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20 November 2015 – Focus on Secondary

Dear Parents/Carers

This week my blog focuses on the secondary departments, looking back at recent weeks and looking ahead to what’s in store over the coming weeks.

Looking back

  • It’s been a short week for pupils, but staff have been working hard during the inservice days on a variety of projects.  On Thursday, our primary teachers and colleagues from St Stephen’s, St Dominic’s and Our Lady’s came together with the maths department to work on improving numeracy.  Our secondary staff from our other departments linked up with their colleagues from departments across PKC to discuss the new qualifications and other issues.  Today, I spoke with all St John’s staff about key priorities including closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged, improving reading, writing and numeracy, improving the health and wellbeing of our pupils and ensuring that all our pupils leave school into a positive destination.

  • We marked Remembrance Day on 11 November throughout the school and campus with a 2 minute silence which was respectfully observed.  We remembered the end of WWI at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month to pay our respects to those who lost their lives in all recent conflicts. Pupils and staff wore their poppies with pride and £241.49 was raised in donations for Poppy Scotland.  This week, we also took time out to remember those who have suffered so tragically in Paris.
  • Hi-Viz day took place on Wednesday 18 November. We encouraged pupils and staff to wear something luminous/bright to school as a reminder of the importance of being seen when arriving and leaving school in the winter months.  Safety is always be a top priority and as the dark nights arrive we ask parents to please ensure your child can be seen on their way to and from school.
  • The Senior Boys football team were narrowly defeated 4-3 by Perth Grammar School. A hotly disputed penalty was the difference between the teams in a highly competitive match, played in atrocious conditions during Storm Abigail.  Well done to all the pupils across our ‘Sports Comprehensive’ for braving the weather! The Girls S2 Sports Comprehensive basketball team played Forfar on Thursday and won 52-36, with the girls playing brilliantly in their first Scottish Cup game.  Well done to all of them.
  • We celebrated the Feast of St Margaret, Co-Patron of Scotland and Patron of one of our 4 Houses. Representatives from across the whole school came together to celebrate mass, and the S6 House Captains led an assembly for all St Margaret House pupils in the primary (see picture).
  • Hong Kong Exchange Trip: Today I welcomed our exchange pupils who are here until Sunday 29th November. They have a jam packed itinerary for their visit here, including time in school and some sightseeing around Scotland.  A big thank you to all families who are hosting our visitors from Hong Kong.
  • Well done to our winners and performers who took part in the Spirit of Youth Awards last night.

Looking Ahead

  • 23 November: ParentPay goes live. This allows parents to pay for school meals, trips, and other costs online.  We are emailing parents/carers and sending out information via ‘School-bag Post’ on this new initiative.
  • 24 November: Secondary school photographs for S1 and S4 pupils – please come in full school uniform (as always!)
  • 25 November: Safe Drive Stay Alive presentation at Bells Sport Centre for S5 pupils.
  • 30 November: We are about to begin our course choice process for 2016- 17  for S4 and S5 pupils.
  • 4 December: S2 Reports will be issued to parents.
  • 7 December: Bishop Stephen Robson will be visiting the school.
  • 8 December: S5/6 Parents’ Evening and S5 Course Choice Evening: You can book your appointments on-line here from Monday 23 November.

Other useful information

  • S6 UCAS applications: Our Guidance Team for S6 pupils have asked me to plead on their behalf: UCAS application forms need to be in as soon as possible. We would ask parents to encourage your child to complete this very soon and not leave this until the last minute.
  • As winter approaches, please remember that all pupils should use their lockers for outdoor clothing/footwear and have full uniform during the school day within the building.  If there are any difficulties with this, please contact your child’s Guidance Teacher.
  • Drop-off/Parking – please do not drop off your child within the turning circle.  Please drop off your child at a safe distance from the school and allow your child to walk the rest of the way.  Without wanting to overstate the issue, I need to say that currently parents/carers are endangering the lives of pupils – including nursery aged pupils – and I ask you, with every respect, to think responsibly for the sake of all our children.
  • School Holiday dates for 2016-17 and 2017-18 are here.

As I write, I hope you are all having an enjoyable long weekend with your children.  I look forward to seeing them all on Monday.

With every good wish,

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader