Frequently Asked Questions

Questions from Parent Forum on 11th March 2021:

When will assessments happen after senior phase pupils go back?

The assessment windows have been changed again and were shared by Mr Caddell on 11th March. There are five full school weeks before and after the holidays dedicated to consolidation and learning, after which the first assessment window will take place. No pupil will be assessed when they are not ready to be.

What will the Friday programme for BGE look like? 

They will not be on their regular timetable, and the focus will be on wellbeing, socialisation and friendships. Some year groups will need to separated into smaller groups for some of the time, including the S1 and S3s. Activities will focus on wellbeing and getting back together and see friends so take advantage of avoiding the classroom, including walk & talk, PE, art and maximising other outdoor learning. The programme is nearly finalised and will be shared with pupils and parents early next week. Whole year groups will be together for PE and break, allowing friends who may be in separate groups to spend time together with no regulations requiring social distancing.


Questions about Home Learning (Jan-Feb 2021)

Why are Gairloch High School pupils following the structure of the school day (timetable)?

Following feedback from pupils during initial periods of lockdown and self-isolation in June and September, pupils were surveyed and noted that they would like to be able to follow the structure of the school day. Pupils also noted that the lack of structure had an impact on their mental health which led to an increase in stress, anxiety and lack of engagement with learning.


What is the school/Council doing to support pupils that have limited access to Internet connectivity?

With the support of Highland Council Education Team, MiFi devices have been provided to families (12% of the roll) who live in areas with limited connectivity. Should any pupil/parent/carer feel like learning is being affected by poor connectivity, please email Gairloch.High@highland.gov.uk with information about your issues and someone will get back in touch with you at the earliest opportunity.


Are free school meals still being offered to those pupils who are entitled to them?

Yes, these are still being offered in school to pupils if they are attending the school Hub. Pupils entitled to free school meals and who are learning at home will be receiving vouchers from Highland Council. These are also currently distributed during school holiday periods.

More information can be found on the Council website: https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/899/schools_-_grants_and_benefits/10/free_school_meals_and_assistance_with_clothing


Are Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) still being paid as normal?

Yes, these are being processed as normal. Information about the EMA and how to apply can be found at:

https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/899/schools_-_grants_and_benefits/14/education_maintenance_allowance


Is the school offering a welfare/key-worker hub?

Yes, this is offered Monday to Friday following the normal school timetable. Staff volunteers are supporting pupils who are attending following Tier 4 guidelines (e.g. face coverings in classrooms, sanitising furniture, not sharing resources, minimum 2m social distancing etc.)


Is school transport still running for those pupil attending the key-worker/welfare hub?

Buses will continue to run, even with empty buses. The Council are looking into runs where no pupils are expected in school and this may change in the coming weeks but any alternations to service will be communicated with parents/carers where applicable.


Do pupils who require additional support have access to Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs)?

Yes. PSA’s are supporting ASN pupils who are attending the hub, in person and also supporting ASN pupils working from home through the use of Google Classroom and Google Meet.


Do all pupils have access to a Chromebook?

Yes, each pupil has a Chromebook. Any pupil that is having trouble with their Chromebook should contact Miss Smith (emma.smith@gairlochhigh.org.uk) and she will arrange a fix/replacement at the earliest opportunity.


Some pupils may not have access to the Internet or slow Internet connection which could impact on home learning. Is there support in place for those pupils/families?

Yes. Through The Highland Council Education Team pupils/families that are experiencing connectivity issues have been provided with a portable Internet device which connects to a mobile network. Any parent/carer who feels that this may benefit them due to connectivity problems should email Gairloch.High@highland.gov.uk in the first instance.


What is the school doing to limit the amount of screen time pupils are required to undertake to take part in their lessons from home?

A variety of methods are being employed by teaching staff to try and strike the balance between learning and wellbeing related to increased screen time. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Integrating activities where pupils can leave the screen and move around inside/outside
  • Limiting activities which require screen time for a whole period
  • Providing project work which can be done over a number of days

What is the current school position with regards to Senior Phase (S4-6) pupils undertaking SQA courses this year?

The school is currently awaiting further SQA guidance on what assessment will look like following the introduction of this new lock-down period.

Mr Caddell, SQA Coordinator, is meeting regularly with all counterpart from across Highland Council schools on a twice-weekly basis to

The school has an adaptable assessment window plan ready to run when we are given the green light.

Parents/carers/pupils should be assured that as soon as information is forthcoming and plans are in place, communications will be sent out.


How are teachers communicating with pupils during the school week?

All classes, S1 to S6 are part of Google Classrooms for all their subjects. Teachers are able to post work, respond to comments and set assignments using this tool.

If pupils are taking part in Google Meet (video call) lessons, they have the option to verbally ask questions or type them into the chat box for the teacher, or other pupils to respond to.

Pupils also have access to email and they can message teachers for clarification, support etc. at any time. Many teachers will also email pupils directly with pupil-specific information relating to their learning.


How is the school promoting mental and physical wellbeing?

Staff are being encouraged to create lessons, where possible, which involves getting pupils away from a computer screen, as noted above. Some of these include tasks that can be completed in the house such as model making, to encouraging pupils to go outside and undertake physical activity and even gain inspiration from their surroundings to assist with creative work.

The school will constantly encourage pupils to go outdoors time and reduce screen time whilst as the same time encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their own day by taking regular screen breaks etc.

The school will also regularly encourage pupils to socially interact with their friends (“have a chat”) at regular intervals during the week outside of school. This does not need to involve extra screen time in all cases as we would encourage pupils to use voice communications which can be undertaken, in many circumstance, whilst out for walks etc.

The school is constantly reviewing the school day to encourage more time outside, especially as the light fades not long after the end of the structured day. As of Monday 25th January, the school will be looking at the following structure, increasing break and lunchtimes and finishing by 3.30pm:


What is the school’s current position on course choice for session 2021/22?

Whilst there is still much uncertainty of when this session will finish and the new session begins (usually early June), we have started looking into course choice planning. At present we hope to release letters regarding course choice and the process on/around the following dates:

  • S2 into S3 – week commencing 25th January 2020
  • S3 into S4 – week commencing 25th January 2020
  • S4 into S5 – tbc and will follow update from Scottish Government on 2/2/21.
  • S5 into S6 – tbc and will follow update from Scottish Government on 2/2/21.