Tag Archives: Community

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

Bake Off meets Abbeyhill

IMG-1195

It was one of those surreal moments that happens when you work in a school when on Monday I went from completing paperwork in my office to watching P7 run around Calton Hill, wrapped in foil blankets, creating performance art with headpieces fashioned from plastic packaging. And that’s when Prue Leith walked past. I’m not sure what she thought was going on (and I’m still not even sure) but I’m convinced she enjoyed the ‘showstopper’ performance of George Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’ by 2 of our most enthusiastic artistes. P7 were on the hill as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Collective Gallery and as a class, they have had a special role in the redevelopment of the site since they were in P3. If you haven’t been up recently, you will discover a regenerated site with a gallery, monuments, cafe, restaurant and incredible panoramic views of Edinburgh, Fife and the Pentland Hills.

IMG-1193

Back at school, we had a visit from Angela Mitchell from Changeworks who had been inspired by our decision to ditch plastic straws following our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly project back in September 2018. She helped us work out which plastics it’s okay to use and which we need to stop. Luckily, we’re already on the road to being as plastic free as possible and Angela gave us even more motivation to be Zero Waste Heroes by following the most important of the 3 Rs which is to REDUCE. She was pleased to hear that Abbeyhill will definitely be a plastic red nose free zone for Comic Relief 2021 (and we’ll work out an alternative if there is any single use plastic on offer for Sport Relief in 2020).

On Monday, Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag ran their last ‘Families Connect’ session and a very special visitor came to present the certificates – Hearts Captain Christophe Berra! Even the most diehard Hibs fans were a little starstruck and Mrs Lyall was in heaven! Christophe was there as the programme is run through Save the Children who are partnered with Hearts FC. Thank you to all the families who came each week, we hope that you enjoyed it and took some useful information home. Well done to the winning family who will be going to the zoo!

FullSizeRender

On Wednesday, we had 10 Croatian Head Teachers visit every class and then meet with me to discuss curricular reform. The Croatian education system is undergoing a radical change and moving to a child centred curriculum that will be similar to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and it was fascinating to compare and contrast our experiences in school.

We also had Parents’ Evening this week and thank you to all of the parents who took time to come and visit us on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s great to catch up and let you know about all the great things that your children are doing in school and it’s also a chance to hear about all the great things that they’re doing at home!

To round off the week, P4 and P6 held a craft fair as part of their Virgin Money ‘Grow a Fiver’ project. They each had £5 to buy materials and create something to sell with all profits going to camp (P6) or to buy more craft materials (P4). Scented candles, bows/bowties, mint lip balm, badges and wildflower seeds have been magically produced, with only one glue gun related injury (don’t worry, it was only Mrs Flowers). At an early count, nearly £300 had been raised by P4 alone so well done and thank you to everyone who supported them!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So all in all, it’s been another busy but successful week at Abbeyhill. Check in next week to hear all about P6’s trip to Edinburgh Castle and my re-scheduled meeting with Mrs Lansdown! But the big question will be….have the newborn chicks that have hatched in the Nursery week survived a weekend of chicksitting at Mrs Ketchin’s house?! Fingers crossed!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Red Nose fever!

RND

By the end of last week we were red nose, deeley bopper and wristband crazy for Comic Relief. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us to raise a whopping £400 for all the charities who benefit. Thanks also to our local Sainsbury’s who supported us and provided official RND tops for the staff! However, it was interesting to note David Attenborough’s words of warning about the encouragement of single use plastics, especially considering that RND fell on the same day as the second Students for Climate Change protest and next year we will consider whether Abbeyhill will be displaying painted red noses, rather than plastic ones, and donating the full amount to Comic Relief rather than the 50% which is currently received after the production and marketing costs for red noses and other merchandise are removed.

In other Abbeyhill news, we had a staff training session on Monday which was jointly run by both Mr Hamiltons and focussed on the evolving way we need to approach teaching internet safety. Some great new resources are coming out that will help children and adults to see all the opportunities that the virtual world can offer us, as well as the dangers. Just like the real world, it’s important to be able to look around and appreciate the amazing things you might see but also use common sense and have guidance on what to do when things go wrong. We’ll have information displayed for families this week when they come to visit us for Parents’ Evening.

On Thursday I took P4 for the day while Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald got stuck into the unenviable task of auditing our Maths resources. Mrs Flowers got very excited about all the things she found that had been hidden at the backs of the cupboards and by the end of the day they had planned an exciting Maths based family event for May so watch out for that when next term’s ‘Save the Date’ sheet comes out!

On Friday, we had a bumper awards assembly with certificates for everyone who took part in the fantastic Talent Show on 7th March as well as the introduction of the ‘Over and Above’ Award. A maximum of two children per class were nominated for this and had to have gone over and above in one or all of our school rules; Ready, Respectful, Responsible. With the grand prize of being allowed to sit on the chairs rather than the mats, it was all to play for and I think a lot of people will be upping their game this week! Well done to our first OAO winners. The Pupil Council also told everyone about how they had worked with Graham Construction to build a Bug Hotel in the wildlife garden. They explained how this had come about, told us about the building process and gave their top tips for keeping it (and all the bugs who come to stay) safe.

bug hotel 1.JPG

This week, as well as Parents’ Evening, we have trips to the Collective Gallery, ongoing engagement with professional artists in school as part of our Artists-In-Residence programme in preparation for the Colony of Artists in September, filiming will start for the ‘Power of Yet’ video, it’s World Poetry Day on Thursday, a familiar face will be popping in to advise me on how can begin to address gender balance at Abbeyhill (Mrs Lansdown!) and we have a special guest from Changeworks who is going to talk to us about our ongoing drive to reduce plastics. Phew! Check our next blog post to see how it all went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Have you got that Friday feeling?

…which for us is happy exhaustion! It’s been an incredibly busy week at Abbeyhill with the Talent Show, Euroquiz, World Book Day, plenty of cooking and a soundscape! Read on to find out more.

Last night saw the Parent Council Talent Show which was a fantastic celebration of a diverse range of talent, taste in music and interests. We had a ventriloquist, a berimbau performance, Highland and Scottish dancing, a poetry recital, stand up comedy, ballet dancing and lots of amazing singing. It was a wonderful celebration of all the things that make us unique as well as the things that bring us together; happiness, laughter and good times with friends and family. Thank you to the Parent Council for the many months of organisation and planning that went into a very well organised event that was enjoyed by everyone who attended. Thank you also to Russell McLarty for hosting us at Meadowbank Parish Church. The whole event was filmed so I’m sure copies will be available before too long!

On Monday, Mr Hamilton took 4 P6s to the City Chambers to take part in Euroquiz 2019. They spent week practising and came a very respectable 14th out of 24. Congratulations to the teams from Sciennes and James Gillespie’s who will go forward to the national event. It was a great opportunity for us to see inside a building we’d normally only walk past as well as a chance to represent Abbeyhill at a citywide level whilst also meeting P6s from other schools. Well done Team Abbeyhill!

On Wednesday, P2 had a very special visitor (Miss Stephen’s mum!) who is a trained chef and helped them to make delicious carrot and apple muffins in the Cooking Classroom. Everyone got a chance to weigh, measure, stir and most importantly, TASTE!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our Cooking Classroom is being really well used thanks to our Food for Thought grant and the P7s cook (or prep!) up a storm most days to keep our healthy tuck shop going. Our Food Champions met with colleagues from our local LIDL store who popped in yesterday with some exciting offerings…a George Forman grill, a Nutribullet and plenty of tupperware for all our culinary handiwork – thank you to LIDL!

LIDL

As part of our World Book Day celebrations the children participated in a “Where’s Wally” hunt in the playground. Everyone had to find Wally and either crack a code or answer book related questions. It was great to see the children searching so enthusiastically- some light rain didn’t stop the fun! The winners will be announced at Monday’s assembly. In the afternoon Mr Martin held a whole school World Book Day assembly where we played charades, unscrambled book titles and guessed the hidden book character. The assembly ended by watching the animated version of the popular story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. The assembly was a great chance for everyone to share the fantastic book related activities they had been doing in class.

IMG_1849

On Wednesday evening, our Curator in Residence, Iliyana, co-hosted a very special meeting in school with Citadel Arts Group where anyone who has been involved with Abbeyhill at any point in their lives was invited to come in and share their stories. Together with P4 and P6 they will work to transform these living memories into a book and a binaural soundscape to be premiered at Colony of Artists 2019 (21st and 22nd September). Don’t miss it!

Next week it’s RED NOSE DAY! Everyone has been getting very excited about the official red noses that have been on sale in school and these will continue to be available next week. It’s also an optional dress down day on Friday with a suggested donation of £1 for Comic Relief. It’s also Parent Council on Wednesday from 6.30pm and bookings are now open online for Parent’s Evening on 19th and 21st March – check your inbox for the link!

Phew, that’s it for this week – have a good weekend everybody!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…

Happy Burns Day from all of us at Abbeyhill! Thankfully, none of our plans have gone ‘agley’ (awry) and we enjoyed a fantastic Burns Supper and ceilidh last night which was organised and run by our brilliant Parent Council. Thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a success; I’m delighted that it was supported by the Abbeyhill community and was a complete sell out! Our new Cooking Classroom was used to prepare a lot of the food (check Twitter for photos) and everyone enjoyed their soup, haggis and shortbread.

In assembly today, every class performed a Scottish poem to celebrate Burns and did themselves proud. Thank you to the parents who have been helping them to practise all week!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher