Head Teacher Welcome

Mr S. Kelly
Mr S. Kelly

Dear Parents/Carers,

Moving from primary to secondary school can be stressful at the best of times, there is always nervous excitement around the new subjects, new teachers and of course finding out who will be in the new classes.  The transition process is designed to alleviate these stresses and address any concerns that you or your child may have.

Traditionally we would introduce our new pupils to their teachers on the ‘three day’ visit.  Young people would become familiar with the building and the routines of our school day.  A large part of the process is ensuring that we know your child and that we are ready to start learning from the very first school day in August. Please be assured that the communication with our primary colleagues is ongoing and largely unaffected by current circumstances, we will have all the information needed to support your child’s education from their first day at our school.

In the current circumstances stress and worries involved with such change can become magnified.  It is all our jobs to minimise the drama and stress associated with this move in what are once again very different circumstances this year.  This document sets out how we intend to achieve the key aims of the transition events the best we can, given the current limitations. 

We are all very proud of the success of our school, our school is dedicated to serve the needs of our community.  We are determined to ensure that every single young person will have the very best start in life; go on to achieve excellent qualifications and ensure that they are best placed to realise their dreams whatever they maybe.

The experience of moving from primary to secondary school is a key milestone in the lives of our young people, it should be exciting and joyful. I cannot wait to see our first year forming new friendships that may last a lifetime, engaging with their learning and becoming active members of the Liberton community.  I very much look forward to a time when we all can meet face to face and work together to get it right for your child and our wider community.

Stephen Kelly

Headteacher

Overview of 2021/22 LHS Transition

Everyone here at Liberton High School is very much looking forward to welcoming our new S1’s – the class of 21!  As you know, this is the second year our transition arrangements are a little different.  We want all our P7s and parents/carers to know that despite the challenges, we are fully committed to supporting all our P7 pupils with their transition. This Newsletter outlines how Transition will look this year, and also provides key information about the school for pupils and families so they can be more confident about starting High School in August. We will continue to work with Primaries and have further information and opportunities available in place of the traditional 3-Day visit.  As P7 pupils will not be able to come up to visit Liberton High School in person, we will again create a virtual visit for P7’s to engage with.  A summary of what we have planned is below:

Parent/pupil webinar event hosted by Mr Kelly and members of the Senior Leadership Team – This will replace the planned P7 information evening. This will be held on the 16th of June. Mr Kelly will introduce the school and share important information for both pupils and parents. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar event. Full details on how to access this event will follow.

The Virtual 3-Day visit (15th June – 17th June). The Virtual 3-Day visit will be designed in such a way that Primary Schools can access the content at a time that best suits them. All content will be made available to our Primary colleagues to allow them to deliver as part of their transition activities.  This will also be made available through the Liberton High School App.  All that is required to access the content is for parents/pupils to download the School App for Parents from the Apple/Android store. The App is simple to use and all work and materials for the Virtual Transition will be with Primary School’s in advance of the week beginning 14th June, and posted on the Liberton High School App. during the week of June 14th.

We plan to provide as part of our Virtual Transition

  • Virtual tour of the school
  • A series of short lessons/activities from each of the Departments in the school (designed for pupils, parents & carers). These will serve as an introduction to the subject, the staff and give you a flavour of what learning is like in the subject area.
  • Introduction to the Support for Pupils Team and other key staff
  • Sports experience for Cluster Primaries throughout the month of June – This will be delivered by our Active School’s coordinator, Rab Ure and Liberton High School PE staff in the grounds of Liberton High School.

Liberton Learns Together

A real positive from our virtual transition last session was that it allowed families and pupils coming to Liberton High School from out of Catchment primaries to join in with Liberton Learns Together, Parents/Carers, P7 teachers, siblings and those new to the Liberton community can become familiar with LHS faces, and we can provide a shared transition experience for all. It is also hoped that in doing this we begin a learning partnership with the school and home that continues throughout the secondary years and beyond!

What will my classes be like?

We are making up the classes at present. We have been working with your P7 teachers to find out about you as a learner and as a person. This shared information is crucial and allows us to fully support you as you move into secondary school. In addition, we have asked all our P7’s to complete a ‘Communication Passport’ to help us get to know you all a little better. The Passport has been designed specifically to capture your voice, allowing you to share your information, ask questions and identify people you feel that you work well with. We will use this work – alongside information shared by teachers – to create classes for next session.

All pupils will be placed in a “non-practical class” for classroom-based classes like English, History, Geography (up to 30 pupils) and a “practical class” for subjects like Science, CDT and Music (up to 20 pupils). Therefore, your time will be split across your practical/non-practical classes each week.  This session we have completed a review of our curriculum, and starting from August, the timetable for all pupils will be primarily split into double periods.  This means the new timetable structure will be new to all year groups – not just our new S1. We will be spending time when we return in August to ensure all our pupils understand the new structure, become familiar with the changes and have time to ask questions.

Mrs Marshall

Depute Head Teacher – with responsibility for Primary Transition

What will happen on my first day?

We know that your first day can be both exciting but also a little nerve-racking!  This is completely understandable, and we will do everything to make this as positive an experience as possible. There will be lots of people on hand to help you when you arrive at LHS, and every class will be supported by a senior pupil to help you get to where you need to be.

Your first day will start with an Assembly from the Head Teacher and Deputes and you will be issued with your new LHS timetable.

Some top tips from previous S1s to help make the first day a little easier include:

  1. Plan your journey in advance to make sure you give yourself enough time. Meet with others if you can – if not someone will meet you at the front door at around 8.40am (we start the day slightly later, so you will avoid the crowds).
  2. Pack your bag the night before. On the first day you will need to bring a PE kit and pens/ pencils etc. Books and other resources will be given out by teachers.
  3. S1s get out early for break and lunch to avoid the crowds. Bring money in change or a packed lunch and a snack (no nuts). If you are entitled to Free School Meals these will be transferred to your LHS account. S1s are not allowed out of school grounds until after the Christmas holidays.
  4. Take a picture of your new timetable on your phone – just in case you lose it!

School Uniform

We are very proud of our school dress code. It offers our school community a sense of belonging and togetherness. It also promotes a climate for learning and achieving.

Almost all young people attend Liberton HS every day dressed in uniform. We try very hard to maintain this, working in partnership with families and young people to make sure dress code is adhered to. Every pupil will be given a school tie on their first day to welcome you to the school. Please look after this as a replacement tie costs £5. In the event the tie is lost pupils can purchase the replacement from the school office.

LHS School Uniform

  • School Tie
  • White collared shirt
  • Black trousers or black skirt with leggings
  • Black Jumper (no logo) – this is optional
  • Black shoes/trainers

What will my timetable look like?

The day starts at 8.30 and finishes at 3.25, except on Fridays where you will finish at 12.55 There are 7 periods on a Monday to Thursday and 5 periods on a Friday.

In S1 you will continue with you Broad General Education. This means you will have a wide variety of different classes delivered by different departments across the school.

A Typical school week would be

  • 4 periods Maths
  • 4 periods English
  • 4 periods Health and Wellbeing (including 2 PE and 1 HE)
  • 4 periods of Social Subjects
  • 4 periods of Science
  • 4 periods of Expressive Arts (2 each of Music and Art and Design)
  • 3 periods of Modern Languages (Spanish/French)
  • 2 periods of Design Technology
  • 2 periods of Technologies (1 each of Business and Computing)
  • 1 period of PSE
  • 1 period of RMPS

A typical day at Liberton High School

•   Period 1: 8.30 – 9.20am

•   Period 2: 9.20 – 10.10am

Break 10.10-10.25am

•   Period 3: 10.25 – 11.15am

•   Period 4: 11.15 – 12.05

     Period 5: 12.05 – 12.55 (Fridays only 5 periods)

Lunch 12.55 -1.45pm

•   Period 6: 1.45 – 2.35pm

•   Period 7: 2.35 – 3.25pm

FREQUENTLY asked questions about Transition

Guidance Teachers & House Groups

Liberton High School

Why am I placed in a “HOUSE Group”? And what is a Guidance Teacher?

