Category Archives: Parent Council

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 

 

 

A funny old week!

Well, what can we say? It started relatively normally with the fantastic experience of future playground planning with Lesley McMillan from Architecture Design Scotland as well as the third and final session of our parent literacy sessions and ended with us waving goodbye to the whole school and nursery for an unknown length of time. Naturally, rumours are flying as to how long the school closure will last but just on the off-chance that our P7s had their last day at primary school today, Mr Hamilton piped them out of the front door – just the way he would have done on the 26th June. And the good news is that if we are back by then and this is all just a memory we’ll do it all again! Head to our Twitter page @AbbeyhillPS to see the video.

Back to that positive start to the week. The Abbeyhill Ambassadors met with Lesley McMillan from Architecture Design Scotland and she talked to them about the concept of ‘Campfires in Cyberspace’ which the Ambassadors grasped enthusiastically. We showed Lesley round our favourite spaces in the playground and then went back inside to begin to plan what we would like in our playground.

Quiet, reflective spaces featured heavily, as did areas where nature and wildlife could flourish. All this will be taken into account by the Parent Council as they plan our Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden but in the meantime, the Abbeyhill Chicken Coop has been commissioned and will hopefully be ready to be filled by the time we return to school. I’m sure there will be a lot of good natured argy-bargying as to who gets to feed and look after our new arrivals!

Sadly, a lot of our other activities were cancelled; P3 missed their trip to the Botanics and on the instruction of the Council, our Parents’ Evenings had to be cancelled along with every other school who had them scheduled this week. We got the very sad news that the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, which every child had ticket for in May, was cancelled. The Swimming Gala, highlight of the Spring term sporting calendar and due to take place on 1st April, was also cancelled. However, one thing that had to be delivered differently rather than being cancelled was assembly. Instead of being together in the hall, we went outside to play and got all of the toys out of the shed as well as our Loose Parts Play on the pitch. It was declared ‘the best assembly’ ever and left me thinking ‘Why don’t we do this every week?!’. More fresh air, more physical exercise and more time to build on relationships with staff and friends all equals improved physical, mental and emotional health. Watch this space for more outdoor assemblies when we return!

On Tuesday we were told that certain staff should make arrangements to work from home immediately and on Wednesday the news came that was not unexpected but at the same time came as a shock when it became reality. There is no doubt that schools being closed, as well as a lot of the other places we all enjoy going, will be challenging for all of us. It’s not good for anyone to have the routine and structure of the day removed, and to have far less social interaction than normal. However, if there is anything positive to be taken from this situation so far, it’s that kindness seems to be on the increase. Emissions are down! People are becoming more appreciative of the smaller things. Hopefully these are things that we can hold on to when we return to normality, which we will. This too shall pass.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

STEM, Art, gardening, cooking…thank goodness it’s Friday!

Our classes have been busy this week and I was lucky enough to spend a day in P7 this week and even more luckily, on a day when a trip was planned! P7 are working with staff at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on a project based around Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches which are currently displayed there and it was a pleasure to see their own sketchbooks which they have created as well as witness the time and effort they put into creating their own emblems, inspired by Leonardo.

Over the next two weeks, they will visit with P2 and help their younger buddies to make dragon masks so watch this space for some photos!

P1 have been out on the hills as usual (luckily for them the rain didn’t start until after school) and have been using natural resources to help them with their current Maths topic of time. Well done P1!

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P2 planted Mirabilis Jalapa perennials in their own alphabet pots which they had made. Not only will they look lovely as they grow in the classroom but they might even be able to be transplanted into our outdoor planters which will form part of our Outdoor Classroom and Community Garden which was launched on Monday! It was fantastic to get so many parents and lots of really useful suggestions for how we can get started, from landscapers to project managers and practical tips for growing with the children. I can’t wait to see it all begin to take shape and I’m confident there will be a lot of discussion about it at Parent Council next week.

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P3 have also had a busy week as they have made pancakes in the Cooking Classroom which included recipe writing, measuring and munching! (None made their way to Mrs Ketchin’s office I notice…). They even found time to design and make their own wooden boats before testing them in the water tray and YES they all floated!

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P5, 6 & 7 had a visit from Generation Science yesterday and learned all about electrical circuits.Everyone now knows what electrons, atoms and negative charges are, as well as how to build their own ammeter!

On Tuesday I was on a Child Protection course to update my qualification in this area. We discussed some hard hitting topics and examined practice from across Education, Health, Social Work and the Police. Online safety was discussed at length with advice for parents (and practitioners) to think of the internet as a place when you are trying to decide whether to let your child use a particular app, game or website. Just like the real world, the internet is a wonderful, diverse place with amazing things to see and do but also with plenty of hidden dangers that young people need to be guided to navigate and deal with. Would you let your child go to Waverley Station, speak to as many strangers as possible, swap phone numbers and get on an unknown train? This is the reality of what many apps and games encourage children to do with TikTok being one of the most toxic apps available at the moment.

Next week, our Parent Literacy course starts on Monday and the tutors plus teachers are looking forward to sharing tips and strategies that we use in school to help you help your child. We have a Parent Council meeting on Wednesday and I shall also be at a cluster Head Teachers meeting where P7 transition to high school will be a strong agenda item – not long now! Mrs Watt and I shall be holding interviews for citywide Pupil Support Assistant posts and the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be crossing their fingers that they get a reply to their letter to a local soup kitchen offering to spread kindness round the community.

And finally…

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Scotland yet but if you are concerned about anyone in your family, please do not come to school or send your child to school but seek advice from NHS 111 immediately. Do not physically go to your GP. In the meantime, the usual good hand hygiene practices and caution about seeing anyone who has travelled to an affected area will help to keep your family healthy. The Easter holidays are still 5 weeks away but it is worth checking your travel insurance in case you have trips booked to any of the affected countries which you may be advised to cancel.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher