Category Archives: Parents

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

Dancing bears and a Burns flashback!

The sun was shining this week as we handed out our final teaching packs of the term, and school session. It was lovely to see so many families, socially distanced of course, and it will be even better when we can have children back in the building in August. It seems very quiet when we are in there at the moment. Preparations are well underway for having everyone back with the number one priority being Health and Safety. Details will come out on Wednesday next week so that everyone knows which days their child will be attending as we begin to move back towards something resembling normality.

If you follow @CreateLearnEdin you may have seen the official Burns and Beyond videos which were posted this week. As you may remember, Ms Stamati and P6 worked incredibly hard and had a lot of fun as part of this project and it was lovely to watch the videos, see some familiar faces and hear some of our P6s speak so articulately about what they had enjoyed about the project. You can watch the short version of the video here or if you have a little longer (most of us do at the moment!) then the longer version is here. Well done to everyone who was involved (credit also to @burnsandbeyond and @UniqueEventsltd).

Someone else who has been busy creating fantastic experiences and sharing them on social media is our dance teacher in residence, Eleanor Robertson. Read all about how she has supported and encouraged Nursery children to take part in the Bear Hunt transition project in one of the latest blog posts on the Abbeyhill School Artists website and watch her brilliant dance video here. Mr Martin and the Nursery team have also been working really hard to engage the Nursery children who are moving up to P1 in August and everyone is joining in and sharing their experiences on Twitter which is fantastic to see. I made sure I left my label on when I was in school on Thursday…have you left yours yet?

Our Staff Superstar this week is the brilliant Mrs Pender who has developed new skills over the last few months, not just by finally getting onto WhatsApp but by working out how to use Teams and managing to join every P1 story session (sometimes sideways, occasionally upside down) which the children love. She’s also supported one of our Hubs and has taken a lot of time and made a huge effort to make the experience memorable and successful for the young person she’s supporting. Well done and thank you Mrs Pender! Checking out what everyone has been doing on Teams, Elis has done some very neat colouring by number, Otis, Duncan, Sara and Marlena had done some brilliant wok on the layers of ocean, John did some very funny nonsense poetry, Erin submitted some great work on collective nouns, Alma is a banana tree (really Alma?!), Zuzanna managed some Maths that would have had me reaching for the calculator and Luca in P7 did an amazing drawing as part of the P7 Moving On Up project which has taken place this week to replace the 3 day high school visit that they should have been. Well done and thank you to Mr Forde also for working tirelessly to encourage and support the P7s as they navigate this time which should have been packed with all our usual transition activities in school. Consider yourself a runner up Superstar winner Mr Forde! However, our Junior Superstars have to be the P6s who represented Abbeyhill so well in that Culture United ‘Burns and Beyond’ video so well done to Mat, Jasmine, Amelia, Cadha, Liam and Maya!!

This time next week the holidays will be upon us but there will be one more blog from me before we bid goodbye to the 2019-20 school session. It’s ended in a way none of us expected at the start but I very much hope that this time next year normality has been fully resumed and lockdown is all just a distant memory!

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