Category Archives: Parents

A day of goodbyes

It’s been an emotional one today in Abbeyhill! I have said my goodbyes after 7.5 fantastic years working as Head Teacher at Abbeyhill and we are also saying goodbye to 3 families who are all moving house and beginning new adventures in other schools within the next few weeks. A lot has changed since I started here in 2014, not least the children. Our current P7s were in Nursery when I began and it has been a pleasure to watch them grow in confidence and character, along with all our other class both old and young.

Despite a focus on moving on for a few of us, life at Abbeyhill has continued as normal this week. The P7s hit the bike trail in preparation for camp (yes, they can all remember how to cycle – tick), P3 looked at gender bias in the workplace as part of International Women’s Day as well as tackling the highest summit in the city – then rolling down it! We’ve also had a clear-out and been able to match lots of pre-loved uniform with new forever homes which fits well with our love of sustainability at Abbeyhill. I enjoyed a farewell party with the Abbeyhill Ambassadors yesterday who do such a fantastic job at representing the school. I’ve even left the bunting up to welcome Mrs Robertson on Monday!

In this week’s update to families, I have confirmed that Abbeyhill will ‘Wear It Silly’ for Comic Relief, knowing that a portion of the funds raised will go directly to the appeal for aid in Ukraine. The school will make a donation on behalf of everyone as well so families shouldn’t feel any pressure to donate money if they are not able to. Everyone can dress up as they like, in pyjamas, a superhero costume, onesies…it’s up to them!

And finally, thank you so much to all of you for your constant support of myself and the school, especially over the last few years which have held unprecedented challenges for us all. Abbeyhill is a wonderful place to be and I shall miss my incredible colleagues, the families that make up our school community and most importantly the brilliant children who I’ve had the privilege to spend so much time with.

My thanks and very best wishes to all of you, now and in the future.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Busy to the last!

There has been no slowing down for the approaching holiday at Abbeyhill this week! P1 have some new digital cameras and have been practising all week…there may be a few of Mrs Ketchin as I was in the class yesterday and was asked to join in with a few selfies!

Budding photographers in P1B!

P2 have celebrated Safer Internet Day (8th February) by discussing how they use online devices before working on ideas for their own games. Miss Smith is convinced there are some future star app developers in the class! P3 have had a really busy week making props and costumes for ‘Abbeyhill Space News’ and some incredibly detailed work has gone into their Valentine’s cards. Parents who follow @Abbeyhill2026 will also have loved the action shots from the crash mat challenge race that they undertook with P7!

P4 have been in a bubble this week (I thought it was quiet) but have still kept busy with a quick dash out to the playground in between breaks for some outdoor Maths as well as some indoor place value challenges. With hats.

I really enjoyed being part of the audience for the Abbeyhill dry ski slope challenge with P5. Tensions and excitement were high as each skier took to the slope; congratulations to the winners who saw their ski models make it safely off the slope and beyond! P6 and P7 had their first rugby session with Leith Hawks this week and there is some fantastic footage for parents who follow @Abbeyhill2023 twitter feed. P7 have also been busy making models of fighter planes for their WW2 topic, as well as brushing up on their coordinates and grid reference skills using maps of Edinburgh.

Parental Involvement and Engagement

In my update to parents this week, I asked for support in completing the Parental Involvement and Engagement survey. The Scottish Government has asked all 32 local authorities to undertake this census with parents in their local authority area before March 2022 and your support with this would be very much appreciated. If you are an Abbeyhill parent or carer, please check your emails for the link and QR code to get started.

Welcome back!

I was also delighted to say that nearly two years after closing the school gates to almost all parents, we will welcome parents back into our playground from Monday 21st February. This is in line with the general easing of restrictions around social distancing across the country. It will also be safer given the current concerns around road safety at the back of the school that the Parent Council and school are working on together with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Coming up

When we return, the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be undertaking a street clean as part of our support for the Keep Abbey Street Tidy campaign. They will also be getting opinions from their class on potential playground upgrades which the Parent Council are in the process of applying for funding for – fingers crossed! The Junior Road Safety Officers will also be getting involved with the work the Parent Council is leading on safety at the back of the school and the ambassadors will support them in that.

We will also send out booking links for Parents’ Evening appointments which will take place over the weeks beginning 14th and 21st March. At this time, we are still planning for virtual events.

In the meantime, have a lovely holiday!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Throw, catch, stitch, repeat!

P2 have been perfecting their throwing and catching with precision and experienced success on the basketball court this morning – well done P2! Elsewhere ‘Bob News’ visited P3 to collect their written applications to report on the moon landings. Hopefully they hear back soon! Mr Hamilton has also started the ambitious project of teaching P3 to cross stitch so we’re all looking forward to seeing the finished results!

As the holidays approach, we continue to have cases of Covid across the school and Nursery and my thanks go out to the staff who have worked hard to cover absent colleagues, children who have put up with lots of last minute changes and families who have had a higher than usual stream of emails about changes in school. Thanks also to our Quality Improvement Education Officer, Iain Hutchison, who has provided vital support in school this week. It has been frustrating to find myself in self-isolation yet again with my second bout of Covid but the wonders of Microsoft Teams (something I don’t always say!) have allowed me to meet with and speak to staff, parents and children almost as if I was in school. Hopefully the February break will allow things to settle a little and we can move forward into the spring with less restrictions upon us.

Please remember that Nursery and school break up next Friday, 11th February and we resume on Monday 21st February.

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

From tigers to moss balls, a typical week at Abbeyhill!

It’s been a particularly busy week in Abbeyhill as staff and children have coped well with last minute changes caused by staff absence. Nonetheless, we’ve still had plenty of time for creative learning and thinking! Everyone seems to be Space-mad as everything from the International Space Station (P1) to exoplanets (P5) is being discussed in excitement! There have also been two adoptions this week, Puff Puff the merino moss ball has joined P1B and Gopal the tiger has been adopted through the Born Free Foundation as part of P2’s project on Endangered Animals, inspired by a piece on Newsround. P3 got busy in the kitchen to celebrate Burns earlier in the week and they all enjoyed their tasters, even after Mr Hamilton explained what was in it! A special thanks to Mrs Flowers for putting together a fantastic video of our Scots poetry recitals from P1-P7; I enjoyed the premiere with P5!

Warn and Inform

Letters were sent out to families of children across the school and Nursery this week. Please check NHS Inform for the latest guidance if you are at all unsure. With guidance changing at different times for different countries within the UK it’s a very confusing time! Please check our Covid-19 tab for the latest version of the letter.

Keep Abbey Street tidy!

It has long been a source of frustration that Abbey Street (at the front of the school) seems to have disproportionately more litter on it than any other street in the area. Some of it is blown down by wind, some is blown out of the communal bins and unfortunately, some of it is caused by Abbey Street residents fly tipping. In the past, the Abbeyhill Ambassadors have done very successful ‘2 minute street cleans’ and we’ll be joining the campaign started by residents to help keep the street tidy. Please support us by gently challenging anyone you see dropping litter!

Parent Council Calendars

Well done to the Parent Council who have confirmed that the final total raised with the 2022 fundraising calendar was £1,096.21 which is fantastic! They have confirmed that every penny of this will be used to enhance the children’s experience of school. On behalf of the Parent Council, thank you if you supported this project in any way. a special thanks go to the parents who worked extra hard on this, offering time and skills – not to mention the staff and pupils who created the fabulous art work!

Have a lovely weekend,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

In a world where you can be anything, be kind…

Abbeyhill Ambassadors have taken inspiration from this quote by Jennifer Dukes-Lee and embarked on the Abbeyhill Kindness Project. Our aim is to look for acts on kindness, big and small, in the school and playground and to celebrate and encourage them. As one of our members of staff said this week having fallen outside school and experienced lots of parents rushing to her aid (thank you!), these acts of kindness “restore your faith in humanity’ and it’s important to raise awareness that most of us are kind and caring all the time.

In my weekly update to families, I confirmed that our new Head Teacher, Mrs Moira Robertson, will start at Abbeyhill on Monday 14th March. She’s very much looking forward to joining the fantastic Abbeyhill community which I have told her is warm, welcoming and a lot of fun to be part of!

Next week we shall be enjoying the video Mrs Flowers is putting together of everyone’s Scots poems recitals in celebration of Burns Day. Thank you to all the parents who have helped their child practise and learn their chosen poem; the Scots language can be a difficult one to get a grasp of! P7 will also be taking a trip to Sainsbury’s on Monday to stock up on supplies to make their own Burns Supper having worked out their budget and shopping list in class. I’m hoping there’s a plateful going spare…

Budgeting for Burns in P7

Elsewhere this week, P1B have been very active in their experiments as they begin their Space topic and now that P2 have finished trapping crocodiles in the playground (see last week’s post!), they have moved on to creating their own jungle in the classroom. Watch this space for a photo of the finished product! P5 have been learning about creating infographics based on winter sports and P4 have also been thinking of Burns when they created some ‘Neeps and Tatties’ artwork in the style of their incredible visiting ‘Artist in Resident’, Anna York, as well as creating some of their own tartans!

Have a lovely weekend and please remember that although restrictions are likely to ease next week, the pandemic is over and for now we should all continue to take the same precautions. We still have a number of cases in school and ‘Warn and Inform’ letters have been sent to families in several classes this week (see Covid-19 for guidance). Stay safe out there!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher