Category Archives: Team Spirit

Haggis-tastic!

Last night saw the third annual Parent Council Burns Supper and it was bigger and better than ever before! Thanks to our Parent Council Chair (who slaved over several hot stoves all day!) we ate a delicious meal of homemade roast cauliflower soup, traditional haggis, neeps and tatties, finished off with fruit and shortbread made by P1 in our Cooking Classroom – with all the cutlery presented in tartan cutlery holders handmade by P2. Tickets for dinner were sold out (as word has spread over the last few years) and we were delighted to welcome even more families for the ceilidh at 6pm. Before the dancing started, we were treated to performances of both traditional and contemporary Scots poems and songs by our very talented Abbeyhill pupils. We had had the dress rehearsal for this in school on Wednesday where every class from P1 – P7 prepared a performance piece with the highlights being P5’s enthusiastic rendering of ‘A Dug, A Dug!’ by Bill Keys and P6’s premiere of the song they helped to write as part of their involvement with the Burns and Beyond festival. £362 was raised for Parent Council funds and this will go towards the creation of our Outdoor Classroom which Mr Woodhouse is leading on. Well done everyone!

Speaking of which, P6 enjoyed their final event of the Burns and Beyond festival at the Assembly Rooms yesterday with pupils from Flora Stevenson’s, St Joseph’s and Corstorphine Primary Schools. The Bairns’ Burns Supper also included guests from the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Culture United.

Live music was featured as well as Burns poetry, guest speakers, traditional Burns Supper food and the showcase of each school’s creative ideas. It ended with a mass ceilidh with music from a live band and instructors from Dancebase before it was time to head back to school. Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic experience which we were very lucky to be part of (thanks to Miss Stamati being quick off the mark with Abbeyhill’s application!)

P1-3 were lucky enough to enjoy a visit from Generation Science on Thursday and experienced their ‘Get Fizzy’ workshop where they learned about mixing liquids and solids with often surprising results! We definitely have a few budding scientists at Abbeyhill – well done everyone!

Generation Science is the schools touring programme from the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Each year, they run interactive science workshops in schools all over Scotland from January to May and we always enjoy getting fully involved. This year the Science Festival will run from 4th – 19th April so make a note in your diaries!

Earlier in the week, I attended a Leadership Conference at our local Drummond Community High School and heard from inspirational speakers on a range of topics including assessment, middle leadership and Lesson Study, a practice originating in Japanese schools where several teachers work together to develop teaching practice in an agreed target area. It’s something we’re very keen to try at Abbeyhill so it was useful to hear more about it. Most interestingly was the acknowledgement that our young people learning in schools today need to be taught to foster creativity, critical thinking, be able to collaborate and communicate in order to be able to take successful next steps when they leave school and that the age of needing to retain endless facts may be coming to an end.

This week also saw a new Artist in Residence, Anna Danikwicz start work with P4. Anna will work with the class for 7 weeks and is a sculptor, ceramicist and writer so we’re very excited to see what she develops with the class. All the work produced with our Artists in Residence will of course be available to be viewed by the public at the Colony of Artists festival later this year (19th & 20th September 2020). Next week, P6 will be continuing work with Holly McCulloch from the Collective Gallery who we have built up a sustained and productive relationship with over the last 5 years. Check back here to see what they get up to!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

We’ll be doing plenty in 2020!

Welcome back to our Abbeyhill school community after what was hopefully an enjoyable holiday. The days are still dark but we’re drawing closer to spring and there are lots of exciting things to come this term. For instance, tickets are now on sale for the Parent Council Burns’ Supper later this month so please contact either the Parent Council or the main school office for more details of how to secure yours. This event has become very popular and involves delicious food that has been prepared in our Cooking Classroom, ceilidh dancing, an address to the haggis and the all-important Scottish poetry recitals! Poems are being selected this week before rehearsals begin in earnest next week and it’s possible that there may be some friendly rivalry between the classes as to who can remember all their words…watch this space! Vast swathes of tartan, kindly donated by Kinloch Anderson, have appeared in P2 which have been transformed into cutlery holders whilst P1 will be perfecting their recipe for home-made shortbread.

 

Next week, P7 will have a visit from Lifelong Learning Development Officer Alan Stewart, who will help them to complete a ‘Youth Talk’ along with 200 other children from the ’10 Villages’ area of Edinburgh. Alan will talk to them about the Neighbourhood Environment Programme and help them to communicate their own ideas for environmental improvements in their area. This is a hot topic in Abbeyhill, as indeed it is everywhere, so I’m confident that P7 will have plenty to say!

P6 will be heavily engaged with ‘Burns and Beyond’ with Miss Stamati as part of a wider Culture United project. They will visit Flora Stevenson’s Primary and the Assembly Rooms next week for dance rehearsals with the other 3 schools taking part before enjoying a Scottish Dance workshop on Friday where they will create a song and musical accompaniment with the main aim of building confidence, encouraging participation and having fun! They’re all looking forward to the ‘Bairns Burns’ Supper’ later in the month before welcoming international project delegates to Abbeyhill to talk through their experiences of learning about Scottish culture through such an exciting series of events.

I will be attending the annual schools launch of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (formerly known as Imaginate) to get a sneak preview of the festival programme and the opportunity to hear from the Festival Director. This festival gives us an opportunity for our children to access live theatre in various venues close to Abbeyhill and the performances are always of the highest quality. Check back next week to find out which shows we’re tipping to be the best this year!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

On the1,000th day of Christmas…

…that’s how it’s starting to feel! The term has raced past and we still have a lot to fit in before we finish on Friday. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported one (or all!) of our Christmas events so far; we’ve already been treated to a wonderful Nativity and last week we had the magical P7 Christmas ceilidh which was enjoyed by everyone as always. Everyone made such an effort and looked incredibly smart in kilts and dresses before doing Mr Chetwynd proud with their ceilidh dancing after all his training in PE. We missed Mr Hamilton but all his efforts to work with the P7s while they designed invitations, placemats and table decorations helped to create a truly wonderful evening.

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On Thursday, we took part in Underbelly’s Community Christmas and were wowed by a fantastic light show which was projected onto the side of the infant building whilst our very own choir sang. Mrs Flowers and Ms Howson ran a hot chocolate stand and we were pleased to raise £100 in school funds so thank you everyone who came along to support and enjoy the festivities. We’ve already signed up to take part next year!

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This week is full of parties and festive singalongs in assembly before we break up on Friday for the Christmas holidays. Thank you to each and every one of you who have supported Abbeyhill in some way over the last term and I look forward to seeing what 2020 bring for us!

Let the festivities begin (almost)!

It’s been a busy week in school with more merriment just around the corner as December kicks off next week! We’ve got the P1 Nativity, Christmas parties, Family Film Night, Community Christmas and the P7 Christmas Ceilidh all coming up over the next few weeks and I hope those of you who are part of the Abbeyhill school community will join us for what you can. Our choir is even getting the chance to perform live at Waverley Station as part of their Christmas lights switch on ceremony and I’m very much looking forward to going with them and Miss Macdonald.

I’ve spent time in the playground as well as in class with P3 and P6 this week and am looking forward to visiting P2 next week. I’ve also had the chance to teach P7 and P5 so it’s been a lovely week with lots of opportunities to speak to the children of Abbeyhill who help to make this such a lovely school to be a part of. I have also been compiling our class newsletter which will be sent home on Monday and it’s fantastic to read about just how much is going on in school that despite being in and out of classes all week I still didn’t know about!

On Tuesday I attended the funeral of a former colleague who had passed away unexpectedly very shortly after retiring earlier this year. He had devoted his working (and personal) life to enhancing the educational experiences of the young people he worked and volunteered with as well as raising a devoted family. Hearing friends, family and colleagues talk about him with such passion was an inspiration. It made me reflect on the reasons why we all do this hugely enjoyable but sometimes challenging job and be thankful for all the dedicated colleagues, professional partners and parents who support our children to be the very best that they can be every day.

Also on Tuesday, I attended the North East Locality Group which was a group of Parent Council representatives from this area. It was interesting to hear about the work being done at other schools and useful for parents to be able to compare experiences and make meaningful contributions; in this instance on the Edinburgh Children’s Partnership Children’s Services Plan (a very long title!). I fully expect that this will make it onto the agenda of our next Parent Council meeting at Abbeyhill!

Next week, please look out for our Class Newsletter and a festive edition of the Save the Date list which I know parents find helpful. I will also be attending a full day Respect for All  course (the Scottish Government’s refreshed anti-bullying guidance), visiting Ratho Primary as part of our Leading Learning Partnership and interviewing for Early Years Assistants posts, as well as watching the choir wow the crowds at Waverley and spending time in classes. There’s no slowing down for the holidays yet!

Have a lovely weekend,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Hitting the ground running, as always!

It’s been a short week for pupils but the staff returned from the October holidays on Monday and packed a lot of work into 2 days before normal service resumed. We completed First aid training, explored the new Dyslexia Guidelines, refreshed our knowledge of leading and managing trips near and far, attended a cluster Maths event (led in part by Miss Macdonald), recharged with some Mindfulness and had a discussion about staff wellbeing and workload. As soon as the children returned on Wednesday it was back to busy normality with Forest Adventures in the Nursery, a ‘Give Racism the Red Card’ workshop in P7, the start of an Edinburgh University Music project and the start of intense rehearsals for the choir in the run up to the festive season. I had an Abbeyhill Ambassadors meeting this morning and prepared them for a high level of duties next week…see below for everything we have got going on!

 

On Tuesday evening, a group of Abbeyhill-ers represented the school at the centenary celebrations for Save the Children. Along with Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, they paid tribute to the charity which supports children all over the world to grow, develop and become who they want to be – and has done for 100 years. We have personally benefited at Abbeyhill as Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag have delivered the StC ‘Families Connect’ programme for the last two years which has had positive feedback from all the families involved. Thank you to the parents and staff who went along on the night and supported as well.

 

If you enjoy the festive season and keep an eye on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website to see what’s coming up, you might have spotted that Abbeyhill is going to be part of Community Christmas and we’re very proud and excited to be one of only two schools in Edinburgh selected to take part. Our special night is going to be Thursday 12th December so watch out for more information as the time comes closer. Our choir will be performing and the outside of the school will be transformed with a magical light show.

I hope everyone comes back to school rested and refreshed and ready for a very busy week next week; we have Parents’ Evenings, P1 Open Day, a visit from some Panamanian teachers AND the Parent Council Halloween Parties. Not to mention the fact that most of the staff will be embarking on the October step-count challenge…there’s already a lot of competitiveness coming to the surface between the teams and it hasn’t even officially started yet! 

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher