This is Not a Test! Hopefully Sorted..

Apologies for bits and pieces coming through all week as we have been trying to get this sorted. It’s not fixed yet but a kind IT officer in Highland Council has a workaround so hopefully there will be photos today…

At last – a full week with no strikes or holidays!We all feel better when we have routines and boundaries so it has been good to get a full week in with the children and young people all here. And a full week it has been: sleep workshop, parent contact sessions for P4-7, no smoking day exhibition and market place, final leadership teaching sessions for P7 across the school, P5KS nature outing, swimming for P6 and everything else in between!

Staff and young people have been working so hard. I know I say this every week but the enthusiasm going into learning and teaching has ensured that all children are making progress. The groundwork has been done before children come to ELC with parents and carers and then the established learning sessions take place through play in ELC. This lays the foundations for early stages in the primary school learning through play and exploration. I’m delighted to say that the young people P4-7 are able to talk through their own learning and know where their strengths are and what their next steps are that they need to address. This all means that learning sessions are targeted for each child and staff are able to focus on what building blocks need to be in the day to day learning. Having positive relationships and confidence in each other staff and young people can then work on resilience to tackle the tricky bits and as so many parents are keen to do the right thing for their child this three way conversation has meant most children are on track to be at or above the expected stage of development. For those that struggle with formal academic achievements they are supported but also, just as importantly, they are able to shine in other ways that will help them achieve no matter what. There are multiple intelligences and all are as important as each other to team work. Mr Lyon, DHT and I have been analysing the results and for things we can measure, all have improved incredibly. For the things we can’t measure in the same way – happiness, team work, resilience, etc, we can see fewer upsets, more enthusiasm in class and more parental comments appreciating what is being done in the school. Always room for improvement and we strive daily for you and your family.

ELC going into P1, P3 and P7 all take part in a leadership programme through the school. For P3 parents there will be a session to come and see what this means for your child as they will be starting after the Easter holidays. This will be Monday 27th March 2.15pm in the school. A dojo will go out nearer the time as a reminder. P7s have been tremendous all year and ELC children started at the beginning of March. A celebration event will take place in June so we’re looking forward to seeing the results of all the young leaders’ efforts.

If you know of anyone in the community who is unwell or in hospital and would like a card from the school please let us know. One of our leaders, Isla, has been leading a small group to creating cards. Do let us know either by phoning the school or emailing me directly

Hopefully you will see the photos from last month in the slideshow…if so, thank you Linda from ICT team! We have everything from star award winners to team working, older children teaching younger children, a great photo of some boys just so happy to be learning in school together, Blue Peter award winner and UNCRC game created by children for children in each class!

Have a good weekend,

Aileen Mackay, HT

2 Events Coming Up

From Claire, Parent Council Chair:

As mentioned before the Parent Council are losing two of its longest standing members when the schools break up for the summer holidays.

I want to start this post with a massive thank you to Judith and Fiona for their dedication to supporting the school!

As their children move onto their next chapters in the Academy this leaves the Smithton Primary Parent Council short of two key committee members. An extraordinary meeting has been called for Tuesday, 21st March starting at 6 15pm to elect to fill these roles (treasurer and deputy chairperson).  We are also looking to raise the profile of the parent council to attract more parents to attend meetings and get involved within the school activities.

The purpose of holding this meeting and not waiting until the new school year to post, is to present the opportunity for new post holders to shadow Fiona and Judith for the last couple of months.

Thanks for your support as always and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the 21st.



No Smoking Day Today – Can you join us even for 15 minutes at any point 1.45 – 3.15? Lots to learn and do!

Parent Sleep Workshop Tonight

A reminder about tonight’s meeting online on googlemeet

Do come along either if you have hints and tips or if you’re needing help. A couple of parents are joining us to share how some of the practices shared before have turned things around for their children. If you can’t come tonight but would like to know more please get inn touch with me

Aileen Mackay, HT

Busy Few Weeks Ahead

This should have gone out on Friday but just realised it didn’t send! Sorry…

While this has been a short week in school (I know, a long week for you juggling children at home – we really don’t want this to continue honestly!) The learning throughout the nursery and school has been routine and focused.

Our successes have been great at the Inverness Music Festival as well – hopefully photos to come next week (still under investigation as to why we can’t display photos!) with the big hitters in poetry reading and poetry writing as well as recital. It’s great to have the diverse extra curricular groups that we have with Poetry Club being one of the groups.

Next week brings Parent, Pupil and Teacher contact for P4-7 with P7 ambassadors ready to help parents find their ways to the teachers. We also have swimming for P6 and another P7-S1 transition event at Culloden Academy.

On Monday night we have a repeat of our sleep workshop for parents. We will hear from two parents who took the advice after meeting with the PEF Family Team and how things have improved vastly for their whole families now. Do come along and either share good strategies or seek out some help. Connect with other parents and carers and know you are not alone. Join with this code:

On Wednesday it is No Smoking Day – a day to try and think about what you can do instead of using substances in your life. Come along to our ‘marketplace’ session – pop in any time 1.45 – 3.15 where you will see people who are in the community ready to help you whether it’s toothbrushing and dental hygiene, what clubs and activities are in our area to what Mrs Fraser and Andrew do in the substance awareness classes. We also have The Haven reps letting us know the latest and also ways you can volunteer in the new building. King’s Fellowship have a number of supports in the community from toddler groups to financial awareness. Of course there will be a stall where you can find out more about how to stop smoking or cut down and some P7s have a stall to encourage you to look at what you could buy with the same amount as buying cigarettes or e cigarettes! There are terrific prizes to be won just by attending as parents and carers of the school and carrying out a short survey to help us going forward. (Trampoline Park, Frankie and Lola vouchers and pampering kits!) P5,6,7 will all be in attendance and will have a question paper to complete for each stall and again, the best answers will be drawn together for the winner to receive a smoothy maker!

While these activities don’t necessarily scream out literacy and numeracy they are embedded in all the learning around planning for and carrying out these activities. Resilience, confidence in the water, out of comfort performing, etc. all enable the whole child to grow and develop. It is our privilege to share that journey with you and your children.

Have a good weekend…slideshow is getting bigger each week – it will be a full length film feature at this rate!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Coronation Information

I’ve been asked to share this with parents and communities:

This year a range of events and initiatives will take place to mark the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort, culminating in a three-day UK bank holiday weekend in May. 

We know that many communities will come together across the UK to mark this historic occasion. Therefore the BBC is offering local communities a one-off TV Licence dispensation covering 6-7 May to enable them to enjoy the Coronation on Saturday 6 May and the Coronation Concert on Sunday 7 May. Both events will be broadcast live on the BBC.

The dispensation will allow those celebrating by arranging community events in venues and outside spaces, where TV is not usually watched, to screen the live programmes throughout the weekend without needing to purchase a licence.  This includes, for example, community venues such as churches, town halls, community centres, libraries and streets across Britain as well as commercial premises acting as community venues such as concert halls, performing arts venues, cinemas and shops. It also applies to any outdoor venues which have the facilities to screen.

We want to reach out to communities and those who are making arrangements to celebrate the event, to let them know that the dispensation is in place and therefore we welcome your support in making your service users aware.

BBC coverage should be free to watch, so please inform community organisers that they must not charge anyone for the viewing. Even if the screening is taking place at a venue which normally has a commercial purpose, organisers must not charge for tickets, and the public should be allowed to bring their own food and drink.

The BBC can grant a dispensation of the TV Licence fee for the temporary viewing of television, so long as the viewing is for the sole purpose of screening an event which is judged by the BBC to be of national importance. The BBC considers that the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort is such an event.

Aside from one-off dispensations, a TV licence is needed by law to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

If you need any further information to help you to support your clients, if you have any queries or if you would like to know more, please contact me on the details below. Venues and community groups requiring additional information can also visit the BBC website.

Looking forward to seeing everyone back at school tomorrow. World Book Day: feel free to dress up as a character and hopefully you will have managed some of the book activities. Remember to send in your photos of people reading in strange and wonderful places to your child’s teacher! Pupil Learning Council will choose winners on Friday.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Last Friday in February

COVID, coughs, pneumonia, chest infections and sickness can’t bring us down at Smithton! There are so many young people and staff off sick at the moment we wish you all well very soon. Mr Aitchison has gone through his knee operation and is hopeful to be home Monday or Tuesday next week. We wish him a speedy recovery, too.

A reminder of the strike days next week – Tuesday and Wednesday but school will be open on Monday. We’re back on Thursday for World Book Day. To help you keep young brains occupied on the strike days the Parent Council and Pupil Learning Council put together some ideas. Thanks to them for some unusual activities, challenges and competition!

I have a feeling that the photos will not work again! It is being looked at so hopefully there will be a whole month’s photos for you to look at next week. We’ve everything from Blue Peter Badge winner to Star Awards, outdoor maths and literacy and a few cracking friendly pals posing for photos!

P4-7 classes will have parent/child/teacher contact 8th and 9th March – more details via Dojo next week and further ‘Stay and Play’ sessions in nursery..when the bugs have gone from the three rooms!

Enjoy the slightly lighter nights and we look forward to welcoming March in next week. Where did February go?

Aileen Mackay, HT

Short Week – But We’ll Pack It Full!

Looking forward to seeing everyone back tomorrow. In service days are great for staff to connect, share, listen, adapt and plan for new learning but it’s not the same without the children and young people being here.

We have a few parenting workshops coming up. The first is 6th March online in the evening and it’s around sleep and how this affects your child’s learning as well as behaviour. We have others arranged: teenage brain, food and mood, how to say no to your child, budgeting and lots more based on what parents have asked for over the last year. However there is a national programme also starting which has had tremendous success over the years and is now available free to all parents and carers. You will need a code which you can get from me or your child’s teacher but here’s some information:

Three dates for your diary:

World Book Day – next Thursday. Parent Council and Learning Council met last Friday to come up with a few ideas which will be shared after Friday but in case you want prior warning, they have opted for dress up as a book character for the day and, if you have £1 to give, it could go to the disaster fund for Syria and Turkey as I have indicated already, affecting at least one family directly in the Smithton area.

No Smoking Day – Wednesday 8th March. We have a Substance Awareness campaign regularly and have been the winners of the shield for the last four years. One of our annual events is now back – a sharing of hobbies and clubs you can do in the community, smoking cessation activities and finding out what the staff have been teaching in the classes. This is open to all parents but we’re especially hoping for P5,6,7 young people all to take part as well. Lots of companies and organisations will be available to let you see all sorts of things that are available for children, young people and parents and carers alike. Starts 1.45 and finishes 3.15. School Ambassadors will be on hand to guide you through it all.

Aileen Mackay, HT