Head teacher updates

25th May 2020

Dear Gilmerton Families,

On Thursday afternoon the Scottish Government shared with us Scotland’s route map out of lockdown and that schools will be reopening on 11th August.  For a copy of the full publication, please go to the Scottish Government website (https://www.gov.scot/).  You can also find a copy on our website in the COVID 19 section.

Staff should be able to start back at school some time next month in order to prepare for pupils returning in August.  At this time, we don’t know exactly what that will look like but will keep families fully informed as more information and guidance is shared with us.  We know many of you will have questions and possibly concerns.  The school has tweeted a link to Parentclub’s (https://www.parentclub.scot/topics/coronavirus/easing-restrictions-in-scotland) latest supportive information and FAQs on what the first phase of recovery might mean for you and your family.

Our school team will be continuing to work positively over the next 5 weeks and beyond – staff will be returning to school in June to start preparing buildings for the new approach to schooling whilst maintaining home learning and attending hub schools.

On our return to school

We will be focussing on outdoor play and learning, building relationships, reconnecting with nature and the outdoors and taking time to talk through our emotions. Our school has amazing school grounds full of trees and natural paces to explore and exercise and we will be making the most of our outdoor learning and forest schools training to use these spaces on our return. We were of course always doing this but the emphasis will be even more important for children next session.

We will continue with our play-based pedagogy in Nursery, P1 and P2 and will enhance the playful pedagogy development in P3 to P7.  Play will be an important therapy on our return to school for many children. It is also an important vehicle for re-connecting children’s relationships with each other and us.

From home to school

We will need to start getting children (and grown-ups!) to think about the return to school. Some useful techniques include…(remember to comply with current social distancing and lockdown guidance)

  1. Practice the walk/cycle to school as part of your daily exercise during lockdown.
  2. Start ”wondering” with your child when you are busy doing other things or out walking. “I wonder what school will be like when we go back?” Keep it light and fun! “I wonder if all the teachers will have long hair!” Give your child plenty time to talk about what it might be like. Be honest about the things we do not yet know. “We don’t know that yet, but we will know at some point.”

Digital learning update from city council

We have now received clear updates from the authority on the use of digital learning for teachers.  A summary for parents is provided below.

1. Many schools are using digital learning as the core mode of delivery of home learning. Some schools are using other forms of home learning eg worksheets/work packs. 

2. The decision making around use of digital learning at home is complex and requires a risk-management approach, the risks being:

•           Equity of access

•           Impact on teaching and learning

•           Safeguarding of children

•           Confidence and capability of learner, parent and teacher

3. Office 365 functionality is being improved so that camera access will be enabled only for identified learners with severe and complex additional support needs and children in special schools. Teachers will only use this when they are comfortable with this mode of teaching and learning and able to engage with this mode of learning in their current lockdown circumstances at home. The city council’s Digital Learning Board will meet to agree protocols for using Microsoft Teams camera for other purposes, including child protection and safeguarding purposes. 

At this present time, and in line with authority guidance, our school staff are not using video teaching.

Staffing Update

We are delighted to share we have had 3 new additions to the Gilmerton Team over the last 9 weeks.  Mrs Lloyd (P5a)  has had a beautiful baby boy named Harris, Mrs Mackay (music teacher) has had a bonnie baby girl called Eilidh and Ms Horsburgh (P1a) has also had a bonnie baby girl – we will let you know her name soon.

Sharing Learning with staff

‘Thank you’ for sharing with us some of your home learning.  Once this is emailed to the admin account – Admin@gilmerton.edin.sch.uk – Mrs Devlin, Mrs Whyte and Ms Bisset ensure that your pictures, photos and videos are passed on to the correct member of staff.  Our pupil and parents are being very creative in sharing their learning and we want to thank you for this –  it gives us all a positive boost!  As always, if you have any questions or queries or need some support with home learning, please do not hesitate to contact us at the email address above. 

Finally…

We want to magpie the message that we sent in April – just in case the words sound familiar…

We’re all in this together

The past nine weeks have reinforced what we already knew – that Gilmerton Primary School is at the heart of our community and that we live by our core values of being respectful, responsible and resilient.  We are proud of every one of our pupils, parents/carers and staff.  Thank you, everyone – you’re all stars, and we see that.

Please stay safe and keep well.

Ms Annand, Ms Bouwer and Ms Vacher

3rd April 2020

Dear Gilmerton Families,

I hope this update finds you all safe and keeping well.  As we see an increase in Covid-19 infection rates, it is vitally important that we minimise the number of people going outside.  Please reduce the amount of travelling and going outside your home as far as you possibly can.  We all need to avoid unnecessary travel and social mixing.

Home learning activities

These will now stop for the Easter holiday period Monday 6th to Monday 20th April inclusive. Staff will be taking a complete break from their duties, that is a break from supporting online learning, making themselves available for our Hub and, for many, a blend of both. There are general resources that you can still access on the website but please note there is absolutely NO expectation for anyone to do any kind of school ‘work’ during the holidaysIn fact,  we would strongly urge you and your family to ‘step away’ from the activities and enjoy watching DVDs, building with Lego, playing noughts and crosses, baking, singing, matching pairs with all the odd socks around the house etc. 

Mrs Devlin is taking a break from her daily duties for the next fortnight, but she will be back with us from Tuesday 21st April.  We are sure that you will all agree that her warm welcome every morning and her wise words set us all up for the day ahead.  To quote one of our Gilmerton parents, “Every school needs to have a #mrsd”.  We couldn’t agree more!  We are planning something a little different as our ‘tweet of the day’ during the Easter holidays – please continue to follow us.

School office hours 

Our school office hours will be closed for Easter holiday.  We will, however, continue to send urgent information and updates during the Easter holidays. These will not be daily but on a “as required” basis.  

End of term Disco

Although we cannot be in our own school hall for this event, we can join Boogie from Forth 1 – @BoogsTweets – in his living room at 3pm this afternoon and dance our socks off!  This event is in aid of the @Forth1CFK appeal.  This is an emergency appeal to support children and families affected by Coronavirus.  Thank you to Mrs Gibson for signing us up for this event.  Our school community has benefitted from Cash For Kids over the last few years and will continue to do so in the day, weeks and months ahead. 

Current advice on Covid-19

Please continue to follow the advice at    https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

City Council updates at https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/schoolclosures

Key Workers’ Easter Hub School

All key workers should have received a survey from the authority if you require childcare. 

The survey is available at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=af6sSGo3tUKfacnke7-5xIKyc590SpJCucLNuoelakhUMk1aQ1MwS0RaQkdDRkZJVE9FMkQzNjM1UC4u

The Easter Hub schools will be staffed by community learning/lifelong learning colleagues and council headquarters colleagues.

All parents/carers will be contacted directly by e-mail to confirm details for the Easter Holidays.

Additional support needs and medical needs

Children requiring one to one support will not be placed at the Keyworker Hubs. Alternative provision will be sought from the city council’s additional support for learning team.

Children who require medication during the school day should not attend a hub school.

Key Contact numbers

Social Care Direct – 0131 200 2324 (social work service) socialcaredirect@edinburgh.gov.uk 

Opening hours Monday-Thursday 8:30am-5pm Friday 8:30am-3:55pm

Emergency Social work service – (out of hours) – 0800 731 6969

Domestic abuse helpline – 0808 802 3333

Children 1st – 0131 446 2300

NSPCC – 0808 800 5000

Samaritans – 116123

Parent line Scotland – 0800 0282233

CHAI- voluntary agency offering advice, housing support and employability support –

 0131 442 1009

We’re all in this together

The past three weeks have reinforced what we already knew – that Gilmerton Primary School is at the heart of our community and that we live by our core values of being respectful, responsible and resilient.  We are proud of every one of our pupils, parents/carers and staff.  Thank you, everyone – you’re all stars, and we see that.

