Basketball and Rugby

Highland Rugby Club

Highland Rugby Club are delivering coaching sessions every Tuesday at Culloden Pitches for P4-P7s 4-5pm. There is no cost to attend these sessions however you must book in at https://booking.highlifehighland.com using code 5300CULL. Contact Active Schools Coordinator lynne.fraser@highlifehighland.com for more information.

Junior NBA Basketball

Highland Bears will be hosting Jnr NBA Basketball sessions which start on Monday 6th June for 4 weeks finishing on Monday 27th June 5-7pm at Millburn Academy. These sessions are open to all P6 and P7 pupils. No cost. Players get to keep their strips at the end of the 4 week block. The emphasis is on fun, learning new skills and drills and making all sessions inclusive to all abilities. No experience required. Parents must book before attending these sessions. Please see attached poster for the QR Code to book on to these sessions. Contact ryan_devlin2005@hotmail.com for more information.

Massive Thanks!

Thanks to all staff, young people, parents, grandparents and friends of the school who came on Saturday to help with the grounds clear up. It’s only since last Monday that visitors have been allowed into school so it was lovely to see so many of you joining us to catch up on the work not done because of the building works and then the lockdowns. We were truly humbled by people’s dedication and commitment. Many thanks to the local gardeners who also donated plants – much better to have cuttings from local gardens than new plants from elsewhere. Hopefully now we will be able to keep the grounds in good shape…but we will have another Saturday morning where people can join in.

Education Scotland is coming for a visit on Wednesday to the school. I had asked for volunteers from parents to come forward and discuss how the school managed during lockdowns and managed to remain focused on children’s learning. Thanks so much to those who have said they can be online tomorrow, Tuesday 11.45 – 12.30. If you had missed the invite and are keen to have your say please let me know and I’ll give you the googlemeet link.

Here’s to another good week ahead.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Constantly Learning

‘Back in the day’ when it came to the month of May schools used to be slowing down and reflecting on the year. Not nowadays and certainly not in Smithton! From nursery to P7 there has been active learning across the school. There are children this week who have been asking for extra support so they can get as much out of the school day as possible. There have been children reading for pleasure and writing during their free time. P4 stunned Miss MacDonald with their knowledge of structuring a science report while P7 have been planning workshops for the Five Ways to Wellbeing. A lovely comment this week from Kodaly music tutor who was so impressed with our friendly, engaging and calm children across the school. Our focus on wellbeing remains – not at the expense of literacy and numeracy but to enhance literacy and numeracy.

Have a look at two boys who were so engaged with finding their letters that they didn’t know they were being filmed! You’ll notice this is on our new You Tube Smithton channel – please subscribe so you can then get all the latest videos showing the language of learning happening at school.

Chloe told us all about the Leanne Fund for Cystic Fibrosis today in assembly and let us know about our rainbow colours day 2nd June when we’re asking people to wear rainbow colours and, if possible, donate £1 to CF. You’ll see her photo in the slideshow below. We had hoped to do something way back in December but there were so many absences that we decided to wait until the better weather.

We hope that families across the Smithton Primary school community are managing to engage in our Wellbeing Challenge 2022.  We believe that considering the “5 Ways to Wellbeing” really can help to make us feel good and cope well with life and with the challenges that it can bring.  Classes across the school are busy developing their understanding of mental wellbeing this term.
 
Since ‘Give’ is one of the “5 Ways to Wellbeing” we thought that we could do some fundraising through our Wellbeing Challenge.   We are aiming to raise some money for The Haven Centre and for our school fund.
 
Pupils will be coming home with a sponsorship form in their schoolbags.  (Please look out for it!)  It would be fantastic if you were able to encourage your child to seek a little sponsorship from friends and family.  
 
There is no hurry – we will look to collect in sponsorship money sometime at the beginning of June.

Slideshow has symmetry, music, working together and personal achievements in dance and other out of school events. One of our student teachers, Mr Lyons, does historical enactments so has enthused classes this week with his medieval fashion… Our young people learn loads in school but so many of them learn even more in their clubs, hobbies and sports. Having wider achievements provides more experiences which allows us all to have a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I love the photo of our P2 boy loving his camouflage in the bushes! A bit like the Five Ways to Wellbeing.. connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give. See how often you use these five ways over the weekend. Point them out in your children when you see them focused on their wellbeing. It’s been good mental health week for adults this week….how are you? Please share with someone how you are.

Have a good weekend and hoping to see many of you tomorrow – thanks to those who have signed up to help! See you at 10am.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Class Photos on Wednesday

Please note there will be class photos taken on Wednesday. These will be taken outside, we hope!

Apologies for lack of slideshow on Friday..we had a brilliant first assembly back – the photos don’t do it justice. So lovely to have star award winners in the same place at the same time! It was also clear that we have a number of staff who had assembly for the first time with us rather than being on screen as well so it was a learning experience for many! The young ones sat beautifully considering it was such a big affair.

Look out for Isla who has had her hair chopped. A number of children have done this over the years to donate their hair to other children who need wigs so we’re really proud of Isla for doing this. On another note we had P3 young engineers having a great time using their talking and listening skills alongside problem solving, team work and resilience to get things right. Delighted to see young people choosing to collect plastic that they can see around the school grounds and put into recycling…are you gathering your plastic waste in may to see what is actually able to be recycled? Never a dull moment!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Mental Well Being – A Challenge for All

Another step in the right direction for freedom and the ‘new norm’ courtesy of Jason Leitch – click here for latest COVID news.

Smithton Primary – Wellbeing Challenge 2022

In very simple terms, people with mental wellbeing have the ability to feel good and to function well in their day-to-day lives.

At Smithton Primary, we want to ensure that promoting mental wellbeing is at the very heart of what we do.  We feel that the school is well placed to help develop a better understanding of mental wellbeing across our whole school community:  pupils, staff, parents, neighbours and friends. 

The promotion of mental wellbeing can help to safeguard people’s mental health, and therefore its importance cannot be overstated.

As part of our work on this, we would like to invite pupils and their families to take part in our WELLBEING CHALLENGE.   Throughout the month of May 2022, we will focus on the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’.  These 5 Ways (Connect, Keep Learning, Give, Take Notice, Be Active) may help to develop a greater sense of contentment and life satisfaction, which will in turn lead to enhanced mental wellbeing.

We hope that families throughout the Smithton Primary school community will enjoy this challenge together and will perhaps feel the benefits of it.  How many of these wellbeing-enhancing activities will you and your family be able to do?

In the process, we are also hoping to raise some money for our school and for The Haven Centre.  We would be most grateful if you were able to consider gaining a little sponsorship for your endeavours!

We aim to communicate with you further throughout the month of May.  Keep an eye out for some tips on how to keep your mental wellbeing positive.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like….Normality!

I’m delighted to say that there have been so few new COVID cases (I know…why jinx it by writing about it?!) that we’re now going to be able to mix the children during the day in class time! This means shared reading and learning from each other not just in our treehouses but across the whole school. The big excitement is coming back to having a whole school assembly in the hall and not online! No more microphones not working, or buffer faces as we wait to hear who has won a star award, etc. That’s the plan for next Friday, anyway. It’s bizarre to think that no one in P1 or P2 has ever been to a school assembly where we’re altogether…

The weather has been kind again this week so there have been lots of occasions for learning outside. You’ll see some photos of children finding right angles in real life as well as literacy across the board by creating a stage for performing P2s. Lots of planting in nursery all the way through and we’re hoping for bumper crops before we go on holiday in the summer. Do you have plants that need to be split? We’d be delighted to take some from you and plant them. Delighted that we’re getting top soil to help with our garden areas but please just drop off plants and if they need certain soils or further instructions please write them down. (Whatever you do, don’t leave it to me! Thankfully lots of green fingered children and staff and some parents have volunteered to spruce up our garden spaces.) There is to be an opportunity for parents, carers and friends of the school to come one Saturday in May and help us spring clean the garden areas that we have…please come along. More details to follow.

We’re slowly getting some extra curricular clubs up and running again but the full range won’t be available until the new school year. Delighted that Funky Fridays, our P7 youth club on a Friday night is very well attended and we do everything from baking to chess and basketball. Tonight was a bake off…look out for the creative cupcake example from this evening. P4 were also involved tonight in The Haven’s Big Spring Sing where they sang The Beatles ‘Here Come The Sun’ with Makaton – absolutely beautifully done. Again, there’s a photo in the slides so look out for it. Athletics club is getting started and we’re aiming for a couple of competitions before the summer. We’ll be inviting you to join in with a session of our sports week which is based around the Commonwealth Games. The finale will be a relay race over at the flood prevention park area where parents can join in and score points of their children’s houses or watch from the banks. We’ll have a P4-7 ‘show’ on video which will be released before the summer, too. Never a dull moment.

We will also be hosting some Education Scotland visitors 17th and 18th May. They are coming to find out how we survived, coped and continued to learn through the pandemic as part of a national recovery strategy. This is a real chance for us to showcase the amazing work of the staff, the parents/carers and our amazing young people: how we rose to the many challenges and how we’ve managed to turn around learning so that our results are showing higher than average attainment. There will be a focus group session online with parents. If you want to have your say please let me know and I’ll include you in that group. Just email me directly aileen.mackay@highland.gov.uk

I know we’re just back to school but there will be more disruption next week: May Day holiday on Monday and there is an in service day on Thursday so while the staff will be at school the children will be at home. There will also be a day off for all for the Queen’s Jubilee 3rd June so we have a lot of learning to pack into a short space of time.

One wee moan from me. Please do not take your dogs into the playground. Trixie being on the staff does not mean everyone can take their dogs to school. She is highly trained and while your dogs may be obedient to you I ask you one more time to please stay outside the school gates with your dogs or leave them at home and walk them when you get back from the school. Thank you.

Enjoy the slideshow. The last time we will see the star awards as individuals as we should be back to group photos after assembly next week!

Have a good weekend and hopefully many of you will get time off together on Monday.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Missing Bike

Have you seen this bike? It went missing from the school bike shed after school last night. Please contact school if you have seen it. One upset boy and his family….thank you for your assistance!

First Week Back

We have a new member of staff! Trixie has gone through her Pet Therapy training and will be starting next week with us. She will be helping children with their reading, during Circle Times and allowing young people who need to talk about their worries..she’s a very good listener. Find out more about the research behind this here Don’t worry if your child doesn’t like dogs – she won’t be with children who are scared. She has gone through rigorous training and her owner will be with her whenever she is in school.

It’s been a lovely week of weather which has allowed many classes to be learning outside and also break and lunch times have been good fun. We’re beginning to see new growth in our plants and trees with blossom…but your children have grown, too! I’m convinced the Easter holidays is when they grow the most. At least three children have taken great delight this week in realising they are now the same height as me…and they weren’t P7s…

It’s been a great week of learning. One of the best moments I saw was the Butterfly Room and Rainbow Room coming outside for the first time on Wednesday and seeing the barriers had been taken down. The look of wonder on their faces and how they interacted with each other as well as with the equipment was fantastic – look out for some pictures on the slideshow at the end. Miss Stewart had to leave today, earlier than planned, as her baby is demanding her to be mummy first and EYP second! The children made bunting for the baby and drew/wrote messages – a real treasure that Miss Stewart loved. Mrs Iona Carbarns starts on Monday and will be the keyworker for the children. She had a lovely handover with Miss Stewart this afternoon and enjoyed her visit with the children. Who wouldn’t?

Parent Council minutes from last term are here. Look out for the new date for this term. We’re hoping to be able to meet in person, in the foyer, which will be brilliant! We will also have a video link available which will be operated by me as I’m only there as a support so that will allow everyone else to take part. This will allow people who want to meet in person to attend and those who have childcare difficulties to attend online. As ever, we’re grateful to the Parent Council for their support and challenge and good ideas…looking forward to getting things up and running again and learning from the pandemic so that we reflect always on what we are doing and why.

Please see some photos of P2/3 planting new trees around the school. There is a challenge to plant trees for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee so Mrs Murray P4 and Mrs Tough and P2/3 have started us off. Mrs Tough is also planning things for us to have a school Street Party 2nd June..watch this space.

Also pleased that literacy and numeracy results are improving with children themselves saying they are more confident to learn. The school is calm and relaxed – both conducive to learning. The third area of core learning is health and wellbeing. We usually track engagement of learning alongside numeracy and literacy using something called the Leuven Scale and this helps us understand what level your child is at for health and well being. Obviously other factors come into play but this core area of the curriculum is often forgotten in statistics. Smithton results are very good here despite anxieties around the pandemic and worries for the future. We come to school to learn to read, write, count and socialise, a major part of health and well being – let’s not forget that last aspect.

Enjoy the snapshot of learning in the slideshow and notice the afterschool club poster from Lynne our active schools’ coordinator as well. A good start to the last term of the school year…

Have a good weekend. Life’s too short for housework – let’s get out into the fresh air!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Parking Tomorrow Morning

There is a local funeral tomorrow morning and the community will no doubt be wanting to take their cars out around 8.45 – 9am time. Please make sure if you are parking a car that you don’t block anyone in and be aware that there may be more cars on the road than normal around the school tomorrow.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Welcome Back to School and Nursery!

We have new children starting in school and nursery – you are all very welcome! Parents and carers…don’t be nervous…..

While face coverings are now not legal we are still trusting that parents and carers, unless exempt, will continue, on school and ELC premises, to remain at least a metre apart from other adults and will continue to cover faces for at least another two weeks. There are still COVID positive cases being reported and we know from Scotland’s health data that COVID is still very much with us. The only significant change from tomorrow AFTERNOON is where your children will enter the school building and be dismissed from. Come as you have been to fire exits and certain places in the playground in the morning, though, so it’s familiar both to you and your children. The staff will help dismiss the young people from the main playground area tomorrow afternoon and this will be the same place that they will line up at 9am each morning going forward. If in doubt on Wednesday morning, just come to the main playground and when the bell goes there will be helpers to let you see where your child will line up.

For the next two weeks the young people will still wear their PE kits coming to school on specific days and will remain in their treehouses during the school day until we see cases becoming fewer. There remain staff absences although not necessarily for COVID. Before the holidays P4-7 were coming home at 2.30pm. As from tomorrow this will revert to 3pm.

Children and young people from nursery to P7 will still be encouraged to wash hands, etc. and as always, if your child is ill he/she should be at home recovering from sickness, temperature, persistent cough or severe headaches for at least 48 hours.

Here’s to a safe, healthy fulfilling term of learning!

Aileen Mackay, HT