Category Archives: Parents

Happy Holidays!

We had such a dramatic end to term at Abbeyhill that I ran out of time to write our blog entry! Hopefully you all have some exciting holiday activities planned, whether at home or further afield. Everyone can look forward to sharing their tales when school and Nursery resumes on Tuesday 23rd April. If you are a parent at the school and you receive school emails, you will have seen the What’s On for Families Spring guide to some free or cheap holiday activities in the North-East of Edinburgh but please have a look if you haven’t seen it and need some inspiration.

During our final week of term, we were all busy as usual with P4 taking some time to plant wildflowers using seeds that they had packaged themselves. Hopefully we’ll get back in a few weeks to see a few shoots emerging!

They were also delighted to officially receive their certificates for making their fivers grow as part of the Virgin Money ‘Make a Fiver Grow’ drive to increase young entrepreneurs…

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…but still had time to get very creative with some real eggs before Easter! Well done P4.

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On Tuesday, I visited Broomhouse Primary School as part of the Leading Learning Partnership programme that all Edinburgh Head Teachers undertake. It was so interesting to spend the morning in a completely different type of school and compare strengths with Abbeyhill.

As well as everything going on in school, Mrs Peters and I took a group of P5-7 swimmers to the Royal Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday to take part in the Edinburgh Primary Schools Swimming Association Gala and as always, it was a fantastic event for everyone who took part. Our team did fantastically, getting into the finals for 2 out of the 3 strokes we competed in. We didn’t come home with any medals this time but come 1st and 2nd in those heats and had a great time so we were happy enough with that!

We also had Parent Council on Wednesday evening, discussing plans for the summer term, the Big Spring Clean and after school club. Please check the Parent Council Facebook page and playground notice board for more details!

And finally, thank you to everyone who supported P6 on 31st March at Stockbridge Market. They did so well, manning the stall all day and providing service with a smile even when energy levels were flagging. They made nearly £600 profits which is one of our best efforts yet and will go a long way towards the cost of camp later in the year. Well done P6!

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Have a lovely holiday, whatever your plans; I look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Tuesday 23rd April.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Bake Off meets Abbeyhill

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It was one of those surreal moments that happens when you work in a school when on Monday I went from completing paperwork in my office to watching P7 run around Calton Hill, wrapped in foil blankets, creating performance art with headpieces fashioned from plastic packaging. And that’s when Prue Leith walked past. I’m not sure what she thought was going on (and I’m still not even sure) but I’m convinced she enjoyed the ‘showstopper’ performance of George Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’ by 2 of our most enthusiastic artistes. P7 were on the hill as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Collective Gallery and as a class, they have had a special role in the redevelopment of the site since they were in P3. If you haven’t been up recently, you will discover a regenerated site with a gallery, monuments, cafe, restaurant and incredible panoramic views of Edinburgh, Fife and the Pentland Hills.

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Back at school, we had a visit from Angela Mitchell from Changeworks who had been inspired by our decision to ditch plastic straws following our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly project back in September 2018. She helped us work out which plastics it’s okay to use and which we need to stop. Luckily, we’re already on the road to being as plastic free as possible and Angela gave us even more motivation to be Zero Waste Heroes by following the most important of the 3 Rs which is to REDUCE. She was pleased to hear that Abbeyhill will definitely be a plastic red nose free zone for Comic Relief 2021 (and we’ll work out an alternative if there is any single use plastic on offer for Sport Relief in 2020).

On Monday, Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag ran their last ‘Families Connect’ session and a very special visitor came to present the certificates – Hearts Captain Christophe Berra! Even the most diehard Hibs fans were a little starstruck and Mrs Lyall was in heaven! Christophe was there as the programme is run through Save the Children who are partnered with Hearts FC. Thank you to all the families who came each week, we hope that you enjoyed it and took some useful information home. Well done to the winning family who will be going to the zoo!

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On Wednesday, we had 10 Croatian Head Teachers visit every class and then meet with me to discuss curricular reform. The Croatian education system is undergoing a radical change and moving to a child centred curriculum that will be similar to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and it was fascinating to compare and contrast our experiences in school.

We also had Parents’ Evening this week and thank you to all of the parents who took time to come and visit us on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s great to catch up and let you know about all the great things that your children are doing in school and it’s also a chance to hear about all the great things that they’re doing at home!

