I am delighted to be writing my first post as Acting Head Teacher of Abbeyhill Primary School. Those of you I have met the past few mornings have made me feel very welcome, as have staff and children.
Staff, children and parents have clearly worked very hard to make Abbeyhill the great school it is today and I feel very fortunate to be Acting Head Teacher of a school with such a good reputation in the local community. Joining a school with such a committed staff and wonderful children really is a great place to start!
My priority as Head Teacher is to ensure that the children who attend Abbeyhill continue to be safe, happy and to achieve well. To this end I will be working hard to make sure that the school continues to grow and flourish, building on the good foundations already in place. This term I will be getting to know the children, staff, parents and school community in order to build up a picture of both strengths and areas for development.
As a parent of two children, I know how important it is to work in partnership with parents and carers in order to make school a positive and rewarding experience. I am looking forward to meeting you all over the coming weeks. I am aware that many of you have long associations with the school and I am hoping that we can work together to ensure its continued success until Mrs Ketchin returns.
In the meantime please do say hello in the playground and don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is anything I can do to help and support you with your child’s learning and/or wellbeing at school.
I can be contacted on the main school number, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome I have received during my first week at Abbeyhill. It is immediately apparent what a very special school community this is. I have enjoyed meeting all the pupils and look forward to getting to know many more of the parents and families in the coming weeks. You will be aware from my letter on Wednesday that I will not be staying in post at the school in the longer term, but please be assured that recruitment is already underway and I will be working to support a smooth transition when the next Acting Head is appointed.
Our parents consultations will take on a very different format this year and you will have hopefully seen my letter detailing the booking system and the our Microsoft Teams platform. I know all the teaching staff are looking forward to meeting virtually with you to talk about the progress and achievements of your children. Please make sure you take the opportunity to book a convenient appointment and if you require a translator then please contact the school office so this can be arranged.
I have already been engaging with some of the parental community and teaching staff in regards to the outdoor classroom and look forward to progressing this soon. The dates for the Parent Council AGM and future meetings will be issued shortly. I would encourage you all to become actively involved with the work of the Parent Council and work in partnership to help our school to be the best place for all our pupils, staff and families.
I have been so impressed by the variety of learning opportunities have seen at Abbeyhill this week. Several classes and the Nursery have enjoyed outdoor learning opportunities in Holyrood Park, P7 have been making amazing working models of the human lungs, P5 have been learning about Black History Month and the life of Rosa Parks and Mary Seacole and all the classes have been enjoying very active outdoor P.E. sessions with Mrs Souness.
Finally, you will receive an email from me today regarding our after school provision. After several years, Scoosh our current provider will be ending their service. This will cease on Friday 16th October. I am pleased to say that we have already secured the services of another provider, Smart Cookies. Smart Cookies will begin their service on the first day back after the holidays, including school pickup. I know how vital wrap around care can be for some families and I hope this reassures you. They also accept payments from the various tax free childcare schemes.
If I can be of any help or assistance then please feel free to contact me through the school office.
This is my last blog post for the 2020-21 school session as I head off on maternity leave. I shall miss the Abbeyhill community even though I know from past experience that I shall soon be too sleep deprived to even contemplate the thought of coming to work! I feel that the rest of the session looks a little uncertain as we all try to keep up with the latest guidance changes, the ‘rule of 6’ and what we can and can’t do – especially if going on holiday (even if that’s just elsewhere in the UK!). We are all in the same storm, but not necessarily the same boat, and I know that the Abbeyhill community is brilliant at looking out for and supporting each other so ultimately, we will weather this.
Please visit our Parent Council page to see the minutes of the latest meeting held on 3rd September and Abbeyhill families will have read the Parent Council update in our class newsletter which went out via email today. The big projects this year are the annual fundraising calendar and breaking ground on the outdoor community garden/classroom (with chickens hopefully!). Be sure to check out Lothian Buses Instagram stories to see Abbeyhill parent Dave’s front cover for our calendar which was trending earlier today!
This week I learned that Mrs Pender had been secretly very hard at work over lockdown knitting dolls which she sent to children who were unwell in the Sick Kids hospital, as well as sewing NHS scrubs. What an absolute hero! Well done Mrs Pender – lockdown Secret Superstar has been revived just for you!
On a more sombre note, I’m sure that you have all read or seen the worrying news that Covid-19 cases are rapidly on the rise again. Please, please continue to play your part in suppressing this virus as we have all learned this year how quickly things can change and the prospect of another national lockdown is something that I’m sure nobody wants to even contemplate. Remember FACTS at all times; Face covering, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, keep a Two metre distance from others at all times and Self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms.
This weekend we would of course normally be looking forward to joining in with the Colony of Artists festival but sadly our involvement this year has been yet another Covid casualty. Please take a moment to have a look at our ‘Windows and Screens‘ display this year and if you have a little more time, watch these videos of the 2018 and 2019 festival finales held in our hall and hope that 2021 brings a welcome return to Abbeyhill Primary being a bustling hive of activity over the festival weekend!
Next week is a short one as school is closed on Monday for the September long weekend. Whatever you are doing, please stay safe and be responsible as always!
Yesterday’s news from the Scottish Government may have come as a surprise to some but whether you were expecting it or not, there is no doubt that this will feel disappointing and stressful to some. Those hard won freedoms look like they may be on shaky ground again and it’s more important than ever that we follow Government guidance in order to bring the R number down and continue to make progress. To that end, the Colony of Artists committee is meeting this weekend to discuss if any elements of the festival can go ahead whilst complying with the new rules or whether a delay would be more appropriate. Whatever is decided, Abbeyhill will not be taking part this year in a physical sense and have instead prepared window decorations and an online presence, curated by Iliyana Nedkova. Look out for our busy buzzing bees around the community!
Last week we got a lot of positive responses to #WakeUpWednesday on Twitter where I posted some infographics on some of the social media apps that are most popular with children and young people. There was a new one I’d never heard of and as both a teacher and a parent it reminded me that the only way to support children to navigate the online world effectively is to make sure we keep up with it as much as possible and are prepared to have open and honest conversations about the hidden dangers, as well as enjoy the fun the internet has to offer. To today’s generation of young people, the online world is as real as the physical one and just as much support is needed to navigate it safely and enjoyably.
This week Mr Donald-Hewitt spent his second day with us and enjoyed spending some time in P1 getting to know the class. With limited contacts per day allowed, he will spend time with P4 and P7 over the next two weeks and then catch up with the other classes once he starts on the 28th September. I’m finding it hard to believe that I only have two weeks left at work and just hope that I can get through my ‘to do’ list before I start maternity leave!
I enjoyed spending some time in P7 yesterday where we had a lot of interesting discussion around the topic of change as we explored the final ‘Building Resilience’ topic of Expect the Unexpected. The P7s talked maturely about sudden change versus expected change and how we can prepare ourselves or support each other through it. There was some mention of sore legs following their 5k march around Holyrood Park the day before (all within the 2 mile limit of school) but on the whole the fresh air and fun seemed to have done everyone good. Everyone is looking forward to the next one and trying to beat Alan’s step count; somehow he managed to do almost double the rest of the class!
Have a lovely weekend and remember, although the new rules do not come into force until Monday 14th September, we’re all being encouraged to follow them immediately. Stay safe everyone!