Category Archives: Parent Council

A day of goodbyes

It’s been an emotional one today in Abbeyhill! I have said my goodbyes after 7.5 fantastic years working as Head Teacher at Abbeyhill and we are also saying goodbye to 3 families who are all moving house and beginning new adventures in other schools within the next few weeks. A lot has changed since I started here in 2014, not least the children. Our current P7s were in Nursery when I began and it has been a pleasure to watch them grow in confidence and character, along with all our other class both old and young.

Despite a focus on moving on for a few of us, life at Abbeyhill has continued as normal this week. The P7s hit the bike trail in preparation for camp (yes, they can all remember how to cycle – tick), P3 looked at gender bias in the workplace as part of International Women’s Day as well as tackling the highest summit in the city – then rolling down it! We’ve also had a clear-out and been able to match lots of pre-loved uniform with new forever homes which fits well with our love of sustainability at Abbeyhill. I enjoyed a farewell party with the Abbeyhill Ambassadors yesterday who do such a fantastic job at representing the school. I’ve even left the bunting up to welcome Mrs Robertson on Monday!

In this week’s update to families, I have confirmed that Abbeyhill will ‘Wear It Silly’ for Comic Relief, knowing that a portion of the funds raised will go directly to the appeal for aid in Ukraine. The school will make a donation on behalf of everyone as well so families shouldn’t feel any pressure to donate money if they are not able to. Everyone can dress up as they like, in pyjamas, a superhero costume, onesies…it’s up to them!

And finally, thank you so much to all of you for your constant support of myself and the school, especially over the last few years which have held unprecedented challenges for us all. Abbeyhill is a wonderful place to be and I shall miss my incredible colleagues, the families that make up our school community and most importantly the brilliant children who I’ve had the privilege to spend so much time with.

My thanks and very best wishes to all of you, now and in the future.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Busy to the last!

There has been no slowing down for the approaching holiday at Abbeyhill this week! P1 have some new digital cameras and have been practising all week…there may be a few of Mrs Ketchin as I was in the class yesterday and was asked to join in with a few selfies!

Budding photographers in P1B!

P2 have celebrated Safer Internet Day (8th February) by discussing how they use online devices before working on ideas for their own games. Miss Smith is convinced there are some future star app developers in the class! P3 have had a really busy week making props and costumes for ‘Abbeyhill Space News’ and some incredibly detailed work has gone into their Valentine’s cards. Parents who follow @Abbeyhill2026 will also have loved the action shots from the crash mat challenge race that they undertook with P7!

P4 have been in a bubble this week (I thought it was quiet) but have still kept busy with a quick dash out to the playground in between breaks for some outdoor Maths as well as some indoor place value challenges. With hats.

I really enjoyed being part of the audience for the Abbeyhill dry ski slope challenge with P5. Tensions and excitement were high as each skier took to the slope; congratulations to the winners who saw their ski models make it safely off the slope and beyond! P6 and P7 had their first rugby session with Leith Hawks this week and there is some fantastic footage for parents who follow @Abbeyhill2023 twitter feed. P7 have also been busy making models of fighter planes for their WW2 topic, as well as brushing up on their coordinates and grid reference skills using maps of Edinburgh.

Parental Involvement and Engagement

In my update to parents this week, I asked for support in completing the Parental Involvement and Engagement survey. The Scottish Government has asked all 32 local authorities to undertake this census with parents in their local authority area before March 2022 and your support with this would be very much appreciated. If you are an Abbeyhill parent or carer, please check your emails for the link and QR code to get started.

Welcome back!

I was also delighted to say that nearly two years after closing the school gates to almost all parents, we will welcome parents back into our playground from Monday 21st February. This is in line with the general easing of restrictions around social distancing across the country. It will also be safer given the current concerns around road safety at the back of the school that the Parent Council and school are working on together with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Coming up

When we return, the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be undertaking a street clean as part of our support for the Keep Abbey Street Tidy campaign. They will also be getting opinions from their class on potential playground upgrades which the Parent Council are in the process of applying for funding for – fingers crossed! The Junior Road Safety Officers will also be getting involved with the work the Parent Council is leading on safety at the back of the school and the ambassadors will support them in that.

We will also send out booking links for Parents’ Evening appointments which will take place over the weeks beginning 14th and 21st March. At this time, we are still planning for virtual events.

In the meantime, have a lovely holiday!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

From tigers to moss balls, a typical week at Abbeyhill!

It’s been a particularly busy week in Abbeyhill as staff and children have coped well with last minute changes caused by staff absence. Nonetheless, we’ve still had plenty of time for creative learning and thinking! Everyone seems to be Space-mad as everything from the International Space Station (P1) to exoplanets (P5) is being discussed in excitement! There have also been two adoptions this week, Puff Puff the merino moss ball has joined P1B and Gopal the tiger has been adopted through the Born Free Foundation as part of P2’s project on Endangered Animals, inspired by a piece on Newsround. P3 got busy in the kitchen to celebrate Burns earlier in the week and they all enjoyed their tasters, even after Mr Hamilton explained what was in it! A special thanks to Mrs Flowers for putting together a fantastic video of our Scots poetry recitals from P1-P7; I enjoyed the premiere with P5!

Warn and Inform

Letters were sent out to families of children across the school and Nursery this week. Please check NHS Inform for the latest guidance if you are at all unsure. With guidance changing at different times for different countries within the UK it’s a very confusing time! Please check our Covid-19 tab for the latest version of the letter.

Keep Abbey Street tidy!

It has long been a source of frustration that Abbey Street (at the front of the school) seems to have disproportionately more litter on it than any other street in the area. Some of it is blown down by wind, some is blown out of the communal bins and unfortunately, some of it is caused by Abbey Street residents fly tipping. In the past, the Abbeyhill Ambassadors have done very successful ‘2 minute street cleans’ and we’ll be joining the campaign started by residents to help keep the street tidy. Please support us by gently challenging anyone you see dropping litter!

Parent Council Calendars

Well done to the Parent Council who have confirmed that the final total raised with the 2022 fundraising calendar was £1,096.21 which is fantastic! They have confirmed that every penny of this will be used to enhance the children’s experience of school. On behalf of the Parent Council, thank you if you supported this project in any way. a special thanks go to the parents who worked extra hard on this, offering time and skills – not to mention the staff and pupils who created the fabulous art work!

Have a lovely weekend,

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