Category Archives: Parent Council

Imagination is the key

What a treat we’ve had today! We all went to the nearby Meadowbank Parish Church for a special concert with Fischy Music and heard the debut performance of ‘Imagination’ which P4 wrote from scratch and recorded with Margaret and Christy from Fischy. P4 (or ‘Baby Alien’ which is their official band name) gave a fantastic performance and managed not to be distracted by the fact that they were being beamed up onto big screens for everyone to see. We all had a brilliant time, dancing and singing along – including the staff and parents who managed to join us!

Of course, some of us had our Pudsey ears on as it is BBC Children in Need today. Mrs Brotherston and Mrs Pender got into the spirit of it as always and have had a bit of extra attention from the traffic as they have carried out their lollipop duties! Thanks also to Miss Macdonald, Mrs Lyall and Mrs Macdougall for organising our Children in Need toy sale yesterday; we raised £135 and all leftover toys will go to a local charity as suggested by Luca as part of our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly block.

Yesterday, I was delighted to welcome a small group of parents for our first ‘Parents Lunch’. It was lovely to have a sociable lunch together whilst giving them a chance to experience what their children do each today, including lining up and being reminded what they had ordered! They gave good feedback on the food and the experience and next time I plan to run it at the same time as the school lunchtime to give families a rare opportuntity to enjoy a weekday lunch together!

On Wednesday, we had our Parent Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) and there will be an opportunity to vote for new post holders at the next meeting in January. Thank you to Vlad who has stepped down after doing a sterling job as treasurer for several years, as well as to all the parents who have joined us and are doing such an amazing job of supporting the school.

Also on Wednesday, I spent the day at a National Improvement Framework conference for all Edinburgh Head Teachers where the new ‘Edinburgh Learns’ policy was launched and discussed at length. Edinburgh Learns encourages a renewed focus on learning and teaching which is the core business of all schools. Although we all felt the pressure that being out of school for the day brings (not least in the mounting pile of unanswered emails!), we all agreed that it was a valuable professional experience. As a staff, we shall explore Edinburgh Learns over the coming weeks and months.

Next week I am going to Buckstone Primary for a reciprocal visit following my hosting a group other Head Teachers a few weeks ago and I’m looking forward to seeing further good practice and having follow up professional dialogue. Back in school, it’s Book Week Scotland and Mr Martin will be launching an exciting week of activities in assembly on Monday. Check back next week to see what we get up to!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

P1 Registration Week

We’ve had lots of parents registering their child for our 2019 P1 class this week as this is P1 Registration Week. Please make sure your child is registered to start school in August 2019 if they are due to turn 5 before the end of February 2020. As long as you register in time, you are guaranteed a place at your catchment school, whether that is Abbeyhill or somewhere else. At the point of registration, you can also choose to apply for an out of catchment school place if you wish to do so.

This week has also seen the launch of our brand new storytelling clubs and they’ve got off to a great start! ‘Chit Chat Clubs’ run on Mondays and Thursdays with Russell McLarty and Marie-Louise Cochrane, aka Mrs Mash the storytelling cook. I spent some time in the P1-3 session on Monday and they were making apple pancakes to go with their story. No wonder the club is proving popular! I look forward to seeing Chit Chat Club develop and culminate in a ‘story slam’ at the Colony of Artists festival next year.

Gary from The Mindful Enterprise spent time giving P5,6,7 mindfulness refresher sessions and began training P4 in the art of Mindfulness. This is the third year that we have worked with The Mindful Enterprise and children are now routinely using the techniques to help them in all types of situations; to calm nerves before a competition or test, to help them sleep and even to avoid conflict with their peers. This is a valued part of our curriculum and it is good to see another year group benefit from it.

On Monday, we announced the number of straws that we have collected over a 5 week period and it came to a staggering 2,312. We were all shocked as we hadn’t expected it to be this high a number but I had forgotten to factor lunchtime milk into my calculations back in September! We’re busy deciding what to do next but expect to see some publicity around this in the next week or so. Needless to say, now that we are in the habit of collecting our straws and using cups each day instead (which we wash up), we aren’t going to revert to our old ways.

Next week we have our Parent Council AGM, a Fischy Music concert (and the song that P4 wrote will get its premiere!), Children in Need toy sale, Parent Lunch and P4 will be cooking with Chef Stuart from Aizle – check back in and find out how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Halloween-tastic

Last week went extremely quickly as we had so much going on at Abbeyhill. A packed week culminated in the Halloween parties that were organised and put on by our Parent Council; thank you to them for all their hard work and the fantastic decorations. Never have so many toilet rolls been put to such great use…!

On Monday, a group of Head Teachers visited me as part of our Leading Learning Partnership programme and we toured the school with a focus on ‘How Good Is Our School?’ quality indicator 3.2 (with a theme of attainment and equity). You can download a copy of the HGIOS document here . My colleagues commented favourably on how engaged each pupil was in their learning and the fact that they all knew what they were working towards. I look forward to my reciprocal visit to Buckstone Primary School later in the month.

On Wednesday, our doors were open as part of the city-wide catchment schools Open Day which gives parents of children who will be going into P1 in August 2019 to come and see our school and ask any questions. Thank you to our House and Vice House Captains who did a super job of giving tours, even though the temptation to show off every room, down to the last storage cupboard, proved too much for some!

