Category Archives: Parental Involvement

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

On your bike!

As all 5 year olds and over will have to wear a face covering on school transport from Monday 31st August, now is a good time to start considering different modes of transport rather than heading straight to the car (if you have one) and we have lots of children who already enjoy cycling and scooting to school. Watch this video for some of the benefits of more active travel, from getting fitter to helping the environment – especially in reducing air pollution round our schools.

Thank you to those of you who have supported us this week by using both gates, maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings, only sending one parent into the playground and leaving promptly once you have dropped off/picked up your children. As a staff, we will be discussing further improvements that we can make next week as we continue to try to make all our new routines run as smoothly as possible. We will also be examining guidance due out next week on how we can run our normal events, such as Parents Evenings, with an aim of having our usual ‘Save the Date’ list, or at least more information on how we will be approaching things this term, with families as soon as possible.

Hopefully the forecast is not to be believed and the weather will be better next week; I can’t believe we’ve had our first yellow weather warning of the session already! Sadly because of that some of our classes had to have an indoor break but everyone managed to rush out for some fresh air in between cloudbursts later in the day. Well done to P4 for making use of the sheltered space when the rain put paid to their outdoor learning plans in the wildlife garden!

Outdoor Learning P4

Next week our staff will start to decorate the windows of the school with busy bees to represent the hive of activity that we normally are at this time of year as we prepare to take part in the annual Colony of Artists festival. Sadly, our participation will be online this year but we look forward to 2022 when we can hopefully take part as usual. Look out for buzzing bees around the school and local community!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

 

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