Monthly Archives: Nov 2019

Let the festivities begin (almost)!

It’s been a busy week in school with more merriment just around the corner as December kicks off next week! We’ve got the P1 Nativity, Christmas parties, Family Film Night, Community Christmas and the P7 Christmas Ceilidh all coming up over the next few weeks and I hope those of you who are part of the Abbeyhill school community will join us for what you can. Our choir is even getting the chance to perform live at Waverley Station as part of their Christmas lights switch on ceremony and I’m very much looking forward to going with them and Miss Macdonald.

I’ve spent time in the playground as well as in class with P3 and P6 this week and am looking forward to visiting P2 next week. I’ve also had the chance to teach P7 and P5 so it’s been a lovely week with lots of opportunities to speak to the children of Abbeyhill who help to make this such a lovely school to be a part of. I have also been compiling our class newsletter which will be sent home on Monday and it’s fantastic to read about just how much is going on in school that despite being in and out of classes all week I still didn’t know about!

On Tuesday I attended the funeral of a former colleague who had passed away unexpectedly very shortly after retiring earlier this year. He had devoted his working (and personal) life to enhancing the educational experiences of the young people he worked and volunteered with as well as raising a devoted family. Hearing friends, family and colleagues talk about him with such passion was an inspiration. It made me reflect on the reasons why we all do this hugely enjoyable but sometimes challenging job and be thankful for all the dedicated colleagues, professional partners and parents who support our children to be the very best that they can be every day.

Also on Tuesday, I attended the North East Locality Group which was a group of Parent Council representatives from this area. It was interesting to hear about the work being done at other schools and useful for parents to be able to compare experiences and make meaningful contributions; in this instance on the Edinburgh Children’s Partnership Children’s Services Plan (a very long title!). I fully expect that this will make it onto the agenda of our next Parent Council meeting at Abbeyhill!

Next week, please look out for our Class Newsletter and a festive edition of the Save the Date list which I know parents find helpful. I will also be attending a full day Respect for All  course (the Scottish Government’s refreshed anti-bullying guidance), visiting Ratho Primary as part of our Leading Learning Partnership and interviewing for Early Years Assistants posts, as well as watching the choir wow the crowds at Waverley and spending time in classes. There’s no slowing down for the holidays yet!

Have a lovely weekend,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Drop Everything and #ChooseKindness

Switch Off Fortnight

Our Switch Off Fortnight audits came back from classes and smartboards being left on without being in use seems to be our biggest offender! Each class has chosen a home or school pledge to try to stick to over the next few weeks to help reduce energy, save money and protect our environment. ‘Switch Off Monitors’ have been appointed in each class and they are taking their new roles seriously! Have a look at our pledges below; are there any you could try?

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#choosekindness

On Monday we looked at some of the resources for Anti-Bullying Week and talked about the key message of this year’s campaign which is #choosekindness . This is something we’ve talked a lot about in Abbeyhill this year with one of our favourite videos being The Kindness Boomerang.

Book Week Scotland

We’ve thrown ourselves into Book Week Scotland thanks to some very hard work by Ms Howson. We’ve had DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), mystery book gifts, buddy story reading and the return of the very popular extreme reading competition! I’m not sure that anyone is going to beat P2’s efforts but it’s always worth a try…

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Children in Need update

Last week in the blog I reported that we had raised just under £260 from our ‘Wear Spots’ dress down day and toy and Book sale but I’m delighted to give you the update that after the final contributions came in we reached a total of £328.88! Well done to everyone who worked hard to organise the sale, including the Abbeyhill Ambassadors who helped on the day, and a big thank you to all the children and families who donated a fantastic selection of good quality toys and books.

