Oban High School announces changes

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Oban High School has announced extensive plans for the return of pupils and staff in August.

Executive head teacher Peter Bain has set out detailed arrangements in a communication to parents and carers.

Significant changes are to be made following the global coronavirus outbreak.

Risk assessments have been completed with class numbers reduced in line with Scottish Government guidelines, wrote Mr Bain.

Class ‘bubbles’ have been created to reduce the mixing of pupil groups and the timetable adapted to avoid 35 period changeovers.

Hand sanitiser and wipes will be available in every classroom.

Young people will be asked to sanitise throughout the day with additional cleaning also taking place in school.

Pupils are not permitted to leave the grounds to prevent ‘bursting the bubble’.

Other changes include pupils not being required to wear school uniform on a day when they have PE to avoid the unnecessary use of changing rooms.

The vast majority of classes will have to be split into groups of tens as the average ratio for a class size with social distancing is one to 10, he said.

Mr Bain wrote: ‘To make the learning more efficient, we intend to use the technology we have in school to allow a teacher of a class of up to 30 pupils to deliver the lesson simultaneously across two or three classrooms.

‘This will ensure that we get through the course content at a good pace. The alternative, without the technology provided, would necessitate a
teacher delivering the same lesson two or three times.

‘Other staff will supervise all the S1-4, and many of the S5-6 classes when the teacher is delivering from room one.

‘The subject specialist teacher delivering the lesson will move around all pupils across the two to three  classes throughout the session.’

The timetable has been rewritten to ensure that children are kept in ‘bubbles’ with the same groups of children as far as possible each day, he added.

‘They will have longer periods now called sessions. There are two sessions in a day. Pupils will only move from one classroom to another once in a day.’

Junior pupils’ sessions would be further split into two blocks so they can receive two subjects per session, resulting in 20 classes per week, he said.

‘However, it is the teachers who will change over mid-session, not the pupils. The pupils will only have one move each day.’

Breaks will be provided in each longer session but these will be at different times, in different classes, and on different floors, to avoid ‘bubbles mixing’.

Lunchtime has been reduced to 30 minutes and brought forward for many pupils, he said, with an extra 15 minute break in the afternoon.

Lunches have also been split through the middle of the day because the school cannot allow pupils to gather in the numbers that used to.

‘Even with only around 500 having lunch on any one day this means that we have half that number on a lunch break at the same time. As we do not have space to allow that many to come together with social distancing in place, lunches will be served to classrooms,’ Mr Bain wrote.

The school is looking to hire marquees to allow outside dining but this had
not been confirmed as possible as yet, he wrote.

‘Schools are safe places to learn and work,’ he wrote. ‘There is no reason to
wear PPE. However, if a pupil wishes to wear gloves or a mask, they can if this makes them more comfortable.

‘Secondly, there is no reason not to wear a uniform – we are keen to give the
pupils as normal an experience of school as we can and to help them re-establish good habits.’

For the full list of changes please visit www.obanhigh.argyll-bute.sch.uk/school-news