Soggy Start to May

Wellies and hoods are the order of the week ahead! We will still be going outdoors to learn so please wrap up warm.

A wee reminder that the children and staff won’t be in school on Thursday – it’s an INSET day and also the building will be used for voting. Please note that 7th June is now also another INSET day so the children will be off school but, all going to COVID-19 plan, the staff will be allowed in to work and

Delighted to see Quinn’s community award from the supermarket Morrison’s! She was nominated by several people in the community for her dedication and help to people recently. As one person put it,’She has helped regardless put others’ health before her own.. Her auto immune disease won’t beat her. She is a real credit to this community.’ Well done, Quinn!

Head Teacher’s Learning Summary available.

Aileen Mackay, HT

And April Is Over..How Did That Happen?!

I know I’m getting old when the months are just flying by..or maybe because I’m having too much fun in my job?! Either way, May beckons next week! Remember that Monday is a holiday so no school or nursery and Thursday is an in service day so no children in school or nursery and staff will be working from home.

We’ve also been told today that 7th June is an added in service day. I appreciate this may cause frustration for those of you who are working but it will be the first time the staff have been able to meet together since March 17th 2020 and it is needed going forward to make sure everything is in place for August 2021. You may hear that seconodary schools have two days – 7th and 8th but primaries in Highland and the nurseries just have 7th.

We will be starting to look at classes for August next week but we probably won’t be able to share classes and teachers until everything is finalised with the council. For those of you new to schools this can be an anxious time of not knowing – please just try and relax about it all. We always share as soon as we know but it could be right up until the end of term and, there are times when things have had to change even in August.

Shinty Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Shinty Coaching
Parent volunteer Steven Grant has kindly offered to continue shinty sessions at Culloden Community Pitches for all P2-P7 pupils in the Culloden ASG 4.15 – 5.15pm. These sessions will start on Tuesday 11th May and finish on Tuesday 22nd June at no cost. There will be lots of fun games and activities to develop basic movement skills and team working skills. Also a great opportunity to meet new friends from other schools. There is also an excellent pathway to Inverness Shinty Club where there is a very active Junior section as part of this club. We will require a parent helper to support Steven with these sessions so if you are available please be in touch with Active Schools Coordinator You do not have to be a High Life member to book on to these sessions just use the Guest Checkout when booking. Booking link is using code 3647CULL.
Would you be interested in having a piano? A local neighbour has offered one to any of our young people. Please call the school office if you are interested. Thank you to the neighbour for thinking of us!

Another good week observing and working with your children – some of the learning this week has been terrific – language and writing in particular blossoming in a variety of classes. So good to be a part of your children’s growing up. Mr Grandison was so pleased with his class he told me it had been a ‘belter’ of a week!

The pedal power from staff, parents and young people has been great, too this week even in the rain. Watch out for the scooter pictures in between the happy faces at break times and also our super Star Award winners.

As we head into the month of May we still can’t guarantee any kind of ‘normal’ end to the term but we can guarantee that we remain as focused as ever on learning and being creative to do what we can to make school life as normal as possible. We are coming out stronger despite frustrations of the past year. Let’s remain strong as a community and keep looking out for each other.

Enjoy counting the smiles again this week. Feet up, cuppa in hand and look at these photos. Your loved ones are growing up too fast!

See you Tuesday,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Nursery – P1 Transition Chat Tonight

A reminder for all parents and carers to join us for information about what P1 looks like nowadays and also an opportunity to meet the P1 teachers. Three will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

We’re hoping that in June we will be able to get you into the building but until restrictions are lifted we hope this may calm some nerves about your wee ones becoming big ones coming to school!

ELC- P1 transition meeting for parents
Wednesday, 28 April · 6:00 – 7:00pm
Google Meet joining info
Video call link:

Aileen Mackay, HT

First Week Back Smiles

All things considered this was a good first week back! We are delighted to welcome Ms Mackay to P3 for this term and she is delighted to be with us. ‘I love my class already,’ were her words at the end of the week.

P2 took great delight in letting me know how to pronounce ‘pupa’ at assembly (we were looking at changes: how they are inevitable, how to take control of things we could change and how to stop worrying about the things we can’t) as we were watching how a caterpillar changes (using metamorphosis – every day’s a learning day!) into a butterfly. As P2 had been learning about minibeasts before Christmas here’s an illustration that children haven’t forgotten all their learning because of COVID-19.

As you will know, Seasons for Growth is a well known programme that we use at Smithton which helps parents and young people to cope after change, loss or bereavement. Last year some of the children who had been on the programme spoke up about wanting a place in the playground where everyone should have the opportunity to just relax and reflect so they were challenged with designing a garden. We’re absolutely delighted with the results. The four areas marked out will have plants and flowers in season depending on spring, summer, autumn and winter. What a great idea coming from the young people!

As part of the ‘Big Pedal’ next week, pupils will be given the chance to have some fun scootering in our school playground.  

We would normally recommend that young people wear helmets for cycling and scooting when they are riding out and about in the local community.  However, due to Covid-19 related issues, a decision has been made that pupils will not be required to wear a helmet from the shared set that we have in the school.  Should you wish for your child to wear a helmet during these scooter sessions, then they can of course use their own one if they bring it to school.

This ‘Scoot-a-thon’ activity has been risk-assessed and we are fully confident that it will be completely safe for everyone.

Here’s a challenge for you as parents and carers too: can you leave the car one day and walk to school? Or leave it at Smithton Free Church and walk a bit?

We’re so delighted that we managed to get another bike shed at no cost to the school. There should be more room now for bikes and scooters. This is a great testament to you as families who are encouraging your children to be active and improving well being by getting out in the fresh air. Well done to those of our young people who cycle and scooter from Westhill area -must be nice and easy in the morning coming down but that hill going back up?!

Some great Star Award achievements this week and some great learning outdoors as well as free play at break times and after school with family and friends! Enjoy the photo gallery from this week and to see many smiles you can see.

Have a great weekend – still keeping safe: wash hands, stay 2m apart and remain outdoors when meeting people.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Has Your Child Lost A Jacket??

We will be laying out jackets at the main entrance of ‘lost property’ jackets which don’t have a name in them each week on a Wednesday and Thursday from 2.30pm until 3.15pm. Feel free to come and check and we will be encouraging the older children to check on their way home.

Hope this helps!

The Big Pedal/ Scoot-a-thon

On your marks, get set …… GO!  We are planning to participate in the Sustrans Big Pedal 2021, the UK’s largest inter-school cycling, walking and scooting challenge. We shall take part from 26 – 30 April and are looking to have as many of us as possible from Smithton Primary School to be involved.

On each day of the challenge, schools compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupils, staff and parents who either cycle, scoot or walk to school.  By taking part, our school will enter a draw to win some great prizes!

The Big Pedal 2021 is a great way to get more of our pupils travelling actively to school and is a simple way to boost their physical and mental health.  It is also a good chance for us to help our pupils to understand the importance of environmentally-friendly travel.

Throughout the week, pupils will be given the chance to take part in some ‘Scoot-a-thons’ in our playground.

All you need to do is encourage your child(ren) to cycle, walk or scoot to school on as many days as possible during next week, and if you can, join them on their way.

Please remind your children about bicycle safety, including the use of a helmet.

Let’s have fun and get active together!

Welcome Back!

Welcome to our new pupils and their families in nursery and the school and welcome back to everyone else. We’re delighted to be back for the next ten weeks and will continue to try meeting the needs of each individual in each class. We urge you to keep up with the homework and extra ideas your child’s teacher gives you to do together. Have fun while you learn!

Head teacher’s weekly learning summary – click here

P3 has a new teacher this term – Ms Ashley Mackay as Mr Speakman has retired. If you see her in the playground, do give her a warm Smithton welcome!

April Pranks and Easter Holidays

There were a number of April Fool pranks today – good fun had by all – both young people and staff!

What wasn’t a prank was that this was Mr Speakman’s last day before retiring from teaching. We had a lovely assembly today where he was awarded a Star Award from every class – all for different reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more chuffed to get a Star Award before!

We wish Mr Speakman a happy and fulfilling retirement and trust that he will come and see us soon as a supply teacher. He has provided rich learning experiences over the last fifteen years and been dedicated to this community. His final words to us in assembly? Show kindness in all you do and communicate clearly with each other.

P6 wanted to share their expressive arts this week. It’s so important to be able to express yourself and using Kandinsky as a style of art the class really understood the essence of this. Well done!

P5 LM also shared their percussion added to Wellerman’s sea shanty. Watch here and see if you can keep the beat as well as P5! Both classes had a terrific time with Feis Ros and were commended for their engagement despite it all being remote learning. Who knew that we would be engaging with music via a screen and the internet…

What a term. For some of you work has dried up. For others you are snowed under and working flat out. Between us all we are nurturing our families and keeping loved ones going when times get tough. One thing is we trust with the change in the season that it brings hope. When we see the new births in the fields, the leaves bursting out of branches and hearing the birds chirping away in the bright nights it reminds us that our planet is a fantastic place and how resilient it is, despite what we are doing to it. Let’s keep focusing on being there for each other, looking after our environment and doing our bit and investing in the young people in our community.

For those of you who will be celebrating the Christian festival of Easter I trust you will find peace and comfort together. For those of you taking this opportunity for a spring break I trust you will find peace and comfort together.

Next term we will continue to put your children and their well being as a focus as only when there is positive well being can there be true learning. The knowledge, understanding and skills will continue to be developed at the pace that suits your child as much as we can and we know that working together with parents who are continuing to work with their children at home that real progress is being made.

As ever, a huge thank you to all staff for all they do to remain determined and creative in how they provide learning opportunities for the children. Enjoy each other’s company as families and I wish everyone some rest and lots of play in the next two weeks.

Happy hols!

Aileen Mackay, HT