Category Archives: Parents

Nothing short of a triumph!

…is surely what the professional reviews will say of our Nativity this morning! Well done to Mrs Lansdown and the P1s as well as all the other staff and children who worked so hard to make it such a successful performance. The P2s were fantastic narrators and angels with P3 doing a beautiful job as choir. Thank you to Russell McLarty and his team at Meadowbank Church for being such brilliant hosts; it was fantastic to have the show up on the big screens so no-one at the back missed a moment!

Monday saw the first proper Christmas event at Abbeyhill with our P7s enjoying a brilliant ceilidh. Thank you to Mrs Souness for teaching them the dances as well as Mr Martin for working so hard with the P7s to make invitations, decorate the classroom, prepare food (in our new Cooking Classroom!) and make sure that everyone had a great time. It’s always a lovely way to kick-start the Christmas celebrations and is such a special event for the P7s.

Monday was also the day that Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Serrag held a coffee afternoon to introduce ‘Families Connect‘ to Nursery and P1 parents. This is a programme run by Save the Children and is all about increasing parents’ skills and confidence to support their child’s learning, whilst having fun together! Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Serrag were delighted to get a really good turnout and will be starting the programme when we return in January.

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On Wednesday, we had our Christmas lunch and Ms McCourt absolutely outdid herself this year; the dinner hall was decorated with tinsel, tealights (battery operated of course), tablecloths and festive napkins. Lots of staff came down to enjoy lunch with the children – the lure of an early turkey dinner was too good to refuse! Thank you to Ms McCourt for making it such a special occasion; the reaction from the P1s made it all worthwhile!

Yesterday, not only was it the Nursery Christmas party, with a very special visitor in red of course, but we also had a very exciting delivery from Network Rail who work with partners Story Contracting and Hibernian Community Foundation to spread ‘Edinburgh Cheer’ which you can read more about here. This year, they decided to present us with 17 reconditioned bikes that have been restored by Network Rail employee Simon Lloyd. We’re holding a free raffle next week so check back to see who won a Christmas bike to take home!

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Finally, as I said at the church, it’s Mrs Lansdown’s first and last Christmas at Abbeyhill as she will be leaving us next term to take up a very exciting opportunity with Education Scotland. Mrs Lansdown has brought so much to us in such a short time and we will be very sad to see her go, although we do of course wish her the very best of luck. And who knows, she doesn’t live far away so maybe we’ll be able to persuade her to come and visit us?! All we can say is, good luck topping that Nativity to next year’s P1 teacher …!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

A certain time of year is upon us and excitement is building in school! Festive music can regularly be heard, P1-3 are busy preparing for the Nativity next week, Christmas trees are popping up all over the place and there is a general air of merrirment (even more so than usual!) around Abbeyhill!

This week, the Nursery were the first to go on a festive trip and enjoyed a performance of ‘You Choose’ at the Spiegeltent in Festival Square. Thank you to all the families who volunteered to help and make this such a memorable day out. There were a lot of tired but happy faces in the Nursery yesterday, but that was just the staff!

Our Parent Council have coordinated a beautiful 2019 calendar which is sponsored by local businesses and features artwork from every class. At just £6, this would make the perfect stocking filler and all proceeds go towards supporting the school by enabling the Parent Council to help us improve our playground. You can order your calendar directly from the Parent Council who will be taking orders in the playground every day next week, at the school office or online by clicking here. All orders will be filled before we break up on the 21st December.

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P7 spent the day at Drummond on Wednesday at a volleyball festval organised by Active Schools. This was a great addition to the preparations to move onto high school and another good opportunity to mix with P7s from our other cluster primaries, many of whom will be going to Drummond too next year.

Yesterday, P1-3 families were invited to another ‘Sharing Our Learning’ event and it was lovely that so many were able to juggle other commitments to come along. There was lots going on in each class for families to get involved with and our Food Champions also ran sneak peak tours of our brand new Cooking Classroom; the teachers are testing it out next week to make sure that we have all the equipment that we need and if all goes well, there will be some treats to sell at the Nativity!

Finally, if you saw this blog last week or follow us on Twitter, you’ll know that we’ve already made a difference with our request to have large cartons of milk, as we all buy at the supermarket, instead of small individual ones. This morning, our Pupil Council reviewed the engagement with our tweet about it and we are now in touch with Changeworks to see what we can do next. We’re hoping that they will support us to form a partnershop with another nearby school who are campaigning for re-useable bottles…watch this space!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

P1 Registration Week

We’ve had lots of parents registering their child for our 2019 P1 class this week as this is P1 Registration Week. Please make sure your child is registered to start school in August 2019 if they are due to turn 5 before the end of February 2020. As long as you register in time, you are guaranteed a place at your catchment school, whether that is Abbeyhill or somewhere else. At the point of registration, you can also choose to apply for an out of catchment school place if you wish to do so.

This week has also seen the launch of our brand new storytelling clubs and they’ve got off to a great start! ‘Chit Chat Clubs’ run on Mondays and Thursdays with Russell McLarty and Marie-Louise Cochrane, aka Mrs Mash the storytelling cook. I spent some time in the P1-3 session on Monday and they were making apple pancakes to go with their story. No wonder the club is proving popular! I look forward to seeing Chit Chat Club develop and culminate in a ‘story slam’ at the Colony of Artists festival next year.

Gary from The Mindful Enterprise spent time giving P5,6,7 mindfulness refresher sessions and began training P4 in the art of Mindfulness. This is the third year that we have worked with The Mindful Enterprise and children are now routinely using the techniques to help them in all types of situations; to calm nerves before a competition or test, to help them sleep and even to avoid conflict with their peers. This is a valued part of our curriculum and it is good to see another year group benefit from it.

On Monday, we announced the number of straws that we have collected over a 5 week period and it came to a staggering 2,312. We were all shocked as we hadn’t expected it to be this high a number but I had forgotten to factor lunchtime milk into my calculations back in September! We’re busy deciding what to do next but expect to see some publicity around this in the next week or so. Needless to say, now that we are in the habit of collecting our straws and using cups each day instead (which we wash up), we aren’t going to revert to our old ways.

Next week we have our Parent Council AGM, a Fischy Music concert (and the song that P4 wrote will get its premiere!), Children in Need toy sale, Parent Lunch and P4 will be cooking with Chef Stuart from Aizle – check back in and find out how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Halloween-tastic

Last week went extremely quickly as we had so much going on at Abbeyhill. A packed week culminated in the Halloween parties that were organised and put on by our Parent Council; thank you to them for all their hard work and the fantastic decorations. Never have so many toilet rolls been put to such great use…!

On Monday, a group of Head Teachers visited me as part of our Leading Learning Partnership programme and we toured the school with a focus on ‘How Good Is Our School?’ quality indicator 3.2 (with a theme of attainment and equity). You can download a copy of the HGIOS document here . My colleagues commented favourably on how engaged each pupil was in their learning and the fact that they all knew what they were working towards. I look forward to my reciprocal visit to Buckstone Primary School later in the month.

On Wednesday, our doors were open as part of the city-wide catchment schools Open Day which gives parents of children who will be going into P1 in August 2019 to come and see our school and ask any questions. Thank you to our House and Vice House Captains who did a super job of giving tours, even though the temptation to show off every room, down to the last storage cupboard, proved too much for some!

On Wednesday and Thursday, Margaret and Christy from Fischy Music came in to work with our P4 class as part of the Year of Young People 2018. Our P4s wrote and recorded a song with Margaret and Christy and it was a fascinating process to watch. I sat in with the class for an hour and had the privilege of pitching a few of my ideas in too! The song will be formally launched at a concert with the rest of the school later this month.

On Thursday, P6 and P7 spent the day at Drummond High School and took part in a STEM event (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Engaging with Drummond is part of transition process for P6 and P7 as they approach high school age and allays some nerves for the P7s who have realised just how close they are to leaving primary school!

On Friday, the Pupil Council counted all the straws that we’ve collected so far and the result will be announced on Monday at assembly so please keep an eye on Twitter for the final total. All I will say for now is that we had underestimated how many there would be and the result shocked us all…

A hive of activity!

Whoosh – that’s half a term (or term 1, depending on your viewpoint) done already! I hope you had a lovely October break and managed to get outside before the cold weather really kicks in. I had ‘technical difficulties’ with the blog on the last day of term but hopefully you saw the ’50 ways to experience outdoors in Edinburgh before you’re 11 3/4′ poster that I posted on Twitter. It’s got lots of fantastic ideas of things to do in and around Edinburgh all year round – many of them free. If you’re still ticking off the activities and you’re on Twitter, tweet us a photo of what you get up to; perhaps it will inspire someone else!Picture1

We’ve been busy as usual this week, despite it only being a 4 day week for children. the SSPCA have been into classes across the school, P7 have been to Holyrood Park, we were visited by colleagues from Norway who wanted to find out more about Getting It Right For Every Child AND we’ve had Parent and Family Night! Thank you to all the families who visited us. In the run up to the holidays, P7 were at Drummond for breakfast and a treasure hunt, we shared our ideas for our ‘Always Look on the Bright Side’ assembly topic and we formally opened the P4/5 shelter that has had a facelift thanks to community engagement from Santander bank, led by Santander and Abbeyhill parent Billy McElhone. We shared what we loved about our new murals and our outdoor stage, kindly donated by Simon and James Preston. Photos were even taken by the Evening News so look out for us in the paper (we haven’t been published yet)!

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Next week, P4 will be writing a song with Fischy Music after months of ‘auditioning’ in assembly! P6 and 7 are going to Drummond for a STEM event (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) so watch this space for an update on how it goes. It’s also catchment school open day so if you’re a Nursery parent with a child starting P1 in August 2019, please come and see us; our session times are below. If you’re a P7 parent with a child starting S1 next year, make sure that you take this opportunity to go and visit your catchment secondary school. To find out when the sessions are at various schools, please go to www.edinburgh.gov.uk/primaryschoolsopenday or call the school.

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It’s also the Parent Council Hallowe’en parties next week so please make sure you get your tickets from the main school office. A lot of planning has gone into the decorations so you can look forward to a super spooky time!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher