Final Assembly Details

Our COVID numbers have remained the same as last week, although different people therefore we can go ahead to invite you to our end of year assembly. If you are well, show no symptoms and would like to come you will be made most welcome. We’re delighted that Smithton Free Church is not only giving us the staff and building at no cost for the assembly but are also providing refreshments for any parent, carer or family member that comes to the event. We will hope to finish by 11am.

If you have to work, stay at home to look after a loved one or are not feeling well, including children who are off sick, you can watch the assembly live using the church link here. Scroll down the website page till you see this image and click on it:

If you want a special mention as you are watching online, please email me from now until 8.30am and I will give you a mention. (This could be handy for P7s and prize winners who have relatives who don’t live here!) The assembly can not be recorded as our copyright licence for music only covers live events.

A final note about school lunches for those with dietary needs – and I suggest you do htis immediately so the informaiton is in hte system rather than trying to rememebr in August if you saw it on an email, dojo or the blog!

Pupils moving from Nursery to P1 or P7 to S1 after the summer will need to complete a special diet request for their children if they still need amended school meals and they haven’t already submitted a new request.  We do not need a new form if the pupil remains in the same ELC, primary or secondary setting and their requirements have not changed.

The link is below or you can enter the words ‘special diets’ into the search field of the Highland Council website and submit the request online.

We’ve just finished our last full day of session 2021-22. A good night’s rest for all staff and young people so we have an excellent last day tomorrow. A reminder to all that we close at lunch time – and it’s the infant lunch time so 12 noon.

Aileen Mackay, HT

P4-7 Summer Show Online At 2pm Today!

Firstly – huge thanks to all who contributed to the Parent Council summer fundraiser – the £100 ticket, the disco and the hamper – £743.19. You really are the most generous and incredible community. More details about the Leanne Fund and The Wellbeing Challenge monies that were raised this year on Thursday at the assembly. (I’ll be taking a decision about parent invitations to the assembly tomorrow, Wednesday – I’ve been saying I’ll make the decision on Thursday as I keep forgetting we don’t finish on Friday – we finish on Thursday!)

Secondly, P4-7 classes have been working on presenting some of their learning to you and the show starts at 2pm today. It takes around 40 minutes so either watch it at 2pm and have a cuppa or watch it later as a family. This fourth term is always busy but I take my hat off to the staff for all their hard work in their own time to make this show happen. Link will be sent out just before 2pm today!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Last Friday of This School Year

What a glorious week of weather and learning rounded off with disco relaxation. Classes are still working hard on their learning and we hope that you will be able to keep them going with their reading, numbers and healthy lifestyles through the summer.

We’ve had Science, technical, engineering and maths visits to upper classes this week to broaden their experiences as well as deepen their understanding of the the world of work.

P4 were trying out their enterprise ideas on P5…watch this space for new entrepreneurs!

We’ve also had our P7s at secondary schools this week so it’s been hectic for them processing all the new information. So lovely to see many of them at the disco last night and enjoying their separate ‘pizza party’!

We welcomed Mrs Gowans, the local librarian, to assembly yesterday where she awarded the nursery children coming into P1 their book bags. The children sat amazingly well and joined in the song, too. What a privilege it is to be a member of staff here being part of your children’s growing up!

On the theme of broadening our experiences, we were delighted to welcome Ruaridh from P3’s dad to the class talking about and demonstrating how a 3D printer works. Who knows how that will stimulate these minds for career and life choices!

We’ve also had two of our three nursery sports days which have gone down well. Looking forward to the Garden Parties next week as we celebrate the learning and development of all there. As these events will be outside we are delighted to be welcoming family to take part. (It’s also Safe, Strong and Free ‘Come Dressed as your Hero’ day on Monday in the nursery!)

With the rise in COVID, chicken pox and tonsillitis numbers we took the decision to have the disco ‘al fresco’ last night to help protect children, adult helpers and staff so trusting that our risk assessments have kept everyone safe…the evening was fantastic with the P7s having great fun with their Pizza Party before joining the rest of the school. So good to see nursery all the way through there dancing, swinging on the bars, chilling with each other and being part of a really lovely atmosphere. The Parent Council and volunteers really do the kids proud with their organisation and thoughtfulness.

As for assembly on Thursday at Smithton Free Church….it will go ahead regardless for the young people and I’m just watching numbers and trends to decide on numbers of parents who can attend. Please keep a check on the blog here as I will let you know of the decision when the risk assessment has been updated.

Tuesday afternoon will have the premier of the P4-7 show where each class has put together a short piece and our resident Stephanie Spielberg (aka Miss Noble) has put them together to make a video. We normally have Nursery – P3 taking part in a Christmas show and P4-7 taking part in a summer show. Because of COVID we have had to resort to online Nativities as video performances and this will be the year for P4-7 to showcase their skills! We will send the link for the show on the blog here. Hopefully, back to full audiences and performances in the school from Christmas.

So much learning, so much fun and yet we’re all still a little unsettled. Some staff don’t know whether they will have a job or not after Thursday, virtually no staff know which room, playroom or class they will be working with and young people, apart from P7, are a bit nervous about who the adults are that will be helping them learn next year. I have no control over this as we are all employees of Highland Council and not Smithton Primary as such. This means we are part of the whole organisation so we can be called to serve any community or if we don’t have a permanent contract, we may not have a job at the end of the school year. The Council works hard to ensure that the right people are matched to the right school so we just have to trust the process….easier said than done, I know. As soon as I know the final details staff will hear first and then you will receive dojos. I know there are some parents who think that we do know the details but are just not sharing. I give you my word – this is not the case. Surely we will hear very soon.

Relax for five minutes and watch our final slideshow of the year with evidence of items noted in this blog as well as the Star Award winners. The final blog of the year on Thursday next week will have a shortened version of the annual slideshow..

Have a good weekend,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Disco Tomorrow Update

COVID is on the increase again in our community so I have guided the Parent Council into changing plans…but don’t panic – we’re still hoping to go ahead! A few changes:

Smithton in the Playground! Who needs Glastonbury?

To come in: come through the main gates (no parking in the school grounds please) and use the entrance to take you round the perimeter of the school where you will be met by Parent Council reps at the attendance desk.

Disco will be outside so dress appropriately! (P7s 8.45 – 9.15 session will be indoors for the sake of the neighbours.)

When your children are due to leave: please come to pick them up from the other side entrance (an adult will be there to guide you) and follow round to the festival/disco area.

P7s will have their pizza party as normal so will be guided through the school to their room.

If your child is feeling unwell, as much as we hate to say it, please keep him/her at home and do not attend the disco/festival. Any child who wanted to come but is absent tomorrow and/or feels ill later will receive a wee something from The Parent Council at the beginning of the week – just let the school office know your child’s name and class and we’ll sort it. We really don’t want more children and staff off next week or into the holidays…

A wee note to the Community Council is going out so that the local residents know it might be a bit noisy between 5.30 and 8.30…I’m sure they won’t mind for a one off when the children haven’t had this type of fun together for a while.

Thank you for your understanding with these changes…and for flexible Parent Council members!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Parent Council News

Disco reminder about Friday: all ELC children are warmly invited but must be accompanied by an adult i.e. 18 or over. Parent helpers always warmly invited and although it doesn’t sound like a good night out – it really is great fun!

As the Parent Council run these events and always try to have them on a Friday, it is important that all children – including P7s – are collected from the school. The older children may be allowed out by themselves however as this is run by the Parent Council, and it’s a Friday night, we want to make sure all get home safely.

P7s are warmly invited to come for 6.30pm to eat pizza and share memories, etc. They are allowed to bring their phones but the phones remain their responsibility. They are also bound by school policy while on school premises however we also know that they want to make the moments to keep – especially as this is their only disco for the last two years at the school.

Many thanks to all who make these events possible!

Friday Round Up

Free school meals and clothing grant – new guidance

All applicants will need to reapply for the new school year.  Highland Council Revenue Team will be in touch with them via email before the end of term as they need to have the online form and links ready with the new details. Applications will then be received from 1 July 2022.

The council website and online application form require to be updated this week, to take into account changes relating to thresholds applicable for the school year, effective from 1 August 2022 as set by Scottish Parliament.

If you use this link only do so after the 1st July when the site has been updated

National Entitlement card for travel for free travel for under 22’s on the bus

All young people are now entitled to free bus travel up until their 22nd birthday.

Forms and evidence must be emailed to the following email along with a copy of the child’s birth certificate and a passport sized photo of the child’s head and shoulders taken against a neutral background.  Photos must be passport sized.

Olly Forsyth and Emma Boyd are part of this amazing achievement to attend a championship competition in Florida next year. This is the first time a team from Inverness has ever secured this bid so we are extremely proud of the kids and coaches. 
The email below is for information purposes but if you want to see their success and their justgiving link it will help them raise awareness and if you feel willing and able to make some donations.

Thursday 2.30pm in the school playground: come and find school jumpers so you don’t need to buy new ones. If you have perfectly good jumpers, school trousers, skirts, etc that your child has grown out of please hand them in at the same time and we’ll get them ready for after the holidays.

Thank you to all parents and carers who have returned report comments. We are still not in a position to let you know about next year’s classes or teachers as the council still hasn’t been able to assign staff to Smithton Primary and ELC. It’s rather frustrating from all angles but there is very little we can do at the moment – and we’re not alone – lots of schools are in exactly the same position. As soon as I can, I will let you know what’s happening. We have assigned the last week of the holidays as a week when children and their parents who are a bit worried about coming back can come in for a wee while just to get their bearings. Keep looking out for the blog over the summer and I’ll update you for times and days that are available.

