Tag Archives: Pupil voice

We’ll be doing plenty in 2020!

Welcome back to our Abbeyhill school community after what was hopefully an enjoyable holiday. The days are still dark but we’re drawing closer to spring and there are lots of exciting things to come this term. For instance, tickets are now on sale for the Parent Council Burns’ Supper later this month so please contact either the Parent Council or the main school office for more details of how to secure yours. This event has become very popular and involves delicious food that has been prepared in our Cooking Classroom, ceilidh dancing, an address to the haggis and the all-important Scottish poetry recitals! Poems are being selected this week before rehearsals begin in earnest next week and it’s possible that there may be some friendly rivalry between the classes as to who can remember all their words…watch this space! Vast swathes of tartan, kindly donated by Kinloch Anderson, have appeared in P2 which have been transformed into cutlery holders whilst P1 will be perfecting their recipe for home-made shortbread.

 

Next week, P7 will have a visit from Lifelong Learning Development Officer Alan Stewart, who will help them to complete a ‘Youth Talk’ along with 200 other children from the ’10 Villages’ area of Edinburgh. Alan will talk to them about the Neighbourhood Environment Programme and help them to communicate their own ideas for environmental improvements in their area. This is a hot topic in Abbeyhill, as indeed it is everywhere, so I’m confident that P7 will have plenty to say!

P6 will be heavily engaged with ‘Burns and Beyond’ with Miss Stamati as part of a wider Culture United project. They will visit Flora Stevenson’s Primary and the Assembly Rooms next week for dance rehearsals with the other 3 schools taking part before enjoying a Scottish Dance workshop on Friday where they will create a song and musical accompaniment with the main aim of building confidence, encouraging participation and having fun! They’re all looking forward to the ‘Bairns Burns’ Supper’ later in the month before welcoming international project delegates to Abbeyhill to talk through their experiences of learning about Scottish culture through such an exciting series of events.

I will be attending the annual schools launch of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (formerly known as Imaginate) to get a sneak preview of the festival programme and the opportunity to hear from the Festival Director. This festival gives us an opportunity for our children to access live theatre in various venues close to Abbeyhill and the performances are always of the highest quality. Check back next week to find out which shows we’re tipping to be the best this year!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Drowning in plastic!

Drowning in plastic

(Yes, we did have lots of fun creating this photo!)

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that we were inspired as a school to start challenging the amount of plastic straws that we were getting through on a daily basis following our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly topic back in September. You may remember that it all started when P4 brought a small pot of straws to our sharing assembly and told everyone that the way that they had decided to make a difference  was for the 6 children who took milk each day to pour it out into a cup, rather than use the cartons and straws. They then collected the straws in the pot (below). Those 6 straws per day added up surprisingly quickly and we were all shocked by how many they had collected in such a small space of time, from so few children.

milk straws

This is what 6 straws per day over just a few weeks looks like

We did some calculations and worked out that we could save arund 1,600 straws by the end of October (5 weeks) if we all followed P4’s example. So, each child who took milk was provided with a cup, cup washeruppers* were duly appointed in each class and we all began the challenge enthusiasically. By the end of the 5 weeks, we had in fact collected 2,312 straws (as we had forgotten to factor lunchtime milk into the original calculation) and we vowed not to go back to our old ways. It took a few weeks after that but I am delighted to announce that Abbeyhill is MAKING A DIFFERENCE to the environment as we have now got an agreement with the dairy who supply our milk (Muller) that they will give us large 6 pint jugs of milk, exactly as you would buy at the supermarket, instead of the little cartons. In the time it took to make that arrangement, the straws kept piling up and we had over 4,000 which helped us create our ‘Drowning in Plastic’ photo at the top of the page. Don’t worry, they are certainly not going to landfill as one of our artists-in-residence has grand plans for them. Come and see them as part of the Colony of Artists festival in September 2019!

We only have 70 children across the school who take milk every day and look how much plastic we’re stopping getting to landfill.  If you’re an Edinburgh school being supplied by Muller, why don’t you take up the Abbeyhill challenge and see if you can make a difference too?

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

*Mrs Ketchin’s made up word of the day

Imagination is the key

What a treat we’ve had today! We all went to the nearby Meadowbank Parish Church for a special concert with Fischy Music and heard the debut performance of ‘Imagination’ which P4 wrote from scratch and recorded with Margaret and Christy from Fischy. P4 (or ‘Baby Alien’ which is their official band name) gave a fantastic performance and managed not to be distracted by the fact that they were being beamed up onto big screens for everyone to see. We all had a brilliant time, dancing and singing along – including the staff and parents who managed to join us!

Of course, some of us had our Pudsey ears on as it is BBC Children in Need today. Mrs Brotherston and Mrs Pender got into the spirit of it as always and have had a bit of extra attention from the traffic as they have carried out their lollipop duties! Thanks also to Miss Macdonald, Mrs Lyall and Mrs Macdougall for organising our Children in Need toy sale yesterday; we raised £135 and all leftover toys will go to a local charity as suggested by Luca as part of our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly block.

Yesterday, I was delighted to welcome a small group of parents for our first ‘Parents Lunch’. It was lovely to have a sociable lunch together whilst giving them a chance to experience what their children do each today, including lining up and being reminded what they had ordered! They gave good feedback on the food and the experience and next time I plan to run it at the same time as the school lunchtime to give families a rare opportuntity to enjoy a weekday lunch together!

On Wednesday, we had our Parent Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) and there will be an opportunity to vote for new post holders at the next meeting in January. Thank you to Vlad who has stepped down after doing a sterling job as treasurer for several years, as well as to all the parents who have joined us and are doing such an amazing job of supporting the school.

Also on Wednesday, I spent the day at a National Improvement Framework conference for all Edinburgh Head Teachers where the new ‘Edinburgh Learns’ policy was launched and discussed at length. Edinburgh Learns encourages a renewed focus on learning and teaching which is the core business of all schools. Although we all felt the pressure that being out of school for the day brings (not least in the mounting pile of unanswered emails!), we all agreed that it was a valuable professional experience. As a staff, we shall explore Edinburgh Learns over the coming weeks and months.

Next week I am going to Buckstone Primary for a reciprocal visit following my hosting a group other Head Teachers a few weeks ago and I’m looking forward to seeing further good practice and having follow up professional dialogue. Back in school, it’s Book Week Scotland and Mr Martin will be launching an exciting week of activities in assembly on Monday. Check back next week to see what we get up to!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

New Eco Class Jobs

As a group, we wanted the rest of the school to become more involved in what we are doing. We recently presented at an assembly, and asked each year to be responsible for a particular area. We think each class is doing a great job!

Nursery and Primary 1 – Using only one paper towel when drying our hands.

Primary 1/2 – Watering the bottle gardens.

Primary 2 – Feeding the birds.

Primary 3 – Energy monitors.

Primary 4 – Recycling paper

Primary 5 – Recycling water bottles.

Primary 6 – Recycling ink cartridges

Primary 7 – Litter monitors.