Category Archives: Pupil Council

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

Roll up, roll up….

Did you buy a raffle ticket from P6? If not, you must have done a very good job of hiding from the ticket sellers over the last few weeks as they have made over £700! It’s not surprising as the prizes were fantastic. There were signed football and rugby balls, a digital camera, family passes for Pizza Express, Nandos and Gusto, cash prizes from £25 – £75 and more! Well done to Mr Hamilton, Miss Macdonald and P6 who have worked hard to prepare and promote it. Well done to all the winners and thank you so much to everyone who supported it by buying tickets and of course to the businesses who made such generous donations. Expect thank you letters very shortly!

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We have had a lovely week with lots of outdoor activity at Abbeyhill. Last Saturday we had the fantastic and much anticipated Summer Garden Party which was organised down to the last hot dog by the Parent Council. It was a brilliant day and everyone who came had a great time! Thanks so much to everyone who supported the school by donating baking or tombola prizes (special shout out to Mrs Pender and her beautiful knitted ‘upside down’ doll) and to those who helped on the day. We especially appreciated our special guests from the Ranger Service, Fire and Police Scotland!

 

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Thankfully the weather was brighter this week and we had our Sports Day in Holyrood Park. It was a brilliant afternoon and once again, we all agreed that we love the new location. Thank you to Mr Martin for supporting Mrs Souness with all the planning and organising and to Mr Martin for getting it all ready on the day as Mrs Souness is now on maternity leave. Thank you to all the families who came along to cheer us on and a special well done to the adults who braved the family race! It got very competitive….

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Yesterday I had a lovely morning with the Nursery group whose turn it was to go on Forest Adventures. I discovered new areas of Holyrood Park I’d never have thought to go looking for and experienced for myself the difference that being outdoors can make to emotional and mental wellbeing. This is the second year that we have done this in the Nursery and the staff are looking forward to taking it forward in August. If your child is in Nursery, ask them to show you the secret fairy garden, or where the horses live! Make sure you wear your walking shoes….Nursery don’t shy away from a trek!

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The Pupil Council were third time lucky today as they finally did their ‘2 minute litter pick’ on Abbey Street. Our previous two attempts had to be rained off! We collected what looks like a small amount of litter but once we had multiplied it by the whole of Edinburgh, then Scotland and realised that we collected it in 120 seconds on one small street we realised that it represented a lot of single use plastic; lots of sweet wrappers, cigarette butts (which contain plastic), a straw, a fruit snack pot, a teabag (which should be in food waste) and one poor woodlouse who got swept up in all the excitement! (Don’t worry, she was released safely). Thank you to the Pupil Council who helped prepare for the event and welcomed two P6s who have been dabbling in ‘flashmob’ playground litter picks this term!

 

 

Check back next week to see how Abbeyhill’s first staff yoga session went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

(Summer Garden) PARTY TIME!

It’s finally here! Tomorrow it’s our Summer Garden Party and after the success of last year’s event, we expect it to be very busy! Thank you so much to the Parent Council who have organised the whole thing which is a huge amount of work. We hope to see lots of you from 12 – 3pm in the playground! Hopefully the weather will be on our side and at least stay dry so we can have more luck than we did on Tuesday. We were very sad to postpone Sports Day and it was especially frustrating that the sun was out by the time the time we should have started rolled round but we had to make a decision at the time based on the information we had and the recommendations of the Ranger Service. However, Sports Day will go ahead next week come rain or shine (unless it’s REALLY rainy) so please get your suncream and your waterproofs and everything in between ready for Tuesday!

Something that wasn’t weather dependent this week was our visit from Catherine Gemmel from the Marine Conservation Society who spoke to us about leatherback turtles. Catherine told us lots of facts about the turtles and taught us how to spot one in the wild. Did you know that the change in climate can affect whether or not male or female turtles are produced? Warmer temperatures produce female turtles, while colder temperatures produce males.

Catherine Gemmell

Catherine told us about the dangers leatherback turtles face as a result of plastic pollution and we were shown some sad photographs of some turtles who had mistaken plastic bags for jellyfish. We’re proud that we already do a lot in our school to help reduce the amount of single use plastic reaching landfills and our oceans. The smallest change can make a big difference for our marine life.

P6 and P7 teams also attended the Interscholastics event at George Watson’s College on Monday and did a fantastic job of representing the school. We didn’t make it into any of the finals but everyone had a great time and plenty of fresh air so it was still classed as a successful morning! Thank you to Mr Martin and Mr Hamilton for taking the teams.

Check back next week to read about how the Summer Garden Party and the re-scheduled Sports Day went, as well as an update on P5s John Muir Award, the Pupil Council litter pick (foiled by heavy rain again yesterday, 3rd time lucky), a trip to Gorgie Farm for a lucky few and my first time out on Forest Adventures with Nursery!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher