MELDRUM ACADEMY

Working together for success

PARENT NEWSLETTERS

Head teacher update 21/08/2020

 

Dear Parent / Carer.

At the end of our first full week in school I would like to highlight a further change that we have made within school that takes effect as of today.

In response to further reducing teacher movement around the school as well as reducing pupils from different year groups mixing in a class, we have changed how we deliver Tutor time first thing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. Tutor classes will now be split into year group classes with each year group based in one area of the school and where possible teachers will remain within the same room or very close to where they would normally teach throughout the day. This will be a temporary change but will also allow us to evaluate how we deliver tutor time in the future.

Having all pupils in school this week has been a true test to the procedures we have put in place with pupils quickly adapting to the one-way system.  

To allow us to continue to maintain a safe working environment for all I would appreciate your support in reminding pupils of the following:

  • To ensure they continue to use the hand sanitiser upon entry to the building as well as where possible regularly washing their hands.

  • Pupils should also maintain a 2metre distance from all staff within the school and this includes when moving around the building.

  • If pupils choose to go to the co-op at break or lunchtime, they must adhere to using appropriate face coverings and social distancing and follow the instructions of the Co-op staff when queuing outside the store. Pupils should also refrain from standing in larger groups when out with school.

 

Catering

Unfortunately, on Wednesday the Fusion App crashed during the morning which resulted in pupils unable to place orders for lunch. Even though this occurred the canteen continued to serve meals as usual, but the wait time was slightly longer. Can I please remind parents that they are able to add money to their child’s card, online. For your interest you can also view what food is being purchased each day.

School Uniform

Over the last week there has been an increase in pupils wearing white trainers to school. I would like to remind pupils that white trainers are not part of the school uniform and should not be worn to school. Black trainers or shoes is required.

School textbooks / chrome books

Can pupils who still have any textbooks at home from last year please return these to the school office as soon as possible. The same applies to pupils who were provided with a chrome book/laptop prior to the summer, these should also be returned to the school office as soon as possible as these are now required in school.

 

S1 Parents information evening

As part of the induction process for your children into the school we would normally have held a parent’s information evening in school for yourselves. Due to the current restrictions we are unable to do this within school. I therefore plan to hold a virtual session using skype which you will all be welcome to attend within the next 2 weeks. Further information on how to access this will be sent home separately via Groupcall.

S6 Pupils

Procedures for registration and signing out of school

Due to a number of S6 pupils having study periods on their timetable which are not timetabled with a teacher we have put in place procedures that ensures they are registered every period of the day whilst in school. These procedures have been shared with and explained to S6 pupils and will take effect from Monday 24th August 2020. A designated registration area has been set up where pupils can do this, but they must use their own pen to sign the sheet.

Monday and Tuesday p1 (and 2 as appropriate):

  • They must register for p1 on a Monday and Tuesday if they have a study period or if they have not been allocated to a teacher for Senior Responsibility (Young Enterprise).

  • They must register by 9am each day.

Study Periods:

  • They must register for every study period throughout the school day or for any Senior Responsibility (Young Enterprise) period they have not been allocated to a teacher.

  • They must register within 10 mins of the start of the period.

  • If they have a double period, they can register for the double period at the start of the first period.

If they do not register a text message will be sent home to inform parents of their absence.

Signing Out:

There are times when S6 pupils request to sign out of school for home study. If this is the case

Home Study:

  • they can sign out for home study, provided that:

    • it is safe for them to travel home, access their home and be at home

    • they have no timetabled classes for the remainder of the day.

  • Once they sign out they must leave the premises and not return that day.

  • They must use their own pen to complete the sign out sheet.

Time Out:

  • S6 pupils can sign out to leave the building during a study period provided that they stay in close proximity to the school

  • They must sign back in on their return to the building

  • They must use their own pen to complete the sign out sheet.

The signing out/in procedures will be monitored and reviewed, as necessary. 

NESCoL School-College Link Courses

For those pupils who have signed up to these courses this year the school is now in receipt of information regarding proposed delivery of individual school-college link courses.  This information will be prepared and shared with pupils and parents via group call by Friday 28th August 2020.

 

Pupils falling ill.

Can I please remind everyone that if any pupil displays any symptoms of Covid they should not attend school but should seek advice from their GP or NHS helpline as well as contact the school as soon as possible.

 

School photos

S1 and any new pupil to the school will have school photos taken on Friday 4th September. All photos will be taken at social distance by the photographer.

 

School calendar.

The full school calendar for the year is being finalised which will be published in due course. In the interim the school term dates for this year are as follows:

Add 2020/21 dates to your calendar (ics 4KB).

Term 1

  • 10th and 11th August 2020 - in-service day

  • 12th August 2020 - start of term 1

  • 9th October 2020 - end of term 1

  • 12th to 23rd October 2020 - October holiday

Term 2

  • 26th October 2020 - start of term 2

  • 20th November 2020 - in-service day

  • 18th December 2020 - end of term 2

  • 21st December 2020 to 4th January 2021 - Christmas holiday

Term 3

  • 5th January 2021 - start of term 3

  • 15th February 2021 - mid term holiday

  • 16th February 2021 to 17th February 2021 - in-service days

  • 1st April 2021 - end of term 3

  • 2nd to 16th April 2021 - spring holiday

Term 4

  • 19th April 2021 - start of term 4

  • 3rd May 2021 - May Day holiday

  • 25th June 2021 - end of term 4

  • 28th June to 13th August 2021 - summer holiday

 

Finally

Your continued support of the school at this time has been invaluable and as always if you have any concerns please get in touch.

 

Regards

Ian Jackson

Head Teacher

Head Teacher Update – 14th August 2020

 

Dear Parent / Carer,

It has been fantastic to see all the pupils returning to school this week with our new S1 pupils coming to the Academy for the first time.

Since school closed on 20th March many changes have had to be made by all of us to adapt to the national Covid 19 pandemic. The introduction of the national guidance we have implemented throughout school will take pupils and staff a little time to embed into our normal way of working and thinking.

Although school has been busy there has been a calm atmosphere amongst the pupils which has been great to see as they have started to get used to the new procedures in place.

 

There are two elements of the national guidance that I would like to highlight again where what is required within school and in the community can differ and can cause confusion.

Social distancing in school.

The scientific advice is that physical distancing between young people in secondary schools is not required to ensure a safe return to school. Therefore, all pupils are able, when walking around school both between classes and at social times to be close to their peers. Although this is the case in school, they will continue to be encouraged to maintain a distance from each other and refrain from being in large groups.

However, it is important that pupils maintain a social distance from all staff within school, as they would from other adults when in the community. Pupils have been reminded this week that they are always required to do this. Classrooms have also been adapted to give a 2metre distance at the front of the room between the pupils and the teacher. The corridors are one way and have markings on the floor and signage on the walls to remind everyone of the 2metre distance whilst moving around the building. Some furniture and the bag cages have been removed from the social areas to provide additional space for the safe movement of pupils around school. Where possible pupils are advised to use the outside of the building to move from one area of the school to another.

Wearing of face coverings.

Current guidelines advise that face coverings are not required within school for the pupils. If pupils wish to wear a face covering/mask they are free to do so. This also applies to school transport where pupils are traveling on a large school bus as these are classed as an extension to the school estate. However, any pupil who travels in a taxi will be required to wear a face covering.

If any pupil wishes to go out of school to use a local store to buy their lunch, they will be required to use a face covering to fall in line with the national guidance that the public are asked to adhere to.

 

Although all school staff continue to ensure pupils adhere to this guidance I would ask that parents also continue to support us by reminding their children of their responsibility to follow the guidance that has been provided to ensure all remain safe within the school environment.

Over the past two days we have been closely observing how the procedures we have put in place to support the safe return to school for all has worked. We will continue to evaluate and adapt these procedures throughout the school term.

As a result of observation made over the past three days, we will be making slight changes to the one-way system particularly in the maths and science corridor where the direction of travel will be reversed. The arrows indicating direction of travel will be changed in time for school opening again on Monday. Adaptions are also being made to the S5/6 social area to accommodate the pupils more effectively.

It has been noticeable over these past three days that pupils have not been utilising the outdoor space as much and have remained indoors. We will continue to encourage them to use the outdoor space to minimise the crowding of pupils in the social areas.

 

Break and Lunchtime.

When I wrote to you all earlier this week catering services were just launching the new App for ordering food at lunchtime. I apologise that there may have been a bit of a misunderstanding with the use of the App as this is not the only means by which pupils can purchase food. The canteen continues to provide food for the pupils prior to school starting in the morning, morning break and lunchtime where pupils can purchase food from one of the four tills.

This morning the school received the National entitlement cards for our S1 pupil’s, and these will be distributed to pupils on Monday.

I would also like to bring to your attention that from 17th August until 31st August the school meals service will fall in line with the national Eat out to Help out scheme. During this period on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday the price of Academy food and drinks will be discounted by 50%.

On Monday morning we will have all pupils returning to school which brings us to a complement of 990 pupils this year. School will be a very busy place and the continued support from yourselves in ensuring all our pupils adhere to the current guidance will be appreciated. This will ensure we continue to maintain a safe environment for all pupils.

Can I please thank you all for your support in preparing the pupils for their return to school and I will continue to provide regular updates with any issues or changes that occur. As always if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with the school.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Ian Jackson

Head Teacher

Update on pupils return to school on Wednesday 11 August 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

Further to previous communication last week the following is an update in preparation for pupils returning from Wednesday.

 

Break and Lunchtime

All pupils yesterday afternoon/evening should have received an email from Aberdeenshire Catering services explaining the use of the new App which allows pupils to pre order their lunch from the school canteen. We will be launching the use of this App on Wednesday with the pupils. All orders made using the App will be delivered to various points around the school for the pupils to collect. Information on the collection points for each year group will be given to the pupils on their first day in school. The App will in effect replace the previous meals to go service.

For those pupils who wish to continue eating within the canteen each year group will be given a dedicated time slot to arrive at the canteen which also should prevent long queues as has been in the past. S1 pupils will have a staggered break and lunchtime to allow them to access the canteen prior to any other year group within the school which will operate as follows:

For S1 pupils only break and lunch will start 20 mins earlier that the rest of the school, but they will return to the same class they left 20 mins early. 

Mon/Tues: Break-11.00 - 11.20, Lunch-13.00 - 13.50

Wed - Fri: Break-10.30 - 10.50, Lunch-12.30 - 13.20

Therefore, bags can be left in the classroom if required.

 

The number of pupils will be restricted at each table in the canteen and where possible pupils will be encouraged to take snack type food outside the canteen area to their social area or eat outside in the courtyard or front of the school. The number per table will be highlighted at each table.

Both the vending machines, the machines to top up pupils cards with money and the meals to go machine will not be available to be use at this time due to the pupils and staff using the keypads on the machines and therefore preventing any potential spread of infection. Parents are therefore advised to use the online facility to top up pupil accounts with adequate funds to enable them to purchase items from the canteen. The App allows the pupils to keep a track of how much money they have on their account at any time and displays clearly their current balance which should assist them in managing their account.

Due to the limited time for break and to alleviate queues in the canteen and at the panini bar I would strongly encourage pupils to take their own snack and drink to school. The App is currently unavailable for use at breaktime.

Pupils wishing to leave school for lunch.

Any pupil who lives within Oldmeldrum is free to go home for their lunch if required.

I met last week with the store manager of the Co-op who we will work closely with to allow pupils access to the store. He has made me aware that they will only be allowed to let 5 pupils into the store at any one time to abide by current customer restrictions in place. Anyone entering the store must wear a face covering and follow the direction of the store staff. Pupils must form a queue outside the store and we have agreed that ten minutes before the end of the school lunchtime the first 5 pupils in the queue at that time will be allowed into the store and all other pupils must return to school. The restrictions imposed by the Co-op will also be reflected within other stores in Oldmeldrum. Given the restrictions that stores must implement, it would be advisable for pupils to either bring their own snacks/lunch or make full use of the schools catering facilities where possible.

As mentioned previously, if pupils persistently fail to follow the instructions that local stores have to implement at this time, we may need to prevent these pupils leaving the school premises during the school day.

 

Pupil Social areas

Although pupils are encouraged to spend their social time outside the building the following inside areas have been designated for each year group.

S1 Assembly Hall

S2 & S3 Main Foyer area

S4 Panini bar social area

S5&6 upstairs social area

 

Pupils taking part in PE.

Current advice from the Scottish Government is that PE activities take place outside and we await further guidance to pupils taking part in PE indoors. As a result of this I would advise that pupils bring outdoor clothing to take part in PE including waterproof jackets that may be required. Pupils will be able to use the PE changing rooms as directed to by the PE staff.

Valuables that normally would be collected in a box by PE staff and stored safely will need to be kept in the pupil’s bags which will remain in the changing rooms with all doors locked during each lesson. Pupils are advised to not take unnecessary valuable items to school.

Any PE equipment used during a lesson will be appropriately cleaned as required.

 

One-way system

A one-way system has been established around the building with clear signage and arrows on the floor to direct the flow of pupils around the school. Pupils will receive a presentation on their day one in school which will show them how this will operate.

 

Pupils / Parents requiring to meet with their Pastoral Care teacher.

Pupils who have any concerns that they wish to discuss with their Pastoral care teacher will now be required to make an appointment to see them. An appointment can be made by sending an email to the appropriate Pastoral care teacher rather than using the previous system of written notes which were left in their office door pockets or pushed under their door. This process will be discussed with all pupils during their first PSE lesson.

Unfortunately, at this time we will be unable to meet face to face with Parents in school. If you wish to discuss issues with the relevant Pastoral Care teacher this will be arranged either by phone or via a Skype video call.

 

Ventilation within school.

The national advice requires teachers to keep windows and doors within classrooms open during all lessons. As a result of this and due to the varying weather conditions, we face within the northeast I would advise pupils to come to school with appropriate clothing to accommodate the possibility of classrooms being cooler than previously experienced. There are areas of the school which do not have windows in rooms. These areas have forced air ventilation which draws in air from outside the building which will be switched to full, with the doors remaining open to maximise the throughput of air within the room. Meldrum Academy does not have air conditioning within the building.

Cleaning within classrooms.

At the end of each lesson facilities are available within each classroom to clean tables chairs and keyboards if used prior to the next class entering the room.

Use of shared resources

All subjects across the school are adapting how they use resources within each lesson to minimise the use of shared resources. If, and when we have no option to use a shared resource these will be cleaned prior to any other pupil using them. This also includes textbooks. We continue to plan to utilise accessing information using online resources where possible or providing pupils with their own copies of information where required.

Senior Pupils attending college

For the foreseeable future those pupils who have chosen to follow a college course must attend school on the day that they were timetabled to attend college. They should then attend the subjects they have chosen according to their school timetable. Once we establish how college will operate for school pupil’s we will intimate this information to you.

 

School uniform.

We are keen to maintain the high standards of pupils wearing school uniform when attending school. All items with a school badge are available from school wear made easy using the following link https://www.schoolwearmadeeasy.com/badged-school-uniform/m-p/m/meldrum-academy

Unfortunately, we recently are aware that parents have had trouble in securing uniform from our supplier who we have been in further contact with today. The company have asked for any parent who had placed an order prior to their cut off date of 19 July to get in touch with the school and these will be chased up. If orders were placed after this date, they will be processed and delivered as soon as possible. I can only apologies for the delay in this ordering process. As a result, if pupils are unable to wear uniform with the school crest on then they should if possible, wear clothing that corresponds to the colours for each year group.   

 

All pupils

Trousers / skirts & footwear should be black.

Leggings are not considered appropriate school uniform.

 

S1-S3 pupils

White / navy polo shirt with school crest or white shirt and junior tie

Navy sweatshirt / hoodie or navy v-neck cardigan with school crest

 

S4-S6

White shirt with senior tie and black v-neck sweater/cardigan with school crest

White polo shirt with Meldrum Academy crest

Black sweatshirt with Meldrum Academy crest

 

Pupils and staff who fall ill with Covid 19

I would just like to remind parents that at no point should any pupil be sent to school who is presenting with symptoms of Covid 19. School staff have also been instructed to follow the same and should not attend school if presenting with symptoms. As with any absence due to illness parents should contact the school to inform us of this.

Where a pupil presents at school with symptoms of Covid 19 the school will be working closely with the local NHS Health Protection Team and will follow their advice to deal with the situation with parents informed according to the advice given.

 

Currently the priority of the school is to maintain the safety of both the pupils and staff. We will on an ongoing basis learn and adapt as we are required in responding to the ongoing local and national advice with regard Covid 19 to maintain a safe working environment for all. I am confident that we are prepared fully for the pupils return to school from Wednesday 12th August.

Can I please thank you all for your support in preparing the pupils for their return to school and I will continue to provide regular updates with any issues or changes that occur. As always if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with the school.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Jackson

Head Teacher

Meldrum Academy, Colpy Road, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, AB51 0NT