Category Archives: Parental Involvement

Thank you Abbeyhill!

I have emailed parents today to thank them for their support, patience and understanding over the last few weeks as we have turned best laid plans to reality, tweaking and making improvements as we go along.  The Abbeyhill community is fantastic at supporting each other and I’m grateful to be a part of it!

I’ve enjoyed seeing most of the children over the course of the week through supervising gates in the morning and afternoon, helping to staff our staggered lunches (even in the pouring rain!) and taking P4 for a morning as it was their turn to miss PE with Mrs Souness this week. The resilience of all our children is incredible and it’s heart warming to see their genuine delight to be back at school with their friends, whilst acknowledging some of the benefits of lockdown. I’ve heard about lots of new hobbies and interests that were discovered over the last few months and I enjoyed working with the P4s as they prepared presentations on their ‘new-normal’ resolutions.

Whilst there are lots of things that are different that I wish we could change, such as not being able to have parents in the playground, assembly and playing together, there are some new routines and arrangements that I hope we can keep! Not having bells ringing makes for a much calmer environment and having meetings and attending courses online feels much more efficient than having to travel somewhere. It’s positive for us to all view this time as a good opportunity for positive change and to have a clear out of old routines because when else would we have had the chance to have a clean sweep?!

As swimming pools are due to re-open soon and the Scottish Government have said that day trips may be possible from the Autumn, we wait to hear for confirmation of another few elements of our school day that might return to something resembling normality. In the meantime, we’ll carry on as we are and try to reap the benefits of a slightly slower pace of school life!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

(The New) Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

….and we’re all very glad about it! The rain is lashing down as I write this and it feels that the ‘summer’ holidays are a distant memory already! Nevertheless, it’s been fantastic to welcome all of our staff and families back to school over the last few days and we’re all excited to start our first full week back together. Some of our families are observing a quarantine period after arriving home from abroad and we thank them for this. We’ve seen from Aberdeen and other places in England just how fragile our newly restored freedoms are and we all have to play our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy as we journey back towards a ‘normal’ life. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated several times already and set out clear information on what to do in the case of suspected symptoms appearing as well as what course of action we will take in school. This is designed to reassure and not to alarm anyone.

As well as welcoming everyone back, we’re also thinking of those who have moved on who didn’t get the send off that they were expecting, although we did our best to make things special given the circumstances! Good luck to Ms Stamati who starts a new teaching job in Greece next week, Ms El Sarrag who has retired from Abbeyhill, Ms Howson who secured a permanent post at Rowanfield school and all our P7s and leavers from other year groups who have started S1 or moved away from the area for new adventures. We will miss you! Goodbyes were counter-balanced with plenty of ‘Hellos’ though as we welcomed our new P1s and new pupils in other classes across the school – it’s lovely to bring you into the Abbeyhill community. Our new Nursery pupils will begin to settle in next week and we’re so excited to meet them too!

We were all pleased, and relieved, at how smoothly things went in general last week. There were a few hiccups as is to be expected when we changed (or abandoned) longstanding routines and there were last minute crises to keep us on our toes – such as essential paperwork for poor Mr McNeil not arriving in time for him to start with his class – but by and large we’ve resolved everything and the whole Abbeyhill community is pulling together brilliantly as always as we move forward. Mr McNeil is enjoying his first day in P3 today – phew!

Normally at this time of year we are sending out ‘Save the Date’ lists for all our key events from Meet the Teacher to our festive celebrations. I’m sure you will bear with us this term as changing guidance means that we can’t be certain what we’ll be able to offer and when although you can rest assured that we will find alternative ways to deliver events such as Parents’ Evening and the Nativity. I had a chat with Iliyana Nedkova, our Curator in Residence and P7 parents, about what Abbeyhill’s involvement in this year’s Colony of Artists Festival (19th & 20th September) might look like so watch this space for news on some exciting online exhibitions. Our whole school Art project ‘Bee Kind’, in line with our key values as well as the theme of the festival, should fit in beautifully and P4 have already made a strong start!

Bee Kind P4

Have a good week and as always, keep an eye on Scottish Government updates, the City of Edinburgh Council‘s website and social media accounts as well as NHS Inform for all the up to date information. You can keep in touch with us by phone or email, as well as our website and Twitter account. 

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Back to school – almost!

It’s been quite an up and down week as we have waited for news on what school will look like when we return in August. We got this information today and you can read Alistair Gaw’s letter here. Further details will be sent to families by the 24th June including which groups their children will be in and which days they will attend school. In school, we will spend the final two weeks of term preparing our classrooms and learning spaces with our reduced capacity and essential Health and Safety in mind as well as carrying out our final food parcel delivery and Hub volunteer sessions. I have no doubt that we will look back on this term as a strange one but one that has had lots of positives – new skills learned and hobbies started as well as lots of family time. However, we shouldn’t forget those for whom it has also been incredibly stressful – for people living alone, keyworkers separated from their families and those for whom extra family time is not the positive experience it is for some. Whether it’s a return to school or work, I know there will be plenty of people who are very glad that this situation may be coming to an end. Please continue to observe all Scottish Government advice and guidance as it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that we are only in Phase 1 of recovery and could easily slip back if everyone starts to bend the rules.

Our Staff Superstar this week is Mrs Lyall; she helped me out when I was in a Hub-staffing shaped jam and I was very grateful! It was lovely to be in the Hub this week and see so many children from different schools enjoying their time together, in socially distanced bubbles. I felt quite emotional when I saw the Abbeyhill pupils who attended – even if some were almost unrecognisable under their lockdown haircuts! It will just be lovely to see more familiar faces in August. While deciding who would be our Junior Superstars this week, it was lovely as always to see how busy everyone has been on Teams and on Twitter; the Nursery (and Mr Martin) are throwing themselves into the #BearHuntEdin transition project, Neive has done some great writing, Happy Birthday to Sara in P2 and well done to Duncan for tackling some tricky looking Maths! Georgia and Sophia ‘treated’ their dad to a makeover (it looked great, honestly), Eva has mastered the 12 times table and there was some healthy competition between Ola and Martina in ‘Wordshake’. Well done to P7 for getting started with their My World of Work profiles and top marks to Nate, Yasmine and Christina for being the first ones to work out the login! However our Junior Superstars are Freddie, Elsie and Harry for supporting their mum in the DARED challenge and running more than one 5k with her this week! They were also among a group who ran into (no pun intended) Mr Woodhouse when he was doing his own DARED run and jogged along with him for a bit to keep his spirits up! Mrs Souness was particularly impressed with the multiple 5ks so watch out Freddie and Elsie as she may have you coaching a running club when we go back! She might let Harry off…

DARED challenge

I also really enjoyed watching the ‘Meet the Teacher’ videos that each teacher posted into the channel of their class for next session. It’s not quite the same as being able to spend time together in real life but that will come soon enough! Copies of these will be emailed to families with no access to Teams next week.

Next week would normally see our P7s heading off on their 3 day visit to their new high schools which of course can’t happen this year. However, they will be taking part in the ‘Moving On Up’ transition project with different tasks to complete over the 3 days. Visit our P7 Transition 2020 page to find out about different activities, videos and ideas that Drummond has been sharing to welcome the P7s, as well as inviting P7 families to careers events and Parent Council meetings. I’m sure that the P7s will feel as prepared as they possibly can in August and that all nerves will have been forgotten by the end of their first week.

As well as our P7s missing their visit, they’ll miss their last Abbeyhill Taxi Day which is such a shame (maybe Drummond will let them go next year?!) but it was lovely to see this throwback to June 2019 posted on Twitter by @OutingTaxi earlier in the week. I didn’t realise they’d all grown up so much in the last year!

Abbeyhill Taxi Day 2 2019

I hope you get the chance to relax and enjoy the weekend even though it looks like it’s going to be a rainy one!

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 

 

 

We’ve been on a (virtual) trip!

Yesterday we got the news that we’ve been waiting for and Scotland’s route map out of lockdown and back towards some sort of normality was shared by the Government. For a copy of the full publication, go to the Scottish Government website or you can download a copy from our School Closure: Useful Documents & Links page. Staff should be able to start back at school some time next month in order to prepare for pupils returning in August. At this time, we don’t know exactly what that will look like but will keep families fully informed as more information and guidance is shared with us. Lots of you will have questions and possibly concerns and today I tweeted a link to Parentclub‘s latest supportive information on what this first phase of recovery might mean for you and your family.

Earlier in the week I also tweeted a link to Iliyana Nedkova’s blog. Illie is our Curator in Residence and blogged about her determination to champion the right to art and culture for every child at Abbeyhill Primary School through our artists-in-residence programme even during global pandemic and lockdown, announcing that the Artists in Residence are joining the Cultural Learning Alliance – the collective voice working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to art and culture. Read more about how this programme has been spreading the wonder of contemporary art to every pupil and teacher in and outside the classroom for the last 7 years here.

Over on Teams it’s been a busy week as usual with lots of virtual fun at Abbeyhill’s own version of the National Portrait Gallery (thank you Mrs Flowers); classes got a welcome surprise when they logged in to find that they were ‘going on a trip’! Lots of hilarity ensued as everyone toured the gallery, admiring photos of staff as children and trying to work out who was who. If you know our staff, can you guess at these two photos below?

Portrait Gallery

The Nursery started their transition project, based on ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Did you spot any bears while out on your walks this week? Keep up with #EdinBearHunt on Twitter to see how the adventure unfolds! Lots of learners across the school took part in Edinburgh’s Sumdog competition and it was great to see that P2 took to it with enthusiasm – hopefully enough of the class will join in to qualify next time! I also really loved Archie’s video of him completing Mr Woodhouse’s drawing challenge – can you draw yourself blindfolded? It was a great attempt Archie so you’re our Secret Superstar this week! Ms Macdonald has been doing a great job of supporting everyone with Maths (I love her times tables flowers!) as well as teaching P5 and Ms Howson has posted some creative ideas to improve reading skills (watch TV with the subtitles, now that I can do). Ms Stamati continues to be busy keeping P6 busy from home in Greece and Mr Forde and I have ‘met’ with high school guidance staff to discuss P7 transition and are planning to use citywide resources to support our learners who need a little extra help with the idea of moving on. P7 have been making use of the channel that Mr Forde has set up to ask questions about high school and it’s a very supportive environment so well done Mr Forde, you’re our Secret Staff Superstar of the week! Our wellbeing survey has gone out again and I would encourage all our learners to complete it so we can help with any areas you’re finding challenging at the moment.

Please remember, although the weather is forecast to be reasonably nice over the weekend (no Thursday scorchers again though, more’s the pity!) we are still in lockdown. Phase 1 of recovery will hopefully start on Thursday 28th May but please keep in touch with the news and Scottish Government announcements. Twitter is a great way to do this if you’re short on time.

Have a good weekend and I look forward to next week when there will be a class newsletter attached to my ’roundup’ email on Monday. It’s shaping up to be just as full as usual which is fantastic to see!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher