Month: January 2016
Alison Noble, Headteacher
I think the whole Sciennes community has been appreciating our wonderful playground and the new play space has been hugely popular with the children who have been enjoying the many new benefits that it offers. Parents, carers, children, extended families, staff and community contributed to an amazing achievement in fundraising to create our new playground and we are proud to have been involved, as early adopters, for outdoor play and learning for the City of Edinburgh Council CEC. The school, supported by CEC would like to seek your views on the playground in use. Ms Sellar, class teacher and Outdoor learning Leader, will be seeking the views of children and staff.
You may be aware that a group of parents raised concerns about some elements within the design and construction and in particular the location of rocks. CEC is keen to learn from our experience to help with the protocol of other planned developments in city schools.
The RoSPA inspection, commissioned by the school and carried out on the 23rd October highlighted recommendations and you will see from the action plan attached that some actions have been completed and others will be in the near future. I would like to reassure you that the risk reducing measures will not have a detrimental effect on the play benefits for the children…already the children are loving the new gravel.
Mr Andy Gray, Head of Schools and Lifelong learning, has also recognised the concerns raised about the risk of injury and arranged for the CEC Manager for Health and Safety to visit school today, with a playground consultant, to provide robust information on the benefits and risk in terms of CEC’s duty of care. I understand the report will be sent to CEC by the end of this week.
I very much appreciate the excellent response to the recent CEC survey of parents and carers. We had 209 participating and 123 comments. I will share more details about this in a separate letter. I do understand that you may be suffering from survey fatigue but I would greatly value your views on the playground and hope you will complete the short questionnaire, which is anonymous. It is a brief survey and I hope you can contribute by Monday 1st February.
The rocks that edge the hill will be inspected today and therefore the hill area remains closed. During the school day the children are, mostly, observing this but we would welcome your support in reminding your child to avoid this area until the cones are removed. Ms Anstruther and Ms Gallagher, also include playground information in their assemblies.
As a learning community children, parents and staff, there have been valuable learning experiences in terms of this initiative and we will be able to contribute and support other schools in this process.
I am also aware of significant rumours within the school community that suggest our wonderful playground is going to be removed. I want to take this opportunity again to reassure you that I believe the great play benefits of the new playground are recognised by the parent community and that the playground is not and has never been, under the threat of removal. The risk assessment process will allow CEC to ensure the duty of care is being met.
It is a huge privilege to be the Headteacher at Sciennes and to serve the community, but it has been a source of sadness and concern, that this wonderful project, reflecting outstanding parental and community engagement, has caused conflict and anxiety between and for some parents. I am and will continue to be committed to reassuring parents, resolving concerns and reflecting the school vision.
At Sciennes we will create an excellent educational environment of the highest quality which:
provides children with the necessary skills for life: Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity
values and respects each individual
works in partnership for the good of all
With Very Good Wishes,