Coronavirus Update

Messages/government information relating to Coronavirus will be posted below. Please check this page daily for any updates.


Update – Thursday 27th March 2020

Dear parent/carer,

How are you? Just in case no one else has asked you.

I hope this email finds you and your family in good health and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and understanding. Tough times on a variety of levels.


Unbelievable how much everything has changed within a week. I am sending you this email with an update with a view to provide you as much information as possible.

Our staff continued to work hard in providing an education package for our pupils. Please be assured that we do not expect you to suddenly become experts in every subject but do appreciate any support you can provide your child/children to stay organised and keep as much education happening (sometimes even as a good distraction to the situation).

Equally, there are many uncertainties at the moment and appreciate that education might not be a top priority just now.  

Highland Council Helpline

The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19.

The single line number – 0300 3030 1362 – will connect callers to relevant council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. All calls are free.

Callers will be able to get advice on benefits and personal support, education and social care and there will also be advice for businesses who may need help with financial support.

Any queries directly related to Gairloch High School please contact via mail:

Head Teacher (general concerns): wim.chalmet@highland.gov.uk

Depute Head Teacher (SQA, timetable and options queries): stuart.caddell@highland.gov.uk

PT Guidance: helen.murton@highland.gov.uk

PT Additional Support Needs: carol.bulmer@highland.gov.uk

Supporting our pupils

We are continuously looking at improving what we do and have learnt a lot over the last couple days. Your feedback is much appreciated – please provide any feedback on what works and what doesn’t. We are in this together.

Link to video for S1, S2 and S3 pupils: https://spark.adobe.com/video/8v2uTRi3mYnSl

Link to video for S4, S5 and S6 pupils: https://spark.adobe.com/video/aEzL4SsCRwONm

  • We have set up a daily registration form for you all  to check in Monday – Friday during term time
  • Please complete this before 0930
  • Pupils can should show parents/carers this form so you are aware 
  • In addition, we have a system in place where we have a member of staff acting as a virtual mentor
  • Mentors will email your during term time, on: 
    • MondaysWednesdays, 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

Course choices and timetable

  • Mr Caddell is currently working on this as planned.
  • The timetable is currently under development and will be ready for our return, whenever that may be

SQA Update

Following guidance received from the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the advice is that:

  • No learner coursework to be submitted for Higher and Advanced Higher courses
  • National 5 coursework should not be submitted to SQA from now on
  • Coursework should still be considered as part of the process of estimating grades
  • Further details about the certification process will be provided “as soon as possible”

Pupils’ should continue with coursework tasks at home, as far as is possible, as this will be taken into account when estimating grades.

Pupils’ should keep in regular contact with teachers, during term-time, as they will be on hand to support where they can.

Pupils undertaking National Progression Awards should continue working on these until further notice as these do not relate to the National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher deadlines.

More information can be found at: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93658.html

UCAS Update

Following guidance received from UCAS, the advice is that:

  • The university admissions service, UCAS, has announced that it is to give students more time to make decisions about their choice of university.
  • UCAS has said that it expects the admissions cycle to run broadly similar to previous years, with the flexibility for applicants to make choices throughout the rest of the year and a clearing process over the summer.

We advise that any of you who have applied for a course starting in August/September is needing advice, contact Mr. Caddell or Miss Murton via email in the first instance.

More information can be found at: https://www.ucas.com/coronavirus-updates-hub

And finally to all pupils. STAY HOME and follow guidelines. If we all adhere to these rules we, as a whole community will see this through without delay. This is your time to show resilience and responsible citizenship in difficult times for everyone. We got this!

Take care and stay safe. 

Kind regards,

Wim Chalmet

#WeAreGairlochHigh 


Update – Sunday 22nd March 2020

Good afternoon,

We have just received additional information from First minister regarding our senior phase pupils in schools, emphasising the need to close schools to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus.

As a result of today’s announcement please note that no pupil should be in school next week for catch ups/coursework etc.

We hope to have further clarification tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Wim Chalmet


Update – Saturday 21st March 2020

Head Teacher message

Good afternoon,

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

https://gairlochhigh.org.uk/learning-at-home/

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.

Kind regards,

Wim Chalmet

Head Teacher/Ceannard

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.

Wim Chalmet

Head Teacher