Category Archives: Primary 1

Mrs Pender is our hero!

This week I learned that Mrs Pender had been secretly very hard at work over lockdown knitting dolls which she sent to children who were unwell in the Sick Kids hospital, as well as sewing NHS scrubs. What an absolute hero! Well done Mrs Pender – lockdown Secret Superstar has been revived just for you!

On a more sombre note, I’m sure that you have all read or seen the worrying news that Covid-19 cases are rapidly on the rise again. Please, please continue to play your part in suppressing this virus as we have all learned this year how quickly things can change and the prospect of another national lockdown is something that I’m sure nobody wants to even contemplate. Remember FACTS at all times; Face covering, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, keep a Two metre distance from others at all times and Self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms.

This weekend we would of course normally be looking forward to joining in with the Colony of Artists festival but sadly our involvement this year has been yet another Covid casualty. Please take a moment to have a look at our ‘Windows and Screens‘ display this year and if you have a little more time, watch these videos of the 2018 and 2019 festival finales held in our hall and hope that 2021 brings a welcome return to Abbeyhill Primary being a bustling hive of activity over the festival weekend!

Next week is a short one as school is closed on Monday for the September long weekend. Whatever you are doing, please stay safe and be responsible as always!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Informed

Yesterday’s news from the Scottish Government may have come as a surprise to some but whether you were expecting it or not, there is no doubt that this will feel disappointing and stressful to some. Those hard won freedoms look like they may be on shaky ground again and it’s more important than ever that we follow Government guidance in order to bring the R number down and continue to make progress. To that end, the Colony of Artists committee is meeting this weekend to discuss if any elements of the festival can go ahead whilst complying with the new rules or whether a delay would be more appropriate. Whatever is decided, Abbeyhill will not be taking part this year in a physical sense and have instead prepared window decorations and an online presence, curated by Iliyana Nedkova. Look out for our busy buzzing bees around the community!

Last week we got a lot of positive responses to #WakeUpWednesday on Twitter where I posted some infographics on some of the  social media apps that are most popular with children and young people. There was a new one I’d never heard of and as both a teacher and a parent it reminded me that the only way to support children to navigate the online world effectively is to make sure we keep up with it as much as possible and are prepared to have open and honest conversations about the hidden dangers, as well as enjoy the fun the internet has to offer. To today’s generation of young people, the online world is as real as the physical one and just as much support is needed to navigate it safely and enjoyably.

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This week Mr Donald-Hewitt spent his second day with us and enjoyed spending some time in P1 getting to know the class. With limited contacts per day allowed, he will spend time with P4 and P7 over the next two weeks and then catch up with the other classes once he starts on the 28th September. I’m finding it hard to believe that I only have two weeks left at work and just hope that I can get through my ‘to do’ list before I start maternity leave! 

I enjoyed spending some time in P7 yesterday where we had a lot of interesting discussion around the topic of change as we explored the final ‘Building Resilience’ topic of Expect the Unexpected. The P7s talked maturely about sudden change versus expected change and how we can prepare ourselves or support each other through it. There was some mention of sore legs following their 5k march around Holyrood Park the day before (all within the 2 mile limit of school) but on the whole the fresh air and fun seemed to have done everyone good. Everyone is looking forward to the next one and trying to beat Alan’s step count; somehow he managed to do almost double the rest of the class! 

Have a lovely weekend and remember, although the new rules do not come into force until Monday 14th September, we’re all being encouraged to follow them immediately. Stay safe everyone!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

(The New) Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

….and we’re all very glad about it! The rain is lashing down as I write this and it feels that the ‘summer’ holidays are a distant memory already! Nevertheless, it’s been fantastic to welcome all of our staff and families back to school over the last few days and we’re all excited to start our first full week back together. Some of our families are observing a quarantine period after arriving home from abroad and we thank them for this. We’ve seen from Aberdeen and other places in England just how fragile our newly restored freedoms are and we all have to play our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy as we journey back towards a ‘normal’ life. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated several times already and set out clear information on what to do in the case of suspected symptoms appearing as well as what course of action we will take in school. This is designed to reassure and not to alarm anyone.

As well as welcoming everyone back, we’re also thinking of those who have moved on who didn’t get the send off that they were expecting, although we did our best to make things special given the circumstances! Good luck to Ms Stamati who starts a new teaching job in Greece next week, Ms El Sarrag who has retired from Abbeyhill, Ms Howson who secured a permanent post at Rowanfield school and all our P7s and leavers from other year groups who have started S1 or moved away from the area for new adventures. We will miss you! Goodbyes were counter-balanced with plenty of ‘Hellos’ though as we welcomed our new P1s and new pupils in other classes across the school – it’s lovely to bring you into the Abbeyhill community. Our new Nursery pupils will begin to settle in next week and we’re so excited to meet them too!

We were all pleased, and relieved, at how smoothly things went in general last week. There were a few hiccups as is to be expected when we changed (or abandoned) longstanding routines and there were last minute crises to keep us on our toes – such as essential paperwork for poor Mr McNeil not arriving in time for him to start with his class – but by and large we’ve resolved everything and the whole Abbeyhill community is pulling together brilliantly as always as we move forward. Mr McNeil is enjoying his first day in P3 today – phew!

Normally at this time of year we are sending out ‘Save the Date’ lists for all our key events from Meet the Teacher to our festive celebrations. I’m sure you will bear with us this term as changing guidance means that we can’t be certain what we’ll be able to offer and when although you can rest assured that we will find alternative ways to deliver events such as Parents’ Evening and the Nativity. I had a chat with Iliyana Nedkova, our Curator in Residence and P7 parents, about what Abbeyhill’s involvement in this year’s Colony of Artists Festival (19th & 20th September) might look like so watch this space for news on some exciting online exhibitions. Our whole school Art project ‘Bee Kind’, in line with our key values as well as the theme of the festival, should fit in beautifully and P4 have already made a strong start!

Bee Kind P4

Have a good week and as always, keep an eye on Scottish Government updates, the City of Edinburgh Council‘s website and social media accounts as well as NHS Inform for all the up to date information. You can keep in touch with us by phone or email, as well as our website and Twitter account.¬†

Best wishes,

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