Category Archives: Pupil Council

Red Nose fever!

RND

By the end of last week we were red nose, deeley bopper and wristband crazy for Comic Relief. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us to raise a whopping £400 for all the charities who benefit. Thanks also to our local Sainsbury’s who supported us and provided official RND tops for the staff! However, it was interesting to note David Attenborough’s words of warning about the encouragement of single use plastics, especially considering that RND fell on the same day as the second Students for Climate Change protest and next year we will consider whether Abbeyhill will be displaying painted red noses, rather than plastic ones, and donating the full amount to Comic Relief rather than the 50% which is currently received after the production and marketing costs for red noses and other merchandise are removed.

In other Abbeyhill news, we had a staff training session on Monday which was jointly run by both Mr Hamiltons and focussed on the evolving way we need to approach teaching internet safety. Some great new resources are coming out that will help children and adults to see all the opportunities that the virtual world can offer us, as well as the dangers. Just like the real world, it’s important to be able to look around and appreciate the amazing things you might see but also use common sense and have guidance on what to do when things go wrong. We’ll have information displayed for families this week when they come to visit us for Parents’ Evening.

On Thursday I took P4 for the day while Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald got stuck into the unenviable task of auditing our Maths resources. Mrs Flowers got very excited about all the things she found that had been hidden at the backs of the cupboards and by the end of the day they had planned an exciting Maths based family event for May so watch out for that when next term’s ‘Save the Date’ sheet comes out!

On Friday, we had a bumper awards assembly with certificates for everyone who took part in the fantastic Talent Show on 7th March as well as the introduction of the ‘Over and Above’ Award. A maximum of two children per class were nominated for this and had to have gone over and above in one or all of our school rules; Ready, Respectful, Responsible. With the grand prize of being allowed to sit on the chairs rather than the mats, it was all to play for and I think a lot of people will be upping their game this week! Well done to our first OAO winners. The Pupil Council also told everyone about how they had worked with Graham Construction to build a Bug Hotel in the wildlife garden. They explained how this had come about, told us about the building process and gave their top tips for keeping it (and all the bugs who come to stay) safe.

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This week, as well as Parents’ Evening, we have trips to the Collective Gallery, ongoing engagement with professional artists in school as part of our Artists-In-Residence programme in preparation for the Colony of Artists in September, filiming will start for the ‘Power of Yet’ video, it’s World Poetry Day on Thursday, a familiar face will be popping in to advise me on how can begin to address gender balance at Abbeyhill (Mrs Lansdown!) and we have a special guest from Changeworks who is going to talk to us about our ongoing drive to reduce plastics. Phew! Check our next blog post to see how it all went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mummies!

It’s Science, Technology, Engineering and MATHS really but P4 had such a great time at the Ancient Egyptians exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland yesterday that it had to be included in the title of the blog! They’ve been waiting for a long time for it and it brought learning to life following their detailed project earlier in the session. They were full of excitement when they got back from the museum with quite a few children saying that they wanted to go back to the museum this weekend for a second look!

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Primary 6 and 7 became STEM detectives (hence our blog title!) on Thursday in a day of activities involving code breaking, rocket building and car designing.  Each activity involved group work, creativity and excellent communication skills. It was great to see the Primary 6s and 7s working so well together throughout the day. Highlights included launching rockets in the playground and using eggs as crash test dummies. This was a thoroughly enjoyable day with the children representing our school very well. Watch this space for a STEM themed event for P4 and P5 very soon!

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If you follow the Pupil Council on Twitter @AbbeyhillPupilC then you may have spotted our post about Abbeyhill Decides, inspired by Leith Decides. Simon from Parent Council came along to help Pupil Council decide how to spend the money that the PC had raised at last month’s Burns Supper. They decided to split the money into 3 and give £120 to the Early, 1st and 2nd levels. Our P6 and P7 reps decided to spend the money on art and technology materials while our P2 and P3 reps are going to order some learning board games and puzzles to enhance their problem solving skills. P6 and P7 are going to help their Early Level buddies decide what to spend their money on so keep an eye on the blog for more information!

Fianlly, don’t forget to keep up to date with our Artists-in-Residence programme and read all about about our two new artists-in-residence. Zu has just started her comic book residency with P5 and Joanna is our environmental artist in residence in P1. Joanna will be working with our plastic straws in a new underwater project re: the plastic pollution in our oceans.

We also hope to bring Joanna’s highly celebrated plastic cups constellation light and sound installation to Abbeyhill; perhaps you recognise it if you saw her recent exhibition of this installation at Summerhall?

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Tickets are now on sale for the Parent Council Talent Show and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant event so make sure you get your.

Next week, Pupil Council reps are building a bug hotel with Graham Construction and P6 are going to Drummond CHS for breakfast and a treasure hunt so check back next week to see how everyone got on!

Sally Ketchin, Head 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

Drowning in plastic!

Drowning in plastic

(Yes, we did have lots of fun creating this photo!)

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that we were inspired as a school to start challenging the amount of plastic straws that we were getting through on a daily basis following our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly topic back in September. You may remember that it all started when P4 brought a small pot of straws to our sharing assembly and told everyone that the way that they had decided to make a difference  was for the 6 children who took milk each day to pour it out into a cup, rather than use the cartons and straws. They then collected the straws in the pot (below). Those 6 straws per day added up surprisingly quickly and we were all shocked by how many they had collected in such a small space of time, from so few children.

milk straws

This is what 6 straws per day over just a few weeks looks like

We did some calculations and worked out that we could save arund 1,600 straws by the end of October (5 weeks) if we all followed P4’s example. So, each child who took milk was provided with a cup, cup washeruppers* were duly appointed in each class and we all began the challenge enthusiasically. By the end of the 5 weeks, we had in fact collected 2,312 straws (as we had forgotten to factor lunchtime milk into the original calculation) and we vowed not to go back to our old ways. It took a few weeks after that but I am delighted to announce that Abbeyhill is MAKING A DIFFERENCE to the environment as we have now got an agreement with the dairy who supply our milk (Muller) that they will give us large 6 pint jugs of milk, exactly as you would buy at the supermarket, instead of the little cartons. In the time it took to make that arrangement, the straws kept piling up and we had over 4,000 which helped us create our ‘Drowning in Plastic’ photo at the top of the page. Don’t worry, they are certainly not going to landfill as one of our artists-in-residence has grand plans for them. Come and see them as part of the Colony of Artists festival in September 2019!

We only have 70 children across the school who take milk every day and look how much plastic we’re stopping getting to landfill.  If you’re an Edinburgh school being supplied by Muller, why don’t you take up the Abbeyhill challenge and see if you can make a difference too?

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

*Mrs Ketchin’s made up word of the day

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…