On 23rd June the Scottish Government announced that schools will return full-time in August if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing coronavirus.
Our central planning assumption is now that pupils will return to class full-time in August. Accordingly, we will not be publishing details of our contingency plans for ‘blended learning’ including details of when pupils would or would not be in school.
The return to full-time schooling is conditional on infection rates being sufficiently low to continue to control the virus, public health and testing systems being in place and protective measures and risk assessments being carried out in schools.
We anticipate that further guidance for schools will emerge during July. The final arrangements for the return of pupils from 12th August will be shaped by that guidance. At present therefore we are not in a position to answer specific questions.
We will update parents during the summer holidays as and when we have useful information to share with you.
Return to School August 2020
I write to update you on our plans for August.
The school intends to align its return dates as closely as possible to those of Glasgow City for the convenience of parents. However, Glasgow has not yet confirmed its plans. We shall publish details as soon as possible. (Now published here.)
Five key factors shape the provision we can make
- Social distancing at 2m limits class sizes to a maximum of 12 in all normal classrooms
- Overall availability of accommodation
- Availability of staff
- Cleaning requirements
- Prioritising S4-S6 in accordance with Scottish Government guidance
The school is converting the Hall, Learning Zone, south campus Atrium, both gyms and half of the Refectory into teaching areas each of which can accommodate 25+ pupils. As a consequence, our capacity to provide catering will be limited – perhaps none for pupils in S3 to S6.
The school has plans in place for social distancing at 2m, 1.5m and 1.2m or below. We envisage 2 fixed days in school for pupils from P1 to S2 and a broadly equivalent amount of time distributed across the week for pupils from S3 to S6. Almost all of our pupils live within walking distance of the school. S4-S6 will come in and out of school as required to attend classes which will all be double periods. We will make provision for the very small number of pupils who travel some distance to school. We have no capacity to allow others in S4-S6 to study in school. With the exception of English, pupils in S3 will have single period classes. If they have a “free period” between classes, then we will provide study areas for them. We are seeking to minimise this as much as possible.
Discussions are ongoing at a national level as to any funding package which may be made available to support the reopening of schools. It is impossible for us to commit to 2 days and to finalise curriculum plans until we understand the level of funding which will be available to the school and/or the social distancing requirement is relaxed.
The significant investment made a year ago in expanding the functionality and capacity of our Office 365 environment has proven to be hugely beneficial. Regular contact with teachers next term will help pupils to get the best out of their remote learning experience. We will be offering a free Chromebook to all pupils in S3-S6 so that all NQ candidates have unrestricted access to our Office 365 resources. Parents will be asked to sign a user agreement and to pay a refundable deposit. In turn this may free up IT resource in the home for younger pupils. Since March we have provided laptops/tablets to a substantial number of families where young people were experiencing difficulties in accessing learning materials. That offer of support remains open.
I appreciate that you may be looking for greater clarity regarding your child’s days or periods in school in order to plan for August. We cannot answer specific questions at this time. We shall continue to refine our plans in light of emerging circumstances and will update you as and when anything of substance changes.
Meanwhile I trust that you and your family remain in good health.
Paul W. Thomson
3rd June 2020
Thank you to everyone for doing your very best to support remote learning during lockdown – we know that this has been a difficult few months for us all. Remote learning requires pupils to take greater ownership of their own learning. We are able to track responses to all assignments set via O365 and colleagues have been following up with individual pupils (and their parents) who seem to be struggling to respond appropriately. Invitations have gone out to families to contact us if they wish support. I am indebted to all of my colleagues for the immense amount of work that has gone into this.
There has been much publicity around schools reopening on 11th August. However, as yet there is no clarity as to what this means. Normally schools have one or more in-service day at the start of session. The Board has agreed in principle that we will mirror the arrangements for Glasgow City on the basis that this would best suit parents with children at Jordanhill and in a Glasgow school.
Jordanhill School was due to commence with two in-service days on 13th August with all pupils returning on Monday 17th. If we return early it will be necessary to change the published term dates for session 2020-21. It is hoped that the Board can approve these at its meeting on 9th June. However, that is dependent upon definitive guidance emerging from Scottish Government.
The challenges surrounding the return to school in August remain as highlighted in the e-bulletin of 20 May. We are working on a number of scenarios reflecting both the guidance in place today and potential changes which would open up new possibilities. At present it seems unlikely that we will be in a position to offer any clarity to parents before the end of session. Control of all of the most important factors lies outwith the school.
It is anticipated that from 10th June onwards schools will have some greater latitude on working with young people. We are planning some induction events for the new entrants to P1, for pupils transitioning to P3 and for the incoming S1. My colleagues will be writing to the relevant parents shortly.
Meanwhile, I would encourage all of our young people to keep working. Everything they do over the final few weeks of term will form part of the foundations for the year ahead.