Please stay safe and keep well.

Ms Annand, Ms Bouwer and Ms Vacher

Head Teacher Update – Sunday 29th March 2020

Dear Gilmerton families,

On Friday we opened our doors at our hub school, based within Craigour Park Primary School.  A massive thank you to both the staff members who volunteered to work in the hub and to the home working teachers who kept home learning running for all children including for those teachers working in the hub. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate this team effort and approach. Please read the important information below about hub schools and food parcels.

Key workers’ hub school

  • If you are a category 1-3 key worker you will have received an email from the authority regarding the offer of a place at a hub school.
  • You should not be using a hub place if there is an adult in your household who is NOT a keyworker. We do have to minimise the amount of contact people have with each other in order to contain the virus. If you send your child and you have not met the criteria on the diagram, you will be asked to take your child(ren) home.
  • Please do not take your child to the hub school if they require any medicine to be administered.
  • Young children are finding it difficult to keep to the 2 metre social distancing rule. We would ask parents of young children to think carefully about the hub provision for young children. Please reinforce social distancing with your child.
  • Please be completely sure that you, your child, or anyone else at home does not have any symptoms of COVID-19, or has had them during the previous 7-14 days, as per NHS advice.
  • Please transport your child to school obeying social distancing guidelines.
  • Please observe social distancing guidelines during drop off by staying well back from others.
  • Please bring ID with you to prove that you are a Key Worker.
  • Please complete the registration sheet (which will be issued when signing in) and clearly record your place of work and contact details.
  • Please bring the following
  • Your child’s electronic device if they have one so they can do their remote learning activities set by teachers.
  • Snacks and drinks (own water bottle)
  • Books or small games they like to play.
  • It is very important that school teams manage to have a rest from the work of the past 2 weeks, wherever possible.
  • We would appreciate if you could copy in Admin@gilmerton.edin.sch.uk so we can stop staff coming to a hub if not required for their own safety and their families’ safety.  #StayHomeSaveLives
  • The authority are working to extend the hub school hours from 8am to 6pm from Monday 6 April, the beginning of the school holidays. This will largely depend on availability of staff from community and learning and development teams across the city.
  • We will continue to update you on progress and arrangements for hubs schools. Please do not ask for more details at this time. We do not have them.

We had very few resources on our first day of opening but we have now “raided” our own school and will be setting up activities in the classrooms and grounds.

  • Your child will be in a small group with approximately 5 others.
  • Lunch will be provided in the hub.
  • Please ensure appropriate clothing and footwear for PE and outdoor play.
  • During collection, please adhere to 2m social distancing and wait until your child is brought to meet you outside by the Group Leader for your school.
  • Please ensure your child washes and changes their clothes when they return home.
  • Please ensure that clean clothes are worn in attending Learn/Care next day.

My staff team are working under very stressful and difficult circumstances.  We are being asked to staff hub schools, send home learning for your children and take part in other aspects of the emergency response such as delivering food parcels.  Please be kind to the staff team.  We are doing our best to manage the demands we face, to support fellow key workers and ask that your child(ren) access the hub only when it is essential.

Food parcels

Thank you to Ms Vacher who delivered food boxes on Friday to members of our school community.

If there are families in financial hardship who require help with food, please let me know in confidence at Admin@gilmerton.edin.sch.uk  I can access help from the children and families team. Moving forward, we hope that food parcels will be delivered every 2 weeks.

Please keep safe and thank you for all of the wonderful messages for our team- this really helped! Thank you to our amazing key staff who will face challenging times in our critical services. We will do everything we can to support you through childcare/schooling.

I do hope that you and your families are safe and well.  Thank you to our key workers in the NHS and other services.

Please stay home, follow NHS and Government advice and keep our key workers, including your school staff on duty, safe and healthy.

Kind regards

Rebecca Annand

Head Teacher