Another Chapter in History

Well we’ve all been part of significant history this last eighteen months. What have you learned about yourself? What have you learned about each other? Have your priorities changed? One thing that remains at Smithton ELC and Primary: Determination! We believe and we achieve. Seeing young people give of their best day in day out which then inspires others who just do the minimum to take more pride in their work is a joy and privilege. Our P7s this year have been an inspiration to the rest of the school. Every P7 year group really practises self control and realises that they are role models for the school but this group really has been exceptional. Parents and carers – this doesn’t just happen – they need guidance from you so thank you so much for lending us your children for nine years. My only complaint is that some of you didn’t move into the area from nursery days so we haven’t had the full nine years with you all! We received some lovely cards from grandparents as well as parents. Thank you so much – you are as part of Smithton as the children and their parents and carers. Can we give a special mention to childminders, neighbours, big sisters and other relatives who do the school drop off/pick up? We love getting to chat with you daily and want you to know that you are just as important to us as the young people and their parents and carers. Thank you for your cheery smiles and chat each day in the playground!

P7 made up this poem about the school – isn’t it brilliant? I rest my case about our wonderful young people.

Our final assembly is usually a joyous occasion filled with laughter and happy tears as we congregate together as a community so it was with a hard heart that we had to make the decision to follow the rules and not meet altogether indoors. Let me try and give you a flavour of the morning:

The young people have been led each Friday in assembly by The House Captains online so today was no different as we all stayed in our classrooms to sing and to hear from each class. Our first song was Bad Days Won’t Last (this is a wee taster – maybe someone at home will sing it to you?!) chosen by Mr West. Mrs Aitken, Mrs MacMillan and Mrs Mac have been choosing the songs all term so it was fitting that Mr West got to choose the last one.

‘Spirit of Smithton’ awards are carried out annually and it is always a tough decision as to who gets nominated in each class. This year was no exception. As we couldn’t have parents and carers with us to see who got the nomination from each class staff put a video together so you could hear who was nominated. Challenge anyone who says young people aren’t hard working, determined, helpful, kind and friendly after watching this video of all the teachers discussing their nominations. The overall winner for the school was Andrew Alexander in P7! A fantastic achievement and so lovely to see the whole class cheering with celebration for him.

We were also impressed with how many perfect attendances we had this year! These young people all received awards, too. As we had a term of home learning again I needed to know that the attitude to learning at home was positive on a daily basis, too so extremely well done to all those who managed to get into school every single day or who were working at home. Watch out for next year’s award in this category: 100% attendance…..and no lateness!

We had great fun with Gnoma – our friendly gnome who leaves us cheeky messages regularly but who motivates the children to learn in a variety of ways. Whatever you do, don’t say to Miss Bennett that Gnoma looks like her – she gets quite huffy as Miss Bennett is a very hard working, ‘follow the rules and don’t be silly’ kind of assistant in the school (a-hem). She had shared a great video with the boys and girls about the adults who were leaving and retiring – great line when she called Mr West a MAMIL – middle aged man in lycra as he cycles to work every day! (Thankfully not in lycra, though…)

Despite the downpours this morning there were a few breaks and we rounded off the assembly standing outside in a circle singing ‘As We Go Now’. Mrs Fraser kindly video-ed this for us but I couldn’t get it to download thought the council firewall..but hopefully this will work: open up the document and click on the link here.

After the children went home we had our farewells as a staff to Mrs Stuart from the nursery. (She’s so determined to stay that she created a puncture in her car last night and she couldn’t drive it away!) We are desperately sorry to see the council change direction and remove childcare managers but we know that whichever department in the council that she goes to lead and manage it will do well under her care and direction. Mrs Mac is heading off to art school (we scoff at her sand, mud and clay creations but when she’s a rich and famous artist we will be calling in favours!) and that left the 70 years experience leaving us in the shape of Mrs Aitken, Mrs MacMillan and Mr West: all three embody The Spirit of Smithton and have caused the price of hankies to go through the roof here this week – not many dry eyes anywhere.

The Smithton community family is special – we all know that. On a personal level I have the best team to work with, the best group of young people in front of me daily and the best set of parents and carers who value their children’s education and recognise that their teachers, assistants, cooks, cleaners, clericals and janitors work so hard to get it right for each and every child. To those families moving away – we’ve said our farewells but we do want photos of them in their new school uniforms and want to know you have settled well. Do please keep in touch.

Here is our final slideshow of the year capturing moments from the whole year. Please know of our continual love for you as families over the holidays as well as in term time and here’s hoping for a lessening of restrictions going into August. I will update the blog next Friday, even if it’s just to say ‘no news’ and also at the end of the holidays. Stay safe, stay well and stay in communication with each other. It’s all about trusting, positive relationships.

Aileen Mackay, HT

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