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.
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.
We’ve had a great start back at Abbeyhill and hope that everyone else returned to work and school feeling rested and re-charged after the holidays. Or perhaps you were glad to escape the chaos of home and went back to work for some peace and quiet!
We spent our staff in service day on the 8th January overhauling our behaviour policy, inspired by the book ‘When the Adults Change, Everything Changes’ by Paul Dix. We’ve reduced our 26 page behaviour policy to a single side of A4 and reduced our school rules to just 3: Ready, Respectful, Responsible. We’ve removed Golden Time in favour of more immediate consequences and have introduced regular mindfulness sessions into classes and restorative conversations for when things go wrong. We’re 2 weeks in and everyone is responding well to it; children are calm and understand the rules, staff are enjoying having chances to strengthen relationships by seeing an incident through from start to finish and deciding on a resolution with the child. We’re working with the Mindful Enterprise and Bright Minds Meditation to embed mindfulness throughout the school and we’re really seeing the benefit of that in the class who have been working with the Mindful Enterprise for a few years. Please have a read of our new policy below and let us know what you think.
We’ve had Generation Science in this week and they will continue to be with us for a few weeks as they perfect their performances. We’re so lucky that they choose to come to Abbeyhill every year to do their dress rehearsals which means that every class in the school gets the chance to experience science being delivered in a fun, interactive (noisy!) way that gets everyone thinking. Make sure you harness that enthusiasm and visit the Edinburgh International Science Festival when it’s on in April!
This morning we had Don from Road Safety Edinburgh in assembly to remind us all to WOW (Walk On Wednesday). He talked about the health benefits for us, as well as our environment and it was brilliant to see so many hands up when he asked how many people walked, cycled or scooted to school. We’ll have our first Walking Bus of 2019 on Tuesday morning next week (22nd January) so make sure you’re at one of our designated walking bus stops by 0830 if you want to take part! After Don left, we treated ourselves to watching the video of the staff pantomime which was a huge success when we performed it for the children in December! It was a special goodbye to ‘Cinderella’ afterwards as Mrs Lansdown leaves us today for Education Scotland. We’ll miss her but wish her the very best of luck in her new role.
Next week, don’t miss the Parent Council Burns Supper on Thursday 24th January. There are only a few tickets left and at £5 for a 3 course tea for adults/£3 for children, mini talent show and kids ceilidh they will go fast so get in quickly if you’d like to go by visiting the Abbeyhill Parent Council website. In an ‘Abbeyhill Decides’ vote, pupils will choose how funds raised at the supper will be spent. We also have Parent Council on Wednesday 23rd January where we will be voting for new post holders so if you’d like to get involved then please feel welcome to come along!
We’ve been very busy at Abbeyhill so far this term, as always. We’ve started to build on the experience we had helping to launch the Edinburgh Adapts plan in November and small groups of children have been working with me to develop ideas for a few themes for the City Vision 2050. It’s a bit of a brain bender to think that far into the future but we’ve had some good ideas around ‘Community Safety’ and ‘Digital and Technology’. We’re hoping to make them into a video!
We’ve had our most successful Walking Bus yet with 30 children and parents taking part at the end of January; the theme was ‘tartan’ to coincide with Burns’ Day. It’s a lovely, sociable way to start the day and encourages sustainable travel to school so we will keep running them regularly. Less children do now travel to school by car which we’re pleased about and is hopefully down to a combination of factors such as our focus on sustainability and the environmental impact of various types of travel, road safety and of course the fact that Abbey Street is closed to non-permit holders before and after school as part of the School Streets/Safer Routes to School initiative. Our P7s had a ‘Bikeability’ session this week which saw them take to the roads and increase their confidence about doing so. Lots more bikes have been seen in the bike shed since!
Our Artists in Residence programme is also flourishing with other schools now showing interest in what we do. We’re continuing to work with the Talbot Rice and Collective Galleries and it’s easy to see the benefits that the children get from working with professional artists both in school and in formal gallery spaces. We’ve also struck up a new partnership with the Edinburgh Art Festival and look forward to developing it over the next few years. Of course, all the work the children are doing will be exhibited at the Colony of Artists festival on 23rd/24th September – put the dates in your diary!
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s been happening in school so remember to check our website regularly and follow us on Twitter @AbbeyhillPS to keep up with all things Abbeyhill!
Our JRSOs have a very busy week ahead of them. This morning they were reminding pupils about the importance of crossing with our crossing patrol officers. Keeping everyone safe as they walk home is our biggest priority and all children were reminded to cross sensibly.
The JRSOs will also be reminding pupils about the School Streets pilot we are participating in. This has been up and running since September and access restrictions are in place at school peak times.
Please click here for more information. Police WILL be patrolling the top of Abbey Street.
“Trainer” Tuesday 22nd of September sees the launch of the School Streets project with restricted access to Abbey Street before and after school. To mark the launch, we have organised a “Walking Bus” leaving from four different locations within our catchment. Letters have gone home and the children were reminded of the “stops” at this morning’s assembly. Look out for school adults waiting to lead you from your stop at 8:20am. Then once we arrive at school enjoy a free walker’s breakfast. We would really like families to join us on Tuesday and look forward to our first “Walking Bus” of 2015. Don’t forget to wear your trainers!