School Information Line and School Closure Website

 Please find details of the Aberdeen City schools telephone information service for parents/guardians.  This is the Schools Information Line.

 The main features of this service are:

  1. Emergency Arrangements message for Parents/Guardians

To be used to inform parents/guardians of emergency arrangements and important announcements, e.g. early closure arising from adverse weather conditions/failure of heating systems.

  1. Voicemail for Recording non-urgent Messages from Parents/Guardians

The system also has the potential to record brief messages of a routine nature from parents/guardians.  You will be advised at a later date if this feature is to be activated.

  1. List of Messages containing School Information

This could hold routine information for parents/guardians, e.g. the times for a Parents’ Night, School Concert details, etc.

Parents/Guardians can access these features by dialling this National Rate number:

Tel: 0870 054 1999

 A Council message will be heard followed by a request for a six-digit PIN number specific to their child’s school.

The Pin Number for Orchard Brae School is     018900.

 Once connected, a voice will speak out the name of the school and a series of prompts will guide the caller to the appropriate option.  The cost of calls is no more than 10p/call (landline calls).  You can also check school closure status on the School Closure page on the Aberdeen City Council website. Please use the link below:

Covid-19 – Know The Symptoms

Thank you to all our families for their continued support and understanding throughout our return to school with regards to Covid-19.

We would like to remind parents and carers of the common symptoms and that pupils should not attend school if:

  • They are displaying any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 such as a high temperature (37.8C or above), a new continuous cough or a change in sense of smell or taste.
  • A member of the household has tested positive or is displaying symptoms.
  • They have been contacted as part of the Test and Protect programme.
  • If a pupil is returning from a country from which as are required to quarantine for 14 days. An up to date list of countries affected by this can be found at

Should you require to arrange a test for a your child or a member of your household, please follow the guidance given on the NHS Inform website and book a test via

We recognise that accessing a drive through test site or a home test kit may be extremely challenging for some of our pupils and if this is the case, you may be eligible for testing to be carried out at home by the NHS. If you require this, please email giving the pupil’s name, date of birth, full address, GP information and a brief explanation for special circumstances which require the need to be tested at home rather than through a home test kit or drive through test site.

We kindly ask that parents and carers keep the school informed of any testing being undertaken and the results by phoning the school on 01224 788950.

Art Activities

This week we have two art activities for you to try.

Activity 1: Ice Cube Icebergs

This is a little follow up to the iceberg/ stormy sea art we did last week .

I still had the frozen paint and really liked the patterns it had frozen into . I thought the cubes looked like little icebergs!

So using the iPad I took photos of them as they melted onto paper. My kitchen was warm so they melted fast!

You could take some photos using your ice cubes or make a collage using different pictures. When the ice was melted I used my fingers to pull the paint into different patterns – I still have blue fingers! You could use a cocktail stick or a fork or something else.

Remember to warm your hands up afterwards.

Activity 2: Northern Lights

There have been several sightings of the Northern Lights over the last couple of days and I loved the pictures I saw reported online and in the papers. I wanted us to have a go at making an impressionistic rendition of this wonderful natural phenomenon.

Have a little warm up by wiggling and shoogling as before – get someone to help if you like.

Concentrate on the visual stimuli in the picture below – they are beautiful pictures and really show Scotland off! Really look at the colours!

For this one I’ve used paint with a brush and with a sponge to print. You may want to use a resist technique (as we have done before) with crayons and watercolour. Chalks would also work really well. For the foreground, you could rip paper or cut out shapes and stick these on. You might like to splatter white paint on at the last stage for stars in the sky (remember to pull your fingers towards you across your brush or you will splatter yourself!) Whatever you decide to try , remember that the process is more important than the end product. Really explore the materials and media that you have to work with whatever they are!

Give it a go and let me know how you get on !

What have you learned about? Colour, impression. wet on wet painting, personal choice, printing, process

Home Economics Activities

This week, we have a recipe for pizza that you can try making at home.

No Yeast Pizza

If you like this recipe, here are some other pizzas recipes you might like to try.

Quick Pitta Pizzas:

Tortilla Pizzas:

Muffin Pizza

We would love to see how you get on with you Home Economics activities so please feel free to share any photos or videos via your child’s teacher, through Google Classroom, or email Amy Dunnett (Principal Teacher Primary)

Nursery Nativity Performances

Today may be known as blue Monday but we have something special that will brighten up your day! We are delighted to share the final nativity performances from our Nurseries and we hope you enjoy them!

Orchard Brae @ Ashgrove AM

Orchard Brae @ Ashgrove PM

Orchard Brae @ Howes Road AM

Orchard Brae @ Howes Road PM

Making Play Inclusive – Sense Play Toolkits is a charity that supports people with complex disabilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sense Scotland is part of the Sense family and works with children, young people and adults who have communication needs in Scotland.

Sense has developed a set of play toolkits for parents and professionals to provide information and advice on enabling children with complex disabilities to enjoy inclusive play.

The toolkit for parents contains simple ideas, suggestions and practical tips on making play fun and fully accessible. You know your child best, you know their likes and dislikes, so not all the activities and ideas may be suitable for your child but hopefully there will be some inspiring ideas for you to try.

Sense have also produced a series of videos to go along with their play toolkit which we have linked below.

During the current restrictions we know that you may not have, or be able to get, a lot of the items in the videos. The videos have simply been added to hopefully give you some ideas of things that you might want to try with your child, using or adapting, whatever items and objects you do already have at home.

Sensory Differences

Our lives are full of sensory experience. We all respond to sensory information. We touch, move, see, hear, taste and smell. It is important to recognise that the sensory information we process can have an impact on how we feel, how we think and how we behave and respond. Any of the senses may be over, or under sensitive, or both, at different times.

These booklets will give you some ideas and examples of things that you can try to help you support your child with their sensory experiences.

  • Making Sense of Sensory Behaviour – Falkirk Council
  • Sensory Approach for Parents and Carers – Falkirk Council
  • Sensory Issues in Autism – East Sussex Council


Autism Outreach Service – ‘Teaching Scotland’ Magazine Articles

The latest GTCS magazine, January 21, ‘Teaching Scotland’, includes an article on autism.

The magazine is sent out regularly to members but it is also available online. If you want to have a look through back issues the website link can be found here.

An autism lens on nurture

The article is written by Lorna Johnston and Marion Rutherford from the National Autism Implementation Team (NAIT).

The authors reflect upon adaptations to nurture-focused and compassionate approaches which might be relevant to autistic children .

At the end of the article reference is made to the GTCS booklet ‘Meeting the needs of autistic learners: A Professional guide for teachers’ which we have added below.


Let’s not just see how it goes

This is an article from the November 2019 issue discussing six key anticipatory supports which have been found to be relevant for pupils with autism in secondary schools.



Make a change

This article was first published in the May 2019 issue. Frances Young, is a Support for Learning Teacher who is also the parent of a child on the spectrum. In the article Frances outlines her views on how you can help pupils with compliant autism in your classroom.

Secondary Assembly: 14th January

Tomorrow (14th January) we will be having our first Secondary Assembly of the New Year. Our assemblies have been virtual since our return after the initial lockdown due to having to restrict the numbers for gatherings and our young people have responded well to this.

Tomorrow we would like to invite both our remote learners and those staff and pupils in school to join us. If you have not yet signed up, please do so by accepting the invitation sent via Google Classroom. If you are having any issue, please contact the Class Teacher for further support.

The link will go ‘live’ in Assembly Classroom a few minutes before we start. I hope you can come along!

Art Activities: Ice Painting

For this piece of art, you will need to start organising the day before.

You will need:

  • Blue, black and white paint or food colouring. If you are using food colouring you could mix up a little cornflour to make lighter tints, gravy browning or marmite to make darker shades. Be creative as you like!
  • Brush,
  • Ice cube tray
  • White paper

Mix up shades tones and tints of blue and freeze these in an ice cube tray.

This is a chilly piece of work inspired by stormy seas and icebergs so you will be glad you warmed up before you start!

Remember to warm up your hands and eyes before you start. Look up and down, and side to side, watch your fingers as you touch your nose, your fingertips and the top of your head. Waggle your hands and elbows! Someone might be able to help you to warm up.

Then organise your materials. You will need the shades tones and tints of paint you froze yesterday and a sheet of white paper. You may want to use a brush to push the ice cubes around the paper if you don’t like the feeling!

Here are some images of icebergs and stormy seas for inspiration but your work can be as abstract as you wish- it’s more about making a pattern with the different shades, tones and tints of blue. The process of creating an image is more important than the end product!

Remember to notice the cold hard feeling of the ice and to warm your hands up gently when you have finished!

You could try freezing other colours for different pictures you might like to make. I made far too many ice cubes – you only need a little! But as you can see from the pictures I had fun getting cold messy fingers and the effect is nice so I refroze the leftovers to do it again another time!

What have you learned about? Cold, hard, blue, shades, tones, tints.

We would love to see how you got on with your art activities so please feel free to share any photos or videos via your child’s teacher, through Google Classroom, or email Amy Dunnett (Principal Teacher Primary)

Art Activities: Sculpture

Before you start, do some warm up exercises to get your hands and eyes ready to create! You might want to get some help from someone who is with you.

Try shaking your hands, then touch your fingertips together, clap your hands and touch your nose. Waggle your elbows ! Let your eyes get ready to really look. You could blink three times and look at your hands while you get ready.

When you feel warmed up, you’re ready to start!

For this piece of work, we are looking at the art of British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. He makes sculptures using natural materials and then photographs them. The materials he uses can be leaves, sticks, rocks or snow and ice! His sculptures do not always last and he understands that the landscape and the weather will change his work.

As always whether inside or out, it is a good idea to organise your materials before you start. If you are lucky enough to be able to get outside you could collect sticks, cones, leaves or anything you find interesting.

Look really closely at the materials you will use and don’t forget to feel the textures.

Decide whether you will make your work outside or take the materials back home. Think about the shape of your sculpture – spiral? circle? line?

Arrange your materials in the shape you choose and take a photo.

If you are not able to go outside, you could use food items from your kitchen (an example is shown below).

If you want your work to be permanent you could glue it to paper or card. Once you are happy with your work, take a picture and if you can send it to me!

If you have access to the internet you might like to look at some more of Andy Goldsworthy’s work.

What have you learned about? Nature, sculpture, texture, shape, colour.

We would love to see how you got on with your art activities so please feel free to share any photos or videos via your child’s teacher, through Google Classroom, or email Amy Dunnett (Principal Teacher Primary)

Mental Health And Wellbeing

As we progress through another lockdown period, it is more important than ever to ensure we look after our own mental health and wellbeing.

On the school website you will find a variety of links to different resources to support the health and wellbeing of our parents, pupils and staff.

Wellbeing Supports For Parents, Pupils And Staff – Orchard Brae School

NHS Grampian have also launched a Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing Support page full of advice and signposts on where you can seek support and advice.

Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing Support (

This includes links to:

  • Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub who can be contacted on 0808 1963384 for a range of support. This service is available Mon to Fri 9am – 5pm. At any other time you can get lots of advice and support on the website
  • Who Cares? Scotland who have set up a 7 day helpline to support Care Experienced people during Covid-19.  The Helpline is open from 10-6 Monday to Friday and 10-4 Saturday and Sunday. The numbers are 07756 047389 or 07545 337152. An experienced member of our team will take the call as a first responder and then provide immediate support or pass information on to our local team to provide additional/ongoing support. More information can be found on the Who Cares? Website.
  • Self referral guidance for the Grampian Psychological Resilience Hub, who can offer additional support with your own mental health or that of a family member. How do you self-refer to the Psychological Resilience Hub? (

For staff, our remember that our Employee Assistance Programme providers, Time for Talking, are also available 365 days per year, 7 days per week, 24 hours a day if you need them.  They have also produced some really helpful podcasts for us, to explore how we can deal with some of the challenges we now all face.