Category Archives: Parental Involvement

A whirlwind week!

Phew, we made it – what a week we’ve had at Abbeyhill! On Monday and Tuesday, we were delighted to welcome 15 Chinese Language Education students into school to observe learning and teaching as part of their Edinburgh University course. On Wednesday, we welcomed 16 Panamanian teachers for the morning who came to observe and compare the Scottish curriculum and teaching practices with what they do at home. I had a fascinating conversation about the challenges we each face and they left with a very positive impression of life in a Scottish school.

Also on Wednesday, we had lots of prospective P1 parents who came to look round Abbeyhill as their catchment school for starting P1 in August. The Abbeyhill Ambassadors showed everyone around and answered questions about what it’s like to be an Abbeyhill pupil and I’m delighted at the positive feedback that they got. It’s only November (just) but I’m already looking forward to seeing all our new P1s next year!

We had Parents’ Evening on Tuesday and Thursday and as always it was a pleasure to welcome families into school to catch up on what their children have been learning and how they have been progressing. Our Parent Council Uniform Exchange took its highest total yet so thank you to everyone who supported it.

In amongst all of this, P7 managed to sneak out for a bit of peace and quiet and went to ‘The Art of Listening’ workshop at The Hub, home of the Edinburgh Festival. They were treated to live operatic and piano performances and engaged in a little mindfulness (something that we’re very good at) and visualisation before heading home full of classical music inspiration.

 

And finally, today is the day that everyone has been waiting for and Halloween parties are raging on downstairs as I type! Every year this event is planned, organised and run by the Parent Council and it’s always very much enjoyed by everyone who attends. Thanks as always to Mrs Pender and Ms McCourt for their support as well as all the other staff who have donned a spooky costume and headed into the party!

Thankfully, next week is a little quieter but Parent Council is on Wednesday evening; please feel welcome to come along and join in with what is always a very enjoyable discussion about how to make Abbeyhill an even better place to live and learn!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Hitting the ground running, as always!

It’s been a short week for pupils but the staff returned from the October holidays on Monday and packed a lot of work into 2 days before normal service resumed. We completed First aid training, explored the new Dyslexia Guidelines, refreshed our knowledge of leading and managing trips near and far, attended a cluster Maths event (led in part by Miss Macdonald), recharged with some Mindfulness and had a discussion about staff wellbeing and workload. As soon as the children returned on Wednesday it was back to busy normality with Forest Adventures in the Nursery, a ‘Give Racism the Red Card’ workshop in P7, the start of an Edinburgh University Music project and the start of intense rehearsals for the choir in the run up to the festive season. I had an Abbeyhill Ambassadors meeting this morning and prepared them for a high level of duties next week…see below for everything we have got going on!

 

On Tuesday evening, a group of Abbeyhill-ers represented the school at the centenary celebrations for Save the Children. Along with Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, they paid tribute to the charity which supports children all over the world to grow, develop and become who they want to be – and has done for 100 years. We have personally benefited at Abbeyhill as Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag have delivered the StC ‘Families Connect’ programme for the last two years which has had positive feedback from all the families involved. Thank you to the parents and staff who went along on the night and supported as well.

 

If you enjoy the festive season and keep an eye on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website to see what’s coming up, you might have spotted that Abbeyhill is going to be part of Community Christmas and we’re very proud and excited to be one of only two schools in Edinburgh selected to take part. Our special night is going to be Thursday 12th December so watch out for more information as the time comes closer. Our choir will be performing and the outside of the school will be transformed with a magical light show.

I hope everyone comes back to school rested and refreshed and ready for a very busy week next week; we have Parents’ Evenings, P1 Open Day, a visit from some Panamanian teachers AND the Parent Council Halloween Parties. Not to mention the fact that most of the staff will be embarking on the October step-count challenge…there’s already a lot of competitiveness coming to the surface between the teams and it hasn’t even officially started yet! 

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

How has that happened?!

It’s the October holidays already! Thank you to each and every parent, child, member of staff and community partner who has contributed to a very packed programme at Abbeyhill since August. I look forward to more of the same when we return. We’ve got Parents’ Evening, Uniform Exchange, the Halloween discos, M&M pantomime, Children in Need Toy Sale, P7 Christmas Ceilidh, Family Film Night AND a very special festive surprise which will be revealed after the holidays. There are new clubs starting including an after school club with parents Vlad and Dimitra, as well as an Active Schools Parkour club. Oh, and we’ll fit in some learning and teaching too!

Spotlight on…P1

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To wrap up the term, P1 have been out on a very windy Forest Adventure today and what’s the best thing to do when it’s windy? Build up your tent and see how many you can squeeze in! Everyone came back to school with rosy cheeks and full of tales from their morning out. Well done P1!

 

Spotlight on…P5 

P5 joined in with the BBC Teach Live – health and wellbeing. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to other ideas schools have across the UK on how to promote wellbeing (many may be brought to pupil council as ideas). We took part in 4 activities with other classrooms across the country doing the same – an emotional check in, art of emotions, growth mindset and a mass mindful finger breathing exercise. It was wonderful to see the class so engaged with this, and it will be on display in the upper  primary corridor.

 

Well done everyone! Have a lovely holiday and see you for more when we resume! 

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

 

 

 

Welcome home!

Return of the campers!

The P7 campers have had a fantastic time at Lagganlia and arrived back safe and sound at lunchtime today (although maybe slightly grubbier than when they left on Monday) and we can’t wait to hear all about it next week. Activities have ranged from bouldering and canoeing and everyone took the opportunity to throw themselves into new experiences. Thank you to Mr Hamilton, Mr Martin, Miss McCourt and Miss Graves for taking them once again.

 

Halloween

Now that autumn is well and truly upon us, you may have seen the posters up for the Parent Council Halloween Party on 1st November. Posters will be going up in school next week so expect to hear a lot more about it from your children! As always there will be a separate quiet area with drawing and crafts for anyone who gets a little overwhelmed by the spookiness! Thank you to the Parent Council who lead this very successful event every year.

Spotlight on…P6 with Miss Stamati 

Following our outdoor activities and visits in September, P6 have expressed their love for nature, and curiosity as to how various natural systems operate. Our first step into Science found us discussing the crucial role of water in our environment, as well as our bodies.

Did you know that about 71% of the Earth’s surface is water (lakes, rivers, oceans, ice)? And that up to 75% of our body as young people (up to 60% for adults) is also water? We were so impressed when we found that out!

The water on Earth is found in three different states: gas, liquid and solid. Can you think of any examples?

We decided to conduct scientific experiments to explore the “Water Cycle”; How are clouds formed? Why do we get rain? What are the droplets of water that are created on a mirror when we take a hot shower?  – These were only some of the questions that led us to this experiment and to the creation of our Scientific Hypothesis: The cycle would not be possible without the sun!

Sun is our natural source of light and heat, through Solar Radiation. The warmer and brighter the sun, the more water will evaporate in the form of gas from the sea, lakes and rivers, and will transpire from the leaves of trees. When the gas reaches the colder temperatures in the atmosphere, it creates clouds through a process called condensation. Too much condensation in the clouds makes them really heavy, which results in precipitation, or else, rain! This rain reaches different parts of the Earth’s surface, and eventually will run off to the sea, or infiltrate in the soil.

We call it the water cycle, as the process begins again and it keeps repeating itself, like going around in circles!   

To conduct the experiment:

  1. Draw your version of the water cycle on a clear sandwich bag or bottle.
  2. Fill up with ¼ cup of water. Seal well.
  3. Place your water cycle model on a window and record your observations over time! To gather more information through our experiment, P6 also placed water cycle models in dark places to observe what happens when solar radiation is missing.

Keep an eye out for our observations and conclusions to the experiment!

 

Parents’ Evening

Next week we will send out the link so that you can book your Parents’ Evening appointments for the end of the month. It’s so worthwhile to take the opportunity to discuss your child’s academic progress but if you can’t make either of the dates, please feel welcome to contact your child’s teacher to make an alternative appointment.

