We have certainly seen a change in the weather this week but we have enjoyed a busy week in school. In outdoor learning the children have been planting a variety of trees within the grounds creating our very own orchard. Look out for photos appearing on our website.
As part of my final term here at Orchard Brae I have been invited by each class for a special appointment to spend tie with them in class and enjoy a wee snack together. This week I have been in Room 9 and Room 18. I am really looking forward to spending some time with each class. I will keep you posted on what I get up to. Room 9 shared a lovely snack with me and then we went out to plant some trees in the new orchard. I am visiting Room 18 tomorrow afternoon. 😊
Next week sees the May Day holiday Monday and then an Inset day on Tuesday 4th. Work starts on the new polytunnel next week and we will share pictures once it is complete. I hear we have a pumpkin patch planned and that the seeds have already been planted so lots of growing going on.
I have attached a couple documents that I was asked to share by Karen Crozier one of our NHS physiotherapists. Karen is looking for help with a research project that she is doing relating to 24 hour postural management. The documents will also be posted on our website and FaceBook page if you are unable to access via this email.
I have attached a copy of the school’s updated Covid-19 risk assessment. This reflects the changes in guidance from the Scottish Government as well as Aberdeen City Council’s guidance.
It has been nice to see the school busy with the full return and I continue to work closely with NHS, Health Protection Team and families of those pupils that have not yet been able to return to school to ensure we have procedures in place that will enable this to happen as far as is possible.
The display of tartan in school today has been tremendous to mark our virtual Kiltwalk day. I have seen a kilt, tartan troose, tartan skirts and many more tartan garments and the weather has been on our side too. I know many of the pupils, parents/carers and staff have been busy fund raising for Friends of Orchard Brae so a very big thank you to everyone.
We have reached the end of another term and I would like to thank you all for the way you have supported the school and worked with us to get through another challenging period of national lockdown. I congratulate you all in the many ways you have embraced online learning with your child and joined in and contributed to the many sessions and activities that have taken place over the term.
As we go into the 2 week Easter break we can remain positive that on 6th April the First Minister will confirm that a full return to school will be possible from 12th April as long as the virus levels stay low.
I have a couple of links that I would like to share with you which I hope you will find helpful.
Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that as unpaid carers you are eligible to sign up for a covid-19 vaccine. Please use the link below to register:
Episode6: Understanding the adolescent brain and impact on teen mental health during the Covid-19 lockdown
Episode7: Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
Episode8: Resources you may find helpful
Episode9: Supporting your child on the return to school following lockdown
Please don’t forget you all very welcome to join in with our Virtual Kiltwalk activities on 23rd April. The day will be full of activities from walking to dancing and we would love it if you could join us in any way you can. A wee hint of tartan will be the dress code of the day.
It has been great to see so many more children return to school this week and we look forward to a full return from 12th April which I hope First Minister will confirm.
We have 1 week left of this term before we break for the Easter holidays. I know First Minister published the route map out of lockdown this week which had many different dates and what is to happen on those dates.
I have included a link for you below which I hope you might find useful.
This Monday sees the next stage of the phased return to schools.
P4-P7 children return from Monday and over the next 2 weeks S1-S6 pupils who are not attending under the keyworker or vulnerable pupil criteria will also be in school on a rota basis.
We continue to work hard with our health and safety colleagues and health protection team to find solutions that I hope will enable children who have been unable to access in school learning since the start of the pandemic to also return to school as soon as it is safe to do so.
Please find the link to the March Education Service Newsletter below:
I have a few pieces of information to share with you today.
I will start with the phased return to school. As I am sure you will have heard First Minister shared more detail of the return to school.
From March 15th should the Covid-19 figures allow P4-P7 and S4-S6 will return to school. We are expecting further guidance and detail to be released early next week along with information regarding S1-S3. I will of course keep you informed.
The levels of Covid-19 continue to improve in the NHS Grampian area which is encouraging and it is positive to have more detail of the Scottish Governments timeline for coming out of lockdown should the levels of the virus continue to improve.
The school submitted the report to have out Eco Schools Green Flag status revalidated, and I am delighted to say we passed with flying colours. A big thank you to Amy Dunnett PT Primary for compiling the report and to the pupils and staff for all their hard work. I have attached a copy of the feedback for your information.
Please find a couple of links below which you may find helpful:
What’s new in the city to support families?
ACC are launching Stronger Families Series – a range of free events for parent and carers to support children’s health and wellbeing (P7-S3). The main events will take place throughout March with additional focused webinars in April and May. There is something for everyone, why not sign-up now. To find out more information and book a space click here.
Information from NHS Grampian
NHS Grampian are currently developing a new family-based healthy lifestyle service that offers support to help your child get active, eat well and work towards a healthy weight. A range of topics will be covered including healthy eating, physical activity and behaviour change. The programme would run throughout Grampian and we are seeking the views of local families to help shape what the service could look like. Thank you for taking the time to answer this questionnaire. It should take around 10 minutes to complete and all responses will be treated anonymously.
The First Minister has confirmed that the first stage of the phased return to schools can start from Monday 22nd. We are delighted to be welcoming our Nursery, P1-P3 and a small number of our Senior Phase pupils back into school this Monday.
I am very aware that the first phase of the return leaves many families with the challenge of continuing to support their child at home. I am expecting the next update from the First Minister around 2nd of March. In her briefing in parliament on Tuesday First Minister said that the next potential date for stage 2 of the return could be 15th March.
The Scottish Government will be publishing their framework for coming out of lockdown in the next 2 weeks. In this the main focus is the continued return of schools which is their main priority.
The next area they will be looking at is the potential increase in family contact. When it comes to the re-opening of the economy the first thing will be the re-opening of non-essential shops.
The infection rate in the Grampian area continues to come down which is positive news indeed. I have attached our updated Covid-19 Operational Risk Assessment. You will also find a copy of this on our website (Covid-19 – Orchard Brae School).
We had a very busy 2 days of inset with the staff engaging is a wide range of professional learning, all of which was done remotely with exception of the first aid training. Amy Dunnett the PT Primary has submitted our Eco Green Flag revalidation report. I will let you know the outcome as soon as I know. The poly tunnel for the outdoor learning class will be delivered in the next 2 weeks. A very big thank you to Friends of Orchard Brae for funding this. Looking forward to the spring, we have a significant number of fruit tree saplings arriving which have been donated by the Woodland Trust.
Can I encourage you to send any questions you have about social media apps/ online safety to this email address so they can answer them on 24th Feb – firstname.lastname@example.org
All staff working in school now have access to lateral flow testing. This will commence from Sunday 14th and will be carried out twice weekly. This is in line with all ACC schools.
We await confirmation from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tue 16th Feb that the phased return to schools will start from Mon 22nd Feb. We have our plans in place ready to implement when this is confirmed.
We have reached half term so next week we will have the Monday holiday and then the double inset days on Tue & Wed.
I see in the forecast that a thaw is on its way so the snow will soon be melting. Mixed feelings as I know it provides hours of fun form many members of our school community. 😊
I hope you all have a pleasant and safe half term break. I will share updates next week regarding phased return to schools as soon as they are available.
We have had a very fast moving few days this week since the First Minister (FM) made her announcements on Tuesday. As I am sure you know the FM gave details of a proposed phased return to schools from Mon 22nd Feb which will be confirmed on Tue 16th Feb. It is hoped that all school based Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), P1-P3 and a small number of S4-S6 pupils (who require to complete practical elements of their SQA courses) will return from the 22nd Feb. This is all dependent on the continued downward trend of the Covid 19 virus numbers in the community. The FM also mentioned an increase in numbers of children and young people with ASN may also return. As yet the government has not given any further guidance to local authorities as to the detail around the statement made about ASN schools so I am unable to expand on this further. Please be assured that as soon as I have any further detail, I will of course be sharing this with you all. In the meantime, we are busy planning for the proposed return of ELC and P1-P3 pupils and identifying S4-S6 pupils that require to complete practical elements of their SQA courses. Details of this will be shared with relevant families as soon as possible.
In the readiness for a phased return to school all staff within Orchard Brae have been offered the Covid 19 vaccine and have completed application forms this week. I know that some colleagues have already attended Teca and have received their vaccine. All staff in schools across the city are also being given access to twice weekly lateral flow testing. We expect the test kits to be arriving in school from Mon 8th Feb onwards. We are in the process of setting up the necessary facilities so that colleagues can be issued with the test kits and carry out the tests from home. These are two very significant moves with regard to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, their families and the staff team and I hope helps to reassure yourselves.
Covid 19 case numbers continue to improve in the NHS Grampian area which covers Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray. Both City and Shire numbers are now below 100 cases per 100 000 and Moray is not far behind. Colleagues from Health Protection Scotland continue to stress the need for us all to be careful and stay within the guidance set out by the Government which is to remain at home unless our journey is absolutely essential. NHS Grampian continue to be one of the best performing Scottish Health Boards with regards to Vaccine roll out which is very encouraging to know.
I recognise how hard a second lockdown has been for our whole school community, especially for you as families supporting your children at home. However, we do now have some very positive steps towards the return to school for pupils and the continued roll out of the vaccine. We are all working hard to follow the guidance set out by the government which we can see is beginning to have a positive affect and is starting to reduce the levels of the Covid 19 virus in the community.
The Scottish Government issued guidance this week specific to our setting and which has been very welcomed. I am pleased to say that we already had in place all the necessary steps that were detailed in the guidance. Attached to the guidance was a link to online resources for parents and families which I have placed below.
I hope you are all well. I have a few things I would like to share as we come to the end of another week.
I attend a weekly head teacher drop-in session with colleagues from Health Protection Scotland. They were able to share that the current lockdown restrictions are beginning to bring the number of cases down within the NHS Grampian area. Positive daily cases have dropped by about a third which is positive news. It is good to know that all of our hard work as a community is making a difference. 😊
They also shared that NHS Grampian are in the top 3 of health boards when it comes to administering the vaccine.
I hope you managed to join in some of the Burns Day fun on Monday. We have had some really positive feedback so thank you for sharing that with us.
We have additional Chromebooks being delivered to pupils to support online access so please let the school know if you do not have a device for your child and we will do our best to remedy that.
The First Minister will be reviewing restrictions on Tuesday 2nd February. I hope to be able to update in my email next week.
The parental monthly newsletter from the Education Service will also be coming out via groupcall today as well as being uploaded on to our website.
Please keep a look out for pictures of Andy Gerrie whose wife Ann is an EYP. He raised £440 by shaving his beard, eyebrows and head to help raise funds for the school. Very brave Andy and a big thank you.
I hope the weather improves for the weekend and you are able to get some fresh air.