Letter For Parents/Carers – 26th February 2021

I have a few pieces of information to share with you today.

I will start with the phased return to school. As I am sure you will have heard First Minister shared more detail of the return to school.

From March 15th should the Covid-19 figures allow P4-P7 and S4-S6 will return to school. We are expecting further guidance and detail to be released early next week along with information regarding S1-S3. I will of course keep you informed.

The levels of Covid-19 continue to improve in the NHS Grampian area which is encouraging and it is positive to have more detail of the Scottish Governments timeline for coming out of lockdown should the levels of the virus continue to improve.

The school submitted the report to have out Eco Schools Green Flag status revalidated, and I am delighted to say we passed with flying colours. A big thank you to Amy Dunnett PT Primary for compiling the report and to the pupils and staff for all their hard work. I have attached a copy of the feedback for your information.

Please find a couple of links below which you may find helpful:

What’s new in the city to support families?

ACC are launching Stronger Families Series – a range of free events for parent and carers to support children’s health and wellbeing (P7-S3). The main events will take place throughout March with additional focused webinars in April and May. There is something for everyone, why not sign-up now. To find out more information and book a space click here.

Information from NHS Grampian

NHS Grampian are currently developing a new family-based healthy lifestyle service that offers support to help your child get active, eat well and work towards a healthy weight. A range of topics will be covered including healthy eating, physical activity and behaviour change. The programme would run throughout Grampian and we are seeking the views of local families to help shape what the service could look like. Thank you for taking the time to answer this questionnaire. It should take around 10 minutes to complete and all responses will be treated anonymously.

Fill | Child Healthy Weight Services in Grampian forms.office.com

I hope the weather stays nice for the coming weekend.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Kind regards


Letter To Parents/Carers – 19th February 2021

The First Minister has confirmed that the first stage of the phased return to schools can start from Monday 22nd. We are delighted to be welcoming our Nursery, P1-P3 and a small number of our Senior Phase pupils back into school this Monday.

I am very aware that the first phase of the return leaves many families with the challenge of continuing to support their child at home. I am expecting the next update from the First Minister around 2nd of March. In her briefing in parliament on Tuesday First Minister said that the next potential date for stage 2 of the return could be 15th March.

The Scottish Government will be publishing their framework for coming out of lockdown in the next 2 weeks. In this the main focus is the continued return of schools which is their main priority.

The next area they will be looking at is the potential increase in family contact. When it comes to the re-opening of the economy the first thing will be the re-opening of non-essential shops.

The infection rate in the Grampian area continues to come down which is positive news indeed. I have attached our updated Covid-19 Operational Risk Assessment. You will also find a copy of this on our website (Covid-19 – Orchard Brae School).

We had a very busy 2 days of inset with the staff engaging is a wide range of professional learning, all of which was done remotely with exception of the first aid training. Amy Dunnett the PT Primary has submitted our Eco Green Flag revalidation report. I will let you know the outcome as soon as I know. The poly tunnel for the outdoor learning class will be delivered in the next 2 weeks. A very big thank you to Friends of Orchard Brae for funding this. Looking forward to the spring,  we have a significant number of fruit tree saplings arriving which have been donated by the Woodland Trust.   

Take care and stay safe

Kind regards


Letter to Parents/Carers – 12th February 2021

We have had a very interesting week with the snow and cold temperatures. The delayed start time allowed the necessary snow clearing efforts to be completed. Many a snowman has been built this week.

There is an Online Safety talk happening live on Facebook on 24th February beginning at 7pm.

Here is the event page  – Online Safety Facebook Live | Facebook – it links through so that you can get it in your Facebook diary if you are interested and then join live from there.

Can I encourage you to send any questions you have about social media apps/ online safety to this email address so they can answer them on 24th Feb –  info@cybersafescotland.org

All staff working in school now have access to lateral flow testing. This will commence from Sunday 14th and will be carried out twice weekly. This is in line with all ACC schools.

We await confirmation from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tue 16th Feb that the phased return to schools will start from Mon 22nd Feb. We have our plans in place ready to implement when this is confirmed.

We have reached half term so next week we will have the Monday holiday and then the double inset days on Tue & Wed.

I see in the forecast that a thaw is on its way so the snow will soon be melting. Mixed feelings as I know it provides hours of fun form many members of our school community. 😊

I hope you all have a pleasant and safe half term break. I will share updates next week regarding phased return to schools as soon as they are available.

Take care.

Kind regards


Letter to Parents/Carers – 5th February 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

We have had a very fast moving few days this week since the First Minister (FM) made her announcements on Tuesday. As I am sure you know the FM gave details of a proposed phased return to schools from Mon 22nd Feb which will be confirmed on Tue 16th Feb. It is hoped that all school based Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), P1-P3 and a small number of S4-S6 pupils (who require to complete practical elements of their SQA courses) will return from the 22nd Feb. This is all dependent on the continued downward trend of the Covid 19 virus numbers in the community. The FM also mentioned an increase in numbers of children and young people with ASN may also return. As yet the government has not given any further guidance to local authorities as to the detail around the statement made about ASN schools so I am unable to expand on this further. Please be assured that as soon as I have any further detail, I will of course be sharing this with you all. In the meantime, we are busy planning for the proposed return of ELC and P1-P3 pupils and identifying S4-S6 pupils that require to complete practical elements of their SQA courses. Details of this will be shared with relevant families as soon as possible.

In the readiness for a phased return to school all staff within Orchard Brae have been offered the Covid 19 vaccine and have completed application forms this week. I know that some colleagues have already attended Teca and have received their vaccine. All staff in schools across the city are also being given access to twice weekly lateral flow testing. We expect the test kits to be arriving in school from Mon 8th Feb onwards. We are in the process of setting up the necessary facilities so that colleagues can be issued with the test kits and carry out the tests from home. These are two very significant moves with regard to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, their families and the staff team and I hope helps to reassure yourselves.

Covid 19 case numbers continue to improve in the NHS Grampian area which covers Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray. Both City and Shire numbers are now below 100 cases per 100 000 and Moray is not far behind. Colleagues from Health Protection Scotland continue to stress the need for us all to be careful and stay within the guidance set out by the Government which is to remain at home unless our journey is absolutely essential. NHS Grampian continue to be one of the best performing Scottish Health Boards with regards to Vaccine roll out which is very encouraging to know.

I recognise how hard a second lockdown has been for our whole school community, especially for you as families supporting your children at home. However, we do now have some very positive steps towards the return to school for pupils and the continued roll out of the vaccine. We are all working hard to follow the guidance set out by the government which we can see is beginning to have a positive affect and is starting to reduce the levels of the Covid 19 virus in the community.

The Scottish Government issued guidance this week specific to our setting and which has been very welcomed. I am pleased to say that we already had in place all the necessary steps that were detailed in the guidance. Attached to the guidance was a link to online resources for parents and families which I have placed below.

Learners with Complex Additional Support Needs: Resources and guidance for parents to support their child’s learning at home – Wakelet

Here’s hoping the wild weather settles soon. Please do not hesitate to contact school with any questions you may have. Take care everyone.

Kind regards


Letter to Parents/Carers – 29th January 2021


I hope you are all well. I have a few things I would like to share as we come to the end of another week.

I attend a weekly head teacher drop-in session with colleagues from Health Protection Scotland. They were able to share that the current lockdown restrictions are beginning to bring the number of cases down within the NHS Grampian area. Positive daily cases have dropped by about a third which is positive news. It is good to know that all of our hard work as a community is making a difference. 😊

They also shared that NHS Grampian are in the top 3 of health boards when it comes to administering the vaccine.

I hope you managed to join in some of the Burns Day fun on Monday. We have had some really positive feedback so thank you for sharing that with us.

We have additional Chromebooks being delivered to pupils to support online access so please let the school know if you do not have a device for your child and we will do our best to remedy that.

The First Minister will be reviewing restrictions on Tuesday 2nd February. I hope to be able to update in my email next week.

The parental monthly newsletter from the Education Service will also be coming out via groupcall today as well as being uploaded on to our website.

Please keep a look out for pictures of Andy Gerrie whose wife Ann is an EYP. He raised £440 by shaving his beard, eyebrows and head to help raise funds for the school. Very brave Andy and a big thank you.

I hope the weather improves for the weekend and you are able to get some fresh air.

Please take care and stay safe.

Kind regards


Letter to Parents/Carers – 22nd January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

Here we are at the end of week 3. The First Minister announced this week that the national lockdown is to continue until mid February. The stay at home message has been reinforced and schools continue to deliver online learning to the vast majority of children and young people across Scotland. The next review will be on the 2nd of February and the government hope to be able to give parents/carers and schools at least 2 weeks notice of a planned return.

Our teachers and class teams have been working hard to deliver online learning as well as providing a range of supportive materials via email as well as personalised packs being delivered to homes as appropriate. I would like to thank you all for your continued support as I now home learning has many challenges and changes in routines for families create all sorts of demands on yourselves.

I get daily reports from the authority of the number of children that have logged into google classroom which gives a snapshot of numbers at a certain point in the morning. We are usually sitting between 30% and 40% each day. We have more chromebooks going out to families this coming week to assist with online access.

If your child does not have a device to access google classroom please let your child’s teacher know and we will arrange for a device to be made available as soon as possible. BT are offering hot spot connection to any families that do not have access to wifi/internet. We can apply on your behalf for these vouchers to support your child to access online learning. If this is something that you need please contact Amy Dunnett our PT Primary on ADunnett@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Thank you to everyone who has been completing the daily check in form as I understand you all have very busy days so your help is very much appreciated. This information has been requested by the Scottish Government on a daily basis. Here is the link https://forms.gle/vsuT6tE3TwNm3pju6 

Northsound Cash For Kids, supported by the Scottish Government, have opened applications for their Winter Fund Grants. Grants of up to £100 per child or young person are available to support the purchase of food, heating, toiletries or other basic essentials to meet the individual needs of the families and children experiencing hardship in these very difficult and challenging times. If you feel that your family would benefit from this support, please contact the school and we will be happy to discuss this further with you.

There will be a revised school lunch menu being introduced from 1st February. We will post this on our website.

On Monday 25th January we are hosting a whole school event celebrating Burns.  Our BIG BURNS DAY will be delivered through our new whole school google classroom.  There is a suggested timetable of activities for the morning however you can of course choose as appropriate to your child’s and family’s needs. 

The school community have pulled together to bring you some fun learning stimulus;

  • Art teacher Diane making Scottish flags (get some glue and paint ready)
  • Claire Spiller (Rm 10 PSA) playing two tunes on the pipes and dancing the highland fling in full costume.
  • Scottish stories recited by Rm 12 teacher Anne Meale and Lorraine Ritchie (Rm 15 EYP) which have linked activities.
  • PE teachers Salvi and Amanda have pre-recorded socially distanced Scottish dances for you to practice.
  • Lia and Grace our HE team have provided a symbol supported recipe for making Shortbread (get prepared with butter, sugar, flour). 
  • Keith has produced an introduction video to start the day, where the Senior Leadership team share some unique Burns Inspiration!

In the afternoon we will have live sessions:  

  • Keith will take the Giant Drum starting at 1pm (get ready with either a drum or a tin/tub that you can drum on)

Followed by:

  • A ceilidh at 1.30pm where Keith and Emmeline will play live for us. 
  • At 2pm a chance to join in with Makaton choir singing and signing Scottish songs.

And finally

  • Emmeline will end our BIG BURNS day for us with Auld Lang Syne at 2.30pm.

This is a day for pupils both at home and in school to participate in Burns days celebrations.  It is a chance for our whole school community to share and engage in common learning and we hope it will bring a familiar sense of community despite the online platform. 

We hope you can join us for all/part/some of our BIG BURNS day!  We look forward to feedback and we are always delighted to see photos and videos of your home learning. Your child’s teacher will email the details for joining these events.

Please take care everyone and stay safe.

Kind regards