Holiday reminder

Remember that next Friday (11th) we break up for the October holidays. School and Nursery resumes for children on Wednesday 23rd October.

Playing in the park!

On Monday after school, the teaching staff headed to Holyrood Park with Ranger Rob from the Education Centre to learn more about this incredible natural resource that’s right on our doorsteps and how it can be used to enhance our curriculum. A lot of tourists wondered why were walking around with blindfolds on and some ‘friendly’ rivalries were established for a team based ‘Nature’s Clock’ activity and we all came home buzzing with ideas.

P1 were out today for their 3rd Forest Schools Friday and there were huge smiles on their faces when they returned a little while ago! From all the different activities that they are doing it looks as though they should have gone with the teachers on Monday and trained them up!

(Disclaimer – these photos are from last Friday but I fully expect some nice muddy ones from today’s adventure!)

This week, I visited Buckstone Primary School with the Head Teachers from Ratho and Broomhouse Primaries. We regularly meet in this group, as do all other primary HTs in the city, to discuss our own school in relation to progress against a particular ‘How Good Is Our School?’ quality indicator. This time we each presented information about ‘Raising Attainment and Achievement’ (3.2) and it was interesting to hear the different approaches that we all take and what works best in each school. We all took a few ideas from each other and agreed that, as always, it was time well spent.

Spotlight on….the Listening Spot with Russell McLarty

On Wednesdays at lunchtime over the past few weeks I have started to be a ‘Listening Spot’ in the playground. The idea is to have someone from out-with the staff – a ‘friend’ of the school – able to listen to any concerns children may want to talk about. Over the past 2 years I have been keen to help Abbeyhill Primary in different ways and certainly willing to take on this role carrying my ‘Listening Spot’ big umbrella. It takes time to build up rapport, but even over a few weeks it has been good to have some useful conversations and give a bit of encouragement. Where some youngsters may find it difficult to share things which are worrying them the ‘Listening Spot’ may help.

Did you visit…?

Last weekend it was the 14th Colony of Artists festival and as always it was an absolutely amazing celebration of the rich artistic talent that lives in the Abbeyhill area. We are so lucky to be such an integral part of the festival as we have exhibited for 13 of those 14 years and it brings so much to who we are at Abbeyhill. Profuse thanks as always to our curator-in-residence Iliyana Nedkova as without her skill, expertise and organisation we would not be able to have the experiences that we do. Thanks must also go to Vlad Hasiu who worked incredibly hard alongside Iliyana in the run up and over the weekend to produce the exhibits in the school. Thanks to all the other parents, staff and volunteers who helped or visited to show their support over the weekend. If you weren’t able to make it don’t worry, we’ll be back next year!

Next week, P7 leave us for camp at Lagganlia and they are all very excited! Bets are on as to who will have the biggest suitcase and organisation skills are being put to the test as a few have admitted that they haven’t started packing…. I’ve recommended 3 times as many socks as they think they need so let’s see who comes home with dry feet next Friday! All P7 families will be able to follow their adventures through the private Twitter account that Mr Martin and Mr Hamilton have spoken about. Have fun P7!

Meanwhile, back at Abbeyhill the Nursery start their Forest Adventures, P5 have their second attempt(!) at attending the touch rugby tournament at Murrayfield, P4-7 Mindfulness starts again (the P7s will be getting plenty of practice in Lagganlia without their phones), the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be recording new phone messages for the school phone line, a parental behaviour attitude survey will be sent out to families and I will be attending the Edinburgh Head Teacher’s Association (EPHTA) meeting with a focus on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce. We will also send out the link so that you can book your Parents’ Evening appointments for the end of the month. It’s so worthwhile to take the opportunity to discuss your child’s academic progress but if you can’t make either of the dates, please feel welcome to contact your child’s teacher to make an alternative appointment.

Phew! We’re all off for a rest over the weekend so we’re ready for another jam-packed week at Abbeyhill!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher