COVID19 - Latest News
01/04/2020 English Department Update
Thank you all for your support and patience as we change to a new way of learning and teaching for our pupils and staff. We are in unparalleled times and staff are working hard to deliver education to your child in the best way that they can. This is a very steep learning curve for all and we are thankful for everyone working together as a team to keep the education of your child ongoing. We have over 90% of pupils fully engaged and working well which is pleasing to see.
This is an emergency situation and we do not expect parents to become teachers; the pupils cannot learn in the same way they would at school, but through our online learning platform we are able to continue their education.
Class work is being posted and pupils are able to message teachers through Posts on Teams or by email. Some work is being prepared for your child with lessons planned for the classroom being altered to be delivered online. Please be mindful that many teachers are also working in a different environment and adapting to this.
We really do appreciate all you are doing at home in these unprecedented times to support your child. If you wish to give us feedback on how this week has been for you please click here.
We hope that you will stay safe and well. We continue to pray for every one of you.
I hope you and your families are settling into your new home working and schooling environment.
Our remote teaching and learning model is working extremely well with pupils registering daily and completing online classes and assessments. As well as allowing for continued education, the model allows for the maintenance of routine as well as the benefits of keeping connected with school staff and class-mates.
For our older pupils please remember that despite the cancellation of SQA exams, submission of class work, assessments and assignments continues and therefore all pupils should be engaged and making submissions as and when required. Please note that many of these are timed and therefore pupils must complete these on a real-time basis. Teachers will now assess the coursework instead of the SQA and therefore any outstanding coursework must be submitted by the agreed deadlines.
For our younger pupils, we continue to work on some of the issues relating to the administration of folders in OneNote and the submission of work in both OneNote or Teams. We understand that each family needs to work out their new routine dependent on their own circumstances. Please do not worry if your child is not able to complete all work for the set times. Focusing on Literacy and Numeracy is a priority. Contact your child’s class teacher if you have any concern in relation to the amount of work; we are here to support you and provide any help that we can. Please remember that help is also on hand should you experience difficulties in accessing materials and resources from an IT perspective.
In the Nursery, daily Welcome videos are posted in Learning Journals and staff are commenting on any photos parents upload. Our next fortnightly home learning pack for the children will be emailed towards the end of the Easter break. Nursery children are more than welcome to join in the daily Events and Challenges, by posting photos in their Learning Journals.
Your monthly Direct Debit
Our top priorities are to continue to provide the education experience that you and your children expect (albeit remotely), to support our families and young people through this time and to ensure that when normality resumes, we are in a solid position to immediately return to full activities.
The situation as regards Government assistance for businesses is changing constantly and we will be using this to our full advantage as details are announced and further provisions created.
Unfortunately, not all of the supportive measures provided to date apply to the education sector such as the Business Loan Scheme and the deferred VAT provisions. However, we will be accessing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme applies to those employees who are not working during the lock-down period. We will be using this Government grant facility in respect of some of our support staff who are eligible. However, in order to maintain the teaching and learning provision, our teaching staff will be fully occupied and so there will be limited impact on our monthly salary bill in this respect.
We fully appreciate that for many families, this is a worrying time as regards changing financial circumstances. We are therefore working hard to reduce the school’s on-going costs and we are looking to pass these savings onto our parents.
Taking into account the immediate savings that can be made, we are therefore looking to amend our monthly fees during this period of remote teaching as follows –
1. There will be a 25% reduction in tuition fees and capital levy from 23 March 2020
2. There will be a zero charge for meals and buses from 23rd March, as already notified
3. ICT levies will remain at current levels
4. SQA levels will remain at current levels – we have received no information to date on whether there will be a reduced charge from SQA. Any reduction will be passed onto parents in due course
5. The annual fee increase will be postponed
Given the proximity to the processing dates for the monthly Direct Debits, we will be processing an approximate 25% reduction for the April payment. In this respect you will not need to alter anything with your banks.
During April, we will calculate detailed accounts for each family and credit back any overpayments including the reduction for days in March, repayments due in respect of cancelled trips, and other anomalies. We will communicate directly with individual families and recalculations will be reflected in the May payment.
Please be assured we will continue to do everything possible to mitigate costs and we will adjust our fees as appropriate.
In the meantime, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are hugely appreciative of all the encouragement provided by our parents and we look forward to working together over the coming weeks to ensure our young people continue to be supported throughout this period.
Please remember to keep engaged with the school and to pray for our whole school community and beyond.
We send you our best wishes during this difficult period and hope you will stay healthy.
Chief Executive Officer
New information leaflet - Advice for helping children, young people and their families manage their anxiety about COVID-19
Senior School Morning Registration - How to video
***Letter to all parents - Dated 19/03/2020 5.30pm***
Update from Scottish Government on School Closures
Following the Education Minister’s announcement this afternoon, our update as promised yesterday is as follows.
Hamilton College firstly and foremostly prioritises the health, safety and wellbeing of our young people along with their continued education. We would like to thank all parents, staff, and other partners in the Hamilton College Community for all their work in support of our pupils and School at this time.
From Monday 23rd March Hamilton College will deliver education to all pupils (Nursery, Junior and Senior) through online platforms as detailed in the Home Learning Advice to Parents and Carers. Staff will be in touch with pupils daily to monitor their learning and check on their health and wellbeing.
Report cards will be issued for Junior School, S1, S2 and S3 as per our assessment calendar.
SQA exams will not go ahead. Instead, the SQA will put a credible system in place to give pupils' awards for exams for this year’s diet, based on coursework, prior attainment and estimates. S4, S5 and S6 pupils must continue in the coming week to complete their assignments as they will have a bearing on their results.
Stage 2 of our contingency plan as per yesterday’s communication will commence next week. This is structured to support pupils to be in school where required, allowing them to finish select pieces of work. Pupils will be informed of this directly. This can also be done online for some subjects. We have until 24th April to finalise our evidence on attainment to the SQA; therefore, teaching in these subjects will continue online throughout this period. Results will be with pupils on 4th August as planned. We would strongly encourage all candidates to sign up to MySQA, SQA’s online and text service, as a direct way to receive their results.
Please note there will be no school transport for the week commencing 23rd March. Sandwiches will be available for pupils who are attending school for assignment/assessment work.
All S4 and S5 will then be able to start their new classes (as chosen in their options form) on 27th April 2020. This will add an extra month of teaching to these courses, which will be beneficial to the pupils in the coming session.
All other senior pupils will continue within their classes until 26th May as previously planned. They will then move to their new timetable.
We have moved the school Prom to the 28th of August at the Alona Hotel. Prizegiving will go ahead in June if possible, otherwise this will move to August/September.
UCAS are reviewing processes in light of today’s announcement. Pupils should not make a rash decision to finalise course choices at this stage as conditions may change in the coming weeks. UCAS will keep you posted through UCAS tracked services.
Hamilton College will be seeking to offer keyworkers' childcare (3-18) throughout the period of this uncertainty if they do not have access to another childcare provider. This will be a limited service as the Government have been clear that they want us only to offer this to parents who are critical workers. It otherwise defeats the purpose of social distancing. We are grateful to several staff who have offered to be part of a skeleton staff to help us provide this service. We anticipate pupils would be set up in a classroom where they can continue to remote learn with their peers. Teaching would still be done through online platforms; however, staff would be on hand to support your child. If you would like to apply for this service, please fill in the form here.
Meals and Bus Costs
There will be no charge for meals and buses as from Monday 23rd March 2020. Any payments made for this period will be credited against fees going forward.
Alan Gibson, Governor, sent the following to all staff today and it merits forwarding to our whole Hamilton College Community-
“I came to Hamilton College in August 1983 as a pupil, and my involvement in the school over so many years has always had a profound impact on me. However, today when I walk into the school, I sense a far stronger sense of community than at any other time. The staff and pupils make that happen – their friendliness and their passion for the school are infectious, and we will all miss that sense of community in the days ahead.
What we now face takes us into unchartered waters, and we brace ourselves in faith and prayer for what lies ahead. We will pray for the pupils and the school community and we will do whatever we can to enable you to continue supporting one another and our school community in the weeks ahead. The Board will pray for every member of staff by name, and for their families and loved ones during these times. Can I ask you to do the same? Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
Families, communities and nations come together in difficult times to understand and support those in need. We, as the Hamilton College community, recognise that this will be a difficult period to navigate. As you now seek to put in sufficient childcare measures for your children, along with maintaining the integrity of their education, please know that we are here to listen and support you in any way we can.
SLT and the Board of Governors
***Letter to all parents - Dated 18/03/2020 5pm***
In light of the First Ministers announcement today we want to inform you of Hamilton College’s response. This is a changing picture and we will review this every day as we move through this crisis. The Scottish Government will brief schools and local authorities tomorrow and we will update you further at this stage.
At present, our contingency planning is as follows: (if schools are indeed are closed from Friday).
Stage 1: (19 – 20 March 2020)
Classes will continue to operate business as usual. Those self-isolating will have work on OneNote for Junior School and Teams in Senior Schools.
S3 Exams will be cancelled, and normal timetable will resume for S3 for Thursday and Friday. Pupils may be asked to do these online as part of remote learning. Subject teachers will liaise with pupils on this. We apologise to pupils who have worked hard for these exams, this was not an easy decision, but we must follow Government advice.
All second prelims and assignments scheduled for this week (including the S3 National 5 Applications of Maths prelim) will continue in preparation for SQA exams.
Stage 2: (23 – 27 March 2020)
Remote learning begins for all pupils. Documents to support parents with home learning have been issued for Junior School and they can be found for Senior School here.
The SQA exams, at this stage, are going ahead. Therefore, we want to ensure our pupils are ready for these. Staff may be in school to support pupils in S4-S6 who have assignments and coursework outstanding to come in to finalise these. Teachers will contact pupils and parents who this applies to via email. This would be at parental discretion as we do not wish to put children’s health at risk.
Stage 3: (30 March– until we re-open in line with Government advice)
Remote learning for all. Staff will be at home to support young people with their learning. Staff, where fit and able, will be online posting work, giving feedback and supporting pupils.
27 April – 4 June 2020 - SQA exams begin. At this stage, these will go ahead as normal. If your child is self-isolating or is ill and cannot sit the examinations, we need to know as soon as possible and have a doctor’s line to send to the SQA. A separate communication will be sent nearer the time, outlining current SQA position and plans for this period. In the meantime, the school has already compiled evidence material for every subject and level should this be required.
Please note school trips will be cancelled ongoing. Trip leaders will be in touch with parents who have signed up to these over the coming days. Non-refundable elements of school trips should be recoverable through the school’s insurance and claims will be made. As with any insurance, we cannot guarantee a successful outcome.
We will be in contact with updates throughout this period.
Please be assured we are doing everything possible to maintain the learning and teaching of our pupils and support them through this challenging time.
We pray for our Hamilton College family to stay healthy and safe over this difficult period.
The Hamilton College Board of Governors and Senior Leadership Team
01/04/2020 Easter Craft Competition
31/03/2020 Junior School Victorian Day
31/03/2020 Thank you to all our Key Workers
30/03/2020 SJB Home Work Out
30/03/2020 Nursery Children working at home
28/03/2020 J1 Sit Spot in Garden
27/03/2020 Mr Wilson's art show
25/03/2020 S1 French update
24/03/2020 1st Day of School Task