Winding down for the holidays? Not yet!

What with Victoria Day on Monday and the school being closed to pupils yesterday while the building was used as a polling station, it has been a very quick week! We’ve still managed to fit in Health Week and have had activities such as Parcours, Yoga and Judo creating a buzz around the school. Next week Sports Day is scheduled for Tuesday and we’re all hopeful that the weather will be on our side! Mrs Souness has left us to wait for the arrival of her baby so Mr Martin is in charge…no pressure Mr M!

If you have seen our newsletter today, you’ll have read that as well as Mrs Souness starting her maternity leave, we’ll also be saying goodbye to Miss Chmielecka at the end of term as she finishes her placement with us and Mrs Macdougall has made a big decision as she plans to retire in June. Mrs Macdougall has been at Abbeyhill for 24 years and it is very hard to imagine school without her! She’s not sure what she will do with her time yet but I have offered to put her on our speed dial in case we need a supply teacher. So we think she’ll very quickly find things to do! I know that Mrs Macdougall has worked with many families over the years and I hope that lots of you will find opportunities over the next 5 weeks to say goodbye to her.

As you will read, or have read, in the newsletter, we still have lots of exciting things to come before the end of term. The Parent Council Summer Garden Party is on Saturday 1st June  (with our new choir’s first public performance), caterpillars are turning into butterflies in the Nursery, P1 are tackling STEM through their new topic, P2 are looking forward to their Imaginate theatre trip to see The Invisible Man, P3 are embedding the work we have done this year on ‘Building Resilience’, P4 have started a new topic with a typically ‘crafty’ flair, P5 are working towards completing their John Muir award with Rob the Ranger in Holyrood Park, P6 are planning a trip to the Edinburgh Central Mosque and P7 have a huge amount going on as they plan and prepare their final assembly of the year, indulge in a few treats and trips, look forward to their 3 day high school visit and plan the menu for their end of year BBQ!

So, 5 weeks and plenty still to do. Keep reading and see how we get on!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

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

Water + Apple = STEM

Welcome back for the summer term! I hope that you all had a relaxing two week break and are ready for the summer term. We certainly are at Abbeyhill! On Tuesday, our first day back, P4 wasted no time and got dived straight back into school with a STEM themed day where they investigated Newton’s Third Law of Motion by creating bottle rockets and tested them in the playground. Watch the video on our Twitter page to see how high they went!

Continuing with STEM, yesterday P6 went on a fantastic trip to the Apple Store on Princes Street. The children worked in teams of 3 to programme a Sphero (imagine a crazy robotic ball that is controlled by an iPad) to make its way around a complicated maze. There was a lot of trial and error to get there and it really helped all of the children to refresh their memory of angles, whilst learning about coding and programming. It was agreed almost unanimously when they got back to school that it was the best trip we have been on this year so far and we would all love to go back again. The class enjoyed it so much that Mr Hamilton and I have already been looking into buying some Spheros for the school, so we can start to teach more about coding and programming at Abbeyhill. If anyone is interested in learning more about this, the Apple Store run free workshops for children on Friday afternoons and during the weekends where they can try this and other activities out for themselves.

Next week, P5 start work on the John Muir Award in Holyrood Park and Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald host Abbeyhill first ever Maths Quiz! It promises to b epopular and tickets are limited so please make sure you return your slip to secure a place.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, let’s hope the forecast is wrong and it’s another sunny one!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Happy Holidays!

We had such a dramatic end to term at Abbeyhill that I ran out of time to write our blog entry! Hopefully you all have some exciting holiday activities planned, whether at home or further afield. Everyone can look forward to sharing their tales when school and Nursery resumes on Tuesday 23rd April. If you are a parent at the school and you receive school emails, you will have seen the What’s On for Families Spring guide to some free or cheap holiday activities in the North-East of Edinburgh but please have a look if you haven’t seen it and need some inspiration.

During our final week of term, we were all busy as usual with P4 taking some time to plant wildflowers using seeds that they had packaged themselves. Hopefully we’ll get back in a few weeks to see a few shoots emerging!

They were also delighted to officially receive their certificates for making their fivers grow as part of the Virgin Money ‘Make a Fiver Grow’ drive to increase young entrepreneurs…

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…but still had time to get very creative with some real eggs before Easter! Well done P4.

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On Tuesday, I visited Broomhouse Primary School as part of the Leading Learning Partnership programme that all Edinburgh Head Teachers undertake. It was so interesting to spend the morning in a completely different type of school and compare strengths with Abbeyhill.

As well as everything going on in school, Mrs Peters and I took a group of P5-7 swimmers to the Royal Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday to take part in the Edinburgh Primary Schools Swimming Association Gala and as always, it was a fantastic event for everyone who took part. Our team did fantastically, getting into the finals for 2 out of the 3 strokes we competed in. We didn’t come home with any medals this time but come 1st and 2nd in those heats and had a great time so we were happy enough with that!

We also had Parent Council on Wednesday evening, discussing plans for the summer term, the Big Spring Clean and after school club. Please check the Parent Council Facebook page and playground notice board for more details!

And finally, thank you to everyone who supported P6 on 31st March at Stockbridge Market. They did so well, manning the stall all day and providing service with a smile even when energy levels were flagging. They made nearly £600 profits which is one of our best efforts yet and will go a long way towards the cost of camp later in the year. Well done P6!

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Have a lovely holiday, whatever your plans; I look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Tuesday 23rd April.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher