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School Newsletter Autumn 2011

Issue 2 Hello!

Where has the time gone? Autumn has officially arrived and with a busy few months I can’t believe we are in the Christmas term already! We have welcomed several new nursery pupils in recent weeks who are all settling in remarkably well. Time really does fly when you’re having fun and we have certainly been having lots of it here at Athelstaneford….

Winter Weather I am so pleased to see so many of our pupil’s still proudly wearing their uniform to school. As the Winter draws in the weather has certainly taken a colder and wetter turn and I would be grateful if all children could bring indoor shoes with them which will hopefully help to keep the school a bit less muddy and slip free. As previously mentioned I would also be grateful if you could reinforce the importance of coming to school dressed warmly and certainly encourage your child to wear a warm jacket. Jasmine and Rachel as our Junior Road Safety Officers, along with P1/2 at a recent assembly are also keen to ensure that children are aware of the importance of remaining safe and being seen on cold, dark Winter mornings and evenings. Reflectors for bags, jackets and bikes along with High visibility clothes are the order of the day!

P1 Enrolment Our Primary 1 Enrolment for session 2012/2013 has been taking place this week with plans already underway for transition activities, helping our pre-schoolers prepare for their first year in primary school. If you know of any pre-schoolers in the area and beyond our catchment who are looking for a place in a welcoming and nurturing rural school with small class sizes or others who are as yet undecided about their P1 place, please invite them along to your school to meet with myself and have a look around.

Health Week We had a very successful Health week in October. Among the many activities on offer were a whole school Zumba session (my favourite!), Enjoy-a-Ball, Dental Health Workshops, Dancing, Taekwondo, class walks around the village and of course our morning aerobics organised by P5/6 which were very well organised by groups of children. Our P3’s attended a Football Festival at North Berwick High School and the P4-6’s attended a Small Schools Sports Festival at Meadowmill Sports Centre which they all thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to Mrs Taig for inviting her Zumba Teacher along! This was certainly a very busy week in school and one where many children experienced personal achievements and success.

After School Clubs Our After School Clubs this term have been exceptionally well attended with almost 70% of our children attending an after school activity. Children seem to be enjoying all the extracurricular activities we have been able to offer. Currently we are very pleased to be able to offer Art & Crafts on a Tuesday, Guitar on a Wednesday and Photography on a Thursday. These clubs remain flexible in order that we can respond to Pupil requests and interest, and so there will be a letter coming out to parents again in January to let you know what clubs will be on offer from February to Easter. Sarah Campbell, our Active Schools Coordinator, spoke to many parents at our curriculum evening and is keen to establish an additional club for our children with a sports theme – more details to follow once she has had time to respond to the requests and information she received last night.

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Health & Well-being Information Evening

Badminton Carnival

On Wednesday 16 November we held an Information Evening for parents and carers on all aspect of Health and Wellbeing. It was a great night with our biggest attendance from parents so far for this type of event. Thank you to everyone who came along to hear from our Road Safety Officer, our Educational Psychologist, our Active Schools Coordinator, our PE specialist. It was great to see so many people benefitting from a short message and I have to say the lovely aromas of Lavender and essential oils are certainly making for a very calm and relaxed nursery environment today. We had a super turnout also from our senior pupils who directed parents around the various displays and activities and were very proud to share their learning and achievements. Anna and Jasmine as our Junior Road Safety Officers did very well to cope with the interest in their quiz (many parents scoring 10/10) and many left with prizes (yes Ice scrapers among them!) It was wonderful to see so many parents mixing and enjoying themselves in the school hall, helped greatly by the very generous donations of fruit from Andrew Johnstone who visits the school weekly for nursery children to purchase their snack. We had great feedback from many last night and are keen to establish just how successful this evening has been for you and also to inform our next steps. With this in mind we would very much appreciate if you might take a few minutes to complete the form winging its’ way to you. One next step already identified is to include information to parents on Circle Time as part of our Draft Health and Wellbeing Policy which will come out to some parents for review and input in June. In the meantime the link below takes you to a website that can provide more information about the ethos behind Circle Time for those parents who were unable to attend last night.

Our Primary 4 pupils all travelled to North Berwick Sports Centre on Wednesday 20 September with Miss Hutchison to take part in the Cluster Badminton Festival. They all maintained great sportsmanship and enjoyed meeting up with children from all the other Cluster schools.

Pantomime Our annual trip to the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh for this year’s pantomime Aladdin has been booked for Tuesday 13 December and all Consent Forms should now have been returned to the School Office. Big thanks go to our Parent Council who have kindly offered to fund this excursion this year (Oh no they didn’t! Oh yes they did!) – thank you 

Hockey Festival Fiona Harfield, Hockey Development Officer for East Lothian came to visit our Primary 6/7 Class on Friday 23 September to give the children a Hockey Taster Session. The Primary 6’s then attended the Cluster Festival at North Berwick High School on Tuesday 15 November – they had super time developing new skills and making new friends – have a look at the school blog for an update and photos. Thank you Mrs Gray for taking them along to this event.

Parental Support in School Activities like After School Clubs would not go ahead without the time, energy and commitment of school staff. Additionally this year we have the support of a number of parents who have committed to not only supporting our Arts Club but actively planning and leading this club alongside Miss Hutchison. Thank you very much to Mrs Semple, Miss Pearson and Mrs Coppinger for their wonderful support and creativity! We also have an increasing number of parents who support and help out in other ways; Mrs Fox for example helps in P1/2 on a Monday afternoon, Mrs Reynolds has helped with nursery planting recently and Miss Woolley plans and runs a motor skills group three times a week in school for some pupils in P1/2 with great success. Mrs Henderson has once again spent time working with the Pupil Council to organise a Coffee Morning (tomorrow) for Children In Need – a big thank you to her and we hope to see many of you there. We will be dressed in somewhat mismatched clothes to raise money so please forgive our appearance! We are always delighted to welcome parents/carers/grandparents in to help with things going on in our very busy classrooms. If you feel you would like to come in to perhaps hear some children reading in P1/2 or to help in other ways please get in touch with us. We don’t need a long term commitment just a few hours is great and is a good way for you to share and experience what life is like at Athelstaneford Primary.

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Eco Committee

Walk to School Week

Our Eco Committee continue to plug away at the eco agenda and recent meetings have resulted in them organising the Mini Pots of Care, this project is a creative and educational fundraising activity for children aged between 3 and 11 years. Children plant a daffodil bulb and care for them in the winter months until they bloom in spring whilst raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care – look out for information regarding the fundraising activities which will be taking place around 22 February 2012.

Walk to School Week in October gave us our best result so far with almost all children from P2-upwards either walking, scooting or taking the Walking Bus to School. There will be another WTSW during March of next year when we hope that some of our children who live farther afield will be able to take advantage of our Walking Bus or even to walk from the end of the street after parents have parked the car. We are hopeful of a prize if we are able to increase our numbers walking to school during that week and beat some of the bigger schools!

Rag Bag Collection Our Rag Bags were all collected on Thursday 15 September and our Eco-Committee have asked me to pass on their thanks for getting so much to us – we managed to get a huge 279Kg which has given us £111.60 in school funds. Thank you to all who contributed this is by far the most we have ever managed to collect. Look out for our next collection dates and remember that items can be placed into the textile bin in the playground at any time. Perhaps there will be a need to make room in wardrobes for new Christmas Jumpers!

Christmas Fair The Christmas Fair and Lights Switch On this year is on Saturday 3 December in the Village Hall and the Parent Council are already busy organising this great event. For sale at the fair will be our very first school tea towel illustrating self-portraits of your children – a great Christmas present - available to order from the school office and also available on the night. Let’s hope we have only a light dusting of snow if any this year! I am looking forward to the event and hope to see many of you there. This is a great event for the community and a lot of hard work for those hardworking members of the Parent Council fundraising Committee.

Book Fair Following the recent Book Fair in School we received a commission of £135. This money has gone towards purchasing a variety of multicultural fiction and non-fiction books for all stages. Thank you for choosing to purchase your books from the travelling fair and helping to continue to supplement our libraries with appropriate and relevant reading material.

St Andrews Day Celebrations Due to the possibility of Industrial Action upsetting our plans for St Andrews Day we have decided that better safe than sorry (following the snow last year!) and go for Thursday 1 December. We shall be inviting local senior citizens once again to join us for our Annual Flag-raising ceremony in front of the school at 10.30am when the new saltire will be raised by our eldest and youngest pupils. Following this we shall proceed inside to be treated to some more Piping from our favourite Piper, Mr MacDonald and some tea and shortbread. Guests will also be entertained by songs and poems from our children, including nursery children.

School Lunches We wrote to you recently about a new system we would be trialling for our school lunches to try and minimise wastage of food and to help ensure our children are getting what they would ideally want from the publicised menu. I am pleased to report that this system seems to be working very well with no teething problems to report. If you have any thoughts or concerns on this system please feel free to let wither myself or Mrs Cameron in the school office know.

Milk & Fruit Monies Fruit and milk money for next term (10 January 2012 – 30 March 2012) will be due by Thursday 15 December and is as follows: Milk: Fruit for P1/2: Fruit for P3-7:

£8.10 £3.15 £8.10

Please ensure that all monies are sent to school in a sealed envelope clearly labelled with your child’s name and for what the money is for. All cheques should be made payable to East Lothian Council. S:\Admin\Newsletters\1112\Newsletter 2.doc

Cycling in Playground and Road safety. Just a reminder to all that Children should not be cycling to school unaccompanied before their Cycle training and certainly not before P6. Clearly we want to promote active travel to school and wherever possible we want pupils to be cycling, walking or even scooting to school although would request that, for their own and other’s safety, prior to P6 children are accompanied when cycling or scooting to and from school. Finally, for the same safety reasons we would also request that children do not cycle or scoot in the playground and that they walk their bikes to the shelter once through the school gates.

