (or essential medication) please let me know via email so we can organise collection on Monday 23 March. Should you be unable to do this (for example because the entire family is self-isolating) please check if someone else could collect the device or medication on your behalf.
Free school Meals for next week only – Monday to Friday (reviewed after Easter Holidays)
Free School Meals next week to young people are provided as a takeaway Grab & Go option for families who are entitled to this. This will be for all P1-P3 pupils and all those who are on universal Free School Meals through benefits.
Gairloch High School canteen will be open between 11am and 2pm for people to come and collect the food. Please enter the canteen from the back of the school (at the astro pitch). I am currently in the process of contacting families who are entitled to ensure they receive support in case transport is a barrier for these arrangements. Staff volunteers have kindly stepped forward to help these families in need.
As this may be a difficult time, if you are entitled to free school meals, or if you think your circumstances have changed and you may be entitled to free school meals we encourage you to register for this support. https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/899/schools_-_grants_and_benefits/10/free_school_meals_and_assistance_with_clothing
Childcare for Key Workers
Highland Council is working hard to create an offer of care for the children of parents and carers who are essential workers.
If you consider yourself to fall into the essential workers category and require childcare, please visit https://www.highland.gov.uk/keyworkers where you will find an online form to request assistance with childcare.
Please complete the form by no later than 9am on Monday 23 March 2020.
Please check all advice on coronavirus and discuss with your child the significance of this. This is an exceptional opportunity for our pupils to be responsible citizens, effective contributors, successful learners and confident individuals. It is their time to shine with your and our support.
Take care and I will keep you informed in due course.
In good health.
Gairloch High School/ Àrd-Sgoil Gheàrrloch
Letter to parents: Friday 20th March 2020
From Donna Manson, Chief Executive, Highland Council:
Statement: Thursday 19th March 2020
This afternoon Deputy Minister John Swinney confirmed the school closure with effect from Monday 23rd March. He also announced the decision to cancel the 2020 exam diet and asked SQA to develop a credible certification model. It is critical that coursework is completed and teachers’ professional judgements of estimated grades are made. If you have any concerns regarding any outstanding assignments or other relevant evidence please do not hesitate to get in touch via email.
I have included a statement from Chief Executive SQA and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer at the bottom of this email.
Pupils should not return to school on Monday 23rd March. I intend to provide you more detailed information regarding the online education package for pupils by tomorrow evening.
Donna Manson, CEO Highland Council, hope that arrangements will be in place for children of key worker group from Friday 27th March. She also mentions that at this stage work is done towards continued and adapted provision of food, care, support and protection of vulnerable children. I hope to be in a position to provide you more information on this by tomorrow. I can confirm that pupils on Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will continue to receive financial support as normal.
Your support now and in future is much appreciated. It is in times of adversity a great community excels. As mentioned before I am a proud Head Teacher serving a great school at the heart of a great community.
We will surely miss to see our pupils on a daily basis and hope we can return to our normal routines as soon as possible.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our current S6 pupils who have impressed me again and again this year. They definitely do not deserve to have such an abrupt finish to their school career and I certainly hope there will be an opportunity later on the year to say a proper goodbye. I do wish them and all other pupils that are leaving Gairloch High School, a healthy and successful future.