Welcome back!

Thank you for bringing the sunshine with you to school and ELC today. That initial hurdle of getting up this morning and trying to face the day has worked. The school is full of hard working, smiling and enthusiastic learners…long may this continue!

A reminder that the school is closed tomorrow due to strike action.

End of 2022

What a busy as usual but fantastic month we’ve had! So many pupils, families and staff have had this awful sickness and flu bug so we hope you are all well to enjoy the festivities over the next two weeks. Sorry to those who missed out on Christmas lunch, shows, parties and services but for those who were here – it was a fantastic time. The effort staff, parents and young people put into everything from Jingle Jog to Sing and Sign events and everything in between: Cash for Kids, local churches for food hampers and Santa’s appearance with his elf just topped everything off.

The only real sadness is that Mrs Brande, in the nursery after 120 years (wee joke) has retired. She answered the advert and hasn’t looked back. She was here in the old room with children attending only morning or afternoon so she has seen many changes over the years. She is famous for her carrot eating (!) and having a ‘wee list’ in her trouser pockets keeping us all right. A real treasure has been removed from us but she’s taught us all well and we’re truly happy to see her off on her new adventure, whatever that brings.

Parents, staff and young people at Smithton remain resilient, caring and determined. A massive thank you to all who are involved whether health visitors, cleaners, teachers or delivery van people – we can’t run this school and nursery without you. It is a great place to learn and work and I remain so very grateful to be part of the school.

However you celebrate the holidays either as Christians, other faiths or no faith – love one another, be patient, kind and giving. We can all agree on those attributes regardless of our beliefs.

Thinking of you all as I type these words.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Parent Council Raffle

We’re looking forward to our third and final ELC-P3 show today! They’ve done terrifically well all week and a video will be uploaded for any who missed it and for children who missed it due to ill health, they can play it in the background and join in their parts and you will have a personal show in your living room!

The Parent Council have representatives providing tea and coffee and there’s the opportunity to buy raffle tickets for the big winter prize draw. Please see Smithton PC FaceBook page for more details. As ever, we are indebted to them for all the Council does for the school community.

Aileen Mackay, HT

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

We’ve had the dress rehearsal of the ELC – P3 show today and it was terrific! You are in for a treat next week. The show was videoed so will be released after the live performances for any who missed out due to illness or work commitments, etc. A huge amount of work has gone into all the performances and the children are excelling.

Christmas Jumper and MFR today along with Christmas Lunch – Caroline the Cook’s first one – and she and her team survived! We’re all a pound or two heavier and our tastebuds tickled. Absolutely delicious.

The Sing and Sign group had their first winter gig at The Barn Church this week and it was well received. The group meets every Tuesday and it’s fame is spreading…next gig at the Cathedral next weekend!

Thanks to a parent who has had a kind thought for pensioners in our area: Did you know that you could be entitled to financial support even though you haven’t been entitled to anything up until now? A local resident was helped to realise that she was entitled to £1.75. Doesn’t sound much, does it? But the fact that she was entitled to even a penny now means she is entitled to a whole host of financial support. If you have a friend, neighbour or relative why not tell them about pension credit? A few clicks on a website and it could mean all the difference to that person. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/benefits-calculator/

And meanwhile – we’re still learning. School tries to be as calm as possible and with P3’s resilient kids work on staying calm and finding peace a number of parents are now trying this at home. Ps reading and P6 going to the library: a core skill that is repeated through every year from ELC to P7. Keep reading, everyone…what will you find out next?

Photos include a few star awards but the rest will come next week as we didn’t have assembly this morning and only a few have come in.

Have a good weekend and here’s hoping those who have been ill are on the mend, just in time for the mayhem to really kick in…

Aileen Mackay, HT

A HUGE thankyou for the toys!

More people donated that took away so please feel free to come tomorrow to see the amazing gifts that you could be taking away for free. Janny has said he will also leave the foyer open on Saturday 2pm – 4pm so people can come and help themselves and I have a colleague who will come and collect the rest to take to the charity Shelter next week.

Smithton parents, carers and community never cease to impress and humble me.

Aileen Mackay, HT

NHS Letter and Supporting your Child Document

You will be aware of medical concerns from the media. here is the official letter from NHS for all parents and carers:

Thriving Families is a terrific organisation for Highland families and professionals and I use their expertise lots. If you’re worried about your child’s diet, behaviour, development or anything else this document might be able to help you. It has just been updated and I thoroughly recommend ‘bookmarking’ this and keeping a copy to hand.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Catch Up Photography date

…has been changed from tomorrow to Thursday morning this week for anyone who was absent.

Thanks to those who have brought in toys and games to swap or give away. Feel free to continue to donate until Thursday. Come and choose anything until 6.30pm on Thursday from my office.

A reminder, too, if you want to sing with us as a community choir there’s a rehearsal tomorrow at 5pm at the school. If you want to join us 21st December but can’t make tomorrow just let us know so we can keep a space for you. Remember – no auditions – it’s about enjoyment and joining in!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Christmas Jumpers and Toys

Fiona from the Parent Council will be at school today around 9am selling Winter Windfall tickets in the foyer/reception. £1 per ticket.

With Christmas Jumper day (in aid of MFR Cash for Kids) coming up on Friday we thought if you have any Christmas jumpers that your children have outgrown they could be handed into school and passed along to another child.

Please hand any jumpers into school early this week (Monday & Tuesday) and note that we are not asking anyone to go out and buy a jumper – just add a bit of tinsel or just come in your school uniform.

Bring any unwanted very good condition toys and games that your child has grown out of to my room and not the community room. Come any time this week but on Thursday do come and help yourself to what others have donated. The grotto will be closed at 6.30pm on Thursday and anything left will be going to charity shops so do come along. (The fire exit door means you can come straight into my office without going through the school.) If in doubt, though, call at the school office.

Massive thanks to Jenna Gray and all involved on Saturday – a whopping £402 to MFR Cash for Kids! Good to see grannies, ex pupils, all ages of pupils and toddlers in pushchairs. Proud medal winners and hot chocolate drinkers finished off a terrific morning. Hopefully this is the start of an annual event….

Aileen Mackay, HT