Category Archives: Parent Council

Hello Sunshine

What a lovely week it has been! Let’s hope that the weather defies the forecast and stays sunny for the long weekend. Please remember that the school is closed on Monday 20th May for Victoria Day and we are also closed to pupils on Thursday 23rd May as we are a polling station for the European Elections.

Over the last few weeks we’ve had lots going on as always. We’ve had staff development sessions on Mindfulness, Gender Balance and Equality, supporting learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL) as well as planning for the end of this session and the beginning of next. As a staff, we evaluate our progress in our Standards and Quality report (which will be shared on our website by the end of the term) and set targets for improvement with a plan of how to achieve those targets. Again, this will be shared on our website. Before this happens, Parent Council will be asked to cast their eye over relevant sections so if you are interested in this process or would like to contribute, please don’t miss the next Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 19th June.

Before that happens, Parent Council are busily preparing for the Summer Garden Party on 1st June and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant day! An email/letter went out earlier in the week asking for willing volunteers so please let the team know if you would like to get involved. Otherwise we will see you on the day for such fun as ‘soak the teacher’ (oh dear), BBQ, tombola, crazy hair stall, bake sale, a police van, fire engine and garden games!

In preparation for this, the Parent Council held a Playground Makeover event last weekend and would like to thank everyone who managed to come along and help. Lots was achieved including a new sand table being created, new herbs planted, benches and railings planted. They even managed to move the fence from the Wildlife Garden to the Nursery area and it looks fantastic!

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This week I’ve been out of school for two very worthwhile events; an Edinburgh Primary Head Teachers’ Association meeting on Tuesday where discussions ranged from school improvement planning to strategies for working more effectively, and a Health and Safety Conference where the focus was more towards health, particarly the mental health and emotional wellbeing of staff. Looking after ourselves enables us to do our jobs well and provide help and support to others. So I feel that I was one step ahead as earlier in the week I booked a yoga teacher to come in next month to do two staff taster sessions with a view to running a regular class after the summer holidays!

Russell McLarty also came to visit us in P4-7 assembly to talk about the next block of Chit Chat club which will run as an after school club for 3 weeks in June. If  you haven’t seen the letter/email for this already, please look out for it next week as places are limited and it was a very popular club last time it ran!

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Have a lovely long weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 21st May.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Happy Holidays!

We had such a dramatic end to term at Abbeyhill that I ran out of time to write our blog entry! Hopefully you all have some exciting holiday activities planned, whether at home or further afield. Everyone can look forward to sharing their tales when school and Nursery resumes on Tuesday 23rd April. If you are a parent at the school and you receive school emails, you will have seen the What’s On for Families Spring guide to some free or cheap holiday activities in the North-East of Edinburgh but please have a look if you haven’t seen it and need some inspiration.

During our final week of term, we were all busy as usual with P4 taking some time to plant wildflowers using seeds that they had packaged themselves. Hopefully we’ll get back in a few weeks to see a few shoots emerging!

They were also delighted to officially receive their certificates for making their fivers grow as part of the Virgin Money ‘Make a Fiver Grow’ drive to increase young entrepreneurs…

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…but still had time to get very creative with some real eggs before Easter! Well done P4.

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On Tuesday, I visited Broomhouse Primary School as part of the Leading Learning Partnership programme that all Edinburgh Head Teachers undertake. It was so interesting to spend the morning in a completely different type of school and compare strengths with Abbeyhill.

As well as everything going on in school, Mrs Peters and I took a group of P5-7 swimmers to the Royal Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday to take part in the Edinburgh Primary Schools Swimming Association Gala and as always, it was a fantastic event for everyone who took part. Our team did fantastically, getting into the finals for 2 out of the 3 strokes we competed in. We didn’t come home with any medals this time but come 1st and 2nd in those heats and had a great time so we were happy enough with that!

We also had Parent Council on Wednesday evening, discussing plans for the summer term, the Big Spring Clean and after school club. Please check the Parent Council Facebook page and playground notice board for more details!

And finally, thank you to everyone who supported P6 on 31st March at Stockbridge Market. They did so well, manning the stall all day and providing service with a smile even when energy levels were flagging. They made nearly £600 profits which is one of our best efforts yet and will go a long way towards the cost of camp later in the year. Well done P6!

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Have a lovely holiday, whatever your plans; I look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Tuesday 23rd April.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

When you only popped in for a loaf of bread…

RND…and end up with 1000 red noses (and forgot the bread). That’s what happened to Mr Hamilton last night when Sainsbury’s staff offered their left over noses to him free of charge and this morning P6 started excitedly ripping into them all, separating noses from boxes and packets. However, as had been hoped for, their mood changed when they realised just how much single use plastic had gone into the production of the noses. Their aim next week is to plan a piece of art, using as much of the plastic and as many noses as possible, to highlight the waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill. The whole activity strengthened P6’s resolve to find an alternative for the next RND campaign.

P6 have also been incredibly busy this week as they prepared for Stockbridge Market this weekend. Please go and support them if you are in the area on Sunday as they sell a range of products that they have made/enhanced/sourced themselves including hand-stitched cards, badges, tote bags and plants. All the funds raised will go towards their P7 camp in October.

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Despite the frantic hive of activity that has been the P6 classroom this week, they still found time to make homemade bread and soup in the Cooking Classroom! (Have any of them had time to go home this week?!)

On Tuesday, I met with Mrs Lansdown who came to visit as part of her new role with Education Scotland. She talked me through the work that she is doing with her team on gender balance in schools and is going to come to talk to the rest of the staff in May about how this can be achieved. Before starting at Abbeyhill, Mrs Lansdown had done a huge amount of work in this area in her previous school so it’s fantastic that through her work with Education Scotland she is now part of spreading the word nationally.

Pupil Council met today and we updated some of our display boards while talking about our plans for next term. As we have a dual school/environmental focus, we are planning to do a ‘2 minute street clean’ (inspired by the #2MinuteBeachClean movement) on Abbey Street as well as drumming up support for some new clubs that the Parent Council hope to start. Watch this space, as well as the Parent Council’s Twitter and Facebook pages for more details.

Next week is the last week of the Spring term and school finishes at the usual time on Friday 5th April before resuming for the summer term on Tuesday 23rd. Before we go though, there is just time for a re-scheduled Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 3rd, P7 have been lucky enough to secure tickets for the dress rehearsal of Matilda on Tuesday, I’m going to Broomhouse Primary on Tuesday as part of the Leading Learning Partnership that all Edinburgh Head Teacher’s work in AND it’s the annual swimming gala at the Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend and make sure that you visit P6 at Stockbridge Market on Sunday!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Red Nose fever!

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By the end of last week we were red nose, deeley bopper and wristband crazy for Comic Relief. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us to raise a whopping £400 for all the charities who benefit. Thanks also to our local Sainsbury’s who supported us and provided official RND tops for the staff! However, it was interesting to note David Attenborough’s words of warning about the encouragement of single use plastics, especially considering that RND fell on the same day as the second Students for Climate Change protest and next year we will consider whether Abbeyhill will be displaying painted red noses, rather than plastic ones, and donating the full amount to Comic Relief rather than the 50% which is currently received after the production and marketing costs for red noses and other merchandise are removed.

In other Abbeyhill news, we had a staff training session on Monday which was jointly run by both Mr Hamiltons and focussed on the evolving way we need to approach teaching internet safety. Some great new resources are coming out that will help children and adults to see all the opportunities that the virtual world can offer us, as well as the dangers. Just like the real world, it’s important to be able to look around and appreciate the amazing things you might see but also use common sense and have guidance on what to do when things go wrong. We’ll have information displayed for families this week when they come to visit us for Parents’ Evening.

On Thursday I took P4 for the day while Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald got stuck into the unenviable task of auditing our Maths resources. Mrs Flowers got very excited about all the things she found that had been hidden at the backs of the cupboards and by the end of the day they had planned an exciting Maths based family event for May so watch out for that when next term’s ‘Save the Date’ sheet comes out!

On Friday, we had a bumper awards assembly with certificates for everyone who took part in the fantastic Talent Show on 7th March as well as the introduction of the ‘Over and Above’ Award. A maximum of two children per class were nominated for this and had to have gone over and above in one or all of our school rules; Ready, Respectful, Responsible. With the grand prize of being allowed to sit on the chairs rather than the mats, it was all to play for and I think a lot of people will be upping their game this week! Well done to our first OAO winners. The Pupil Council also told everyone about how they had worked with Graham Construction to build a Bug Hotel in the wildlife garden. They explained how this had come about, told us about the building process and gave their top tips for keeping it (and all the bugs who come to stay) safe.

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This week, as well as Parents’ Evening, we have trips to the Collective Gallery, ongoing engagement with professional artists in school as part of our Artists-In-Residence programme in preparation for the Colony of Artists in September, filiming will start for the ‘Power of Yet’ video, it’s World Poetry Day on Thursday, a familiar face will be popping in to advise me on how can begin to address gender balance at Abbeyhill (Mrs Lansdown!) and we have a special guest from Changeworks who is going to talk to us about our ongoing drive to reduce plastics. Phew! Check our next blog post to see how it all went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Have you got that Friday feeling?

…which for us is happy exhaustion! It’s been an incredibly busy week at Abbeyhill with the Talent Show, Euroquiz, World Book Day, plenty of cooking and a soundscape! Read on to find out more.

Last night saw the Parent Council Talent Show which was a fantastic celebration of a diverse range of talent, taste in music and interests. We had a ventriloquist, a berimbau performance, Highland and Scottish dancing, a poetry recital, stand up comedy, ballet dancing and lots of amazing singing. It was a wonderful celebration of all the things that make us unique as well as the things that bring us together; happiness, laughter and good times with friends and family. Thank you to the Parent Council for the many months of organisation and planning that went into a very well organised event that was enjoyed by everyone who attended. Thank you also to Russell McLarty for hosting us at Meadowbank Parish Church. The whole event was filmed so I’m sure copies will be available before too long!

On Monday, Mr Hamilton took 4 P6s to the City Chambers to take part in Euroquiz 2019. They spent week practising and came a very respectable 14th out of 24. Congratulations to the teams from Sciennes and James Gillespie’s who will go forward to the national event. It was a great opportunity for us to see inside a building we’d normally only walk past as well as a chance to represent Abbeyhill at a citywide level whilst also meeting P6s from other schools. Well done Team Abbeyhill!

On Wednesday, P2 had a very special visitor (Miss Stephen’s mum!) who is a trained chef and helped them to make delicious carrot and apple muffins in the Cooking Classroom. Everyone got a chance to weigh, measure, stir and most importantly, TASTE!

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Our Cooking Classroom is being really well used thanks to our Food for Thought grant and the P7s cook (or prep!) up a storm most days to keep our healthy tuck shop going. Our Food Champions met with colleagues from our local LIDL store who popped in yesterday with some exciting offerings…a George Forman grill, a Nutribullet and plenty of tupperware for all our culinary handiwork – thank you to LIDL!

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As part of our World Book Day celebrations the children participated in a “Where’s Wally” hunt in the playground. Everyone had to find Wally and either crack a code or answer book related questions. It was great to see the children searching so enthusiastically- some light rain didn’t stop the fun! The winners will be announced at Monday’s assembly. In the afternoon Mr Martin held a whole school World Book Day assembly where we played charades, unscrambled book titles and guessed the hidden book character. The assembly ended by watching the animated version of the popular story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. The assembly was a great chance for everyone to share the fantastic book related activities they had been doing in class.

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On Wednesday evening, our Curator in Residence, Iliyana, co-hosted a very special meeting in school with Citadel Arts Group where anyone who has been involved with Abbeyhill at any point in their lives was invited to come in and share their stories. Together with P4 and P6 they will work to transform these living memories into a book and a binaural soundscape to be premiered at Colony of Artists 2019 (21st and 22nd September). Don’t miss it!

Next week it’s RED NOSE DAY! Everyone has been getting very excited about the official red noses that have been on sale in school and these will continue to be available next week. It’s also an optional dress down day on Friday with a suggested donation of £1 for Comic Relief. It’s also Parent Council on Wednesday from 6.30pm and bookings are now open online for Parent’s Evening on 19th and 21st March – check your inbox for the link!

Phew, that’s it for this week – have a good weekend everybody!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher