Tag Archives: Gender Balance

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

Looking ahead…

It may only be August but you have to be fast when it comes to the festive season and I’m delighted to announce that we’ll welcome M&M productions to Abbeyhill to perform ‘Dick Whittington’ in two separate showings for everyone from Nursery – P7! By going a little early we’ve secured the production at just £6 per child which is a fantastic price for a professional performance. Look out for more details coming out soon.

It’s Meet the Teacher next week and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as are able to come into school to meet some of our community partners as well as have a look round classrooms and have an informal chat with teaching staff. Please remember that this is not Parent’s Evening and if you would like an private conversation with your child’s teacher, you can arrange one at a different time. Parent’s Evening is next month and more information will come out about that shortly.

On Wednesday I met with Lynn Yeneka from Education Scotland who is keen for Abbeyhill to be involved in the pilot of a new STEM award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which would see us working to achieve 5 different elements over a 3 year period. This could fit well with the work we are doing with Education Scotland and Mrs Lansdown on Gender Balance so please watch this space to find out more as the pilot unfolds.

Yesterday I met with Russell McLarty who treated us to a storytelling session in assembly on Monday before talking to P4-7 about Chit Chat Club which starts next week. Russell and I discussed plans for ‘Listening Walks’ which we hope to reveal more about and start in the next few weeks. Russell is also keen for Abbeyhill to take part in the Nativity Labyrinth event at Meadowbank Church again this year and, judging by the success of last year, I think it’s safe to say that everyone will be keen to go!

Meanwhile, it’s the Colony of Artists festival in just a few weeks and final preparations are well under way. Alice Myers was in school this week planning a photography treasure trail which looks really exciting! Please make sure you visit the festival (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September) as there is always a fantastic atmosphere which gets better and better each year!

Spotlight on…Primary 3 with Mrs Flowers

P3 have just finished ‘Silly Billy’ by Anthony Browne. In the book, billy gets rid of his bedtime worries  by telling his worry dolls and popping them under his pillow. P3 made their own ‘Worry Monsters’ to take away any bedtime worries they might have.

WM.jpg

Well done P3, I think these would sell out in moments in the playground!

Have you read….

…your Scotland 4 Kids magazine?  There are loads of great articles this month including ‘Stop fighting’ (p6) and the WOW (What’s On Where) list for Edinburgh (p14-15). I’m going to be checking out the Batch Lady website www.thebatchlady.com for batch cooking inspiration which you might find useful coupled with ‘Not a sandwich in sight lunchbox savers’ on p6. Miss Macdonald will be interested in ‘Question Time’ (p8) which talks about modern day philosophy for children, something she has done a lot of with her classes. It also helps you to deal with the perpetual ‘why?’ question!

Next week is the Families Connect coffee and information session, Meet the Teacher, Parent Council, the first meeting of the newly appointed Abbeyhill Ambassadors AND I’ll be doing Outdoor Learning with P1 while Mr Hamilton and Mr Martin are on a ‘Play for Learning’ course. Check back on Friday to see how it all goes!

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!

PC garden tidy

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!

Picture1.png

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…

Maths quiz parents.jpg

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).

MSP

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!

cakes.jpg

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

When you only popped in for a loaf of bread…

RND…and end up with 1000 red noses (and forgot the bread). That’s what happened to Mr Hamilton last night when Sainsbury’s staff offered their left over noses to him free of charge and this morning P6 started excitedly ripping into them all, separating noses from boxes and packets. However, as had been hoped for, their mood changed when they realised just how much single use plastic had gone into the production of the noses. Their aim next week is to plan a piece of art, using as much of the plastic and as many noses as possible, to highlight the waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill. The whole activity strengthened P6’s resolve to find an alternative for the next RND campaign.

P6 have also been incredibly busy this week as they prepared for Stockbridge Market this weekend. Please go and support them if you are in the area on Sunday as they sell a range of products that they have made/enhanced/sourced themselves including hand-stitched cards, badges, tote bags and plants. All the funds raised will go towards their P7 camp in October.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Despite the frantic hive of activity that has been the P6 classroom this week, they still found time to make homemade bread and soup in the Cooking Classroom! (Have any of them had time to go home this week?!)

On Tuesday, I met with Mrs Lansdown who came to visit as part of her new role with Education Scotland. She talked me through the work that she is doing with her team on gender balance in schools and is going to come to talk to the rest of the staff in May about how this can be achieved. Before starting at Abbeyhill, Mrs Lansdown had done a huge amount of work in this area in her previous school so it’s fantastic that through her work with Education Scotland she is now part of spreading the word nationally.

Pupil Council met today and we updated some of our display boards while talking about our plans for next term. As we have a dual school/environmental focus, we are planning to do a ‘2 minute street clean’ (inspired by the #2MinuteBeachClean movement) on Abbey Street as well as drumming up support for some new clubs that the Parent Council hope to start. Watch this space, as well as the Parent Council’s Twitter and Facebook pages for more details.

Next week is the last week of the Spring term and school finishes at the usual time on Friday 5th April before resuming for the summer term on Tuesday 23rd. Before we go though, there is just time for a re-scheduled Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 3rd, P7 have been lucky enough to secure tickets for the dress rehearsal of Matilda on Tuesday, I’m going to Broomhouse Primary on Tuesday as part of the Leading Learning Partnership that all Edinburgh Head Teacher’s work in AND it’s the annual swimming gala at the Commonwealth Pool on Wednesday.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend and make sure that you visit P6 at Stockbridge Market on Sunday!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher