Category Archives: Parent Council

A very warm welcome

Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome I have received during my first week at Abbeyhill. It is immediately apparent what a very special school community this is. I have enjoyed meeting all the pupils and look forward to getting to know many more of the parents and families in the coming weeks. You will be aware from my letter on Wednesday that I will not be staying in post at the school in the longer term, but please be assured that recruitment is already underway and I will be working to support a smooth transition when the next Acting Head is appointed.

Our parents consultations will take on a very different format this year and you will have hopefully seen my letter detailing the booking system and the our Microsoft Teams platform. I know all the teaching staff are looking forward to meeting virtually with you to talk about the progress and achievements of your children. Please make sure you take the opportunity to book a convenient appointment and if you require a translator then please contact the school office so this can be arranged.

I have already been engaging with some of the parental community and teaching staff in regards to the outdoor classroom and look forward to progressing this soon. The dates for the Parent Council AGM and future meetings will be issued shortly. I would encourage you all to become actively involved with the work of the Parent Council and work in partnership to help our school to be the best place for all our pupils, staff and families.

I have been so impressed by the variety of learning opportunities have seen at Abbeyhill this week. Several classes and the Nursery have enjoyed outdoor learning opportunities in Holyrood Park, P7 have been making amazing working models of the human lungs, P5 have been learning about Black History Month and the life of Rosa Parks and Mary Seacole and all the classes have been enjoying very active outdoor P.E. sessions with Mrs Souness.

Finally, you will receive an email from me today regarding our after school provision. After several years, Scoosh our current provider will be ending their service. This will cease on Friday 16th October. I am pleased to say that we have already secured the services of another provider, Smart Cookies. Smart Cookies will begin their service on the first day back after the holidays, including school pickup. I know how vital wrap around care can be for some families and I hope this reassures you. They also accept payments from the various tax free childcare schemes.

If I can be of any help or assistance then please feel free to contact me through the school office.

Kind Regards

Barry Donald-Hewitt
Acting Head Teacher

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

Dancing bears and a Burns flashback!

The sun was shining this week as we handed out our final teaching packs of the term, and school session. It was lovely to see so many families, socially distanced of course, and it will be even better when we can have children back in the building in August. It seems very quiet when we are in there at the moment. Preparations are well underway for having everyone back with the number one priority being Health and Safety. Details will come out on Wednesday next week so that everyone knows which days their child will be attending as we begin to move back towards something resembling normality.

If you follow @CreateLearnEdin you may have seen the official Burns and Beyond videos which were posted this week. As you may remember, Ms Stamati and P6 worked incredibly hard and had a lot of fun as part of this project and it was lovely to watch the videos, see some familiar faces and hear some of our P6s speak so articulately about what they had enjoyed about the project. You can watch the short version of the video here or if you have a little longer (most of us do at the moment!) then the longer version is here. Well done to everyone who was involved (credit also to @burnsandbeyond and @UniqueEventsltd).

Someone else who has been busy creating fantastic experiences and sharing them on social media is our dance teacher in residence, Eleanor Robertson. Read all about how she has supported and encouraged Nursery children to take part in the Bear Hunt transition project in one of the latest blog posts on the Abbeyhill School Artists website and watch her brilliant dance video here. Mr Martin and the Nursery team have also been working really hard to engage the Nursery children who are moving up to P1 in August and everyone is joining in and sharing their experiences on Twitter which is fantastic to see. I made sure I left my label on when I was in school on Thursday…have you left yours yet?

Our Staff Superstar this week is the brilliant Mrs Pender who has developed new skills over the last few months, not just by finally getting onto WhatsApp but by working out how to use Teams and managing to join every P1 story session (sometimes sideways, occasionally upside down) which the children love. She’s also supported one of our Hubs and has taken a lot of time and made a huge effort to make the experience memorable and successful for the young person she’s supporting. Well done and thank you Mrs Pender! Checking out what everyone has been doing on Teams, Elis has done some very neat colouring by number, Otis, Duncan, Sara and Marlena had done some brilliant wok on the layers of ocean, John did some very funny nonsense poetry, Erin submitted some great work on collective nouns, Alma is a banana tree (really Alma?!), Zuzanna managed some Maths that would have had me reaching for the calculator and Luca in P7 did an amazing drawing as part of the P7 Moving On Up project which has taken place this week to replace the 3 day high school visit that they should have been. Well done and thank you to Mr Forde also for working tirelessly to encourage and support the P7s as they navigate this time which should have been packed with all our usual transition activities in school. Consider yourself a runner up Superstar winner Mr Forde! However, our Junior Superstars have to be the P6s who represented Abbeyhill so well in that Culture United ‘Burns and Beyond’ video so well done to Mat, Jasmine, Amelia, Cadha, Liam and Maya!!

This time next week the holidays will be upon us but there will be one more blog from me before we bid goodbye to the 2019-20 school session. It’s ended in a way none of us expected at the start but I very much hope that this time next year normality has been fully resumed and lockdown is all just a distant memory!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Phase 1: Day 1

I’m sure you’ll be feeling a little lighter in the spirits as we begin Phase 1 on our journey to recovery. Please continue to abide by the rules as this is critical to ensuring that we continue to move in the right direction, back towards some semblance of normality. It would be disheartening to see multiple local groups placed back on lockdown when we’re all no doubt looking forward to meeting up with friends and family who live locally. If you’re in any doubt, check the guidance on the Scottish Government website. You can also refer to this fantastic visual produced by staff in North Lanarkshire Council on what Phase 1 means for everyone.

Phase 1 visual (North Lanarkshire Council)

Today I have emailed our whole school community with the latest guidance from the local authority and what this means for us at Abbeyhill.  I am working hard on potential models for pupils returning and what that might look like. I hope to begin to share these with the wider school community at some point next week.

This weekend we should have been looking forward to a Parent Council Summer Garden Party which has quickly become a very popular annual event! It’s always a lovely day with a brilliant, relaxed atmosphere and I look forward to next summer when (surely!) we can all be back together. However, just to cheer everyone up who thought that they wouldn’t get the chance to ‘Soak the Teacher’ with a bucket and sponges, Mrs Flowers persuaded us all to do a DIY version at home and the resulting video is fantastic! Head to your virtual classroom on Teams if you haven’t seen it yet – and remember, we’re waiting for videos from those home school teachers too! Well done to those that have let their ‘pupils’ loose with hoses, buckets and even the sea! If you haven’t done it yet then at least it’s shaping up to be a hot weekend, perfect for pouring a bucket of water over your head. Yet again, Mrs Flowers wins Staff Secret Superstar for such a brilliant effort – well done Mrs Flowers!

I’ve had a few nominations for Junior Secret Superstar this week and have spotted some great work on Teams as well; Edith has done some beautiful painting, lots of the P2s have been designing dinosaur eggs and making 3D models (I loved Filip’s diplodocus) Konan has done a good piece of imaginative writing (I like your weekend plans Konan!), Alma’s been teaching her class Spanish, Mat has designed a brilliant robot and the P7s continue to be very busy with technology assignments! However, our joint winners have to be Otis and Lenny; if you’re a regular reader you may remember that Otis won a while ago as he had been writing letters to his local care home but we have found out that he and Lenny have been doing it every single week of lockdown and those letters have been pinned to the walls of the care home and really cheering up the residents! Not just doing it once but doing it continually really deserves some recognition so well done Otis and Lenny, you’re this week’s Junior Secret Superstars!

Next week we’ll be distributing more food parcels and paper resource packs will be available on Thursday; please check your emails on Monday for more information. In the meantime, enjoy the fantastic weather over the weekend and enjoy seeing some friends and family if you can!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher