Tag Archives: Abbeyhill Ambassadors

A day of goodbyes

It’s been an emotional one today in Abbeyhill! I have said my goodbyes after 7.5 fantastic years working as Head Teacher at Abbeyhill and we are also saying goodbye to 3 families who are all moving house and beginning new adventures in other schools within the next few weeks. A lot has changed since I started here in 2014, not least the children. Our current P7s were in Nursery when I began and it has been a pleasure to watch them grow in confidence and character, along with all our other class both old and young.

Despite a focus on moving on for a few of us, life at Abbeyhill has continued as normal this week. The P7s hit the bike trail in preparation for camp (yes, they can all remember how to cycle – tick), P3 looked at gender bias in the workplace as part of International Women’s Day as well as tackling the highest summit in the city – then rolling down it! We’ve also had a clear-out and been able to match lots of pre-loved uniform with new forever homes which fits well with our love of sustainability at Abbeyhill. I enjoyed a farewell party with the Abbeyhill Ambassadors yesterday who do such a fantastic job at representing the school. I’ve even left the bunting up to welcome Mrs Robertson on Monday!

In this week’s update to families, I have confirmed that Abbeyhill will ‘Wear It Silly’ for Comic Relief, knowing that a portion of the funds raised will go directly to the appeal for aid in Ukraine. The school will make a donation on behalf of everyone as well so families shouldn’t feel any pressure to donate money if they are not able to. Everyone can dress up as they like, in pyjamas, a superhero costume, onesies…it’s up to them!

And finally, thank you so much to all of you for your constant support of myself and the school, especially over the last few years which have held unprecedented challenges for us all. Abbeyhill is a wonderful place to be and I shall miss my incredible colleagues, the families that make up our school community and most importantly the brilliant children who I’ve had the privilege to spend so much time with.

My thanks and very best wishes to all of you, now and in the future.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Snow days to sunny days

On Tuesday we were commenting that there was real warmth in the sun and by Thursday we were battling blizzards to get to school! P3 made the most of the snow by bundling up in waterproofs and heading to the park which we are so lucky to have on our doorstep – it was just a shame the snow didn’t last long! They then headed back to school to work on their ISS models…check the P3 twitter feed for the finished articles. P6 and 7 also enjoyed heading to the park with the P3s and the importance of warm clothes for their upcoming trip to Lagganlia definitely hit home for some P7s….

P7 they also made ‘trench stew’ as part of their WW1 topic and even tried their hand at baking their own hard tack biscuits! Much to Mr Woodhouse’s surprise, most of them enjoyed the meal!

Homemade hard tack biscuits in P7

Elsewhere, P2 have enjoyed hearing what their adopted tiger, Gopal, got up to during his February break – where do you think he went on the train? P4 have been using their Maths, numeracy and problem solving skills to design different shaped fields for farm animals as well as bringing active strategies into their lessons to help them apply their knowledge. P5 have started a Mesoamerican Civilisation topic and I’m looking forward to hearing their finished ‘I Like Food’ poems after spending some time with the class yesterday while they were exploring similes in poetry prior to writing their own.

Gopal the Tiger enjoyed his holiday!

The Abbeyhill Ambassadors managed to dodge the storms and blizzards and got out into the community to join the Keep Abbey Street Tidy campaign by doing a timed litter pick challenge on Tuesday. They were able to fill half a black bag in 5 minutes which was great in terms of removing rubbish from the street but sad that it had ended up there in the first place.

At the end of a very busy week our new Head Teacher, Mrs Moira Robertson, came to visit and she thoroughly enjoyed meeting children, parents and staff. It’s not long until she starts and she is very much looking forward to being part of the Abbeyhill community.

Next week, P5 are heading out to the Money Museum and we are gearing up for our first ‘in person’ assemblies in nearly two years! Everyone will be dressed up for World Book Day and it will be lovely to come back together and share this experience with P1 and 2 who don’t quite know what to expect!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Busy to the last!

There has been no slowing down for the approaching holiday at Abbeyhill this week! P1 have some new digital cameras and have been practising all week…there may be a few of Mrs Ketchin as I was in the class yesterday and was asked to join in with a few selfies!

Budding photographers in P1B!

P2 have celebrated Safer Internet Day (8th February) by discussing how they use online devices before working on ideas for their own games. Miss Smith is convinced there are some future star app developers in the class! P3 have had a really busy week making props and costumes for ‘Abbeyhill Space News’ and some incredibly detailed work has gone into their Valentine’s cards. Parents who follow @Abbeyhill2026 will also have loved the action shots from the crash mat challenge race that they undertook with P7!

P4 have been in a bubble this week (I thought it was quiet) but have still kept busy with a quick dash out to the playground in between breaks for some outdoor Maths as well as some indoor place value challenges. With hats.

I really enjoyed being part of the audience for the Abbeyhill dry ski slope challenge with P5. Tensions and excitement were high as each skier took to the slope; congratulations to the winners who saw their ski models make it safely off the slope and beyond! P6 and P7 had their first rugby session with Leith Hawks this week and there is some fantastic footage for parents who follow @Abbeyhill2023 twitter feed. P7 have also been busy making models of fighter planes for their WW2 topic, as well as brushing up on their coordinates and grid reference skills using maps of Edinburgh.

Parental Involvement and Engagement

In my update to parents this week, I asked for support in completing the Parental Involvement and Engagement survey. The Scottish Government has asked all 32 local authorities to undertake this census with parents in their local authority area before March 2022 and your support with this would be very much appreciated. If you are an Abbeyhill parent or carer, please check your emails for the link and QR code to get started.

Welcome back!

I was also delighted to say that nearly two years after closing the school gates to almost all parents, we will welcome parents back into our playground from Monday 21st February. This is in line with the general easing of restrictions around social distancing across the country. It will also be safer given the current concerns around road safety at the back of the school that the Parent Council and school are working on together with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Coming up

When we return, the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be undertaking a street clean as part of our support for the Keep Abbey Street Tidy campaign. They will also be getting opinions from their class on potential playground upgrades which the Parent Council are in the process of applying for funding for – fingers crossed! The Junior Road Safety Officers will also be getting involved with the work the Parent Council is leading on safety at the back of the school and the ambassadors will support them in that.

We will also send out booking links for Parents’ Evening appointments which will take place over the weeks beginning 14th and 21st March. At this time, we are still planning for virtual events.

In the meantime, have a lovely holiday!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

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