Category Archives: Head Teacher’s Blog

Haggis-tastic!

Last night saw the third annual Parent Council Burns Supper and it was bigger and better than ever before! Thanks to our Parent Council Chair (who slaved over several hot stoves all day!) we ate a delicious meal of homemade roast cauliflower soup, traditional haggis, neeps and tatties, finished off with fruit and shortbread made by P1 in our Cooking Classroom – with all the cutlery presented in tartan cutlery holders handmade by P2. Tickets for dinner were sold out (as word has spread over the last few years) and we were delighted to welcome even more families for the ceilidh at 6pm. Before the dancing started, we were treated to performances of both traditional and contemporary Scots poems and songs by our very talented Abbeyhill pupils. We had had the dress rehearsal for this in school on Wednesday where every class from P1 – P7 prepared a performance piece with the highlights being P5’s enthusiastic rendering of ‘A Dug, A Dug!’ by Bill Keys and P6’s premiere of the song they helped to write as part of their involvement with the Burns and Beyond festival. £362 was raised for Parent Council funds and this will go towards the creation of our Outdoor Classroom which Mr Woodhouse is leading on. Well done everyone!

Speaking of which, P6 enjoyed their final event of the Burns and Beyond festival at the Assembly Rooms yesterday with pupils from Flora Stevenson’s, St Joseph’s and Corstorphine Primary Schools. The Bairns’ Burns Supper also included guests from the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Culture United.

Live music was featured as well as Burns poetry, guest speakers, traditional Burns Supper food and the showcase of each school’s creative ideas. It ended with a mass ceilidh with music from a live band and instructors from Dancebase before it was time to head back to school. Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic experience which we were very lucky to be part of (thanks to Miss Stamati being quick off the mark with Abbeyhill’s application!)

P1-3 were lucky enough to enjoy a visit from Generation Science on Thursday and experienced their ‘Get Fizzy’ workshop where they learned about mixing liquids and solids with often surprising results! We definitely have a few budding scientists at Abbeyhill – well done everyone!

Generation Science is the schools touring programme from the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Each year, they run interactive science workshops in schools all over Scotland from January to May and we always enjoy getting fully involved. This year the Science Festival will run from 4th – 19th April so make a note in your diaries!

Earlier in the week, I attended a Leadership Conference at our local Drummond Community High School and heard from inspirational speakers on a range of topics including assessment, middle leadership and Lesson Study, a practice originating in Japanese schools where several teachers work together to develop teaching practice in an agreed target area. It’s something we’re very keen to try at Abbeyhill so it was useful to hear more about it. Most interestingly was the acknowledgement that our young people learning in schools today need to be taught to foster creativity, critical thinking, be able to collaborate and communicate in order to be able to take successful next steps when they leave school and that the age of needing to retain endless facts may be coming to an end.

This week also saw a new Artist in Residence, Anna Danikwicz start work with P4. Anna will work with the class for 7 weeks and is a sculptor, ceramicist and writer so we’re very excited to see what she develops with the class. All the work produced with our Artists in Residence will of course be available to be viewed by the public at the Colony of Artists festival later this year (19th & 20th September 2020). Next week, P6 will be continuing work with Holly McCulloch from the Collective Gallery who we have built up a sustained and productive relationship with over the last 5 years. Check back here to see what they get up to!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Burns…and Beyond

Burns and Beyond

This week has seen P6 embark on a host of exciting activities as part of ‘Burns and Beyond’, a project run by Culture United for Abbeyhill and 3 other lucky Edinburgh primary schools who will have the opportunity to participate and engage with Burns Night and Scottish culture through live performance, workshops and a special Bairns’ Burns Supper event in the Assembly Rooms Culture United is an ERASMUS+ funded project that partners cultural events with education providers to deliver multidisciplinary education in schools. In Edinburgh, the partnership is being delivered between the Council’s Creative Learning and Culture Services through the Burns and Beyond Festival, working with four Edinburgh primary schools. 

 

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P6 visit the Assembly Rooms with the other schools taking part in ‘Burns and Beyond’ to

As part of the ‘beyond’ section of the project, to celebrate Chinese New Year and Burns Night falling on the same date of 25th January in 2020, Burns & Beyond is also collaborating with Edinburgh’s China Ready initiative and key attractions, to present a programme of activity and events celebrating the national events, Scotland’s friendship with China and the work Edinburgh has produced in recent years to attract and welcome Chinese visitors to the capital. We’re very excited for the culmination of all Miss Stamati and P6’s hard work next week!

Don’t worry, be happy!

That’s the message that the Abbeyhill Ambassadors are spreading over the next few weeks as we carry on from our ‘Kindness’ focus in December and spread positive vibes throughout the school. They’ve decided to use playground chalk to write positive messages in the playground and post-its inside. The tricky part is, they need to try to do it without being seen! Keep your eyes out…you might just catch one of them in their next act of kindness.

 

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While this is fun and makes everyone (hopefully) feel good, they have also decided that they would like to explore supporting children less fortunate than themselves and over the next few weeks we will look at whether we can donate book packages to care centres and get involved with our local homeless shelter. Watch this space! 

Spotlight on P1

P1 have been busy consolidating their growing knowledge of 2D shapes this week and took to the playground to show Mr Hamilton what they’ve learned. 

 

Next week…

…I’ll be at a conference for Edinburgh Head Teachers on Tuesday, our whole school Burns celebration assembly is on Wednesday, P6 have two Burns and Beyond events on Wednesday and Thursday including their Bairns Burns’ Supper AND it’s the very popular Parent Council Burns’ Supper which is returning for its 3rd year on Thursday. Tickets have already sold out so if you haven’t got yours yet….you’ll have to be faster in 2021!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

We’ll be doing plenty in 2020!

Welcome back to our Abbeyhill school community after what was hopefully an enjoyable holiday. The days are still dark but we’re drawing closer to spring and there are lots of exciting things to come this term. For instance, tickets are now on sale for the Parent Council Burns’ Supper later this month so please contact either the Parent Council or the main school office for more details of how to secure yours. This event has become very popular and involves delicious food that has been prepared in our Cooking Classroom, ceilidh dancing, an address to the haggis and the all-important Scottish poetry recitals! Poems are being selected this week before rehearsals begin in earnest next week and it’s possible that there may be some friendly rivalry between the classes as to who can remember all their words…watch this space! Vast swathes of tartan, kindly donated by Kinloch Anderson, have appeared in P2 which have been transformed into cutlery holders whilst P1 will be perfecting their recipe for home-made shortbread.

 

Next week, P7 will have a visit from Lifelong Learning Development Officer Alan Stewart, who will help them to complete a ‘Youth Talk’ along with 200 other children from the ’10 Villages’ area of Edinburgh. Alan will talk to them about the Neighbourhood Environment Programme and help them to communicate their own ideas for environmental improvements in their area. This is a hot topic in Abbeyhill, as indeed it is everywhere, so I’m confident that P7 will have plenty to say!

P6 will be heavily engaged with ‘Burns and Beyond’ with Miss Stamati as part of a wider Culture United project. They will visit Flora Stevenson’s Primary and the Assembly Rooms next week for dance rehearsals with the other 3 schools taking part before enjoying a Scottish Dance workshop on Friday where they will create a song and musical accompaniment with the main aim of building confidence, encouraging participation and having fun! They’re all looking forward to the ‘Bairns Burns’ Supper’ later in the month before welcoming international project delegates to Abbeyhill to talk through their experiences of learning about Scottish culture through such an exciting series of events.

I will be attending the annual schools launch of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (formerly known as Imaginate) to get a sneak preview of the festival programme and the opportunity to hear from the Festival Director. This festival gives us an opportunity for our children to access live theatre in various venues close to Abbeyhill and the performances are always of the highest quality. Check back next week to find out which shows we’re tipping to be the best this year!

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