Evaluation Visit Mr Scott our Quality Improvement Officer from the council visited our school recently (the children are used to him visiting and have now started to let me know all of the wonderful things I should be telling him about our school) for an evaluation visit. These visits happen three times a year and are focussed around clearly defined sets of criteria which schools must judge their performance against. During his visit he met with a parent, spoke with children, visited classes, talked with teachers and looked at the large folder of evidence I provided him with of our achievements and successes. As a result of the visit he is very pleased that we have made very good progress and have agreed to make plans for him to return in the new year with another QIO to look at beginning the process of signing off our Post –inspection action Plan. Following our inspection in June 2010 by HMIe (now known as Education Scotland) we identified areas for improvement with a timescale of two years. I am delighted by the progress we have made as a school community since that point in time and can now look at signing this action plan off officially Possible Day of Industrial Action As you may be aware from the media there is the possibility of a Day of Action on 30 November. Currently the associated unions have not indicated what intended plans are and will notify East Lothian Council on 23 November. Once East Lothian Council has notification from associated unions then we will be in touch with parents as soon as we have any further information on 23 November.

Stirling Castle, Bannockburn and Chesters Hillfort As part of their recent Scottish Wars of Independence Interdisciplinary P5/6 visited Stirling Castle and Bannockburn Heritage Centre. This was a wonderful day out where they toured the castle, spent time in the kitchens, tried on regal costumes, armour and chainmail as well as taking part in a hunt for information and holding various weapons from the period. This trip brought the learning to life for our children in such a fun and meaningful way. Thank you to Mrs Schmitt for assisting us and being a wonderful tour guide on our journey between Stirling and Bannockburn. P5/6 also benefitted from a visit to Chesters Hillfort for a tour of the site with a local archaeologist, David Connolly, a local poet and writer, Colin Will and Miss Morgan a parent of ours who works at the Peter Potter gallery in Haddington. This was a super experience for our children to learn more about their local area and to question these experts! Colin joined us for the afternoon back in school where he led a writing workshop, the end result being a super class account of our trip which you can find on our school blog. A great big thank you to Colin and David for their time and in particular to Miss Morgan for thinking of us and arranging this wonderful, rich experience for our children.

Achievement Folders These will be coming home again on Friday 16 December for return on the following Monday. When the folders came home in October we were delighted by the number of parents and carers who wrote such positive things about not only the individual achievements but the fodders themselves. We were also amazed by the number of additional achievements that then returned with the folder on the Monday through parental comments. We hope you enjoy sharing in this process of reflection and celebrating achievements again during what will inevitably be a very busy weekend for families in December

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CHRISTMAS DATES FOR DIARY: 27 November – Saltire Celebrations in Village 1 November – Saltire Flagraising 3 November – Christmas Fair 13 December – Pantomime 16 December - Achievement Folders come home to be returned on Monday 20 December – Parites – nursery AM and school PM 21 December – Nativity – 1.30pm 22 December – Church Service – parents welcome to attend. Please keep using Edupayment for Christmas presents purchased on-line. Our school recently received a cheque for £53 in commission – the Pupil Council will be deciding where this money is to be spent. – Happy Shopping! Please remember to keep an eye on the school blog for the most up to date information. As ever if you have any concerns or queries please do not hesitate to contact me. Catriona McKinnon Head Teacher

Shop and raise school funds! If you buy online there is now an easy way to earn vital school funds. By visiting and locating a participating retailer our school will earn commission from your purchases. Leading online brands are participating in the service including, HMV, & New Look. You pay no more, there are even special offers to help you pay less. Please visit for more information.


 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Achievements Tear-Off Slip

______________________________________ of Class _________ has successfully participated in ___________________________________________________________________________________ _ ___________________________________________________________________________________ _ Signed:




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EAST LOTHIAN COUNCIL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & CHILDREN’S SERVICES SESSION DATES 2012/13 TERM 1 Monday In-service Day 1 Tuesday In-service Day 2 Pupils Resume Wednesday September Holiday (schools closed Monday for staff & pupils) All Resume Tuesday All break (October break) Friday October break Monday – Friday Monday In-service Day 3 Pupils Resume Tuesday All break (Christmas) Thursday

13 August 14 August 15 August 17 September

2012 2012 2012 2012

18 September 12 October 15-19 October 22 October 23 October 20 December = 85 pupil days = 88 Staff days

2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012

TERM 2 In-service Day 4 Pupils Resume All break February break All resume All break (Easter) Good Friday Easter Monday

Monday Tuesday Friday Monday – Friday Monday Friday Friday Monday

7 January 8 January 8 February 11 – 15 February 18 February 22 March 29 March 1 April = 49 pupil days = 50 staff days

2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013

TERM 3 All resume Spring holiday (Schools Closed) May Day (Schools Closed) All resume Victoria Day (Schools Closed) In-service Day 5 Pupils Resume Term ends

Monday Monday Monday Tuesday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday

8 April 15 April 6 May 7 May 20 May 21 May 22 May 28 June = 56 pupil days = 57 staff days

2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013

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Autumn Newsletter