On Wednesday and Thursday, Margaret and Christy from Fischy Music came in to work with our P4 class as part of the Year of Young People 2018. Our P4s wrote and recorded a song with Margaret and Christy and it was a fascinating process to watch. I sat in with the class for an hour and had the privilege of pitching a few of my ideas in too! The song will be formally launched at a concert with the rest of the school later this month.

On Thursday, P6 and P7 spent the day at Drummond High School and took part in a STEM event (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Engaging with Drummond is part of transition process for P6 and P7 as they approach high school age and allays some nerves for the P7s who have realised just how close they are to leaving primary school!

On Friday, the Pupil Council counted all the straws that we’ve collected so far and the result will be announced on Monday at assembly so please keep an eye on Twitter for the final total. All I will say for now is that we had underestimated how many there would be and the result shocked us all…

A hive of activity!

Whoosh – that’s half a term (or term 1, depending on your viewpoint) done already! I hope you had a lovely October break and managed to get outside before the cold weather really kicks in. I had ‘technical difficulties’ with the blog on the last day of term but hopefully you saw the ’50 ways to experience outdoors in Edinburgh before you’re 11 3/4′ poster that I posted on Twitter. It’s got lots of fantastic ideas of things to do in and around Edinburgh all year round – many of them free. If you’re still ticking off the activities and you’re on Twitter, tweet us a photo of what you get up to; perhaps it will inspire someone else!Picture1

We’ve been busy as usual this week, despite it only being a 4 day week for children. the SSPCA have been into classes across the school, P7 have been to Holyrood Park, we were visited by colleagues from Norway who wanted to find out more about Getting It Right For Every Child AND we’ve had Parent and Family Night! Thank you to all the families who visited us. In the run up to the holidays, P7 were at Drummond for breakfast and a treasure hunt, we shared our ideas for our ‘Always Look on the Bright Side’ assembly topic and we formally opened the P4/5 shelter that has had a facelift thanks to community engagement from Santander bank, led by Santander and Abbeyhill parent Billy McElhone. We shared what we loved about our new murals and our outdoor stage, kindly donated by Simon and James Preston. Photos were even taken by the Evening News so look out for us in the paper (we haven’t been published yet)!

IMG_0199

Next week, P4 will be writing a song with Fischy Music after months of ‘auditioning’ in assembly! P6 and 7 are going to Drummond for a STEM event (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) so watch this space for an update on how it goes. It’s also catchment school open day so if you’re a Nursery parent with a child starting P1 in August 2019, please come and see us; our session times are below. If you’re a P7 parent with a child starting S1 next year, make sure that you take this opportunity to go and visit your catchment secondary school. To find out when the sessions are at various schools, please go to www.edinburgh.gov.uk/primaryschoolsopenday or call the school.

open

It’s also the Parent Council Hallowe’en parties next week so please make sure you get your tickets from the main school office. A lot of planning has gone into the decorations so you can look forward to a super spooky time!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Happy Campers

We have just welcomed our P7s back from Lagganlia and there were lots of tired but happy faces as they piled off the bus! They have had a great time and it’s been fun to watch their adventures unfold on Twitter. Everyone took part in new and exciting activities and developed new practical skills as well as teamwork and resilience in the face of challenges.  Thank you to Mr Martin, Miss McCourt and Miss Chmielecka as well as all the instructors and staff at Lagganlia for delivering such an unforgettable week.

Picture1

Meanwhile, back at Abbeyhill we’ve had an exciting week too. Primary 1 had their first Woodland Wednesday where they spent the morning in Holyrood Park building slides, tents and making patterns with natural materials before coming back to school and taking part in Loose Parts Play for the afternoon. You can request to follow Mrs Lansdown and P1 on Twitter if you’re a P1 parent (or associated with the class) and keep up to date with everything that goes on through their daily tweets. Loose Parts Play was introduced last year at Abbeyhill and is popular with the whole school. P5 and P6 Play Champions help staff to put it out and away again and for two lunchtimes a week there are crates and tyres being used for all kinds of exciting things in the playground! Our new sandpits, kindly built by the Parent Council, are also very popular and this week some of the children worked together to create a sand sculpture inspired by what they could see from the playground – Arthur’s Seat. We’re so very lucky to have such a beautiful view.

Arthur's Seat.jpg

P1, 2 and 3 invited parents and families in for Shared Learning on Tuesday morning and it was lovely to see that so many families were able to make it into each class. With Parent and Family Night approaching, it will hopefully help to give families a little bit of context when discussing their child’s learning as they will be able to picture the classroom environment and learning in progress. Shared Learning events will happen regularly throughout the year.

P6 attended a basketball tournament at Drummond Community High School on Wednesday with the other cluster primaries, Broughton and Leith Walk. The tournament was part of our wider transition work to prepare children for moving up to high school by giving plenty of opportunities to spend time in a high school environment. All the P6s enjoyed the experience of working with different staff and mixing with the other children in the cluster; thank you to all the staff and pupils at each school for working so hard to organise such a good event.

Next week is our last week before the October holidays and P7 are going for breakfast and a treasure hunt at Drummond – check back next Friday to find out more!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher