Dear Parents and Carers

I don’t know about you, but I’m really glad to see the back of April. A challenging month in so many ways. But I am thankful for my health, for my families’ health and to be surrounded by a vibrant community. For those of you who have been affected by COVID, our thoughts are with you and your families and to our key workers, our eternal thanks.

It feels like a lifetime ago since I updated you at the end of March and I realise that there has been a lot of worry, confusion and frustration on many fronts. To be clear, we’ve never requested online ‘zoom’ style lessons but some feedback and interaction between the teachers and their class pupils. I have had as many parents call me in tears, overwhelmed, as yell at me that not enough is being done. My heart goes out to each and every one of you and please feel free to get in touch if you feel the need. I won’t necessarily be able to fix it but at least have you realise you are not alone, no matter what you’re feeling.

The senior team in school have agreed an ‘online’ route forward with but the teachers need training and support to deliver this. In addition, the Council have to supply logins for all the children. I remain hopeful that this will come rapidly and once it does the children and teachers will be able to interact successfully soon.

My focus of attention has turned to what will be from the start of the next session. It is clear that the return to school will not be straightforward and that many routes are being explored – from half days to alternate days to alternate weeks. It’s intensely complex with a need to consider vulnerable teachers and children as well as the physical distancing needed in class.

I have been in touch with the Chairs of the PCs in the other cluster schools, the Councillors and the parent representative on the Education committee to ensure that we find a solution which works for us at Bruntsfield. I’m also conscious that we need to keep in touch with the wrap around providers to make sure we are aware of their planning processes. In addition the needs of the P7 and P1 transition need to be managed. So just a quiet time ahead…

Which brings me to our activities. Although we don’t have any clarity on the timing of schools returns, it’s unlikely we will be in a position to open bookings for September clubs in June as we generally would. We really will have to look at the activities of each club – undertaking an informal risk assessment with the tutors to acertain if the as to whether it can run within the physical distancing guidelines. For instance netball is likely to be more challenging to run than perhaps computing. I’m going to have to ask you to bear with us as we find our way through this complex situation.

It’s also unlikely that our events programme will be back on its feet any time soon. We need to be thinking creatively so if anyone has some great ideas for online events, show your hand. We need you. Also, if anyone has experience in building virtual communities, your help and advice would be most welcome.

We are due to have a Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 13th May and our current plan is for this to go ahead albeit virtually. We will set up a Zoom call together with some protocols to make sure we can run this in an effective and efficient way. More information will follow on this.

I will reiterate my closing words from a couple of weeks ago – please continue to reach out through your class reps to each other and make sure that there are no vulnerable families out there struggling to cope. And if you aren’t coping, reach out. Whether to other parents in class, to your friends. Don’t suffer in silence. You might be surprised to hear that there are others out there who are feeling the same.

Let’s pull together as a community and make sure that we all come out of this together.

As ever, please contact me if you have any concerns

Stay safe.

Karen Galloway
Bruntsfield Parent Council