Chess, Problem Solving and Money

It’s incredible what a primary school curriculum looks like these days! Fundamentally we concentrate on reading, writing, counting and relationships but these are investigated, practised, played with, debated and written on so many levels. Everyone has been getting their learner statements ready for the reports and final assessments are being done for the year. We’re all really proud of the efforts that so many have put in. And credit where it’s due: when parents and families engage in real learning with the young people their attainment flourishes in school.

I’m conscious that clubs are providing great opportunities for further learning. So delighted that two of our P7 boys have started a chess club on a Friday. Some of the girls were quite delighted to tell me tonight how much better they are than one of the staff (who will remain nameless) but I can help redeem said staff member when I join next Friday and they can see how poor my chess skills are!

Learning is never linear or incremental: children and young people teach us new things, they teach each other and if we’re willing to listen we can all learn together. It’s that time of year where we all get a bit more reflective about where we have been and where we want to go next in our learning. We had a very good Parent Council meeting this week and it’s clear that the parents who were there care beyond their own children – such a privilege to work with a variety of people. Please make your thoughts known to them or to the school about anything you feel you could contribute to the life and work of the school as well as any improvements that you think we need to address.

Bikeability in P6 classes is going well. We’re conscious of the number of children who come to school on their bikes and scooters – please make sure helmets are worn to keep those precious heads safe. As the days get longer and more children and young people are playing outside make sure you have taught your child how to look after him/herself as well. When they are inside playing on digital devices again, make sure they are safe online.

Have a lovely weekend,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Parent Council Tonight

Link if you want to join online tonight:

Great news about Freya and her swimming over the weekend. She came first in her heats and smashed her previous best times! Great news for you, Freya and for the Inverness Amateur Club. Hopefully this will encourage all who are learning to swim or those who want to take it to hte next level…join Freya and get involved with the club in Inverness – here’s a link if you want more information

The sun is becoming stronger…remember to include a hat and consider sun protection for your child. Getting to that time of year…

Have a good week ahead,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Into May We Gallop!

We’re eating up the months this school year. Children and young people are definitely growing in all ways – physically, mentally and emotionally. We’ve all had a focus on the language of emotions and how using our words can really help to communicate our feelings. Many of you have asked for the chart at home to continue using it as a family. Feel free to ask your child’s teacher for a copy of this if it would help. When our children are little they find it hard to explain because they don’t have the vocabulary. As they grow and develop they can become anxious as they try to make sense of the world. When they are heading for teenage years the hormones kick in and we experience more upsets and frustrations that need words! Rose from the PEF Family team has been creating and delivering workshops to parents throughout the year and the last two before the summer will be on anxiety and secondly the teenage brain which will be co led with the Primary Mental Health Team. These workshops are open to all – at some point you will be facing these stages in your child’s life!

Hope you’re having a good Thursday – we’ve been welcoming more new P1 children to see what Smithton Primary is like this afternoon – all good!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Message from David Highlife Highland

Culloden Active Schools April-June 2023

More sessions to be added as the term progresses.

We are also on the lookout for any new or returning volunteers to come forward to allow us to expand our programme further. If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved, please let David know. No experience necessary

Online Bookings via QR code or available from:

Anyone who wishes to sign-up via online booking system, must be a HLH member, either a paying member or a free member. To sign up to a free membership to book on, please visit:

If anyone has problems, or requires any extra info, please get in touch with David Shaw, Active Schools Coordinator for Culloden:

World Success!

Two P6 pupils from Smithton Primary have been preparing for world competition not just over the last few days but practising hard each week for over a year.

Emma and Olly’s hip hop team came 5th in the world and first in Scotland and UK!

Olly’s lyrical team came 3rd in the world and first in Scotland and UK!

So proud of them both, their families and coaches. What a team!

Friday Round Up

Into basketball and P5,6 or P7?

Highland Bears Basketball Club are proud to be running a division of the upcoming Jr NBA and all-new Jr WNBA program in Inverness, in association with BasketballScotland. We would like to reach out to your school and offer an opportunity for your pupils to join a team within the primary league program. The Jr WNBA is brand new initiative introduced to further promote girls’ basketball and sports. Bears have committed to running one of the largest programs across Scotland with 50 Boys places available and a massive 80 spots for girls. To that end we are reaching out for support to spread the word and hope that this message can be circulated to all P5,6 and 7 groups. I have attached a poster and wondering if it would be possible to circulate this via your school communications and social media platforms.

Although technically a league structure, the program is purely based around fun and development, with all teams being formed to provide balance and offer opportunities to build new friendships through a wonderful team sport. Full team kits provided to all players and theirs to keep afterwards. 

The link below takes parents/guardians to a registration of interest Google Form, where they can log interest to join the program. The program takes over a 4-week period in June, with an additional 2 weeks in May where new players can come and join Bears for fun skills sessions to learn a few things before embarking on the league proper:

Some more details as follows: 

League Gamedays:          Mondays  5,12, 19, 26th June, 7:45pm @ Millburn Academy 

Skills Evenings and Team Draft: Mondays 22nd and 29th May, 6:15 to 7:45pm @ Millburn 

Strips:   Full team kits provided… and players get to keep them on completion of the program! 