This may be something you have experienced in primary school. House Groups are another way for you to belong at Liberton High School and give you an added identity. There are currently three House groups at Liberton – Tay House, Dee House and Forth House. Each House is led by a Guidance Teacher who will stay with you until you leave school, providing you and your family continuity of support. House groups are a way for us to look after you and will provide you with opportunities to work alongside others in years (S1-6) in various House events. Where possible we will always try and place you in the same House as siblings who attend LHS. This is as the Guidance teacher will already have a well-established relationship with home. For most, the Guidance Teacher will be the key point of contact between school and home. Guidance teachers are part of the Pupil Support Team and they have responsibility for pastoral care of pupils in their House. Guidance Teachers also meet your class for timetabled class each week to build relationships and work on key areas to support you in achieving your absolute best at LHS.  This includes supporting engagement in learning, wider achievement opportunities, promoting positive attendance and target setting as well as reviewing their progress to check targets are met.

Guidance Teachers at LHS

Tay House – Miss Jacobs

Dee House – Mr Stewart

Forth House – Mr McGuinn

Support for Learning

As part of the transition process our primary colleagues have already passed on information about the specific learning needs of P7s. If your child has had support for their learning this is likely to continue but may look different in a secondary setting. There are many different forms of support available. If you have attended child planning meetings the chances are our SfL team will have met you already. All our teaching staff have access to a central database containing all learning needs, barriers and strategies to support learners. This is updated with all our new S1 information each year and regularly throughout the year as we build up more information or pupil needs change.

Support for Learning Leader – Mr Tully

Wellbeing Hub Curricular Leader – Ms Clark

Support for Learning Teacher – Mr McLaren

Pupil Support Officer: Wellbeing Hub – Ms Windram

Pupil Support Officer – Ms Efole

Pupil Support Assistant – Mrs Taylor

Pupil Support Assistant – Mrs Smith

Pupil Support Assistant – Mrs Churchmichael

Pupil Support Assistant – Ms Cullen

Pupil Support Assistant – Ms Irving

Pupil Support Assistant – Mrs Saraswatibhatla

Pupil Support Assistant – Mrs Morrison

Pupil Support Assistant – Mrs Hastie

Home – School Communication

We work hard to make sure that you have all the information you need to support your child in their learning. We regularly use the following methods to communicate home

  • via Phone Call – by a Year Head and/or member of the Pupil Support Team or Admin team
  • Groupcall messenger
  • School Website – https://libertonhighschool.org/
  • School Twitter account/s – Many of our Faculties have Twitter feeds that we use to share news and celebrate success
  • The Liberton High School App – downloaded via School App for Parents

Please note we use Groupcall to contact you directly (via text) to inform you of any attendance issues or unexplained absences. It is vital that you contact the school immediately if you receive a text.

Allergies & Medicines

Our primary colleagues pass on information about medical issues or severe allergies so this will be in our records. All our S1s get a new information sheet to be filled in to ensure our records are up to date.

We also appreciate that sometimes it is easier to talk through arrangements with key people in school. We can put this in place to make sure we all feel confident about medical arrangements. For example most young people who carry Epipens will keep them at all times whilst we keep spares in our medical room.

What do I do if I feel unwell at school ?

If at any point any pupil feels unwell, medical assistance can be accessed via our reception (which is always staffed). A pupil may need some time out and then return to class. If a return to class is not possible, we will contact parents/carers for the pupil to be collected or sent home. A pupil cannot leave school without permission.

What about Homework?

S1s will get homework and this will vary by subject. Some subjects like Maths give regular, small amounts of homework. Other subjects may give you longer deadlines with more to do – such as a small project. Some teachers will give you options and level of challenge for you to choose.