To round off the week, P4 and P6 held a craft fair as part of their Virgin Money ‘Grow a Fiver’ project. They each had £5 to buy materials and create something to sell with all profits going to camp (P6) or to buy more craft materials (P4). Scented candles, bows/bowties, mint lip balm, badges and wildflower seeds have been magically produced, with only one glue gun related injury (don’t worry, it was only Mrs Flowers). At an early count, nearly £300 had been raised by P4 alone so well done and thank you to everyone who supported them!

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So all in all, it’s been another busy but successful week at Abbeyhill. Check in next week to hear all about P6’s trip to Edinburgh Castle and my re-scheduled meeting with Mrs Lansdown! But the big question will be….have the newborn chicks that have hatched in the Nursery week survived a weekend of chicksitting at Mrs Ketchin’s house?! Fingers crossed!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Red Nose fever!

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By the end of last week we were red nose, deeley bopper and wristband crazy for Comic Relief. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us to raise a whopping £400 for all the charities who benefit. Thanks also to our local Sainsbury’s who supported us and provided official RND tops for the staff! However, it was interesting to note David Attenborough’s words of warning about the encouragement of single use plastics, especially considering that RND fell on the same day as the second Students for Climate Change protest and next year we will consider whether Abbeyhill will be displaying painted red noses, rather than plastic ones, and donating the full amount to Comic Relief rather than the 50% which is currently received after the production and marketing costs for red noses and other merchandise are removed.

In other Abbeyhill news, we had a staff training session on Monday which was jointly run by both Mr Hamiltons and focussed on the evolving way we need to approach teaching internet safety. Some great new resources are coming out that will help children and adults to see all the opportunities that the virtual world can offer us, as well as the dangers. Just like the real world, it’s important to be able to look around and appreciate the amazing things you might see but also use common sense and have guidance on what to do when things go wrong. We’ll have information displayed for families this week when they come to visit us for Parents’ Evening.

On Thursday I took P4 for the day while Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald got stuck into the unenviable task of auditing our Maths resources. Mrs Flowers got very excited about all the things she found that had been hidden at the backs of the cupboards and by the end of the day they had planned an exciting Maths based family event for May so watch out for that when next term’s ‘Save the Date’ sheet comes out!

On Friday, we had a bumper awards assembly with certificates for everyone who took part in the fantastic Talent Show on 7th March as well as the introduction of the ‘Over and Above’ Award. A maximum of two children per class were nominated for this and had to have gone over and above in one or all of our school rules; Ready, Respectful, Responsible. With the grand prize of being allowed to sit on the chairs rather than the mats, it was all to play for and I think a lot of people will be upping their game this week! Well done to our first OAO winners. The Pupil Council also told everyone about how they had worked with Graham Construction to build a Bug Hotel in the wildlife garden. They explained how this had come about, told us about the building process and gave their top tips for keeping it (and all the bugs who come to stay) safe.

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This week, as well as Parents’ Evening, we have trips to the Collective Gallery, ongoing engagement with professional artists in school as part of our Artists-In-Residence programme in preparation for the Colony of Artists in September, filiming will start for the ‘Power of Yet’ video, it’s World Poetry Day on Thursday, a familiar face will be popping in to advise me on how can begin to address gender balance at Abbeyhill (Mrs Lansdown!) and we have a special guest from Changeworks who is going to talk to us about our ongoing drive to reduce plastics. Phew! Check our next blog post to see how it all went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Have you got that Friday feeling?

…which for us is happy exhaustion! It’s been an incredibly busy week at Abbeyhill with the Talent Show, Euroquiz, World Book Day, plenty of cooking and a soundscape! Read on to find out more.

Last night saw the Parent Council Talent Show which was a fantastic celebration of a diverse range of talent, taste in music and interests. We had a ventriloquist, a berimbau performance, Highland and Scottish dancing, a poetry recital, stand up comedy, ballet dancing and lots of amazing singing. It was a wonderful celebration of all the things that make us unique as well as the things that bring us together; happiness, laughter and good times with friends and family. Thank you to the Parent Council for the many months of organisation and planning that went into a very well organised event that was enjoyed by everyone who attended. Thank you also to Russell McLarty for hosting us at Meadowbank Parish Church. The whole event was filmed so I’m sure copies will be available before too long!

On Monday, Mr Hamilton took 4 P6s to the City Chambers to take part in Euroquiz 2019. They spent week practising and came a very respectable 14th out of 24. Congratulations to the teams from Sciennes and James Gillespie’s who will go forward to the national event. It was a great opportunity for us to see inside a building we’d normally only walk past as well as a chance to represent Abbeyhill at a citywide level whilst also meeting P6s from other schools. Well done Team Abbeyhill!

On Wednesday, P2 had a very special visitor (Miss Stephen’s mum!) who is a trained chef and helped them to make delicious carrot and apple muffins in the Cooking Classroom. Everyone got a chance to weigh, measure, stir and most importantly, TASTE!

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Our Cooking Classroom is being really well used thanks to our Food for Thought grant and the P7s cook (or prep!) up a storm most days to keep our healthy tuck shop going. Our Food Champions met with colleagues from our local LIDL store who popped in yesterday with some exciting offerings…a George Forman grill, a Nutribullet and plenty of tupperware for all our culinary handiwork – thank you to LIDL!

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As part of our World Book Day celebrations the children participated in a “Where’s Wally” hunt in the playground. Everyone had to find Wally and either crack a code or answer book related questions. It was great to see the children searching so enthusiastically- some light rain didn’t stop the fun! The winners will be announced at Monday’s assembly. In the afternoon Mr Martin held a whole school World Book Day assembly where we played charades, unscrambled book titles and guessed the hidden book character. The assembly ended by watching the animated version of the popular story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. The assembly was a great chance for everyone to share the fantastic book related activities they had been doing in class.

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On Wednesday evening, our Curator in Residence, Iliyana, co-hosted a very special meeting in school with Citadel Arts Group where anyone who has been involved with Abbeyhill at any point in their lives was invited to come in and share their stories. Together with P4 and P6 they will work to transform these living memories into a book and a binaural soundscape to be premiered at Colony of Artists 2019 (21st and 22nd September). Don’t miss it!

Next week it’s RED NOSE DAY! Everyone has been getting very excited about the official red noses that have been on sale in school and these will continue to be available next week. It’s also an optional dress down day on Friday with a suggested donation of £1 for Comic Relief. It’s also Parent Council on Wednesday from 6.30pm and bookings are now open online for Parent’s Evening on 19th and 21st March – check your inbox for the link!

Phew, that’s it for this week – have a good weekend everybody!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mummies!

It’s Science, Technology, Engineering and MATHS really but P4 had such a great time at the Ancient Egyptians exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland yesterday that it had to be included in the title of the blog! They’ve been waiting for a long time for it and it brought learning to life following their detailed project earlier in the session. They were full of excitement when they got back from the museum with quite a few children saying that they wanted to go back to the museum this weekend for a second look!

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Primary 6 and 7 became STEM detectives (hence our blog title!) on Thursday in a day of activities involving code breaking, rocket building and car designing.  Each activity involved group work, creativity and excellent communication skills. It was great to see the Primary 6s and 7s working so well together throughout the day. Highlights included launching rockets in the playground and using eggs as crash test dummies. This was a thoroughly enjoyable day with the children representing our school very well. Watch this space for a STEM themed event for P4 and P5 very soon!

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If you follow the Pupil Council on Twitter @AbbeyhillPupilC then you may have spotted our post about Abbeyhill Decides, inspired by Leith Decides. Simon from Parent Council came along to help Pupil Council decide how to spend the money that the PC had raised at last month’s Burns Supper. They decided to split the money into 3 and give £120 to the Early, 1st and 2nd levels. Our P6 and P7 reps decided to spend the money on art and technology materials while our P2 and P3 reps are going to order some learning board games and puzzles to enhance their problem solving skills. P6 and P7 are going to help their Early Level buddies decide what to spend their money on so keep an eye on the blog for more information!

Fianlly, don’t forget to keep up to date with our Artists-in-Residence programme and read all about about our two new artists-in-residence. Zu has just started her comic book residency with P5 and Joanna is our environmental artist in residence in P1. Joanna will be working with our plastic straws in a new underwater project re: the plastic pollution in our oceans.

We also hope to bring Joanna’s highly celebrated plastic cups constellation light and sound installation to Abbeyhill; perhaps you recognise it if you saw her recent exhibition of this installation at Summerhall?

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Tickets are now on sale for the Parent Council Talent Show and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant event so make sure you get your.

Next week, Pupil Council reps are building a bug hotel with Graham Construction and P6 are going to Drummond CHS for breakfast and a treasure hunt so check back next week to see how everyone got on!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher