Category Archives: Christmas

The countdown is on!

Everything suddenly seems a little more sparkly at Abbeyhill! The lights are up, festive music is playing, Jack has his Santa hat on, Nativity rehearsals are at fever pitch, Mr Woodhouse and P7 are sawing something….what?! It turned out to be a sustainable Christmas tree made out of reclaimed wood – phew.* Mr McNeil and P5 were also working hard turning single use cups into something that could be enjoyed for a little longer and their homemade decorations will be adorning the P5 tree once they’re dry. There’s still lots of hard work going on as well, P4 have been working on probability this week and P5 created a function machine challenge!

*Yes, there was a risk assessment in place!

Head Teacher Recruitment

I’m pleased to say that the recruitment process for our new Head Teacher is moving forward with final interviews being held on the 14th December. As the notice period of the successful candidate could be up to 12 weeks, I have agreed to stay at Abbeyhill until the new Head Teacher is able to start. I’m absolutely delighted to be able to relax and enjoy Christmas at Abbeyhill now without worrying about packing my office up! Thank you once again to the parents who are supporting the recruitment process.

Coming up…Christmas!

Next week we will be celebrating Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children and, inspired by South Morningside Primary, we are having a ‘Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Christmas Jumper Day Boutique’ where any Christmas jumpers from years gone by which don’t fit anyone in the family any more have been donated and will be gifted to smaller children who will be able to get some more wear out of them. Younger siblings are being encouraged to wear an older one’s jumper that might now just fit them, or just to wear it big and silly and borrow a grown up’s! We can’t wait to see what everyone wears and no doubt there will be an extra special Christmas Disco Daily Mile where we can all show off our Christmas Jumpers. A donation will be made by the school to Save the Children so there is no cost to Abbeyhill pupils for this event and we hope the focus on sustainability will encourage everyone to think twice about the true cost of ‘fast fashion’.

Christmas parties will also be starting up and, as we can’t have them in the large groups we used to, there will be a party almost every day from Tuesday right through to the end of term! Extra coffee will be required by the staff I think!

Thank you to everyone, staff, pupils and parents who have been so understanding while we have worked extra hard this week due to staff absence. We wish all our absent staff well and look forward to welcoming some of them back next week. Special congratulations to Ms Gordon who becomes Mrs Gordon tomorrow and will be back on Tuesday to show off her wedding photos!

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Big Books lead to Big Ideas!

Today marks the end of Book Week Scotland (not to mention Children in Need and Road Safety Week) and the Breakfast Club were hard at work early this morning setting out all the books for our Big Book Giveaway which was looking very exciting by the time they had finished! Thank you to Mr A Hamilton for organising this (as well as the Big Book Scavenger hunt in the playground yesterday) and to everyone who donated books. Everyone who has visited so far this morning has been very excited to choose books and quickly become engrossed in them!

The Parent Council Fundraising calendar for 2022 went on sale today and it’s absolutely fantastic! Just when we think they can’t possibly get any better, they do! Staff, children, Parent Council and the Colony of Artists all have a month and the cover has been done by Mr Pratt, (O and L’s dad!), turning Mr Woodhouse into an overnight celebrity. He’s already been accused of diva-like behaviour this morning and it will only get worse as more copies are sold! You can order your copy through the Parent Council website for £6 – it’s the perfect stocking filler!

On BBC News this morning, I heard that in England, it will become legally binding from next year that schools must allow families to buy uniform from high street retailers and that second hand options must also be available. It amazed me that this has to be made into a legal obligation as this must mean that a significant amount of schools don’t have this approach already (although plenty do). In Edinburgh, and in Scotland as a whole, we have a much more progressive view and at Abbeyhill we have never insisted on branded uniform, with local high street retailers being named on our uniform policy as cheaper alternatives for as long as I have been at Abbeyhill. Thank you to the Parent Council who have been running regular second-hand uniform sales for several years now; this not only makes uniform more affordable but more environmentally sustainable. Thank you to all the families who donate school clothes that their kids have grown out of, as well as outdoor and winter wear.

I’m a big fan of second hand shopping and buy a lot of my own children’s clothes from Kidclo as well as eBay. Both of them have a ‘Pass It On’ buddy who gets anything that hasn’t been through the mill too much at Nursery and we benefit from my husband’s cousin who has 4 children of both genders – a nice bag of clothes comes our way quite regularly! For myself, I’ve recently discovered Thrift+ and Vinted (although I’m a bit late to the party with that one I think). It saves a fortune as well as the environment so what’s not to like?

Next week the countdown clock to the end of term will be about to start so parents should check next week’s email update for information on what we can and can’t do due to current restrictions and how we’ll be celebrating the festive season in school. I also hope to have more information on recruitment for a new Head Teacher from January.

Have a lovely weekend,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Many hands make light work!

Thank you to Mr Hamilton, Mr Woodhouse and Ms Graham (H’s mum!) for all the incredible work they have done to transform the Library (which had suffered terribly over the last 18 months) into a wonderful inviting and inspiring space, just in time for Book Week Scotland next week.

We’ll be quarantining books ready for the Big Book Giveaway on Friday next week and copies of ‘Celebration’ will be available for all adults. ‘Celebration’ is the Scottish Book Trust’s adult giveaway and features poems, essays and short stories – all true, or based true events – which have been written by people all across Scotland reflecting on the theme of celebrations as part of the SBT’s annual ‘Your Stories’ project.

Despite the disappointing news that some planned trips won’t be able to go ahead as planned next week, P6 and P7 still managed to get out and about this week and visited the Scottish Parliament and Calton Hill. Excitement was high as Sarah Boyack took a photo with P6 and P7 witnessed a marriage proposal on Calton Hill! Sadly Mr Woodhouse didn’t catch it on camera but many congratulations from everyone at Abbeyhill to the newly engaged couple.

We are now busy working out what we can and can’t do in the run up to Christmas. Multi-class parties are still off this year but individual classes can still celebrate. We can still do the Nativity, but without an indoor audience. Thank you to Ms Gordon who has miraculously turned it into a screenplay in the last 36 hours! We’re also working on a Covid-safe version of a house event so watch this space for more details.

Oscars, here we come!

It is Road Safety Week next week so it is a good time for an update on what’s happening at the back of the school. The school and Parent Council are engaging with councillors and road safety teams about the busy road at the back of the school. Some of the dangers are created by parents parking illegally while either dropping off or collecting their children. This can create a bottleneck which means that passing drivers get frustrated and go faster than they should when they can finally get past, which of course increases the danger. Please consider parking elsewhere and walking, scooting or cycling the last part of the journey to make a healthier and safer environment. Councillors, parking attendants and community police will all be working with us on this issue in the coming weeks and months until the situation is naturally brought under control with the extension of the city centre controlled parking zone.

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

On the1,000th day of Christmas…

…that’s how it’s starting to feel! The term has raced past and we still have a lot to fit in before we finish on Friday. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported one (or all!) of our Christmas events so far; we’ve already been treated to a wonderful Nativity and last week we had the magical P7 Christmas ceilidh which was enjoyed by everyone as always. Everyone made such an effort and looked incredibly smart in kilts and dresses before doing Mr Chetwynd proud with their ceilidh dancing after all his training in PE. We missed Mr Hamilton but all his efforts to work with the P7s while they designed invitations, placemats and table decorations helped to create a truly wonderful evening.

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On Thursday, we took part in Underbelly’s Community Christmas and were wowed by a fantastic light show which was projected onto the side of the infant building whilst our very own choir sang. Mrs Flowers and Ms Howson ran a hot chocolate stand and we were pleased to raise £100 in school funds so thank you everyone who came along to support and enjoy the festivities. We’ve already signed up to take part next year!

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This week is full of parties and festive singalongs in assembly before we break up on Friday for the Christmas holidays. Thank you to each and every one of you who have supported Abbeyhill in some way over the last term and I look forward to seeing what 2020 bring for us!

(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