Today marks an end of term that feels like no other. It is also going to be a holiday period unlike any other as we remain in our own homes as much as possible.
There were some major issues with technology at the start of the week with some teachers unable to access anything. Thank you for your patience as we all learn this new way of working. We are confident that with all the work being done behind the scenes, this will operate more smoothly next term.
Whilst some teachers may have set homework tasks for over the holidays, the daily engagement will not continue until the new term on 13th April. You will all find different ways to occupy the time over the Easter holidays. The websites below are just some suggestions of sites you may find useful. However, it is important that everyone takes a break and concentrates on self and family.
We are looking at how we can create more structure for pupils and support for parents after Easter. We will have a more formal way for our pupils to check in and have a chat with their Guidance Teacher. Whilst we will continue to refine this over the holidays we are planning for a system whereby S1-3 do this every day and S4-6 do the weekly emotional check-in because although you would normally be on study leave, things are very far from normal and we are keen to be there for you. On one level, this is to satisfy the legal requirement of all pupils being registered each day but more importantly in these times it gives our pupils a daily opportunity to have a dialogue with their Guidance staff, to tell them what they are up to, share their successes and raise any issues or concerns. We hope everyone engages fully with this and we look forward to the dialogue that this creates.
We are planning to get senior phase pupils started on National Courses early and will confirm details of this as soon as possible. Where any course choice adjustments are required for pupils going into new S4/5/6 Mr O’Neill will be in touch via Gmail and pupils should respond to these as soon as possible.
The challenge is getting the balance right between providing too much or too little work. We know that you are all doing the best you can in these very unsettled times.
We continue to feel the anxiety of our students and families at this time and will post any updated information as soon as it is confirmed and available for sharing. The staff at Culloden Academy stand by the Scottish Governments and SQA statement about ensuring that learners’ hard work is rightly and fairly recognised and allows them to proceed to further learning or work.
EMA payments will continue to be made over this period. All pupils are having their payments approved and processed.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS
Highland Council are now finalising arrangements for pupils entitled to Free School Meals.
“We will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020. Each e-voucher will be for £15. We intend to issue 2 * £15 e-vouchers during next week. Each has an expiration of 3 months from the date of issue.”
This will be organised through Highland Council and they will be using email to communicate. See our Facebook page or Highland Council’s website for further details.
Google Hangouts were enabled for all pupils and staff last week- they operate like any on-line chatroom. Within 2 days I had enough evidence of them being used for negative purposes that I requested they be turned off so that no pupil accessing one of our Google Classrooms need fear critical comments or bullying by exclusion etc. However, opportunities are emerging for young people in the coming weeks which need them to have access to Google Hangouts and I’ve always been of the view that if it’s happening for other learners, I want it for Culloden’s learners. Therefore, I have decided to trust to the good within our young people that these will not be used for anything other that supporting and collaborating with your peers and Google Hangouts have been turned back on for pupils.
The Council helpline continues to be an important point of contact and can be accessed by ringing 0300 303 1362
SOCIAL DISTANCING. We are all adjusting to this new ways of operating and it feels very strange. It is particularly important that teenagers adhere to all the guidelines. We are also hearing lots of examples about how our youngsters are helping out in their communities. If you have any good news stories, then please let the school know so that we can share. Email them to Culloden.Academy@highland.gov.uk
Please all continue to take care of each other and every day takes us a step closer to getting our schools open again.
Best wishes for a safe and pleasant break,
Dr J Vance