Category Archives: Primary 4

Imagination is the key

What a treat we’ve had today! We all went to the nearby Meadowbank Parish Church for a special concert with Fischy Music and heard the debut performance of ‘Imagination’ which P4 wrote from scratch and recorded with Margaret and Christy from Fischy. P4 (or ‘Baby Alien’ which is their official band name) gave a fantastic performance and managed not to be distracted by the fact that they were being beamed up onto big screens for everyone to see. We all had a brilliant time, dancing and singing along – including the staff and parents who managed to join us!

Of course, some of us had our Pudsey ears on as it is BBC Children in Need today. Mrs Brotherston and Mrs Pender got into the spirit of it as always and have had a bit of extra attention from the traffic as they have carried out their lollipop duties! Thanks also to Miss Macdonald, Mrs Lyall and Mrs Macdougall for organising our Children in Need toy sale yesterday; we raised £135 and all leftover toys will go to a local charity as suggested by Luca as part of our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly block.

Yesterday, I was delighted to welcome a small group of parents for our first ‘Parents Lunch’. It was lovely to have a sociable lunch together whilst giving them a chance to experience what their children do each today, including lining up and being reminded what they had ordered! They gave good feedback on the food and the experience and next time I plan to run it at the same time as the school lunchtime to give families a rare opportuntity to enjoy a weekday lunch together!

On Wednesday, we had our Parent Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) and there will be an opportunity to vote for new post holders at the next meeting in January. Thank you to Vlad who has stepped down after doing a sterling job as treasurer for several years, as well as to all the parents who have joined us and are doing such an amazing job of supporting the school.

Also on Wednesday, I spent the day at a National Improvement Framework conference for all Edinburgh Head Teachers where the new ‘Edinburgh Learns’ policy was launched and discussed at length. Edinburgh Learns encourages a renewed focus on learning and teaching which is the core business of all schools. Although we all felt the pressure that being out of school for the day brings (not least in the mounting pile of unanswered emails!), we all agreed that it was a valuable professional experience. As a staff, we shall explore Edinburgh Learns over the coming weeks and months.

Next week I am going to Buckstone Primary for a reciprocal visit following my hosting a group other Head Teachers a few weeks ago and I’m looking forward to seeing further good practice and having follow up professional dialogue. Back in school, it’s Book Week Scotland and Mr Martin will be launching an exciting week of activities in assembly on Monday. Check back next week to see what we get up to!

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…

Making a Difference

This week we have finished our block of ‘Making a Difference’ assemblies but we’re far from finished making a difference! Each class was asked to come up with ways to make a difference together and every family was asked to think of ways they could help their community. Today in assembly we all heard brilliant stories of our children helping neighbours to tidy up their gardens after Storm Ali had wreaked havoc, walking a neighbour’s dog, giving unwanted toys to another child and taking a homeless person something to eat and drink. We talked about the fact that although those things feel small, they will have meant a great deal to the people involved and it may inspire them to do soemthing to make a difference themselves.

There are some brilliant plans afoot to make a difference in classes and some that have already got started. P2 have been collecting litter in the playground and after the weather we’ve had this week they have had their work cut out collecting bits that have blown in off the street! P7 are starting a break and lunchtime play programme from Monday which will run every lunchtime and Friday morning breaks. The P7s have a rota for who is on ‘play duty’ and the games will change each day. I think they’ll have to exercise crowd control on Monday! P1 have been looking at food waste and we’re hoping that our school food waste bin will arrive any day now, swiftly followed by our packaging bin.

P4 opened our eyes to the amount of plastic that we’re using with our daily milk and, despite only 6 children in the class having milk each day, they have collected a small bucket full of straws in the 3 weeks that we’ve been focussing on Making a Difference in assembly.milk straws

After assembly, I worked out that over the school year, P1-7 use an unbelievable 16,575 straws, all made of plastic and packaged in plastic. So, with P4, we’ve made a plan that from Monday we will use re-usable drinking cups in every class and collect the straws that we would have used. Thank you to Mr Forrest who found enough cups for everyone in a cupboard! Check back in a month to see how big the pile is and what our next steps are…

Don’t forget that this weekend is the Colony of Artists festival. The school is a venue and it’s looking fantastic! Please come and visit us as well as the rest of the artists who take part, including lots of Abbeyhill children! Check back next week for some fantastic photos.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher