Category Archives: Kindness

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

Happy Halloween!

It’s been a spook-tacular week at Abbeyhill with lots of scary decorations appearing round the school, hot chocolate, marshmallows and scary stories around the firepit and of course it was all topped off by the Halloween Disco Daily Mile this morning! Well done to everyone who dressed up – I think some of you must have been up very early with the face paints! Apologies to any of our neighbours who were treated to the theme of Ghostbusters thumping out at 9am…and thank you to the Parent Council who donated prizes for the best spooky dance and best scary face in each class!

Thank you to one of our parents, Jennifer, who is working tirelessly to refresh and tidy our library which after lockdown and building work in the school had become a bit of a sorry state. Keep up with Jennifer’s progress on Twitter @jennifertamu

Adventures in Abbeyhill Library with @jennifertamu

I was lucky enough to spend time in P2 and P4 this week and did some research on behalf of the Abbeyhill Ambassadors who will meet next week to work on their own version of the School Improvement Plan. Common consensus across the classes was they they liked learning (most curricular areas came up in this conversation which was encouraging), school dinners (pizza and veggie hotdogs are the favourites), playing outside and being with their friends. Top dislikes were anyone who is unkind and litter in the playground. Suggestions for improvements ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous (a candy floss bouncy castle is unlikely to feature in the playground any time soon) and a clear focus for both the Ambassadors and Parent Council is emerging. Watch this space and follow @AbbeyhillPupilC on Twitter to find out what happens next!

Our weekly email update went out to families today which featured safety information from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service over bonfires and fireworks, details of the Covid bus location for next week and a fantastic offer from the Collective on Calton Hill who are starting Collective Play on Friday afternoons from 5th November. Donations are welcome but there is no charge and there will be hot drinks, water and snacks provided. Sessions will be outdoor and child-led with a focus on weather systems and biodiversity. Sounds great!

Have a lovely weekend and please stay safe (and dry) if you are out trick or treating.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Fire(pit) in the playground!

Don’t worry, I was assured it was completely safe and all the risk assessments were in place. P7 are having a fantastic time this morning cooking apples with cinnamon as well as bananas with chocolate (delicious, thank you for mine P7!) in the fire pit, which they been taught how to safely light. This experience is part of their weekly Friday Outdoor Learning sessions which are proving to be so beneficial in terms of learning as well as physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

We had an exciting online assembly yesterday where this year’s Abbeyhill Ambassadors were announced. Each class from P1-5 has 2 Ambassadors each and P6 & 7 have 4 as they take on the dual role of Ambassador and Vice/house Captains. Our first meeting is next week so watch this space to hear more about the projects they will work on this session. They will include creating a child-friendly version of our School Renewal Plan as well as a special interest project which the Ambassadors themselves will choose. They will also be tasked with gathering and sharing the views of their class on lots of different aspects of school life so they will be kept extremely busy!

We had interviews for a member of staff in the Nursery; congratulations to Miss Barclay who was successful and will now remain with us on a permanent basis. We also interviewed for a Breakfast Club Assistant and will be delighted to welcome Miss Page as soon as her paperwork is complete.

Well done to everyone who took part in the Colony of Artists festival last weekend, whether it was visiting exhibits in gardens or viewing virtual galleries. Thank you so much to Dave Pratt and Iliyana Nedkova who decorated our windows with our artwork as part of the festival – they look beautiful!

Our Nursery and class newsletters were sent home today by email so please check your inboxes for those. Another NHS Warn and Inform letter was also sent home and is on this website under the Covid-19 tab.

Best wishes,

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