Spotlight on P1 with Bookbug (AKA Mr Hamilton)

On Thursday, P1 celebrated Book Week by inviting all our parents and carers to come and take part in story book related activities with us. All of the activities were created from ideas generated by the children based on the stories we had read this week. We made unicorn horns from the book ‘Sophie Johnson Unicorn Expert.’ From the story ‘The Station Mouse’ we made mouse puppets and tried to hide them in amongst our cuddly toys (just like he does in the story). Finally, we used plasticine to make all of the characters from ‘The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears’ and then built castles for them to live in.

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At the end of the day, we were delighted to have Mrs Gilmour come and visit us from the nursery and present us with our BookBug Bags, containing all 3 books we had read this week, activity books, whiteboards, magnets and many more goodies. All of the children had an amazing time and Mr Hamilton would like to say a massive thank you to all of the adults who were able to come along and make it a fantastic BookBug Bag event that will help drive the love of reading even more in P1.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Looking back, looking forward

R2

Thank you to Russell McLarty who led our Remembrance Assembly for P3-7 on Monday. He was supported by P6 who had completed a beautiful piece of commemorative artwork which everyone was then able to contribute to by sticking a handmade poppy to the field. The whole school, from Nursery to P7, observed the 2 minute silence at 11am and were respectful towards the occasion.

Switch Off Fortnight

The Abbeyhill Ambassadors have been stalking the corridors and classrooms as part of Switch Off Fortnight to complete their audit of electronic equipment left on standby and other energy wastes going on in our school. The results will be shared in assembly on Monday…watch this space!

Children in Need 

Thank you so much to everyone who donated toys and books for our Toy Sale and who entered into the spotty spirit of BBC Children in Need today! At the last count, we had raised just under £260 which is absolutely fantastic. A special thanks goes to Miss Macdonald for organising the whole event, as well as the Abbeyhill Ambassadors, Mrs Paxton and Mrs Peters for supporting on the day. We’ll be proud to add our donations to those that are already pouring in for such a worthwhile cause.

Anti-Bullying Week

This week was national Anti-Bullying Week and on Monday in assembly we’ll be recapping class discussions, sharing tips on how to deal with bullying behaviour and what to do if it happens to you. If this is something you’re worried about, please contact your child’s teacher in the first instance. It’s common for children to hide what’s going on, for multiple reasons, but the more people there are who are aware and able to look out for your child, the faster everyone can work to improve the situation.

Into Film Festival 

Lots of us have had the chance to visit the cinema this week as part of the Into Film Festival this week and it’s been great to see the excitement on everyone’s faces as they have headed off as well as hear all about it on their return.

Book Week Scotland 

Book Week Scotland starts next week and we have exciting plans, led by Ms Howson! Look out for book tasting, extreme reading, secret books and much more…come back next week to find out more about what we get up to.

Have a great weekend!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

What a great week! (Oh no it wasn’t, OH YES IT WAS!)

Panto time!

It’s a little early for pantomime but we never let convention put us off at Abbeyhill and so we were delighted to welcome M&M Theatrical Productions into school on Wednesday who gave us two fantastic performances of ‘Dick Whittington’. Everyone from Nursery to P7 absolutely loved it and it was hard to keep everyone calm for the rest of the day! While we recognise and embrace the benefits of going to the theatre, this was an easy and cost-effective way for everyone to enjoy this experience together. Living in this wonderful city provides opportunities through festivals and our Artists-in-Residence programme throughout the year to experience live performances in more formal settings.

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Winter Windows

It’s congratulations to Michael in P7 who was one of only a handful of winners of the City of Edinburgh Council ‘Winter Windows’ competition! Michael’s design on the theme ‘Festive Welcome’ will be made into a stained glass window style light box and will be displayed in West Parliament Square over the festive period. Please have a wander up the Royal Mile to see it, as well as all the other fantastic designs by other children across the city. As Michael is the first Abbeyhill student (in our memory) to win, P7 will go to visit the window and have a hot chocolate to celebrate his achievement. Well done Michael!

Parent Council

Thank you to everyone who attended Parent Council on Wednesday; we had a bumper session combining the AGM and a regular meeting. Congratulations to the post holders who were (re)elected and thank you to the wider Parent Council and school community for supporting all of their efforts. Most recently, Parent Council organised and run yet another set of brilliant Halloween parties. As usual, the children threw themselves enthusiastically into the spirit of the event and some wild and wonderful costumes were on show!

Switch Off Fortnight 

Switch Off Fortnight starts on 18th November and we’re embracing the key theme of ‘Goodbye, standby’. The Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be carrying out an audit of all the electronic items in their classrooms over the next week, mainly looking for items that are left on standby or left on without being in use. We’ll be bringing everyone’s attention to it from the 18th so expect vigilance in your home around TVs on standby, lights left on and phone chargers left in the wall. Sorry in advance! Of course, the 18th November also marks the start of Book Week Scotland and teachers will be communicating our plans for that once we have put our finishing touches to them on Monday (there might be another photo competition coming up….cameras at the ready!)

Next week

Monday is Remembrance Day and as always at Abbeyhill, we will be marking the occasion with a 2 minute silence at 11am and a special assembly led by Russell McLarty and P6. Everyone is always very good at understanding the solemnity of the day and I expect this year to be no different.

Also on Monday, I will be visiting Ratho Primary as part of my Leading Learning Partnership group where the participating Head Teachers will be sharing good practice and supporting each other with tips and advice. I’ll then be at a Head Teacher’s Conference all day on Tuesday before supporting the authority with an audit on enrolment and capacity planning on Thursday. Hopefully I’ll have time to speak to staff and children in between times!

On Friday Miss Macdonald and the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be running the Toy and Book Sale for Children in Need; thank you for all the donations that have been sent in so far. I think I’ll get quite a bit of Christmas shopping done! If your child is having a clear-out in preparation for this, please check what they are donating before it leaves the house in case they have got carried away and have something of sentimental value or that you otherwise want to keep in their bag.

Thank you and have a lovely weekend.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

A whirlwind week!

Phew, we made it – what a week we’ve had at Abbeyhill! On Monday and Tuesday, we were delighted to welcome 15 Chinese Language Education students into school to observe learning and teaching as part of their Edinburgh University course. On Wednesday, we welcomed 16 Panamanian teachers for the morning who came to observe and compare the Scottish curriculum and teaching practices with what they do at home. I had a fascinating conversation about the challenges we each face and they left with a very positive impression of life in a Scottish school.

Also on Wednesday, we had lots of prospective P1 parents who came to look round Abbeyhill as their catchment school for starting P1 in August. The Abbeyhill Ambassadors showed everyone around and answered questions about what it’s like to be an Abbeyhill pupil and I’m delighted at the positive feedback that they got. It’s only November (just) but I’m already looking forward to seeing all our new P1s next year!

We had Parents’ Evening on Tuesday and Thursday and as always it was a pleasure to welcome families into school to catch up on what their children have been learning and how they have been progressing. Our Parent Council Uniform Exchange took its highest total yet so thank you to everyone who supported it.

In amongst all of this, P7 managed to sneak out for a bit of peace and quiet and went to ‘The Art of Listening’ workshop at The Hub, home of the Edinburgh Festival. They were treated to live operatic and piano performances and engaged in a little mindfulness (something that we’re very good at) and visualisation before heading home full of classical music inspiration.

 

And finally, today is the day that everyone has been waiting for and Halloween parties are raging on downstairs as I type! Every year this event is planned, organised and run by the Parent Council and it’s always very much enjoyed by everyone who attends. Thanks as always to Mrs Pender and Ms McCourt for their support as well as all the other staff who have donned a spooky costume and headed into the party!

Thankfully, next week is a little quieter but Parent Council is on Wednesday evening; please feel welcome to come along and join in with what is always a very enjoyable discussion about how to make Abbeyhill an even better place to live and learn!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher