Star Awards and Bits and Pieces

Parent Council tomorrow night at 6pm. Looking forward to ‘seeing’ everyone. Here’s the link:

Dear Parents.

The closing date for FREE postage and delivery for parents is fast approaching for online orders. If you have already placed an order for photographs thank you, if not or you wish to order more photographs please visit using the details on your Tempest order form.

If you need assistance feel free to contact Tempest 01736 751555 (option 3).

Many Thanks

Tempest Photography

Finding right angles outside, star awards and the Cupcake Club’s pottery gallery. It was all go last week!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Book Bug in Nursery

All of the children should now have received their book bags with 3 books from The Scottish Book Trust. We hope you are enjoying reading these with your children, please send in any photos of you and child looking at the books for our room displays. We had great fun reading these books together at our book bug sessions, remember its great to repeat the same story to child over and over again as this really supports their learning.

You can find lots of stories and songs on, there is also a book bug app you down load on your phone.

Culloden library is offering a “Collect and Return” service, you can use this service by calling them on 01349 781391 to request specific titles or ask staff to choose a selection of items based on your interests. Staff will then contact you to arrange a date and time for you to come and collect your items, and return any you have at home.

Anxiety- But We’re Together

If you are feeling that your family is finding life difficult at the moment: maybe someone is not sleeping well, maybe children and young people are not behaving as well together, maybe meal times are difficult and maybe there are money worries at the moment. I have spoken to many of you to know that these difficulties appear to be in many homes at the moment so take comfort that you are not alone. Also, having spoken to colleagues across Highland and across Scotland, there is a similar pattern. Some of you have reached out either to me or to your child’s teacher saying that your child is feeling more anxious than usual. Emma Campbell suggested a good book to read when she was working with the PEF Family team last year called, ‘How Emotions Are Made’ by Lisa Feldman Barrett and I found a great message in it yesterday:

In anxiety, the metaphorical dial is stuck on allowing too much prediction error from the world, and too many predictions are unsuccessful. With insufficient prediction, you don’t know what’s coming around the next corner and life contains a lot of corners. That’s classic anxiety.’

That’s kind of teacher speak to say we’re all anxious at the moment as we can’t predict what this virus will do next or how our plans can take shape when we don’t know what we can or can’t do safely. So it’s clear that it’s going to be ‘normal’ to feel anxious just now. What we must all do is share our feelings and emotions and not to bottle them up. Call a friend for a video chat. Make a time in the week when, as a family, you can all be in the same room at the same time focused on one thing – a game, a film, music and talk to each other.

Rose from our Family Team has created a session for parents around behaviour at home and we will have some sessions tailored to your family’s needs. More coming about this next week.

As for family money worries remember that we will be giving away school jumpers in the playground at 2.30pm today. If you want to give us a donation for school funds we will be delighted but absolutely no expectation. Thanks to everyone who has donated the clothes! we will do this again on the last Thursday before the end of this term, too.

Please take care, everyone and know that for the most part, your children are happy and learning well in school. Staff remain positive, encouraging and dedicated to making a difference in your children’s lives.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Monday’s News

Being creative and having an enterprising attitude helps us learn better. One of the main reasons we have enterprise, problem solving and learning outdoors is so we can bring out the best in all our young people. The Outdoor Explorers and Making A Difference Enterprise groups joined together to learn the messages about sticking with a plan and seeing it through on Friday afternoon with the help of Anne Martin from the national Enterprise Academy.

You should have received the slips for the school photos. Please note that you need to do this online this year for obvious reasons. If you are unable to do this online please contact the office and we will see what we can do – we don’t want you to miss out on buying the photos because your wifi is not working, etc.

Head Teacher summaries will be uploaded tomorrow.

More wellies and hoods up this week ahead. Stay safe and keep following the regulations and we’ll get through this. Lots of you have been in touch – you are not alone finding family life difficult particularly around behaviour at home. We will have a session for parents on line where the Family Team have put together some information and there will be opportunities to listen altogether but then have times on your own to discuss your family’s needs.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Believe and you will achieve….

I worked out where I was going wrong trying to upload these photos! Now let the weekend begin…

We’re delighted that Paige’s dad, Mr Sutherland has created a virtual tour of the school for us. Click on this link to see it It will also go onto the tab ‘About’ for any families moving into the area. We are delighted that he gave us this free of charge. He was motivated to do this because he was aware that so many new parents either to ELC, primary one or new to the area haven’t had the opportunity to see around the school because of the current restrictions. A huge thank you to him and his assistant, Paige, who kept him right!

We had a lone of ‘Jimmy the Janny’ again this week and on Thursday he brought his medals in from when he had been in the army. Various young people got to see them and also his survival kit. P5 RJ were particularly interested in his rebuilding of a school in Bosnia. Look out for those photos in the slideshow below. Also some children from the Butterfly room were problem solving the other day and showed great skill in team work, communication and counting to 18. Star Award moments are always proud moments and are there to give examples to us all for how we can promote our school values. Well done, everyone.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Weekend Round Up

We have invested in the House Captains to wear Smithton blazers when on official duty. Don’t they look smart? Clothes don’t give you aspiration or dedication to learn; it is always the person inside the clothes that counts. However it gives us great pleasure to see our young people taking pride in their school and community.

For some bizarre reason I am unable to upload the photos from yesterday’s Star Awards and events from around the week. I am about to lose patience…bring back the slate! Hopefully I’ll be able to get help on Monday to see where I’m going wrong and you will be able to see the great reasons why people were given certificates and how other people were learning during the week, including nursery children who were counting to 18 using planks of wood!

The kids from Westfield Way have been busy raising money for MFR Cash for Kids Mission Christmas Appeal.  The appeal has received a record number of applications this year, the kids are hoping to raise lots of money and help in any way they can.

So far they have a prize raffle, made their own candle (which has almost sold out!) and they have also made hot chocolate cones and reindeer food which they have been selling locally. 

Aileen Mackay, HT

Making soup

The children in the Butterfly room helped Mrs Cranstoun make some vegetable soup, this links in with some our Health and Wellbeing learning this term, “Together we enjoy handling, tasting, talking and learning about different foods, discovering ways in which eating and drinking may help us to grow and keep healthy.”

“It’s delicious” Kasey, “It’s got carrots in it” Eliza, “It’s yummy” Eva

Believe You Will Achieve!

In the days before Covid and prior to our new school building being completed, our Learning Council organised a competition for our pupils to design a new banner that reflected our school motto and values.  We have finally taken delivery of the winning designs and the results are proudly displayed in the school foyer.  Well done to all our winning designers and we hope you enjoy seeing the results of your efforts on show.

More Children in Need

Morgan did the girl guiding act your age challenge for children in need, she did 6 lengths of the distance from our house to Harry Gow’s (3 times up and down the hill!) With a small stop to have a Harry Gow chocolate muffin on the last lap. She’s raised over £70 for children in need….. well done Morgan!! ‘

These photos were missing from Friday – sorry!

It’s been brought to my attention that cars do not always stop at road crossings despite red lights and ‘green man’ signals. Please remind your young ones to use the crossings but also still to check that cars are actually stopping.

A reminder that photos will be taken for individuals on Wednesday. The weather is forecast for rain this week…hoods up and wellies on!

Have a good week.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Friday Round Up

A message from the Highland Council about parental engagement. I will explain more about how we will be keeping you informed in our way next week:

Parental engagement/evening update:

As an Authority we are working with our schools to ensure they feel supported in a time of great uncertainty. The Health and Wellbeing of our staff is paramount right now. Parental engagement is key. However, many factors need to be taken into account this year where face to face consultation is not possible.

Following consultation with union representatives, it has been agreed that Highland Council will proceed with a small number of schools to take part of a virtual parent engagement/evening trial. This is to make sure that a preferred system/platform works well and that there are no issues from either school or parent perspective. A mixture of primary and secondary schools in Mid, South and West areas have agreed to take part in this trial throughout November.

Once this trial has been completed further engagement with Head Teachers, parents and Unions will take place, with a decision made in how to move forward with virtual parental engagement. The timing of this pilot may mean that  this type of school engagement may not take place until  term 3.

Schools will have different approaches to parental engagement and these will vary between schools. This decision lies with the individual school and is supported by Local Authority.

Lunch Money

Can lunch money be paid at the beginning of the week and put in an envelope with the days on the front marked, please? The less kitchen staff handle money, the more time they have to prepare food and help children cutting up their food, etc. Thank you for this.

Children in Need

Yet again Smithton community rises to the occasion. £500 raised! Thank you all so much indeed. All week the classes have been looking at rights, responsibilities and the school revised values and vision. In amongst this P3 NS created puppet shows all by themselves with the theme of pirates and thinking of others. Have a watch by clicking on the links below:

Here are a few photos from this week. Pirates, substance awareness training in classes and star wards. Thank you once again for all your donations and everyone’s hard work this week.

Aileen Mackay, HT