Category Archives: Parents

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

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

(Summer Garden) PARTY TIME!

It’s finally here! Tomorrow it’s our Summer Garden Party and after the success of last year’s event, we expect it to be very busy! Thank you so much to the Parent Council who have organised the whole thing which is a huge amount of work. We hope to see lots of you from 12 – 3pm in the playground! Hopefully the weather will be on our side and at least stay dry so we can have more luck than we did on Tuesday. We were very sad to postpone Sports Day and it was especially frustrating that the sun was out by the time the time we should have started rolled round but we had to make a decision at the time based on the information we had and the recommendations of the Ranger Service. However, Sports Day will go ahead next week come rain or shine (unless it’s REALLY rainy) so please get your suncream and your waterproofs and everything in between ready for Tuesday!

Something that wasn’t weather dependent this week was our visit from Catherine Gemmel from the Marine Conservation Society who spoke to us about leatherback turtles. Catherine told us lots of facts about the turtles and taught us how to spot one in the wild. Did you know that the change in climate can affect whether or not male or female turtles are produced? Warmer temperatures produce female turtles, while colder temperatures produce males.

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Catherine told us about the dangers leatherback turtles face as a result of plastic pollution and we were shown some sad photographs of some turtles who had mistaken plastic bags for jellyfish. We’re proud that we already do a lot in our school to help reduce the amount of single use plastic reaching landfills and our oceans. The smallest change can make a big difference for our marine life.

P6 and P7 teams also attended the Interscholastics event at George Watson’s College on Monday and did a fantastic job of representing the school. We didn’t make it into any of the finals but everyone had a great time and plenty of fresh air so it was still classed as a successful morning! Thank you to Mr Martin and Mr Hamilton for taking the teams.

Check back next week to read about how the Summer Garden Party and the re-scheduled Sports Day went, as well as an update on P5s John Muir Award, the Pupil Council litter pick (foiled by heavy rain again yesterday, 3rd time lucky), a trip to Gorgie Farm for a lucky few and my first time out on Forest Adventures with Nursery!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Hello Sunshine

What a lovely week it has been! Let’s hope that the weather defies the forecast and stays sunny for the long weekend. Please remember that the school is closed on Monday 20th May for Victoria Day and we are also closed to pupils on Thursday 23rd May as we are a polling station for the European Elections.

Over the last few weeks we’ve had lots going on as always. We’ve had staff development sessions on Mindfulness, Gender Balance and Equality, supporting learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL) as well as planning for the end of this session and the beginning of next. As a staff, we evaluate our progress in our Standards and Quality report (which will be shared on our website by the end of the term) and set targets for improvement with a plan of how to achieve those targets. Again, this will be shared on our website. Before this happens, Parent Council will be asked to cast their eye over relevant sections so if you are interested in this process or would like to contribute, please don’t miss the next Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 19th June.

Before that happens, Parent Council are busily preparing for the Summer Garden Party on 1st June and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant day! An email/letter went out earlier in the week asking for willing volunteers so please let the team know if you would like to get involved. Otherwise we will see you on the day for such fun as ‘soak the teacher’ (oh dear), BBQ, tombola, crazy hair stall, bake sale, a police van, fire engine and garden games!

In preparation for this, the Parent Council held a Playground Makeover event last weekend and would like to thank everyone who managed to come along and help. Lots was achieved including a new sand table being created, new herbs planted, benches and railings planted. They even managed to move the fence from the Wildlife Garden to the Nursery area and it looks fantastic!

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This week I’ve been out of school for two very worthwhile events; an Edinburgh Primary Head Teachers’ Association meeting on Tuesday where discussions ranged from school improvement planning to strategies for working more effectively, and a Health and Safety Conference where the focus was more towards health, particarly the mental health and emotional wellbeing of staff. Looking after ourselves enables us to do our jobs well and provide help and support to others. So I feel that I was one step ahead as earlier in the week I booked a yoga teacher to come in next month to do two staff taster sessions with a view to running a regular class after the summer holidays!

Russell McLarty also came to visit us in P4-7 assembly to talk about the next block of Chit Chat club which will run as an after school club for 3 weeks in June. If  you haven’t seen the letter/email for this already, please look out for it next week as places are limited and it was a very popular club last time it ran!

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Have a lovely long weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 21st May.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

And the winner is….the Unicorn Squad!

There was a lot of excitement in Abbeyhill this week, mainly revolving around BBC cameras, special visitors from the Scottish Government and (most exciting of all) Abbeyhill’s first ever Maths Quiz! Miss Macdonald organised and hosted this, ably assisted by Mrs Flowers, and it was a resounding success. We were delighted to see so many children and parents taking part in the quiz together. In fact, Miss Macdonald calculated that a third of our school roll from P1 to P7 attended which is fantastic. All of the teams did extremely well and showed off their amazing maths skills. We were particularly impressed with how the year groups worked together to ensure that all children in their team were given the opportunity to answer the questions at their level. A massive well done to the winning children’s team – ‘Unicorn Squad’ and the winning parent’s team – The Number Crunchers’. Maths related competitions such as ‘Guess how many Smarties in the jar’ and ‘How much does this splat ball weigh?’ got everyone’s attention and tested our estimation skills! Well done to the winning parent and child teams who were each only 2 points off a perfect score! There will definitely be another one so watch this space after the summer holidays…

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Back to those BBC cameras….. If you were watching Reporting Scotland yesterday, you might have spotted some familiar faces! On Thursday our Pupil Council were visited by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and Professor Keith Bell from the Committee on Climate Change. The children were told of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling climate change by 2045. Reporters from the BBC and STV news were also present alongside local and national press photographers.

Our Pupil Council representatives spoke very well about some of things we do in school to save our planet- recycling, switching off the lights and reducing plastic packaging in our snacks. Our guests were especially interested to find out about our single use plastic straw collection and the changes we have made during our milk time.

Several visitors commented on how polite, well-mannered and knowledgable our Pupil Council were. They did a fantastic job of representing our school and you can watch the clip which featured on BBC Scotland Lunchtime and Evening News here (from 57 seconds).

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Today, P5 rounded off the week with a Bake Sale in aid of a charity which is yet to be decided. They have discussed choosing a few and then splitting what they made between them. Everyone enjoyed visiting the classroom and choosing between some delicious looking home baking. One of Ellie’s raspberry and white chocolate muffins was very welcome with my coffee this morning!

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Please remember that Monday 6th May is a bank holiday and school is also closed to pupils on Tuesday 7th May while the staff carry out a variety of professional development activities. We’ll be reflecting on our work against the School Improvement Plan, refreshing our Mindfulness training with Gary from the Mindful Enterprise and exploring the concept of Gender Balance with Mrs Lansdown who is visiting from Education Scotland.

See you all back at school on Wednesday 8th May!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher