Category Archives: Pupil Council

Hello Sunshine

What a lovely week it has been! Let’s hope that the weather defies the forecast and stays sunny for the long weekend. Please remember that the school is closed on Monday 20th May for Victoria Day and we are also closed to pupils on Thursday 23rd May as we are a polling station for the European Elections.

Over the last few weeks we’ve had lots going on as always. We’ve had staff development sessions on Mindfulness, Gender Balance and Equality, supporting learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL) as well as planning for the end of this session and the beginning of next. As a staff, we evaluate our progress in our Standards and Quality report (which will be shared on our website by the end of the term) and set targets for improvement with a plan of how to achieve those targets. Again, this will be shared on our website. Before this happens, Parent Council will be asked to cast their eye over relevant sections so if you are interested in this process or would like to contribute, please don’t miss the next Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 19th June.

Before that happens, Parent Council are busily preparing for the Summer Garden Party on 1st June and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant day! An email/letter went out earlier in the week asking for willing volunteers so please let the team know if you would like to get involved. Otherwise we will see you on the day for such fun as ‘soak the teacher’ (oh dear), BBQ, tombola, crazy hair stall, bake sale, a police van, fire engine and garden games!

In preparation for this, the Parent Council held a Playground Makeover event last weekend and would like to thank everyone who managed to come along and help. Lots was achieved including a new sand table being created, new herbs planted, benches and railings planted. They even managed to move the fence from the Wildlife Garden to the Nursery area and it looks fantastic!

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This week I’ve been out of school for two very worthwhile events; an Edinburgh Primary Head Teachers’ Association meeting on Tuesday where discussions ranged from school improvement planning to strategies for working more effectively, and a Health and Safety Conference where the focus was more towards health, particarly the mental health and emotional wellbeing of staff. Looking after ourselves enables us to do our jobs well and provide help and support to others. So I feel that I was one step ahead as earlier in the week I booked a yoga teacher to come in next month to do two staff taster sessions with a view to running a regular class after the summer holidays!

Russell McLarty also came to visit us in P4-7 assembly to talk about the next block of Chit Chat club which will run as an after school club for 3 weeks in June. If  you haven’t seen the letter/email for this already, please look out for it next week as places are limited and it was a very popular club last time it ran!

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Have a lovely long weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 21st May.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

And the winner is….the Unicorn Squad!

There was a lot of excitement in Abbeyhill this week, mainly revolving around BBC cameras, special visitors from the Scottish Government and (most exciting of all) Abbeyhill’s first ever Maths Quiz! Miss Macdonald organised and hosted this, ably assisted by Mrs Flowers, and it was a resounding success. We were delighted to see so many children and parents taking part in the quiz together. In fact, Miss Macdonald calculated that a third of our school roll from P1 to P7 attended which is fantastic. All of the teams did extremely well and showed off their amazing maths skills. We were particularly impressed with how the year groups worked together to ensure that all children in their team were given the opportunity to answer the questions at their level. A massive well done to the winning children’s team – ‘Unicorn Squad’ and the winning parent’s team – The Number Crunchers’. Maths related competitions such as ‘Guess how many Smarties in the jar’ and ‘How much does this splat ball weigh?’ got everyone’s attention and tested our estimation skills! Well done to the winning parent and child teams who were each only 2 points off a perfect score! There will definitely be another one so watch this space after the summer holidays…

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Back to those BBC cameras….. If you were watching Reporting Scotland yesterday, you might have spotted some familiar faces! On Thursday our Pupil Council were visited by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and Professor Keith Bell from the Committee on Climate Change. The children were told of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling climate change by 2045. Reporters from the BBC and STV news were also present alongside local and national press photographers.

Our Pupil Council representatives spoke very well about some of things we do in school to save our planet- recycling, switching off the lights and reducing plastic packaging in our snacks. Our guests were especially interested to find out about our single use plastic straw collection and the changes we have made during our milk time.

Several visitors commented on how polite, well-mannered and knowledgable our Pupil Council were. They did a fantastic job of representing our school and you can watch the clip which featured on BBC Scotland Lunchtime and Evening News here (from 57 seconds).

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Today, P5 rounded off the week with a Bake Sale in aid of a charity which is yet to be decided. They have discussed choosing a few and then splitting what they made between them. Everyone enjoyed visiting the classroom and choosing between some delicious looking home baking. One of Ellie’s raspberry and white chocolate muffins was very welcome with my coffee this morning!

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Please remember that Monday 6th May is a bank holiday and school is also closed to pupils on Tuesday 7th May while the staff carry out a variety of professional development activities. We’ll be reflecting on our work against the School Improvement Plan, refreshing our Mindfulness training with Gary from the Mindful Enterprise and exploring the concept of Gender Balance with Mrs Lansdown who is visiting from Education Scotland.

See you all back at school on Wednesday 8th May!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

When you only popped in for a loaf of bread…

RND…and end up with 1000 red noses (and forgot the bread). That’s what happened to Mr Hamilton last night when Sainsbury’s staff offered their left over noses to him free of charge and this morning P6 started excitedly ripping into them all, separating noses from boxes and packets. However, as had been hoped for, their mood changed when they realised just how much single use plastic had gone into the production of the noses. Their aim next week is to plan a piece of art, using as much of the plastic and as many noses as possible, to highlight the waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill. The whole activity strengthened P6’s resolve to find an alternative for the next RND campaign.

P6 have also been incredibly busy this week as they prepared for Stockbridge Market this weekend. Please go and support them if you are in the area on Sunday as they sell a range of products that they have made/enhanced/sourced themselves including hand-stitched cards, badges, tote bags and plants. All the funds raised will go towards their P7 camp in October.

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Despite the frantic hive of activity that has been the P6 classroom this week, they still found time to make homemade bread and soup in the Cooking Classroom! (Have any of them had time to go home this week?!)

On Tuesday, I met with Mrs Lansdown who came to visit as part of her new role with Education Scotland. She talked me through the work that she is doing with her team on gender balance in schools and is going to come to talk to the rest of the staff in May about how this can be achieved. Before starting at Abbeyhill, Mrs Lansdown had done a huge amount of work in this area in her previous school so it’s fantastic that through her work with Education Scotland she is now part of spreading the word nationally.

Pupil Council met today and we updated some of our display boards while talking about our plans for next term. As we have a dual school/environmental focus, we are planning to do a ‘2 minute street clean’ (inspired by the #2MinuteBeachClean movement) on Abbey Street as well as drumming up support for some new clubs that the Parent Council hope to start. Watch this space, as well as the Parent Council’s Twitter and Facebook pages for more details.

Next week is the last week of the Spring term and school finishes at the usual time on Friday 5th April before resuming for the summer term on Tuesday 23rd. Before we go though, there is just time for a re-scheduled Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 3rd, P7 have been lucky enough to secure tickets for the dress rehearsal of Matilda on Tuesday, I’m going to Broomhouse Primary on Tuesday as part of the Leading Learning Partnership that all Edinburgh Head Teacher’s work in AND it’s the annual swimming gala at the Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend and make sure that you visit P6 at Stockbridge Market on Sunday!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Red Nose fever!

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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