It is your responsibility to keep up to date and get organised.  If you need any more help, there are homework/study clubs that run during the week where staff will be able to provide support

Attendance & Absence Procedures

If an absence is known in advance, please use the procedures outlined on the website and let us know. If a pupil does not attend period 1 a text message is sent home to let parents know, if there is no reply a further message or call is sent later to confirm the absence.  If we cannot contact a parent/carer we will move to next emergency contact to ensure safety of the pupil.  In the event we cannot establish pupil is safe and well, we may be required to contact partner services in line with City of Edinburgh, and Scottish Government statutory safeguarding requirements.  For this reason, we ask parents/carers that they ensure all contact details are up to date and accurate. Pupils are also registered every period by every teacher. If they do not attend a class during the day this is followed up.

All pupils leaving school must sign out at the school office before they leave. They must have written permission (letter from parents, appointment card etc).

Mobile Phones

Can Phones be used in Our School?

Pupils are allowed to bring mobile phones to school but this is done at their own risk. Mobile phones should not be used in class and should be switched off and out of sight unless the pupils are instructed to do so by the teacher. This will only be for the purposes of learning. Phones can be used at social times but not between classes. 

*We ask that parents/carers do not call pupil’s mobile devices during the school day. Should you need to pass an urgent message to your child please contact the school office in the first instance. Text messages are of course ok – if the pupil’s phone is set to silent so not to disturb learning.

Misuse of Phones

If pupils are not following the guidance on phone use, the phone will be removed for the day and passed on to the Year Head. The pupil will then have to come and find the Year Head to get their phone back at the end of the school day. Persistent misuse will result in parents being contacted or invited into school.

Bullying

According to pupils, parents and staff our school is a happy and safe place with positive relationships. We take any report of bullying very seriously and follow the policies and procedures in line with City of Edinburgh Council. However, we can only act upon information which is reported. We fully understand this is not always easy especially in S1 when faced with new people and unfamiliar surroundings, however, it is important that we do know of any incidents that are causing you or others, distress or harm.

Assessment in S1

Your learning will be assessed in lots of ways during S1. You will have some ‘tests’ at the end of pieces of learning but also lots of other ongoing ways for teachers and you to assess progress – this can include presentations, posters, written answers, group tasks as well as what you design, program, cook, do, make and say!

Digital Technology

Can I Bring my Own Computer?

Pupils cannot access the school WIFI, and individual devices are not supported, so the answer is no. Pupils who need any access to computers are issued with one whenever they need to use them as part of lessons.

We are well resourced with computers and have several IT suites and mobile “class in a box” sets of iPads for use all over the building.

Office 365

We use the Microsoft Office 365 suite of apps at Liberton HS.  This is free of charge and supports every pupil to access learning online.  Many pupils will already be familiar with the skills required having used the Microsoft Suite during school closures. MS Teams are used widely across the school to share learning. The MS Office Suite can be accessed via the Liberton High School website home page.

ParentPay

You will be issued with instructions for setting up ParentPay for your child in August. We use this to pay for school lunches, excursions or tickets for school events.  Our cafeteria is predominantly cash-less so it is important that an account is set up in advance. More details will follow.

Parents’ Evening Bookings

We use an online system to book appointments for parents’ consultation evenings (through NetMedia). Parents Consultations are included as part of the whole school calendar and can be accessed via the School APP or website.

The S1 Parents Evening is usually held in the term between October and Christmas.  Ahead of the date you will receive more information about how to use the booking system and make appointments.

Parent Council/LHSA

We have a very supportive, hard-working and active parent council who support our school in a range or ways. New members are always welcome. Meetings take place ten times per year (dates will be issued as part of the school calendar)

The current chairperson is Derek McNeill who can be contacted via the school admin account: Admin@liberton.edin.sch.uk

City of Edinburgh Council

www.edinburgh.gov.uk

School.placements@edinburgh.gov.uk Tel: 0131 469 3033

We really hope this newsletter has helped to start the process of transition for this year.  Please be reassured that we are working behind the scenes to do all the “normal” bits of transition at this stage in the term.  We are still meeting with primary colleagues to ensure smooth transfer of relevant information.  We will have a year group of 180 in S1 next session.

We will be making up classes and allocating guidance teachers over the next few weeks.