New Month: Let’s Get Active!

Message from Lynne Fraser, Active Schools Coordinator:

We are delighted to announce the launch of our HLH Virtual Running series for the month of March!

We are missing being able to put on our running events and practices this year but we want to still help you get out and run!  This virtual running series hopes to get as many Primary aged children from across the Highlands to participate.

Full details can be found on our website:

Each pupil who completes their local course and submits their entry will be gain an email certificate.  We will also showcase the participation figures per Primary School and School Cluster and the award schools with the highest percentage of pupils taking part as our ‘Active Highland Virtual Running Series Champions’.

You can complete your local courses as many times as you want during the month and submit all your entries. Time is not a requirement, yet if recorded can be included in your submission (see if you can improve your time over the month). We also encourage you to upload and share your photos, videos, tracking data and stories through our social media channels.

The submission of all participant runs must be in by 5pm on Wednesday 31st March 2021 via the HLH Challenge Link. Entries after this time may not be counted.

Last Friday in February…

…and the sun is shining still even at 5.30pm! That has to bring us hope, doesn’t it that the seasons are still going on and a virus will not defeat nature? The moon waxes and wanes…full moon this weekend!

Music Festival this year was a bit different – except for one thing: Smithton still had winners and all participants still showed outstanding commitment and drive – well done all of these people:

P1/2 Adam Markiewicz – commended P1/2 Kaya Mackay – commended

P5 Eva Hood Commended Evie Munro Commended Sam Quirk Commended Gemma Mackay Commended Florian Kolankowski Commended Isla Devlin Commended

P3-P4 Solo Verse Speaking P3NS Millie Gray – Outstanding – 1st Place Kacie Connor – Distinction – 2nd Place Blake Cassels-Gatensby – Distinction – 3rd Place Ewen Robertson – Distinction – 3rd Place Josh Corcoran – Commended Brodie White – Commended Rory Connor – Merit

Primary 7- Poetry Composition and recital

Sophie Stokes- Winner ( Read by Dorothy Lambert P6)

Layla Campbell Runner-up (Read by Dylam MacDonald)

Charlie MacIver- Runner-up ( Read by Freddie Hoare )

Zara Petrie- Distinction- (Read by Aaron Cranstoun)

Gracie Livingstone – Distinction ( Read by herself)

Red Nose Day – 19th March – advanced warning. We’re going to have a dress down day but in class the children will be creating a superhero mask and imagining their superhero powers. Staff are organising a number of events during the day so, like Children in Need, if you want to donate £1 please put it in an envelope so we can put in a tub without handling immediately. Thank you!

Before Comic Relief Day we have World Book Day…but with a difference next week. We will have Smithton Book Week instead! P4-7 have their learning grids book focused and nursery – P3 will have a book centred session each day as weel. Because it’s going to last the week we are going to have a PJ day on Friday instead of Thursday so feel free to come in your onesies, pyjamas and dressing gowns, etc. P4-7 you still need to wash when you get up – don’t just stay in your jammies! £1 book tokens will be issued next week.

We have been shocked and saddened by the loss of two of our dads in the community in the last week or so. We will always look out for young people who have had tragedies in their lives but also their friends and their families, too. If you are finding it difficult to explain to your children if they have been affected please do get in touch with us at school as we can help you. We are a family and care about each and every one.

A few photos to round up the week from P2s engrossed in their learning on the floor to music festival and P3 impressionist Manet inspired paintings. A parent suggested reading The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse again this week. You may remember Gabriel in P7 reading this to us just before Christmas? It’s a nice way to start our weekend so click here if you want to snuggle up together on the sofa and read this together, this time with the author reading it. It was part of our assembly today but I thought nursery – P3 families might like to see it again here.

Keep hold of each other and as one of the lines in the book reads, ‘Life is difficult but you are loved.’

Aileen Mackay, HT

Needing a Chat?

The Family Team at Smithton is going to be ‘on call’ for anyone who wants or needs a chat. It can be that you are at the end of your tether and need support or it could be you just fancy a blether and a coffee with another adult! Click here for the link Tuesdays and Thursdays until further notice during school hours. Lauren, Jo or Lorraine will be available and will have the video call open all day.

Stay safe and protect your family,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Another week to tick off?

It’s not just another week to tick off, biding our time and waiting. Your children have grown, the season is changing from winter to spring and we can still laugh! We’re looking forward to seeing all of nursery and P1-3 in school from Monday. We acknowledge it’s hard for brothers and sisters in P4-7 to be at home while the younger ones are in school. We appreciate you continue to struggle on trying to work from home and trying to motivate the older children at home. We’ll still support those learning at home but hopefully if the ‘R’ number continues to decrease the experts will be able to allow some easing of the restrictions and the Smithton family will all be back together. Until then we all need to be patient. It’s not easy, is it?!

Have a look at the presentation that will maybe answer some of your questions. Remember to click ‘present’ at the top right hand side so you can see a brilliant wee video that P4s who were in school and Miss Noble made today.

Have a good weekend and here’s hoping for a good week ahead next week.

Stay safe,

Aileen Mackay, HT. Enjoy some photos from the nursery today!

COVID-19 Update

Just to confirm that all ELC and P1-3 children will be returning to school on Monday and their usual teachers/nursery staff will be back in place. Keyworker and targeted children are back on Thursday this week but with P5s not in their usual classroom – they will be with the other P5/6 and P6, P7 children so that they are away from P2/3 treehouse.

If you didn’t hear the First Minister today she made it clear that the children returning to school was not an easing of restrictions – it was to get children back to school. Parents should not use the time to socialise or for employers to expect parents to come back to the work place – they should continue to work from home where possible.

I’m sure there will be more information coming from Highland Council tomorrow but I said I would let you know as soon as I could about any changes to school from 22nd February.

Trusting you are all well. Please continue to take care and look after each other.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Friday Feeling

An amazing, heart felt poem by Robyn about friendship!

Oh what joy it is

to have a friend like you

For giving me strength

the way you do.

For lifting me up

when I’m wearing a frown

thanks for being there

and helping me grow.

Your friendship means a lot –

this I’d like you to know.

Last weekend my daughter and I went up Ord Hill. I’d love to say we were exploring but we actually got lost and a one hour walk ended up being nearly a three hour walk. It made me think about losing your way, realising you need to get back on track and having to do something about it. You may feel like you’ve lost your way at the moment: no idea if it’s night or day; no idea if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday (don’t panic – it’s Friday) or whether you’re about to make lunch or dinner. I know lots of us are feeling like all we’re doing is plodding along without a goal or a plan.

Between Robyn’s poem and the following photos there is an incentive to keep going. Families doing what they can to stay positive and remembering what’s really important about the journey: the people who are with you. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not find a moment this weekend to let someone you are on this journey with know how much he/she means to you. When was the last time you said, ‘I love you’ to that person? (Go on, brothers and sisters – you know you want to!)

We’ve been reminded this week on a few occasions where the local community has helped out for no gain other than to look out for each other. We’re all proud to work in the Smithton catchment area and to be on this journey alongside you. The Smithton Family continues to support and connect despite the time we finds ourselves in. Feet up, relax. I have no further news to share with you about school returning until after the First Minister’s planned briefing on Tuesday. As soon as I know anything I will post on the blog here. Until then we follow the guidelines and trust you are, too. Nursery and school back on Thursday.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Thursday Workout!

Starting to feel a bit ‘meh’? All this sitting about in the cold? Are you asking to put the heating up and someone says, ‘No. Just go and put another jumper on,’ or maybe, ‘Well help with the housework and that will heat you up!’?

Luca is an ex pupil of Smithton who studied Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. He graduated with a Masters and is now working at west Fraser’s Inverness Plant (previously known as Norbord).

He’s one of the nicest boys who ever came through our school but you wouldn’t mess with him: he has won two professional boxing fights! We are really fortunate that he is going to get us up off our sofas and get us going with a work out. Click on the link. I had a go last night so if I can take part, so can you! Challenge each other in the house to join in.

We won’t have a survey next Thursday but please complete this one by clicking here. Remember that staff won’t be posting any work until Thursday next week after tomorrow and school will not be open for anyone. We will continue to use the grid from this week next Thursday and Friday. Staff will have in service training on Wednesday but it will be done from home.

Beautiful if cold day today! Enjoy’s joining in with Luca and if you have music requests for the next one send them to me if you don’t know Luca! (I’ve made a request already….)

Aileen Mackay, HT

Monday News

The Highland Hospice Bereavement Service (which includes Crocus Group childhood bereavement service) are really keen to hear from as many people as possible, to get your thoughts on what people need from it and would like to see happen with the service. It is a very short survey but can give us such valuable insights, so that the service is designed around the communities and people it is there for. We would be most grateful for your time to share your thoughts. We will review all responses at the end of March 2021. We are looking for responses from both personal and professional capacities, so please do complete the survey if you can, and share with anyone who you think may be interested in participating. 

Here is the link to the survey: 

We are delighted to share some lovely news – Mr Grandison and his partner have had a wee boy, Connall and the whole family is doing well. Mrs Munro and her husband have also had a wee boy, Elliot and again, we are grateful and thankful that they are all doing well too.

Have you signed up to the virtual walk tomorrow afternoon? If you’re not sure if you can make it, here’s the link – just come along. Wouldn’t it be lovely heading to Venice? Have a cuppa to hand and

Check out the Outdoor Explorers latest adventures – Outdoor Explorers – Winter Snow Edition.

Aileen Mackay, HT