Category Archives: Pupil Council

Remember remember…to stay safe on 5th November!

Be like P7 and stay safe with sustainable, non-fire fireworks!

It’s the 5th November so enjoy those Covid safe fireworks displays with (hopefully) plenty of hot chocolate and dazzling displays. But as always, take care and make sure that the organiser of the event knows what they are doing as not treating fireworks with care can be extremely dangerous.

Abbeyhill Ambassadors met yesterday to pull together all the information that has been gathered from classes on what matters most to us at school, which we’re using to create our own version of the School Improvement Plan (SIP). Lots of learners had given their opinions on what they like and what they’d like to change at school. The Ambassadors and I had a further conversation about this with a few final suggestions being made and then they voted on the issues that they would like to focus on. Clear themes of emotional wellbeing and our outside environment emerged which gives a clear focus for our work this year. The learner version of the SIP (catchier name to be decided at the next meeting!) will be shared with the whole school community and will also include references to the main SIP so that everyone understands what we’re working towards. Make sure you follow the Abbeyhill Ambassadors on twitter @AbbeyhillPupilC to keep up with what they’re doing throughout the year.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the world premiere of P7’s Imaginary Cityscape film which they created with Aga Miekiewicz as part of our Polski Artist in Residence. Thank you to Robert Motyka of Wee Dog Media who put the film together in his studio. It was lovely to watch the reactions of the P7s as they recognised their own and each other’s artwork and their amazement when they saw how Robert had been able to take a still image and animate different parts of it. It led to an interesting discussion on what kind of skills and attributes artists and film makers need, as part of P7s focus on the world of work. Who knows, we could have inspired a future documentary maker or Oscar winner! The film will be shared at some point online and entered into various film competitions so, sadly, it has to remain a secret for now.

Thank you to the parents who were able to log into the Parent Council AGM on Tuesday evening. The discussion was as lively as ever with lots of ideas and achievements being showcased. Thank you so much to Ann Pratt who chaired the evening and thank you to Ann, Charlene and Ali who are stepping down as office bearers but will support anyone else who would like to take more of a lead role in Parent Council. Parent Council is an important bridge between the school and parent body and we couldn’t do what we do without them so any new members are always welcome. The next meeting is on 18th January 2022 so I have sadly attended my Abbeyhill Parent Council session but I have to thank all the members, past and present, who have supported me and the school so well over the years and will continue to do so into the future.

Next week I’ll be talking about Book Week Scotland and Road Safety Week which both start on Monday 15th November so please check back for more!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Fire(pit) in the playground!

Don’t worry, I was assured it was completely safe and all the risk assessments were in place. P7 are having a fantastic time this morning cooking apples with cinnamon as well as bananas with chocolate (delicious, thank you for mine P7!) in the fire pit, which they been taught how to safely light. This experience is part of their weekly Friday Outdoor Learning sessions which are proving to be so beneficial in terms of learning as well as physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

We had an exciting online assembly yesterday where this year’s Abbeyhill Ambassadors were announced. Each class from P1-5 has 2 Ambassadors each and P6 & 7 have 4 as they take on the dual role of Ambassador and Vice/house Captains. Our first meeting is next week so watch this space to hear more about the projects they will work on this session. They will include creating a child-friendly version of our School Renewal Plan as well as a special interest project which the Ambassadors themselves will choose. They will also be tasked with gathering and sharing the views of their class on lots of different aspects of school life so they will be kept extremely busy!

We had interviews for a member of staff in the Nursery; congratulations to Miss Barclay who was successful and will now remain with us on a permanent basis. We also interviewed for a Breakfast Club Assistant and will be delighted to welcome Miss Page as soon as her paperwork is complete.

Well done to everyone who took part in the Colony of Artists festival last weekend, whether it was visiting exhibits in gardens or viewing virtual galleries. Thank you so much to Dave Pratt and Iliyana Nedkova who decorated our windows with our artwork as part of the festival – they look beautiful!

Our Nursery and class newsletters were sent home today by email so please check your inboxes for those. Another NHS Warn and Inform letter was also sent home and is on this website under the Covid-19 tab.

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Mindful pretzels

Our first full week of term has certainly been full! New children have arrived each day to start Nursery, our P1s have done a week of full days, we’ve had our first assemblies of the session and our first trips are being planned. P5 are even rehearsing a play!

On Monday, we launched the concept of Abbeyhill Ambassadors which will amalgamate the roles of Pupil Council and House Captains. Our Ambassadors will be the first port of call for special responsibilities and everyone who has applied is excited at the prospect of doing even just some of the activities that Pupil Council carried out last year; they took part in Abbeyhill Decides with Simon Preston (Chair of our Parent Council), launched the 2045 climate agreement with MSPs, built a bug hotel with Graham Construction, met with Councillor Alison Dickie to talk about what makes Abbeyhill and Edinburgh a special place to be, took receipt of our Christmas bikes, inspired other schools with our campaign to ban plastic straws from the school AND did a #2minutestreetclean. Our 2019-20 Ambassadors are going to have their work cut out to top that! Successful Ambassadors will be announced in assembly on Monday so check back next week for further news.

We’ve started to use the ‘Yoga Pretzels’ resource to complement our Mindfulness programme which runs from P1-P7. Nursery have their own yoga teacher and yoga is starting to creep upwards through the school as well. The staff even had a few taster sessions at the end of last term!

Outdoor learning is being promoted more heavily this year with a focus on regular opportunities to learn outside, whether it be in our playground or slightly further afield. On Monday next week, the teaching staff are having their first development session of the year with Robert May, Holyrood Ranger where we’ll explore the vast array of experiences that can be provided at no cost just a stone’s throw from our back gate. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for some photos of the activities we’ll be trying out!

This week we even had our first (slightly) wet break outdoors with staff and children commenting that they preferred to be out in the rain and getting fresh air than being cooped up inside all day. We’re very lucky to have lots of natural shelter at Abbeyhill for the heavier downpours and we’re hoping to make it through the year without having to retreat indoors for anything less than severe weather.

See you next week with updates on everything mentioned above as well as the theme of the story from Russell McLarty at Monday’s assembly and information on a potential STEM project with Education Scotland!

 Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Goodbye, good luck and happy holidays!

Phew, we’ve crossed the finish line! On our final run up it was busy of course (we don’t know any other way at Abbeyhill) with a final John Muir Award session for P5, trips to the Apple Store, the Meadows and bowling – not to mention Loose Parts Stay and Play and a firepit in the Nursery garden! P7 performed their Leaving Assembly to the school and to their families before celebratring in the evening with the annual BBQ and water fight. We also hosted the Scottish Government Education Council meeting on Tuesday; thanks to Amein and Rosa who did the Pupil Council proud as they showed John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, round Abbeyhill.

Today we were proud to wave our P7s off and wish them the very best of luck as they take their next steps in life. Their high schools are lucky to have them and we look forward to hearing about how they are getting on. Thank you to Leighann Dudley for piping them out; it’s always an emotional ending but makes the last few moments at primary school very special. Thank you as well to the Parent Council who gifted each P7 with a personalised Abbeyhill t-shirt which was presented to them as they left –  a few were being sported before they even left the grounds!

Despite not being a fan of being the centre of attention, we were able to persuade Mrs Macdougall to join the P7 procession as she retired today after 24 years at Abbeyhill. There have been lots of staff celebrations to mark the occasion and I know that she very much appreciates the kind words, goodbye hugs and gifts she received from families. We also said goodbye to Mr Marin and Miss Chmielecka who have been with us for a year on EECLA and MA teaching placements. We wish them all the very best and hope that whichever road they take, it leads back to Abbeyhill one day. Finally, we waved farewell to Miss Stephen who left us to move to Glasgow. Good luck Miss Stephen – you have made a massive impact at Abbeyhill and we will all miss you. You leave behind a Loose Parts Play legacy, not to mention the Shaky Hand Gang!

Next term, we’re very excited to explore some new community partnerships with Edinburgh University and Holyrood Palace, as well as to continue to strengthen and develop existing ones with Russell McLarty, The Mindful Enterprise, The Collective Gallery and the Holyrood Ranger Service to name but a few. When we get back, we’ll be gearing up for our annual involvement in the Colony of Artists festival which is the chance for all our pupils to present everything that they have done over the course of the year with our professional artists in residence, all organised by our Curator in Residence, Iliyana Nedkova. We’ll be starting our #NoIndoorBreaks challenge as well so make sure you add ‘waterproof coat’ to your back to school shopping list!

Whether you’re at home or abroad, I hope you have a happy and safe summer holiday and I look forward to seeing everyone when we resume in August. It’s been an amazing year filled with exciting new experiences and we can’t wait to do it all again!

Sally Ketchin                                                                                                                  Head Teacher

The countdown is on!

What a lovely weekend of sunshine to get us excited for the summer holidays! The rain this morning acted as a timely reminder that we still have quite a bit to do before we finish on Friday though…

Last week we were lucky to have a chance to talk about what we love about Abbeyhill and Edinburgh, as well as share ourthoughts on what is important to us. The Pupil Council met with Councillor Alison Dickie in her role as Vice-Convener of Education, Children and Families and they were all fantastic ambassadors for Abbeyhill as they described the work we have been doing on mindfulness and yoga (practical demonstration enthusiastically delivered by Jack) and the positive impact that our new behaviour approach, which centres around restorative conversations, has had across the school.

 

From Tuesday – Thursday, the school was uncharacteristally quiet as the Primary 7s were out on their 3 day visit to their new schools! This is an annual event and gives P7s across the city a taster of what life as an S1 will be like. Although we have done lots of transition events over the year and P7 have been visiting Drummond regularly since they were in P5, the reality hadn’t truly set in that they were taking the next step in their journey but I’m pleased to say that they all came back to Abbeyhill full of excitement about what’s to come.

We had our Welcome meeting for new P1 parents on Thursday and it was lovely to see and meet new families. Lots of our new P1s are in our Nursery but we also have new friends joining us which is very exciting. Meanwhile, the rest of the school did a swapped classes and classrooms so that all the teachers could take their new class to their new classroom for an hour. Mr Scott-Woodhouse and Ms Stamati joined us and lots of parents took the opportunity to come in and meet them so that they could put a face to a name. Thank you to the parents who suggested that this would be a good idea; next year we will take this a step further and make sure that there is a chance for every teacher to get the chance to meet families rather than just wave in the playground! We also have our Meet the Teacher event in September and the planning is well underway for this already.

We had our final Parent Council of the session on Wednesday which was a chance to reflect on everything that has been achieved this year, from Burns Suppers, playground makeovers and the Garden Party to supporting and organising new clubs, tidying play sheds and buying new equipment for the school and playground. Thank you to the Parent Council; we’re all excited to see what 2019-20 brings.

The week ended on a high note as 2 lucky children from every class attended the Edinburgh and Lothians School Film Competition with the film ‘We Love Abbeyhill’ which was produced by Oliver Ridgewell. A chance to go to the Filmhouse to see all the films that had been produced with and by young people across the Lothians area would have been enough of a treat in itself so imagine the excitement levels when we WON the ‘Best Group Effort’ category! Well done to Oliver who worked so hard on it, as well as to all the children and staff who took part.

This week will be incredibly busy as we prepare to say goodbye to the P7s, Miss Stephen and Mrs Macdougall. Lots of different adventures await them and we hope that they remember their time at Abbeyhill as a happy one.

Sally Ketchin                                                                                                                  Head Teacher