This time next week we will be moving and grooving to the latest beats – the Parent Council run discos are back! Times are as follows next Friday:

5.45 – 6.15 nursery

6.30 – 7.30 P1 – 3

7.45 – 8.45 P4 – 7

8.45 – 9.15 P7 only – final fling for them!

Great to see our star award winners this week and a commendation from Poppy Scotland for Kyle’s amazing writing.

Another distinction – this time for guitar playing! Well done, Brogan.

Have a good weekend, all.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Two Weeks for the Price of One!

Last week’s star awards, Baillie Cup and Jubilee celebrations. Apologies for delay – with technical issues until Wednesday it’s been tough trying to keep in touch. New school cook and her team did us proud with a street party lunch and all classes had a ball with the festivities. It was great to see so many brightly coloured clothing as well to support the Leanne Foundation and the £302.47 raised was fantastic. There will be more news on the Well being challenge sponsorship next week but let’s just say The Haven and money for school trips next year will have a healthy kick start. You really do us proud digging deep and putting your children first. As always, thank you.

You will see that the Parent Council remains active about road safety in and around the school by the fact that the yellow zig zags are now painted on. We’re still waiting for the barriers and pavement markings but we’re getting there. However, young people and Parent Council have been working on road safety for years and there is still one problem: parents who continue to park illegally and who put children’s lives in danger. Please don’t do this – you don’t want it on your head if a child has an accident.

Wellbeing and sports have been celebrated this week. As we’ve said before, we have the inter school sports and the Baillie Cup for those who are athletic and competitive and no one cheers louder than Smithton staff at these events so we’re all for competition. However the Sports and Wellbeing week is about education and providing new experiences as well as a time for reflection about our lifestyles. One activity that was carried out in many classes was about routines and why these can help with your mental health. A number of children have been considering screen time, what the ‘blue screen’ is doing to their brain activity and considering the balance of time and how they spend it. As for yesterday’s cycle stunt show that we won because of the number of children who walk/scooter/cycle to school – ooft! Let’s just say Mr Grandison was used as a prop and we were all enthralled as to what was going to happen next! Iain and Brett reminded the children that they couldn’t really do any stunts until they could balance on their bikes so if you see your child trying to balance and practice falling you know why. The children with Caley Thistle were so well received by the coaches during the week that P2 and P3 are getting two weeks of coaching for free before the holidays. The curling, botcha, basketball, etc has been terrific and a number of children were keen to talk about what they’d learned and some have been approached by coaches from other sports to say to come and try at weekends as they were so good. (On the note of wider sports and hobbies, we will be able to get back into our after school activities programme so a survey will come out, as soon as I know which staff are here and who is willing to offer their services.)

The finale today was the walk/jog/run around the park. Those who are competitive got the chance to ‘go for it’ and get as many laps done as possible. One girl in particular said she is determined to get even more laps in and will be practising during the holidays to beat the record set yesterday of 14 laps in half an hour. Those who are not as keen to compete but enjoy a jog had fun running with family (Jack – you DEFINITELY beat your dad today – look out for the photo!) or walking with baby sister in the buggy or granny out for a walk holding hands with grandchildren. Water, teas and coffees were available thanks to the Parent Council and lovely positive comments from those watching on. (Raffle was won by Caiden in P2/3 – great fruit hamper! £130 raised for trips and events – thank you all so much.)

Find out which house has won the sports cup at the end of year assembly…yes – it’s back! The Smithton Free Church gives us their venue, heating, lighting and AV equipment for free as it is bigger than our hall. So 30th June we will have our final assembly there from 9.30am. As the school is so big now it does take a couple of hours but with entertainment and videos of the year there’s usually a great atmosphere and the time flies.

Here’s a few more photos from this week: computer coding in P6 as well as sports and ice lollies to finish off….Thank you, as always, for lending us your children each week. So many happy, smiling faces and people willing to learn. I trust you have a sleep filled family tonight with all that fresh air this week.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Plan Is To Go Ahead Today

Morning! Just in case you are wondering – we are going ahead with our running circuit session today unless it is torrential rain. The path is not slippy and the children will only be out for half an hour. Here’s hoping the slight rain disappears and we have a dry end to a great week. Remember you are very welcome to join in with any of the classes and any walking or running will count towards your child’s house group points… (Mr Grandison says the points are pretty close at the moment so every point counts!) No pressure, though. Feel free to come and cheer them on as there are park benches along the route. Thanks to the Parent Council who will be here mid morning and afternoon to provide cups of tea and selling tickets for that healthy hamper raffle prize!

Aileen Mackay, HT