Costs :   Nominal fees to cover hall costs: 

Bears Members: Included in monthly subscription 

Non-Members: £10 to cover the full 6 week program (equivalent of less than £1 per hour) 

Teams: Jr NBA (Boys) – 5 teams of 10 players 

                Jr WNBA (Girls) – 8 teams of 10 players 

                Teams will be balanced as best as possible to provide good balanced, friendly competition. 

                Teams will be coached by members of Highland Bears senior and youth squads. 

Hopefully this will be of interest to a number of your pupils and they will look to come along and join in the fun and work towards our goal of encouraging more healthy participation in the sport we love. 

Kindest Regards and many thanks, 

Ryan Devlin 

Chair/Coach Highland Bears Basketball Club 

Photo by Pixabay on

Chess Club

P6 and P7

Starts Friday 5th May

3.00 – 3.45 pm See Mr Lyon or Miss Bennett but Lennon and Ruiradh are the main leaders (thank you, boys!)

Dates for your diary until the end of term. A few dates to still be confirmed but these will keep you going!

A week of changeable weather but what hasn’t changed is positive thinking and hardworking young people at Smithton nursery and school. The staff have been not bad either… Delighted that P2KM have created a Smoothie Recipe book.I need to keep up my end of the bargain and buy them a smoothie maker! I believe they will be making some at the summer fete for you all.

Tomorrow Olly and Emma are performing with their group in Florida – we wish them all the very best and look forward to hearing all about it on their return. So many of our young people have hobbies and clubs for all sorts of activities it’s always great to hear what they are all up to.

Although we have holidays for the next two Mondays Funky Friday club will continue. It’s a great way to end the week – 35 – 40 P7 – S1 young people having fun together!

Enjoy Monday together as a family,

Aileen Mackay, HT

Message from Parent Council

The Chair of the Parent Council is calling out for agenda items for the next Parent Council Meeting taking place on Tuesday 9th May at 6.15pm in the Community Room just off the main reception. 

If you have a question you would like to ask, or just want to find out more about something please let us know by Friday 5th May (3pm) so we can add it onto the agenda. 

Please send any items to

Please note AOCB will be reserved for any current business which has occurred since 5th May. Any ongoing issues which are raised at the meeting under AOCB will be noted and added to the agenda for the next meeting. 

Look forward to hearing from you. 


Down to your last beans?? Cycle Day News

This is a great programme and we’re delighted Sarah ( can run it in our school. Pity it’s not in the evening otherwise I’d be joining in! No matter what your circumstances are it’s always good to get tips on how to budget, save and spend wisely. I’m providing tea and cakes so you’ll even get that if you can come along. Please let Sarah know if you plan to attend for the three weeks and I’ll make sure there’s enough for you to have some light refreshments at the same time.

The Family Cycle session on Saturday was great fun – if freezing cold! Thanks to all who came and powered up a bike to make smoothies, cycled over ramps and around cones, etc as well as trying to go as slow as possible over 10 metres to practise their balancing skills! Well done to Noah and Charlie’s dad who was the adult winner and to Abbie in P5 for the young person winner – she managed 10 metres in 48.33 seconds…Thanks to Sustrans for coming and checking over bikes and giving advice to parents on next sizes up…that was very useful. We hope we’ll be able to borrow the equipment again soon. I’ve included the cycle routes that Andrew gathered for us. If you want your own copy please let me know.

Have a good week.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Spring Has Sprung!

And as soon as I say that the weather is letting us know spring is here and summer is on its way you can guarantee the weather will turn again! A wee reminder, though, that the sun is warmer so please make sure your child has sun hat and sunscreen if needed. Always have a water bottle as this can get topped up at any point in the classroom. We have a number of jackets that have been left lying so please check that your child has taken home jackets otherwise do pop in and ask to go through lost property. I will be putting all lost property to charity 2nd May unless it is claimed.

We try to get the children out as much as possible for their learning all the way through to P7 so do expect them to be outside daily. One of the P4 and one of the P6 classes have been regularly inspired for outside learning by the group ‘Wild Things’ on a Wednesday in Culloden Woods which has opened up the eyes of both children and staff around all the possibilities.

Dates for your diary will come out next week around Health and Sports Week, P4-7 summer show and various other special occasions.

It’s been lovely to welcome new families either in nursery or in the school this term! We hope both young people and their families feel welcomed and part of the wider Smithton Family. Hopefully many of you will be able to pop in to hte school playground tomorrow between 11am and 1pm to have a go at pedalling a bike to make a fruit smoothie, balancing on your bike competition and having a go at obstacle courses and ramps depending on your age! Bring your own bike but we can provide a few bikes and scooters. Grown ups are allowed to bring their bikes too – let’s have a family and friends session together! Funky Fridays group had a wee taster tonight – see the photo below. A reminder that all the extra curricular groups have started back so let’s get the children learning together in a more relaxed way with different ages together. A huge thanks again to all volunteers who take these groups week in, week out – a huge commitment for which we are grateful.

Star Awards today – so lovely to see so many maturing and getting stuck back into learning straight after their holidays. Long may this continue.

Have a good weekend and hope to see you tomorrow mid morning.

Aileen Mackay, HT