Category Archives: Kindness

Goodbye for now!

This is my last blog post for the 2020-21 school session as I head off on maternity leave. I shall miss the Abbeyhill community even though I know from past experience that I shall soon be too sleep deprived to even contemplate the thought of coming to work! I feel that the rest of the session looks a little uncertain as we all try to keep up with the latest guidance changes, the ‘rule of 6’ and what we can and can’t do – especially if going on holiday (even if that’s just elsewhere in the UK!). We are all in the same storm, but not necessarily the same boat, and I know that the Abbeyhill community is brilliant at looking out for and supporting each other so ultimately, we will weather this.

Please visit our Parent Council page to see the minutes of the latest meeting held on 3rd September and Abbeyhill families will have read the Parent Council update in our class newsletter which went out via email today. The big projects this year are the annual fundraising calendar and breaking ground on the outdoor community garden/classroom (with chickens hopefully!). Be sure to check out Lothian Buses Instagram stories to see Abbeyhill parent Dave’s front cover for our calendar which was trending earlier today!

Calendar front page 2020

Best wishes for the rest of the year,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Mrs Pender is our hero!

This week I learned that Mrs Pender had been secretly very hard at work over lockdown knitting dolls which she sent to children who were unwell in the Sick Kids hospital, as well as sewing NHS scrubs. What an absolute hero! Well done Mrs Pender – lockdown Secret Superstar has been revived just for you!

On a more sombre note, I’m sure that you have all read or seen the worrying news that Covid-19 cases are rapidly on the rise again. Please, please continue to play your part in suppressing this virus as we have all learned this year how quickly things can change and the prospect of another national lockdown is something that I’m sure nobody wants to even contemplate. Remember FACTS at all times; Face covering, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, keep a Two metre distance from others at all times and Self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms.

This weekend we would of course normally be looking forward to joining in with the Colony of Artists festival but sadly our involvement this year has been yet another Covid casualty. Please take a moment to have a look at our ‘Windows and Screens‘ display this year and if you have a little more time, watch these videos of the 2018 and 2019 festival finales held in our hall and hope that 2021 brings a welcome return to Abbeyhill Primary being a bustling hive of activity over the festival weekend!

Next week is a short one as school is closed on Monday for the September long weekend. Whatever you are doing, please stay safe and be responsible as always!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Thank you Abbeyhill!

I have emailed parents today to thank them for their support, patience and understanding over the last few weeks as we have turned best laid plans to reality, tweaking and making improvements as we go along.  The Abbeyhill community is fantastic at supporting each other and I’m grateful to be a part of it!

I’ve enjoyed seeing most of the children over the course of the week through supervising gates in the morning and afternoon, helping to staff our staggered lunches (even in the pouring rain!) and taking P4 for a morning as it was their turn to miss PE with Mrs Souness this week. The resilience of all our children is incredible and it’s heart warming to see their genuine delight to be back at school with their friends, whilst acknowledging some of the benefits of lockdown. I’ve heard about lots of new hobbies and interests that were discovered over the last few months and I enjoyed working with the P4s as they prepared presentations on their ‘new-normal’ resolutions.

Whilst there are lots of things that are different that I wish we could change, such as not being able to have parents in the playground, assembly and playing together, there are some new routines and arrangements that I hope we can keep! Not having bells ringing makes for a much calmer environment and having meetings and attending courses online feels much more efficient than having to travel somewhere. It’s positive for us to all view this time as a good opportunity for positive change and to have a clear out of old routines because when else would we have had the chance to have a clean sweep?!

As swimming pools are due to re-open soon and the Scottish Government have said that day trips may be possible from the Autumn, we wait to hear for confirmation of another few elements of our school day that might return to something resembling normality. In the meantime, we’ll carry on as we are and try to reap the benefits of a slightly slower pace of school life!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

(The New) Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

….and we’re all very glad about it! The rain is lashing down as I write this and it feels that the ‘summer’ holidays are a distant memory already! Nevertheless, it’s been fantastic to welcome all of our staff and families back to school over the last few days and we’re all excited to start our first full week back together. Some of our families are observing a quarantine period after arriving home from abroad and we thank them for this. We’ve seen from Aberdeen and other places in England just how fragile our newly restored freedoms are and we all have to play our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy as we journey back towards a ‘normal’ life. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated several times already and set out clear information on what to do in the case of suspected symptoms appearing as well as what course of action we will take in school. This is designed to reassure and not to alarm anyone.

As well as welcoming everyone back, we’re also thinking of those who have moved on who didn’t get the send off that they were expecting, although we did our best to make things special given the circumstances! Good luck to Ms Stamati who starts a new teaching job in Greece next week, Ms El Sarrag who has retired from Abbeyhill, Ms Howson who secured a permanent post at Rowanfield school and all our P7s and leavers from other year groups who have started S1 or moved away from the area for new adventures. We will miss you! Goodbyes were counter-balanced with plenty of ‘Hellos’ though as we welcomed our new P1s and new pupils in other classes across the school – it’s lovely to bring you into the Abbeyhill community. Our new Nursery pupils will begin to settle in next week and we’re so excited to meet them too!

We were all pleased, and relieved, at how smoothly things went in general last week. There were a few hiccups as is to be expected when we changed (or abandoned) longstanding routines and there were last minute crises to keep us on our toes – such as essential paperwork for poor Mr McNeil not arriving in time for him to start with his class – but by and large we’ve resolved everything and the whole Abbeyhill community is pulling together brilliantly as always as we move forward. Mr McNeil is enjoying his first day in P3 today – phew!

Normally at this time of year we are sending out ‘Save the Date’ lists for all our key events from Meet the Teacher to our festive celebrations. I’m sure you will bear with us this term as changing guidance means that we can’t be certain what we’ll be able to offer and when although you can rest assured that we will find alternative ways to deliver events such as Parents’ Evening and the Nativity. I had a chat with Iliyana Nedkova, our Curator in Residence and P7 parents, about what Abbeyhill’s involvement in this year’s Colony of Artists Festival (19th & 20th September) might look like so watch this space for news on some exciting online exhibitions. Our whole school Art project ‘Bee Kind’, in line with our key values as well as the theme of the festival, should fit in beautifully and P4 have already made a strong start!

Bee Kind P4

Have a good week and as always, keep an eye on Scottish Government updates, the City of Edinburgh Council‘s website and social media accounts as well as NHS Inform for all the up to date information. You can keep in touch with us by phone or email, as well as our website and Twitter account. 

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

New beginnings

We are all so excited that it’s very nearly time to welcome everyone back to Abbeyhill! By now, parents should have received information about their child’s return to Nursery and/or school. Please email the admin@abbeyhill.edin.sch.uk if you have not.

On Monday and Tuesday next week staff will be busy discussing and familiarising themselves with the new procedures for keeping everyone healthy and safe, as well as enjoying catching up with each other, putting the finishing touches to their classrooms and workspaces and planning for the weeks ahead. We’ll be discussing how to support each other and the whole school community as we prepare to return from nearly 5 months away.

There will be lots of different feelings for everyone right now. Some people may be feeling anxious and worried about the return to school, others might be excited and raring to go! Over the coming weeks we’ll explore those feelings, all of which are completely valid, and we’ll support each other as we take a few steps forward together. Personally, I am looking forward to getting back into a normal routine, seeing different faces each day (much as I love my family!) and the challenges that come with a change to the way we work. But there are also things I’ll miss such as a slightly slower pace of life, time at home with my family and having time to go for a walk in the middle of the working day.

Whatever your experiences over the last 5 months, we are all here to support you at Abbeyhill and I very much look forward to seeing our returning school community next week.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher