Category Archives: Christmas

(Christmas) lights, camera, action!

December has started in style at Abbeyhill with two festive events to kick the celebrations off! Our choir were honoured to be asked to go to Waverley Station and provide the musical accompaniment to the Christmas lights being switched on and by all accounts they excelled themselves. Thank you to Miss Macdonald who has worked incredibly hard with them to prepare their repertoire!

Well done to our P1s who gave a fantastic performance of their Nativity, ‘Whoops-a-Daisy Angel’ at Meadowbank Church on Friday. It was lovely to see all the friends and families who came to support so thank you if you were there. Thank you to Mr Hamilton who worked incredibly hard to prepare it with them, ably assisted by Mr Laidlaw and Mrs Pender who worked her usual magic with costumes, props and general Nativity know-how! Mr Woodhouse and P2 provided excellent percussion and P2 and P3 supported as a joint choir. Thank you also to Mrs Flowers for preparing the P3s to be such brilliant narrators! Parent Council were also there selling the 2020 Abbeyhill Fundraising Calendar. Have you got yours yet?

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As we enter our second last week of term, we’re thinking of everything we have to celebrate; parties, festive feasts, family and friends. However, we’re also thinking of those less fortunate and continuing our assembly theme of kindness. Yesterday, we focussed on random acts of kindness and were inspired by ideas from around the world that we could adapt for our community. So, look out for Abbeyhill-ers offering to let you go first in the queue in the supermarket, positive messages in chalk on the pavement, litter being collected just ‘because’. Our Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be choosing some random acts to carry out as a group once school resumes in January and I look forward to supporting them!

Still to come, we have our P7 Christmas Ceilidh, the Community Christmas event (which is open to the public), Family Film Night and lots of Christmas parties. P7 will also be reporting the latest news from Sky in Livingston this week which everyone is looking forward to watching back at school!

Please remember that school breaks up for Christmas on Friday 20th December 2019 and resumes for pupils on Thursday 9th January 2020.

Festive wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

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

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

 

Hitting the ground running, as always!

It’s been a short week for pupils but the staff returned from the October holidays on Monday and packed a lot of work into 2 days before normal service resumed. We completed First aid training, explored the new Dyslexia Guidelines, refreshed our knowledge of leading and managing trips near and far, attended a cluster Maths event (led in part by Miss Macdonald), recharged with some Mindfulness and had a discussion about staff wellbeing and workload. As soon as the children returned on Wednesday it was back to busy normality with Forest Adventures in the Nursery, a ‘Give Racism the Red Card’ workshop in P7, the start of an Edinburgh University Music project and the start of intense rehearsals for the choir in the run up to the festive season. I had an Abbeyhill Ambassadors meeting this morning and prepared them for a high level of duties next week…see below for everything we have got going on!

 

On Tuesday evening, a group of Abbeyhill-ers represented the school at the centenary celebrations for Save the Children. Along with Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, they paid tribute to the charity which supports children all over the world to grow, develop and become who they want to be – and has done for 100 years. We have personally benefited at Abbeyhill as Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag have delivered the StC ‘Families Connect’ programme for the last two years which has had positive feedback from all the families involved. Thank you to the parents and staff who went along on the night and supported as well.

 

If you enjoy the festive season and keep an eye on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website to see what’s coming up, you might have spotted that Abbeyhill is going to be part of Community Christmas and we’re very proud and excited to be one of only two schools in Edinburgh selected to take part. Our special night is going to be Thursday 12th December so watch out for more information as the time comes closer. Our choir will be performing and the outside of the school will be transformed with a magical light show.

I hope everyone comes back to school rested and refreshed and ready for a very busy week next week; we have Parents’ Evenings, P1 Open Day, a visit from some Panamanian teachers AND the Parent Council Halloween Parties. Not to mention the fact that most of the staff will be embarking on the October step-count challenge…there’s already a lot of competitiveness coming to the surface between the teams and it hasn’t even officially started yet! 

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Looking ahead…

It may only be August but you have to be fast when it comes to the festive season and I’m delighted to announce that we’ll welcome M&M productions to Abbeyhill to perform ‘Dick Whittington’ in two separate showings for everyone from Nursery – P7! By going a little early we’ve secured the production at just £6 per child which is a fantastic price for a professional performance. Look out for more details coming out soon.

It’s Meet the Teacher next week and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as are able to come into school to meet some of our community partners as well as have a look round classrooms and have an informal chat with teaching staff. Please remember that this is not Parent’s Evening and if you would like an private conversation with your child’s teacher, you can arrange one at a different time. Parent’s Evening is next month and more information will come out about that shortly.

On Wednesday I met with Lynn Yeneka from Education Scotland who is keen for Abbeyhill to be involved in the pilot of a new STEM award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which would see us working to achieve 5 different elements over a 3 year period. This could fit well with the work we are doing with Education Scotland and Mrs Lansdown on Gender Balance so please watch this space to find out more as the pilot unfolds.

Yesterday I met with Russell McLarty who treated us to a storytelling session in assembly on Monday before talking to P4-7 about Chit Chat Club which starts next week. Russell and I discussed plans for ‘Listening Walks’ which we hope to reveal more about and start in the next few weeks. Russell is also keen for Abbeyhill to take part in the Nativity Labyrinth event at Meadowbank Church again this year and, judging by the success of last year, I think it’s safe to say that everyone will be keen to go!

Meanwhile, it’s the Colony of Artists festival in just a few weeks and final preparations are well under way. Alice Myers was in school this week planning a photography treasure trail which looks really exciting! Please make sure you visit the festival (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September) as there is always a fantastic atmosphere which gets better and better each year!

Spotlight on…Primary 3 with Mrs Flowers

P3 have just finished ‘Silly Billy’ by Anthony Browne. In the book, billy gets rid of his bedtime worries  by telling his worry dolls and popping them under his pillow. P3 made their own ‘Worry Monsters’ to take away any bedtime worries they might have.

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Well done P3, I think these would sell out in moments in the playground!

Have you read….

…your Scotland 4 Kids magazine?  There are loads of great articles this month including ‘Stop fighting’ (p6) and the WOW (What’s On Where) list for Edinburgh (p14-15). I’m going to be checking out the Batch Lady website www.thebatchlady.com for batch cooking inspiration which you might find useful coupled with ‘Not a sandwich in sight lunchbox savers’ on p6. Miss Macdonald will be interested in ‘Question Time’ (p8) which talks about modern day philosophy for children, something she has done a lot of with her classes. It also helps you to deal with the perpetual ‘why?’ question!

Next week is the Families Connect coffee and information session, Meet the Teacher, Parent Council, the first meeting of the newly appointed Abbeyhill Ambassadors AND I’ll be doing Outdoor Learning with P1 while Mr Hamilton and Mr Martin are on a ‘Play for Learning’ course. Check back on Friday to see how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher