Category Archives: Parental Involvement

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

In a world where you can be anything, be kind…

Abbeyhill Ambassadors have taken inspiration from this quote by Jennifer Dukes-Lee and embarked on the Abbeyhill Kindness Project. Our aim is to look for acts on kindness, big and small, in the school and playground and to celebrate and encourage them. As one of our members of staff said this week having fallen outside school and experienced lots of parents rushing to her aid (thank you!), these acts of kindness “restore your faith in humanity’ and it’s important to raise awareness that most of us are kind and caring all the time.

In my weekly update to families, I confirmed that our new Head Teacher, Mrs Moira Robertson, will start at Abbeyhill on Monday 14th March. She’s very much looking forward to joining the fantastic Abbeyhill community which I have told her is warm, welcoming and a lot of fun to be part of!

Next week we shall be enjoying the video Mrs Flowers is putting together of everyone’s Scots poems recitals in celebration of Burns Day. Thank you to all the parents who have helped their child practise and learn their chosen poem; the Scots language can be a difficult one to get a grasp of! P7 will also be taking a trip to Sainsbury’s on Monday to stock up on supplies to make their own Burns Supper having worked out their budget and shopping list in class. I’m hoping there’s a plateful going spare…

Budgeting for Burns in P7

Elsewhere this week, P1B have been very active in their experiments as they begin their Space topic and now that P2 have finished trapping crocodiles in the playground (see last week’s post!), they have moved on to creating their own jungle in the classroom. Watch this space for a photo of the finished product! P5 have been learning about creating infographics based on winter sports and P4 have also been thinking of Burns when they created some ‘Neeps and Tatties’ artwork in the style of their incredible visiting ‘Artist in Resident’, Anna York, as well as creating some of their own tartans!

Have a lovely weekend and please remember that although restrictions are likely to ease next week, the pandemic is over and for now we should all continue to take the same precautions. We still have a number of cases in school and ‘Warn and Inform’ letters have been sent to families in several classes this week (see Covid-19 for guidance). Stay safe out there!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

The countdown is on!

Everything suddenly seems a little more sparkly at Abbeyhill! The lights are up, festive music is playing, Jack has his Santa hat on, Nativity rehearsals are at fever pitch, Mr Woodhouse and P7 are sawing something….what?! It turned out to be a sustainable Christmas tree made out of reclaimed wood – phew.* Mr McNeil and P5 were also working hard turning single use cups into something that could be enjoyed for a little longer and their homemade decorations will be adorning the P5 tree once they’re dry. There’s still lots of hard work going on as well, P4 have been working on probability this week and P5 created a function machine challenge!

*Yes, there was a risk assessment in place!

Head Teacher Recruitment

I’m pleased to say that the recruitment process for our new Head Teacher is moving forward with final interviews being held on the 14th December. As the notice period of the successful candidate could be up to 12 weeks, I have agreed to stay at Abbeyhill until the new Head Teacher is able to start. I’m absolutely delighted to be able to relax and enjoy Christmas at Abbeyhill now without worrying about packing my office up! Thank you once again to the parents who are supporting the recruitment process.

Coming up…Christmas!

Next week we will be celebrating Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children and, inspired by South Morningside Primary, we are having a ‘Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Christmas Jumper Day Boutique’ where any Christmas jumpers from years gone by which don’t fit anyone in the family any more have been donated and will be gifted to smaller children who will be able to get some more wear out of them. Younger siblings are being encouraged to wear an older one’s jumper that might now just fit them, or just to wear it big and silly and borrow a grown up’s! We can’t wait to see what everyone wears and no doubt there will be an extra special Christmas Disco Daily Mile where we can all show off our Christmas Jumpers. A donation will be made by the school to Save the Children so there is no cost to Abbeyhill pupils for this event and we hope the focus on sustainability will encourage everyone to think twice about the true cost of ‘fast fashion’.

Christmas parties will also be starting up and, as we can’t have them in the large groups we used to, there will be a party almost every day from Tuesday right through to the end of term! Extra coffee will be required by the staff I think!

Thank you to everyone, staff, pupils and parents who have been so understanding while we have worked extra hard this week due to staff absence. We wish all our absent staff well and look forward to welcoming some of them back next week. Special congratulations to Ms Gordon who becomes Mrs Gordon tomorrow and will be back on Tuesday to show off her wedding photos!

Best wishes,

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