Welcome back to school

Dear parents,

I hope you have all enjoyed a relaxing vacation with family and are now looking forward to the school year ahead. I am delighted that we have had a very smooth and positive start to our new term – it couldn’t be more different from this time last year! I am particularly impressed with the way in which our students have settled so quickly into school life, especially as over 400 are new. Our returning students have been admirable in extending a warm welcome and setting a very good example of how we do things at Oryx. I am also very pleased with how quickly our new members of staff have settled into their roles following a detailed induction and INSET programme. Again, our returning staff have made them feel very welcome and I am especially pleased that we have so many new families amongst our staff.

I was extremely pleased at the number of new parents and students who attended our Induction Day on Thursday 22nd August. This was an invaluable part of our settling in process and I can see already how our students are benefiting from it. Our ‘Meet the Head’ meetings held last week allowed parents to meet Mrs. Smith (Head of Primary) and Mr. Haggarty (Head of Secondary) in person and learn a little about them and their plans for the year ahead.

Our student enrolment has almost doubled in size since last September and whilst this is very positive, it does bring its own challenges. A growing school needs time to grow! Embedding practice takes time and we all need to continue to be flexible in our approach to building our five-star school. We will make mistakes but we will also learn from them together and improve our provision and our community. One of the benefits of having more students and staff, as well as more parents, is that we can continue to expand and widen our provision of the curriculum, after school activities and school community events, offering up more and more opportunities as we continue to grow.

I wish you all a very enjoyable school year and am looking forward to all the positive and exciting opportunities which lie ahead.


Kind regards,

Mr. Derek Laidlaw

New Staff

I am delighted to welcome 59 new members of staff this August. As I mentioned in my Welcome Back message, the school has increased from a student enrolment of 645 this time last year to 1,150 as of this week. I am grateful to my colleagues in SLT, HR team and Admissions for giving up much of their summer holiday to accommodate these increases.

Click on the button below for a list of our new staff, you can find their welcome notes and information by scrolling down the page.

Parent ID lanyards

As I intimated in my recent letter, our member of staff who creates and provides Parent ID lanyards has been absent from work due to an accident. We are making efforts to minimise this delay to our new parents and ask for your patience.

If you have not returned the form, you can find the link below. Please return the form to photo-id@oryxschool.qa with a passport photo for each person.

We will notify parents when lanyards are available.

After school care and drop off

Due to the very high demand for places, we are still processing applications. The service as it stands is becoming difficult to manage and we are therefore re-evaluating this provision. Once your child has been assigned a place, you will be notified by the school; until then please do not assume your child has a place. I understand that this is a pressing matter for some parents but we cannot provide for the large numbers, in excess of 80 children, under our previous arrangements. A long-term solution is being explored and I will update all parents once we have this in place. If your child already has a place please make sure that any changes to drop off or pick up are communicated to the school, and, where necessary, to the bus company.

Please remember that your child can only attend this service once you have applied and received confirmation from the school. Early drop off starts from 06.30 and pick up finishes at 16.00

Absences from school

Students are expected to be in school each day unless they are ill or because of other extraneous circumstances. The school cannot authorise holidays during term time as this is contrary to Qatar Law. If your child is absent through illness, please inform the class teacher and the office asap. Once the child returns to school please indicate by email and/or in the student planner, the reason for absence. This must be completed on the first day back to school. Our safeguarding obligations require us to be able to account for a child’s whereabouts on every school day including days when he/she is absent.

Requests to take your child out of school during term time, must be made by emailing Reception@oryxschool.qa, this will then be brought to the attention of the Executive Principal. All absences are logged in our attendance register.

If your child is absent and they take the bus to school, please inform the bus company directly.

Buses

New bus routes have been added to our provision and Trilogistics now operate 28 buses, which is growing daily. As a result of this, we need to make extra parking provision.

Therefore, we will be putting new measures in place to ensure the safety of our children using the bus service; this will impact on parking spaces outside Gates 3 and 4 in the morning and especially at 2.00pm.

NB: The drop off and pick up lane will NO LONGER be available at the end of the school day. We will require to park additional buses there for the safety of the children. The lane will still be available in the mornings for drop off. We would appreciate your cooperation with this whilst we put in place the most effective and safe measures.

Canteen

The school canteen is available for lunches for all students from Year 3 upwards. If you wish your child to use the service, you should purchase a Canteen Card from the canteen between 07.30 and 08.00 any school day.

Secondary students may bring in cash to purchase their card, however, cash payments per meal are not permitted.

We have met with Newrest Company who are very close to providing the parent app to order and top up canteen cards. We hope this will be available within the next month.

ASAs -Sept 29th

From September 29th, we will be offering our full range of school and externally provided after school activities.

You will receive information and a link to our online booking form for school provided activities in due course.

Any activities organised by an external provider will require registering directly with them – the school does not administer external activities.

There is a charge for externally provided activities but school provided activities are free.

Most school ASAs run from 2.00pm until 3.00pm. Some external activities also run at 2.00pm but most run from 3.00pm until 4.00pm.

Please note that the school cannot provide supervision for students who are waiting for an activity to start at 3.00pm nor between 3.00pm and 4.00pm unless booked into after school care.

Please remember that there are limited spaces in these activities and your child might not get his/her first choice this term.

Parent information and contact

Our Parent Guide, all Curriculum Handbooks and main policies are hosted on our school website. Please refer to them for relevant information. Your first point of contact in school with regard to your child’s progress or social development should be your child’s class teacher (Primary) or form tutor (Secondary). If they cannot assist you, they will pass on your message to the relevant Line Manager in school who is best placed to assist you. In serious cases, you can of course contact the Head of Primary or Secondary directly. If the case of serious matters, please make an appointment through the Executive PA, Mrs Karen Olley to speak with Mr. Laidlaw.

For other matters regarding your child, please contact the school Office Reception for assistance. If you have any inquiries regarding family matters of general school issues, please contact our Parent Relations Executive.

Planners: Secondary students have planners, which you should check each week for comments and homework details. You should use the comments box to relay any non-urgent messages to the form teacher.

Dojo:Primary parents can use the Class Dojo to send and receive messages from the class teacher.

Please note that any information regarding changes to your child’s routine or absence from school you must also be communicated to the Class teacher, school Reception Office and the bus company if relevant. (Outside of school working hours, you will not receive a reply from school staff).

E mail protocol and response times

We aim to respond to inquiries within 24 hours during the working week. Please remember that at the start of term we receive a hugely increased amount of correspondence (eg 480 emails on one-day last week) and this will inevitably cause some delays during the first couple of weeks. Emails received by staff after 3.00pm may not be responded to until a convenient time the next day, similarly emails received at the weekend will not be attended to until Sunday morning, or 24 hours thereafter. I would, therefore, ask that you do not send emails to staff after 3.00pm on weekdays or at weekends.

FS1 parking

Unfortunately, due to the increase in cars being parked underground, we are unable to offer places at this time.

Events Calendar

In June, we sent all parents our Events Calendar for the year, with the caveat that it will be a fluid calendar as we add/amend events throughout the year. We will be sending the confirmed calendar month-by-month via the newsletter. This will also be displayed in the main entrances to the school. Please refer to this as a forward planner.