Category Archives: Parental Involvement

It’s all about our community

On Wednesday, Abbeyhill’s new football team went down to the Graham Construction site at Meadowbank to collect their fantastic new kit that has been sponsored by Graham. We didn’t quite have a full team but once we got back to school and everyone else saw the jackets, shorts, socks and shirts – all embossed with our school logo – there seemed to be a flurry of signups! Thank you again to Graham Construction for their generous sponsorship. Good luck to the team for their first match of the season which is tomorrow; you can follow their progress on twitter @FCPrimary

Yesterday we had our second Meet the Teacher Marketplace event. Following on from the success of last year, we invited some our community partners to come along so that families could have a chat to them and find out a bit more about what they are doing to help us deliver a rich and varied curriculum at Abbeyhill. Liz Hare represented our Artists in Residence programme and gave us a sneak preview of the ‘Abbeyhill through the Ages’ book which will be on sale at the Colony of Artists festival in a few weeks. Gary Young represented The Mindful Enterprise who will begin work with the P4s in a few weeks; training them in mindful techniques to support learning and relationships. P5-7 will have their refresher courses and P1-3 will start their sessions with Robin Harris from Young Minds Meditation shortly. And of course, we will continue our regular mindfulness and yoga assemblies! Gemma-Rose Lansdown came from Education Scotland to talk about our Gender Balance and Equality project and was of course a very familiar face to our P2s who were delighted to see her. Rosie Palmer represented the Palace of Holyrood House who we will partner with when their newly renovated Education Centre opens later this year. We will pilot their educations programmes and make suggestions for new ones. Mrs Flowers has a lot of ideas already! Last but not least, Robert May from the Holyrood Ranger Service came along to talk about the outdoor learning events and opportunities that we’re exploring right on our doorstep. Simon Preston, Chair of our Parent Council, gave a warm welcome to all families, new and existing, and reminded them about all the ways that they can be part of school life. Early feedback suggests that the event was enjoyed and valued by everyone.

Next week, P5 will be heading to the park as part of Archaeology month to learn about Celts and Romans so I look forward to sharing photos and news from what they get up to. Mr Hamilton will be sharing his learning from his course today, ‘Play for Learning’, which P1 are very excited about. With Mr Hamilton away, I’ve had the chance to spend the morning in P1 and we had a fantastic time in the playground making broomsticks inspired by Julia Donaldson’s ‘Room on the Broom’ as well as using Loose Parts Play with P3.

Our first class newsletter will also be shared on Friday so please keep an eye out for more news from Abbeyhill!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Looking ahead…

It may only be August but you have to be fast when it comes to the festive season and I’m delighted to announce that we’ll welcome M&M productions to Abbeyhill to perform ‘Dick Whittington’ in two separate showings for everyone from Nursery – P7! By going a little early we’ve secured the production at just £6 per child which is a fantastic price for a professional performance. Look out for more details coming out soon.

It’s Meet the Teacher next week and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as are able to come into school to meet some of our community partners as well as have a look round classrooms and have an informal chat with teaching staff. Please remember that this is not Parent’s Evening and if you would like an private conversation with your child’s teacher, you can arrange one at a different time. Parent’s Evening is next month and more information will come out about that shortly.

On Wednesday I met with Lynn Yeneka from Education Scotland who is keen for Abbeyhill to be involved in the pilot of a new STEM award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which would see us working to achieve 5 different elements over a 3 year period. This could fit well with the work we are doing with Education Scotland and Mrs Lansdown on Gender Balance so please watch this space to find out more as the pilot unfolds.

Yesterday I met with Russell McLarty who treated us to a storytelling session in assembly on Monday before talking to P4-7 about Chit Chat Club which starts next week. Russell and I discussed plans for ‘Listening Walks’ which we hope to reveal more about and start in the next few weeks. Russell is also keen for Abbeyhill to take part in the Nativity Labyrinth event at Meadowbank Church again this year and, judging by the success of last year, I think it’s safe to say that everyone will be keen to go!

Meanwhile, it’s the Colony of Artists festival in just a few weeks and final preparations are well under way. Alice Myers was in school this week planning a photography treasure trail which looks really exciting! Please make sure you visit the festival (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September) as there is always a fantastic atmosphere which gets better and better each year!

Spotlight on…Primary 3 with Mrs Flowers

P3 have just finished ‘Silly Billy’ by Anthony Browne. In the book, billy gets rid of his bedtime worries  by telling his worry dolls and popping them under his pillow. P3 made their own ‘Worry Monsters’ to take away any bedtime worries they might have.

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Well done P3, I think these would sell out in moments in the playground!

Have you read….

…your Scotland 4 Kids magazine?  There are loads of great articles this month including ‘Stop fighting’ (p6) and the WOW (What’s On Where) list for Edinburgh (p14-15). I’m going to be checking out the Batch Lady website www.thebatchlady.com for batch cooking inspiration which you might find useful coupled with ‘Not a sandwich in sight lunchbox savers’ on p6. Miss Macdonald will be interested in ‘Question Time’ (p8) which talks about modern day philosophy for children, something she has done a lot of with her classes. It also helps you to deal with the perpetual ‘why?’ question!

Next week is the Families Connect coffee and information session, Meet the Teacher, Parent Council, the first meeting of the newly appointed Abbeyhill Ambassadors AND I’ll be doing Outdoor Learning with P1 while Mr Hamilton and Mr Martin are on a ‘Play for Learning’ course. Check back on Friday to see how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

The countdown is on!

What a lovely weekend of sunshine to get us excited for the summer holidays! The rain this morning acted as a timely reminder that we still have quite a bit to do before we finish on Friday though…

Last week we were lucky to have a chance to talk about what we love about Abbeyhill and Edinburgh, as well as share ourthoughts on what is important to us. The Pupil Council met with Councillor Alison Dickie in her role as Vice-Convener of Education, Children and Families and they were all fantastic ambassadors for Abbeyhill as they described the work we have been doing on mindfulness and yoga (practical demonstration enthusiastically delivered by Jack) and the positive impact that our new behaviour approach, which centres around restorative conversations, has had across the school.

 

From Tuesday – Thursday, the school was uncharacteristally quiet as the Primary 7s were out on their 3 day visit to their new schools! This is an annual event and gives P7s across the city a taster of what life as an S1 will be like. Although we have done lots of transition events over the year and P7 have been visiting Drummond regularly since they were in P5, the reality hadn’t truly set in that they were taking the next step in their journey but I’m pleased to say that they all came back to Abbeyhill full of excitement about what’s to come.

We had our Welcome meeting for new P1 parents on Thursday and it was lovely to see and meet new families. Lots of our new P1s are in our Nursery but we also have new friends joining us which is very exciting. Meanwhile, the rest of the school did a swapped classes and classrooms so that all the teachers could take their new class to their new classroom for an hour. Mr Scott-Woodhouse and Ms Stamati joined us and lots of parents took the opportunity to come in and meet them so that they could put a face to a name. Thank you to the parents who suggested that this would be a good idea; next year we will take this a step further and make sure that there is a chance for every teacher to get the chance to meet families rather than just wave in the playground! We also have our Meet the Teacher event in September and the planning is well underway for this already.

We had our final Parent Council of the session on Wednesday which was a chance to reflect on everything that has been achieved this year, from Burns Suppers, playground makeovers and the Garden Party to supporting and organising new clubs, tidying play sheds and buying new equipment for the school and playground. Thank you to the Parent Council; we’re all excited to see what 2019-20 brings.

The week ended on a high note as 2 lucky children from every class attended the Edinburgh and Lothians School Film Competition with the film ‘We Love Abbeyhill’ which was produced by Oliver Ridgewell. A chance to go to the Filmhouse to see all the films that had been produced with and by young people across the Lothians area would have been enough of a treat in itself so imagine the excitement levels when we WON the ‘Best Group Effort’ category! Well done to Oliver who worked so hard on it, as well as to all the children and staff who took part.

This week will be incredibly busy as we prepare to say goodbye to the P7s, Miss Stephen and Mrs Macdougall. Lots of different adventures await them and we hope that they remember their time at Abbeyhill as a happy one.

Sally Ketchin                                                                                                                  Head Teacher

Good weather for ducks!

We’ve tried to put a positive spin on the somewhat dismal weather we’ve had this week and our outdoor activities have all gone ahead including Forest Adventures in Nursery, their trip to Weehailes and Woodland Wednesday in P1. We even had outdoor break in the rain yesterday and everyone thought it was worth getting a bit wet to have some fresh air! Next term, we are going to set ourselves the target of having no indoor breaks – unless the weather is really severe. We’ll need to be organised…spare socks at the ready!

Yesterday, some P4-7s enjoyed their second week of Chit Chat Club with Russell and Jan at Meadowbank Church.They all have their own favourite elements, some love the games, others enjoy hearing and telling their own stories and the food is proving to be very popular! Next week is the last session of the term but we hope to be able to continue next session.

On Monday, Primary 7 visited The Risk Factory where they were faced with a series of scenarios designed to test their decision making and team work skills. The class have been sworn to secrecy over what is involved so as not to spoil it for future visitors but they really impressed with their common sense thinking in what could potentially be real life situations. Even in trickier situations where they may have made the wrong choice, they were able to reflect upon it and talk about what they would do differently. Primary 7 were a credit to the school and represented Abbeyhill Primary brilliantly during their visit.

On Tuesday the whole school stood on Montrose Terrace and London Road to cheer on children from other Edinburgh schools taking part in the annual Taxi Outing. This is always an exciting day for everyone and as well as watching a variety of decorated taxis drive by, we were also lucky enough to gather a huge amount of sweets which we shared between the classes (whilst discussing the place of sweets in balanced diets of course). In amongst all this, we had to dodge the water balloons and water pistols being aimed at us. It was a fantastic morning with lots of happy (and slightly wet) faces all round. We hope the children in the taxis enjoyed their trip to Archerfield!

Next week, the countdown is truly on to the end of term (28th June) as the P7s head off to their respective high schools for their 3 day visits. For some, this is when reality sets in and there is usually a mixture of excitement and sadness when they return to school. Good luck P7, we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on.

We also have Parent Council on Wednesday so if you are an Abbeyhill family member, please feel welcome to come – even if you haven’t been to a meeting or event before. The Parent Council have worked so hard this year and given us many memorable moments so I look forward to thanking them on behalf of the Abbeyhill community.

We also have P1 Garden Games, a ‘Welcome’ meeting for new P1 parents, Councillor Alison Dickie visiting AND our second staff yoga session! Check back next week to see how we’ve got on.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Roll up, roll up….

Did you buy a raffle ticket from P6? If not, you must have done a very good job of hiding from the ticket sellers over the last few weeks as they have made over £700! It’s not surprising as the prizes were fantastic. There were signed football and rugby balls, a digital camera, family passes for Pizza Express, Nandos and Gusto, cash prizes from £25 – £75 and more! Well done to Mr Hamilton, Miss Macdonald and P6 who have worked hard to prepare and promote it. Well done to all the winners and thank you so much to everyone who supported it by buying tickets and of course to the businesses who made such generous donations. Expect thank you letters very shortly!

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We have had a lovely week with lots of outdoor activity at Abbeyhill. Last Saturday we had the fantastic and much anticipated Summer Garden Party which was organised down to the last hot dog by the Parent Council. It was a brilliant day and everyone who came had a great time! Thanks so much to everyone who supported the school by donating baking or tombola prizes (special shout out to Mrs Pender and her beautiful knitted ‘upside down’ doll) and to those who helped on the day. We especially appreciated our special guests from the Ranger Service, Fire and Police Scotland!

 

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Thankfully the weather was brighter this week and we had our Sports Day in Holyrood Park. It was a brilliant afternoon and once again, we all agreed that we love the new location. Thank you to Mr Martin for supporting Mrs Souness with all the planning and organising and to Mr Martin for getting it all ready on the day as Mrs Souness is now on maternity leave. Thank you to all the families who came along to cheer us on and a special well done to the adults who braved the family race! It got very competitive….

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Yesterday I had a lovely morning with the Nursery group whose turn it was to go on Forest Adventures. I discovered new areas of Holyrood Park I’d never have thought to go looking for and experienced for myself the difference that being outdoors can make to emotional and mental wellbeing. This is the second year that we have done this in the Nursery and the staff are looking forward to taking it forward in August. If your child is in Nursery, ask them to show you the secret fairy garden, or where the horses live! Make sure you wear your walking shoes….Nursery don’t shy away from a trek!

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The Pupil Council were third time lucky today as they finally did their ‘2 minute litter pick’ on Abbey Street. Our previous two attempts had to be rained off! We collected what looks like a small amount of litter but once we had multiplied it by the whole of Edinburgh, then Scotland and realised that we collected it in 120 seconds on one small street we realised that it represented a lot of single use plastic; lots of sweet wrappers, cigarette butts (which contain plastic), a straw, a fruit snack pot, a teabag (which should be in food waste) and one poor woodlouse who got swept up in all the excitement! (Don’t worry, she was released safely). Thank you to the Pupil Council who helped prepare for the event and welcomed two P6s who have been dabbling in ‘flashmob’ playground litter picks this term!

 

 

Check back next week to see how Abbeyhill’s first staff yoga session went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher