Links to Video Meets This Week

This is the link for the Parent Council AGM tomorrow night at 6.30pm. All parents are welcome to hear what the Parent Council has been doing and also to hear about the way the school is moving forward in these tough times.

This is the link for the P1 and P1/2 class teacher video meet on Wednesday at 3.45pm. Come and hear what and how your child has been learning in P1. We are waiting to hear how we can share what is happening in every class so please bear with us as we wait follow advice.

Head Teacher’s Learning Summary can be viewed here. Come to the Parent Council AGM tomorrow night and hear more.

Walk in the Woods will have to be done differently this year unfortunately due to this annoying pandemic. What we will be doing is creating a grid of activities for families to have a go with and if you manage to complete a certain number from the grid you will get a certificate of achievement from the school. More about this at the end of the week. It’s such a shame but keeping everyone safe and adhering to the Scottish Government guidelines is more important at the moment.

Thank you so much to all those adults who are now wearing a mask in the playground and keeping 2m apart. It’s not easy but it does help to protect you and each other.

Have a good week,

Aileen Mackay, HT


That Friday Feeling….

….and it’s Saturday before you will be reading this as I continue to have tech difficulties! I remain patient and calm despite the issues…

Early Years and Nursery

Please note another change to the timetable for you, your children and staff to get used to! You will be aware that we should have been able to offer 30 hours free childcare from August but the Council was unable to allow us to do this at the time. COVID-19 then frustrated us further and we had to offer an interim timetable August – September. We thought the new timetable earlier this month was the one to keep us going all year…and then we have been told that we can offer 30 hours to all existing children as soon as possible! Realistically we will have to start after the October holidays with this but Mrs Stuart has been working hard to get everything right for your children (there are no post its left in Inverness I fear…!) as we need to get lunch tables ordered, timetables for staff, new staff to be appointed, your children matched with staff, etc. The core hours will be 9am – 3pm including a free lunch in the short term until new staff can be appointed. If you need hours before 9am or after 3pm in the short term please contact Mrs Stuart as we have contingency planning ready. A thank you to Councilor Trish Robertson who has fought for families in our area to get this provision. Mrs Stuart will be in touch directly with families next week.

Face Masks, 2m Physical Distancing and Class Ventilation

If possible, a gentle reminder to keep your distance as adults when you can in the playground and to wear a mask when you can’t. You may have seen my mask – an old school sweatshirt chopped up! It was a nightmare in the heat but now it’s turning more chilly it’s more pleasant to wear…

Please note that we will continue to keep up the ventilation protocol in the school despite the change in the season. The adults will feel it more than the children but if your child wants to wear a scarf inside with their school uniform then that is totally appropriate. Staff will probably be doing the same.

Keep safe and continue to wash hands with your children and following Austin’s video of changing clothes, washing out packed lunch boxes, etc when your child comes home. We will not let this pandemic spoil your child’s chances for education and learning! The new restrictions are difficult. If you feel worried, alone or not sure what to do, we may not have the answers but we are here to listen. Don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly.

A massive shout out to staff who are humans with feelings and have their own family issues yet remain calm and determined for your children daily through all of this.

A huge round of applause to our wonderful cleaning and catering staff. Cleaners are on the go the whole time they are here – Kim during the day and the rest of the team at the end of the day – stand still long enough and someone will come along and sanitise you! Catering staff have come up with great ways of working so that almost everything looks as ordinary as possible for the children.

Star Awards

Here are the award winners and a few other photos in between from the week showing problem solving, team work and caring for nature. The House Captains led assembly for the first time and were in their white shirts and ties. I have huge confidence in the P7 year group going forward as well as the House Captains.

Have a good weekend,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Latest Update, Mid Week News

Thanks to the Family Team for finding this helpful illustration.

Please remember flu vaccination is tomorrow. The team coming is well prepared and ready to go round all the classes rather than the children coming to a central point and they will be well protected. Your child will not receive the vaccination unless you have returned the form and we are aware that some parents don’t want their children vaccinated.

Star award winner, Emma from P3 NS last week

Meet the P1 teachers next Wednesday late afternoon – look out for the blog post at the beginning of the week for the code so you can get the chance to see what your children have been learning in P1 and P1/2. More information about parent chats with teachers from the rest of the school after the October holidays.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Star Awards, House Captains and P1, P1/2 Info

We are still waiting for clearance to get our extra curricular clubs back up and running, even outdoor ones. While we’re waiting the Outdoor Explorers have updated their website to help families explore the outdoors together. Click here to see the latest information.


See the Star Award winners from last week, tidiest classroom winner – and see Morgan catching up on maths work over the weekend! P5 RJ had a great time watching the spitfire fly overhead to say, ‘Thank you’ to the NHS.


Our House Captains from P7 were leted and then interviewed last week. Here are messages from them:


Innes McConachie

I would like to introduce myself to the P1s so they know who I am and that they can come to me if they need help.  At parents evenings I like helping people and talking to the parents. And the other reason I want to be house captain is because any kid could give up at any but I want them to know if you believe you will achieve.

Sophie Stokes

As a house captain I would first like to help with looking after the primary 1-2 with their learning.

I would like sports day brought back to the school if covid-19 is over.

The little ones  clean up after themselves. P7 and house captain take it in turns to give stickers to those who clean up and design colour stickers to stick on them.

Owen Whitehead

As house captain I would like my roles  to include  helping  with parent meetings (setting it up). I would also like to help the littler ones in and around the playground helping them if they need help or hurt themselves. 

I would like to help with the infant end of the school if the pupils are giving the teachers a hard time.

 I would like to be able to help the teachers within the classrooms as a pupil support by helping the children with their  reading, maths and writing.  


  • Speak loud at assembly 
  • Be a good role model
  • Be a good House captain 
  • Be good at speaking out 
  • Be good at communicating with teachers and pupils 
  • Be good at leading by example 
  • Be good at solving peoples problems In the school 
  • Neatly dressed

Dexter Mackintosh

I see my role as house captain being mainly as a helper, as this can be in different ways.

I want  to help the younger pupils, in and out the playground, and help to set good examples by being a good role model. I also see my role to help to fundraise for the school so we can fix the gazebos and have spare money for equipment and games.

I also see my role as a confident and positive representative of Smithton primary always looking at the brighter side of the situation and respecting the 5 values.

Freddie Hoare

As a house captain I will help the younger children’s ideas and opinions be heard, because it is normally the P6 and P7s who are listened to. I will help with fundraisers to make money in our school. I will also help keep the school safe. 

Charlie MacIver

What I hope to achieve? 

I want to do well in school and to be  known as a responsible house captain when I leave.  I would like to be a good example and visible as a person that will help people.

What I want the role to be? 

 As house captain I think that house captains should always do the 5 values and then if little kids see house captains being positive, honest, caring, respectful and friendly. They hopefully will learn to use the 5 values. 

Layla Campbell

For the house captains role this year I think we should make a special effort to help out with as much as we can at school, especially trying to help bring everyone together during Covid 19 so that no one feels left out in the playground. Also I think we could help fundraise for the school council, it may be challenging but I have a couple of ideas like:

  • Video calling but paying not too much like 50p to watch the ice dunk challenge.
  • Video calling but maybe the boys that play football and girl’s too could have a match and they put money in for how many goals they score, so if Dexter scored a goal then they would all need to pay 1 pound then if he or someone else scored a goal then 2 pound because that is 2 goals scored.
  • Again video calling but paying to watch the children be silent for 10 minutes and i’m sure a lot of people will want to see that.

Aims as house captain:

I would really like the Brodie Panthers to successfully win the house points this year as house captain. 

I want to show the rest of the Brodie Panthers that Innes and myself are proud to be their house captains this year and make them proud of us as their captains.

Play Based Learning in P1 and P1/2

If you are a P1 parent or carer, please join us this evening for a video meeting to catch up on what ‘play based learning’ means and what we are able to do during the restrictions. We want to keep to the Government guidelines but still following our play based approach. It’s frustrating for us when we can’t actually meet you like would have normally at this time of year to show you what the children are learning but please bear with us! If you can, join me at 6.30pm tonight using the code below.



Art Gallery in the Sun

Well done, Mrs Tough’s P3 class for bringing some culture to our school! The art work is amazing and the artist notes made me proud.

Do you recognise these scooters? They have been left lying for more than two weeks now. Please come and collect before we take them to a charity shop

HT Learning Summary is available and the focus on helping learning to continue at home.

We had two good days for in service training as a staff and although we couldn’t spend time together in the school we are all getting better at meeting using technology and it’s now almost ‘normal’ to have virtual meetings!

One area that has been affected by the restrictions of COVID-19 is our approach to P1 and P1/2 that we were so excited about. We have had time to think how we can have a ‘half way house’ that gives variety of activities, depth of knowledge for the children yet still follows the Government guidelines to keep us all safe. We will have a video meeting on Monday at 6.30pm and I will explain this a bit further to parents of children in those classes. The video link will come out on Monday but I wanted to give you advanced warning.

Enjoy the lovely Smithton sunshine this evening.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Friday Round Up

Quick reminder that we have in service days on Monday and Tuesday so no school or nursery. Most staff will be working from home but we will all be working virtually with each other.

Please see the HT learning summary in the website (I still can’t get to grips with all the changes to uploading this blog including how to link webpages – sorry!!)

You will have noticed that we have solar panels on the new roof. I’m also delighted with how many people are taking their bikes or scooters to school! we’re doing our bit for the planet. I have made sure that our school is down on the waiting list for another bike shed. Keep pedalling…

Parent Council AGM Tuesday 29th September – a virtual meeting will take place so as many of the Parent Forum can attend. More to follow in the next couple of weeks.

Here is a glimpse in classrooms and learning this week. It is so good to see so many young people engaging with their learning! well done the Star Award people, too.

Have a good weekend and we will see you on Wednesday morning, bright and breezy.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Star Award Winners

Congratulations to our Star Award winners this week and to P5 Mrs Mitchell’s class for winning the tidy class area award from the cleaners. You’ll see that not all of the winners’ photos are up – apologies – the rest will come on Monday…a few technical hitches.

On the note of awards, it’s not like me to be lost for words but I was totally taken aback by the staff who put me forward for the national award. It’s very easy to be a dedicated head teacher when you have dedicated staff, young people and an inspiring community around you. This recognition is shared with you all as we continue to strive to keep people and families safe while getting back into the swing of things. I’m truly humbled that many of you took the time to vote but can we leave the mark in history that this award was a combined effort and that we couldn’t have done it without each other? You continue to inspire me as colleagues, young people, parents, carers and the whole community of people here.

Have a good weekend and keep each other safe,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Learning Council 2020-21


Congratulations to all of our new ‘Learning Council’ members who attended their first meeting today.  We look forward to them representing the views of the pupils throughout the school and helping us make Smithton School the best it can be.