Tag Archives: Colony of Artists

Mrs Pender is our hero!

This week I learned that Mrs Pender had been secretly very hard at work over lockdown knitting dolls which she sent to children who were unwell in the Sick Kids hospital, as well as sewing NHS scrubs. What an absolute hero! Well done Mrs Pender – lockdown Secret Superstar has been revived just for you!

On a more sombre note, I’m sure that you have all read or seen the worrying news that Covid-19 cases are rapidly on the rise again. Please, please continue to play your part in suppressing this virus as we have all learned this year how quickly things can change and the prospect of another national lockdown is something that I’m sure nobody wants to even contemplate. Remember FACTS at all times; Face covering, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, keep a Two metre distance from others at all times and Self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms.

This weekend we would of course normally be looking forward to joining in with the Colony of Artists festival but sadly our involvement this year has been yet another Covid casualty. Please take a moment to have a look at our ‘Windows and Screens‘ display this year and if you have a little more time, watch these videos of the 2018 and 2019 festival finales held in our hall and hope that 2021 brings a welcome return to Abbeyhill Primary being a bustling hive of activity over the festival weekend!

Next week is a short one as school is closed on Monday for the September long weekend. Whatever you are doing, please stay safe and be responsible as always!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Informed

Yesterday’s news from the Scottish Government may have come as a surprise to some but whether you were expecting it or not, there is no doubt that this will feel disappointing and stressful to some. Those hard won freedoms look like they may be on shaky ground again and it’s more important than ever that we follow Government guidance in order to bring the R number down and continue to make progress. To that end, the Colony of Artists committee is meeting this weekend to discuss if any elements of the festival can go ahead whilst complying with the new rules or whether a delay would be more appropriate. Whatever is decided, Abbeyhill will not be taking part this year in a physical sense and have instead prepared window decorations and an online presence, curated by Iliyana Nedkova. Look out for our busy buzzing bees around the community!

Last week we got a lot of positive responses to #WakeUpWednesday on Twitter where I posted some infographics on some of the  social media apps that are most popular with children and young people. There was a new one I’d never heard of and as both a teacher and a parent it reminded me that the only way to support children to navigate the online world effectively is to make sure we keep up with it as much as possible and are prepared to have open and honest conversations about the hidden dangers, as well as enjoy the fun the internet has to offer. To today’s generation of young people, the online world is as real as the physical one and just as much support is needed to navigate it safely and enjoyably.

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This week Mr Donald-Hewitt spent his second day with us and enjoyed spending some time in P1 getting to know the class. With limited contacts per day allowed, he will spend time with P4 and P7 over the next two weeks and then catch up with the other classes once he starts on the 28th September. I’m finding it hard to believe that I only have two weeks left at work and just hope that I can get through my ‘to do’ list before I start maternity leave! 

I enjoyed spending some time in P7 yesterday where we had a lot of interesting discussion around the topic of change as we explored the final ‘Building Resilience’ topic of Expect the Unexpected. The P7s talked maturely about sudden change versus expected change and how we can prepare ourselves or support each other through it. There was some mention of sore legs following their 5k march around Holyrood Park the day before (all within the 2 mile limit of school) but on the whole the fresh air and fun seemed to have done everyone good. Everyone is looking forward to the next one and trying to beat Alan’s step count; somehow he managed to do almost double the rest of the class! 

Have a lovely weekend and remember, although the new rules do not come into force until Monday 14th September, we’re all being encouraged to follow them immediately. Stay safe everyone!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

On your bike!

As all 5 year olds and over will have to wear a face covering on school transport from Monday 31st August, now is a good time to start considering different modes of transport rather than heading straight to the car (if you have one) and we have lots of children who already enjoy cycling and scooting to school. Watch this video for some of the benefits of more active travel, from getting fitter to helping the environment – especially in reducing air pollution round our schools.

Thank you to those of you who have supported us this week by using both gates, maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings, only sending one parent into the playground and leaving promptly once you have dropped off/picked up your children. As a staff, we will be discussing further improvements that we can make next week as we continue to try to make all our new routines run as smoothly as possible. We will also be examining guidance due out next week on how we can run our normal events, such as Parents Evenings, with an aim of having our usual ‘Save the Date’ list, or at least more information on how we will be approaching things this term, with families as soon as possible.

Hopefully the forecast is not to be believed and the weather will be better next week; I can’t believe we’ve had our first yellow weather warning of the session already! Sadly because of that some of our classes had to have an indoor break but everyone managed to rush out for some fresh air in between cloudbursts later in the day. Well done to P4 for making use of the sheltered space when the rain put paid to their outdoor learning plans in the wildlife garden!

Outdoor Learning P4

Next week our staff will start to decorate the windows of the school with busy bees to represent the hive of activity that we normally are at this time of year as we prepare to take part in the annual Colony of Artists festival. Sadly, our participation will be online this year but we look forward to 2022 when we can hopefully take part as usual. Look out for buzzing bees around the school and local community!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

 

(The New) Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

….and we’re all very glad about it! The rain is lashing down as I write this and it feels that the ‘summer’ holidays are a distant memory already! Nevertheless, it’s been fantastic to welcome all of our staff and families back to school over the last few days and we’re all excited to start our first full week back together. Some of our families are observing a quarantine period after arriving home from abroad and we thank them for this. We’ve seen from Aberdeen and other places in England just how fragile our newly restored freedoms are and we all have to play our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy as we journey back towards a ‘normal’ life. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated several times already and set out clear information on what to do in the case of suspected symptoms appearing as well as what course of action we will take in school. This is designed to reassure and not to alarm anyone.

As well as welcoming everyone back, we’re also thinking of those who have moved on who didn’t get the send off that they were expecting, although we did our best to make things special given the circumstances! Good luck to Ms Stamati who starts a new teaching job in Greece next week, Ms El Sarrag who has retired from Abbeyhill, Ms Howson who secured a permanent post at Rowanfield school and all our P7s and leavers from other year groups who have started S1 or moved away from the area for new adventures. We will miss you! Goodbyes were counter-balanced with plenty of ‘Hellos’ though as we welcomed our new P1s and new pupils in other classes across the school – it’s lovely to bring you into the Abbeyhill community. Our new Nursery pupils will begin to settle in next week and we’re so excited to meet them too!

We were all pleased, and relieved, at how smoothly things went in general last week. There were a few hiccups as is to be expected when we changed (or abandoned) longstanding routines and there were last minute crises to keep us on our toes – such as essential paperwork for poor Mr McNeil not arriving in time for him to start with his class – but by and large we’ve resolved everything and the whole Abbeyhill community is pulling together brilliantly as always as we move forward. Mr McNeil is enjoying his first day in P3 today – phew!

Normally at this time of year we are sending out ‘Save the Date’ lists for all our key events from Meet the Teacher to our festive celebrations. I’m sure you will bear with us this term as changing guidance means that we can’t be certain what we’ll be able to offer and when although you can rest assured that we will find alternative ways to deliver events such as Parents’ Evening and the Nativity. I had a chat with Iliyana Nedkova, our Curator in Residence and P7 parents, about what Abbeyhill’s involvement in this year’s Colony of Artists Festival (19th & 20th September) might look like so watch this space for news on some exciting online exhibitions. Our whole school Art project ‘Bee Kind’, in line with our key values as well as the theme of the festival, should fit in beautifully and P4 have already made a strong start!

Bee Kind P4

Have a good week and as always, keep an eye on Scottish Government updates, the City of Edinburgh Council‘s website and social media accounts as well as NHS Inform for all the up to date information. You can keep in touch with us by phone or email, as well as our website and Twitter account. 

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

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