March update

With the winter weather finally leaving us, we seemed to have missed the worst of the Transatlantic storms.

Last week, however, there was an ‘amber weather warning’ issued by CEC and I made the decision to allow children to enter the school on both sites, before the morning bell. The boys and girls behaved exceptionally well but it is only possible to do this in the very worst of conditions.

Before pupils enter the school I must ensure that enough staff are in place for the safe supervision of children. Both teachers and support staff contracts at SMPS do not start until 8:40 am each day and therefore staffing is very limited.

Living in Scotland it is of no surprise to spend much of the Spring and Summer terms with wet rainy mornings. Children must bring a jacket with them each day and in all but the wettest of days will be required to remain outdoors.  On wet mornings please try and arrive at school as close to the bell time as possible.

Lunches:

At Comiston Road, this term we have introduced a revised  rota system. The House Captains and I are evaluating its impact on making the system more equitable and fair.  A number of parents often ask me why there is no cake on second sittings, or why are the meals cold, or why is my child always at the end of the line ?

Prefects play an important roll at SMPS  in supporting the smooth running of the school. They support in the dining rooms, stair wells and playground.  In the new rota the P7 class who are acting as Prefects that week are rewarded by a first sitting lunch( this allows them to be in post quickly to support others), this is followed by the pupils from across the school who attend a lunch time club on that day and then finally the P3 class which corresponds to the P7 class  ;ie P7Aa and P3A.

Not only has this system improved Health and Safety by reducing the number of children queuing on the stairs, but is ensuring that any one class does not always go first. A similar system operates for 2nd and 3rd sittings.  Less children queuing at any one time also has had the added benefit of allowing the kitchen door to be kept closed and keeping the meals warmer !

Over the term the other classes rotate between sittings.  Therefore every child should have access to ‘cake’ or their chosen dessert as best as we can manage: On some days, somethings are just more popular.

However, we have also been informed that as ParentPay is rolled out further, an option to order a particular starter or dessert along with the Hot 1 or Hot 2 option will become available.

ParentPay:

It is hoped that Parentpay will greatly reduce the amount of administration time spent by the school office in handling money  for meals and excursions. However, as Parentmail has since been stopped, it is essential that parents register with Parentpay using the authorisation guidance as soon as possible.

Parentpay authorisation enables the school to email communications to parents and is not just for the payment options.  It is hoped that a ‘parentmail’ type of communication system  will be added to ParentPay in the near future.

Scottish Opera : Tam O’Shanter

The school has resounded to the sounds of childrens’ voices over the past few weeks. P6 have been enjoying learning about the Expressive Arts and Performance through the workshops provided by Scottish Opera.

We are very grateful for the Parent Council in making this possible. It definitely is one of those Gold Standard  experiences to be cherished.

Generation Science:

Pupils from P6 performed to parents as part of their parental engagement and P6B will share their learning with the upper school on Friday at Assembly.

The Parent Council also supports Generation Science which are working across the school providing  the most inspiring experiences to all pupils.

Parental Engagement:

In school we use an approach to the teaching of  of writing called Big Writing. It enables teachers to assess progress in writing and identifying next steps by using a common approach called  the Scottish Criterion Scale.

Over the next week parents from P2, P4 and P6 will receive a piece of writing produced by their child and moderated by a teacher from across the school. Parents are asked to comment on that piece of writing  and return to school.  You may wish to make a general comment for your child based on the writing, you may wish to add to the next step identified by the moderating teacher, or you may wish just to say ‘what a lovely story…well done’.

This is the first time that we have involved parents in this way to support writing. We hope that not  only does this assist you with  supporting your child’s development as a writer, but it also gives a purpose ( audience) to the writing. We are keen to hear your thoughts as we evaluate our Parental Engagement strategy  and shortly Mrs Richmond, DHT , will lead a Parent Forum evaluating our progress with this, this session.

School Safety :

Unfortunately a bicycle was stolen from the bike shed towards the end of the day last week. The bike was being used for Bike Ability training when two youths entered the school in front of parents and took the bike.

Please ensure that all bikes, and if possible scooters are locked, and please notify any member of staff if you are concerned about unfamiliar faces in the playground.