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All p7 pupils in primary schools in the Lochaber High School associated school group will miss out on what should have been this month’s transition days introducing them to secondary education life ahead of the annual summer break due to the recent outbreak of Covid in the Fort William area.
Currently there are 97 positive cases attributed to the outbreak. However, local parents have not been slow to take to social media to lament the decision.
One posted: ‘Cancelling the P7 induction days to high school! Absolutely shocking, gutted for them! Surely they could of still worked out a way for it to happen even a few afternoons, and different days for different primary schools.. but no, they’ve missed most of their P7 year and now getting sent to high school after the holidays without even seeing inside the place first …but you can attend a football game etc!’
Another commented: ‘It is really sad as the same thing happened to last year’s p7 as well! They missed end of p7 – no induction to high school, then hardly been in school for 1st year, now they in 2nd year very sad and tough times for kids!’
And a third angrily posted: ‘I am absolutely raging – unbelievable decision.’
Asked to comment a Highland Council spokesperson told us: ‘Following the recent prevalence of Covid-19 cases in the local area, and after listening to advice from Public Health and local NHS partners, we have made the difficult decision to postpone all June transition events for Primary 7 pupils in the Lochaber High School Associated School Group.
‘Transition experiences are an important milestone for young people but the safety of our pupils and staff members remains a top priority.
‘Letters were sent to parents on the 14 June which detailed the revised arrangements which will be in place for pupils on their first day back after the summer holidays.’
As a result of the revised arrangements, the new S1 cohort will receive a welcome pack on the first day back after the summer break (Tuesday August 17), which will include the timetable and guidance house.
The new pupils should be near the front entrance at 8.50am on the first day back after summer where they will be taken to the assembly hall by members of staff and S6 pupils.
They will then participate in induction activities during the Tuesday morning, where they will have their welcome assembly, meet their year head and the head teacher and other staff in the school.
Small groups of S1 pupils will be paired with S6 pupils to show them how to use the canteen facilities and to take them to their timetabled classes. The S1 cohort will be allowed to have lunch slightly earlier to avoid the rush of other pupils during their first day.
They will then return to the assembly hall at 1.30pm for some entertainment that will be arranged for them.
S6 pupils will be present at the end of the school day to show the S1 pupils which school buses they need to get on, if they are using the buses. The S1 pupils will follow their timetable for the rest of the week.
However, Caol Primary School has opted to take matters into its own hands. Posting online the school stated: ‘Our P7s were disappointed today, to find out that their upcoming transition days have had to be cancelled.
‘We share their disappointment and to help cheer them up we have organised a graduation party for them all. Pupils will be invited to come back to school (after getting all glammed up!) from 4-6pm next Tuesday, 22nd June, to celebrate the end of their time with us.
‘We’re organising bouncy castles, a disco, photo booths and a buffet and hope to have a lovely time together.’
Parents were due to receive an email this week with more details and are requested to return an accompanying form.
The school added: ‘We hope this goes some way to easing their disappointment and as ever, we will try to give them the best end to their P7 year.’
Asked if there would be any leavers/graduation event rearranged for the S6 students who have now finished their final year at Lochaber High, the council spokesperson told us the leaver events had been also cancelled due to the current Covid outbreak centred on the town.
The spokesperson added: ‘Lochaber High School is very disappointed for the S6 leavers that such events have had to be cancelled. The decision has been taken on the advice of Public Health and NHS partners, taking into account the local Covid-19 context.’
Asked to comment, Lochaber High School Parent Council said it had passed our enquiry onto its chairperson, adding: ‘ As parents of current S6 leavers we feel and share the disappointment of the students at this difficult time.
‘I believe the school had plans for a small celebration but the current Covid-19 situation put stop to those plans. ‘