Head Teacher’s Easter Blog

HT Easter Blog

It’s the Easter holidays already, wow, that was a fast term and again another busy term for our Orchard Brae community.  This term has brought it challenges with COVID having an impact on our staff, even I couldn’t escape it, but there is light to be seen and with the new term will come less restrictions.

We hope to resume our educational trips in the community and at long last get back into the water.  Our school will be opened back up to the community and we can welcome parents and visitors back in, it will be great to see you all in person again. 

We have a few ideas for events in the summer term and we will keep you informed of all the dates and our plans. 

Our building is almost fence free and our plans to revitalise the outdoor space are well underway, thanks to our fantastic outdoor learning team Roddy and Sharon.  The arrival of our all-terrain bikes was a great to see and once the weather gets a little bit warmer, we will be out in full force getting maximum use out of them.

After the holidays we will be sending out a questionnaire to gather our school communities’ thoughts on the changes we have made to some processes and what you would like to see change/develop moving forward.  All ideas welcomed!

Congratulations to Naomi Farrimond who officially took up the post of PT Secondary this term.   

Important Dates

  • Term ends – Friday 1 April 2022
  • Term starts – Monday 18 April 2022
  • May Day holiday – Monday 2 May 2022
  • In-service day – Tuesday 3 May 2022
  • Polling Day – Thursday 5th May (Orchard Brae @ Ashgrove, closed to all pupils)
  • Queen’s Platinum Jubilee- Friday 3 June 2022
  • Term ends – Friday 1 July 2022

Parents/Carers evening will be in June but no date has been set yet – more information to follow after the holidays.

Letter To Parents and Carers – 25th February 2022

Dear Parents and Carers,

I wanted to give you a quick update on a few things.  Firstly, the lifting of COVID restrictions and their implication on school life.  We anticipate that further guidance will come out from the Scottish Government re mask wearing and social distancing.  As of Monday 28th, we will be removing the need for staff to wear their masks outside, we continue to wear masks inside as we cannot socially distance the adults in the classroom safely.  I will ensure that you are updated with any other changes to our risk assessment and ensure it can be accessed on our web page.

Swimming Pool – my hope is to re-open the swimming pool after the Easter holidays.  As you will all be aware this will be a great step forward, but it does still require some careful planning, as we will have to limit the number of staff in changing areas due to mask wearing and social distancing rules.  Classes will have to be split in half to access, meaning that your child/young person will have a fortnightly slot to begin with.  Your class teacher will be in touch with more details closer to the holidays.

Orchard Brae Holiday Club – all parents and carers of pupils attending the school should have received an information poster and return for our holiday club.  This will run for the first week of the Easter holidays from 9.30-12.30.  Places are limited and you cannot be guaranteed a place, but the information will help us to organise future clubs and holiday access to activities.

Buildings – Our building is undergoing a transformation on the outside.  The removal of some of the slate from our building has started which means that we will soon be rid of all the Heras fencing.  We do also have plans to create our little garden areas outside each class which allows us to remove the temporary fencing as well.

Finally, we have received word that our report/letter from the latest HMIe visit will be published on the March 1st.  Once it goes live you will find access to it via this link on the Education Scotland website at www.education.gov.scot.  I would like to thank all of you for your continued support in making Orchard Brae the best it can be and hope to have a thank you gathering in the summer term to celebrate our wonderful community.

Kind regards

Elaine

Head Teacher Christmas Blog

As Christmas fast approaches, it has been a time for me to reflect on my first four months as Head Teacher.  It has been a wonderful time getting to know all the pupils and families better and despite the pandemic we have achieved so much in a short space of time.  Following a very supportive visit from HMIE, we can now focus our attentions on driving forward with our improvement priorities.  It has been a very busy term for pupils and staff, there been exciting learning and teaching, preparation for our winter festivities, appearing in concerts and making our wonderful digital advent calendar, all of which you will see on our website.  Once again, a big thank you to Keith and Emmeline for their continued contribution to our musical endeavours!

Now, we move on to the holidays and I am mindful of the need to take time for ourselves over the Christmas period.  We are still faced with the ongoing issues and potentially further restrictions that this pandemic brings.  Therefore, it is important that we look after our health and wellbeing as we need to be reinvigorated for the year ahead.  We want to be able to welcome our whole school community back in January.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, pupils, parents, friends and staff of Orchard Brae for your continued support and wish you and your loved ones a restful Christmas and a New Year that brings health and happiness.

Elaine

Important dates

  • Last day of school – Tuesday 21st December 2021
  • First day back – Thursday 6th January 2022
  • Mid-term holiday – Monday 14th February 2022
  • In-service day – Tuesday 15 February 2022
  • In-service day – Wednesday 16 February 2022
  • Term ends – Friday 1 April 2022

Thank You From Caroline

Dear Parent/Carer,

I have been overwhelmed by your gifts and kind words and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am.

This week has been filled with tears of laughter as well as sad tears but I have so many fond memories to reflect back on.

I have left my gifts to the school with Elaine – a set of working traffic lights and some bird feeding poles for the outdoor areas in school and both the nurseries.

I am going to miss so much when I leave but I am looking forward to a slower pace. Orchard Brae will always have a very special place in my heart. 😊

I wish all a great summer and all the very best for the future.

Take care

Kind regards

Caroline 😊 XXX

Letter To Parents & Carers – 3rd June 2021

At last the sun has made an appearance and the temperature appears to have recovered when the haar doesn’t make an appearance.

I am pleased to announce following interviews on Wednesday 2nd June, that Elaine Thomson is the preferred candidate for the Head Teacher post. I am sure you will all join me in sharing our congratulations. Elaine will be in touch in due course with more information regarding end of term activities and any information relating to next term.

As the end of term approaches in 3 weeks I have been invited into classes to join their snack. I have had great fun spending time in many classes. I have had such an array of snacks and treats and been very well looked after. More visits over the next few weeks. 😊

I am delighted to say our Holiday Fun Club will be running for the first 4 weeks of the holidays. More information on how to book sessions will follow shortly.

I have attached the most recent updated Covid-19 risk assessment with the changes highlighted in green. Despite the fact that we move to protection level-1 from Saturday 5th June there has been no changes to the guidance for schools.

I hope you all have a good weekend when it comes.

Kind regards

Caroline

Letter To Parents & Carers – 17th May 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

Today we move into protection level 2 which has been long awaited by everyone. I have listed below what this means as a guide as I know how confusing it can get trying to keep track of what is and is not permitted within the different protection levels.

At Level 2:

  • you can meet socially in groups of up to:
    • 6 people from 3 households in your home or theirs – and can stay overnight
    • 6 people from 3 households in an indoor public place like a café, pub or restaurant
    • 8 people from 8 households outdoors
  • under 12s do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but do count towards household numbers indoors
  • you do not need to physically distance from family and friends in a private home
  • you can travel anywhere in Scotland in Levels 0, 1 or 2 but must not enter a Level 3 or 4 area unless for a permitted reason
  • you can travel to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands – before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries
  • you can provide informal childcare, for example to look after a grandchild
  • up to 50 people can attend weddings and funerals
  • tradespeople can carry out any work in your home such as painting, decorating or repairing
  • you should work from home where possible

What can open at Level 2

Places and business that can open at Level 2 include:

  • cafés, pubs and restaurants
  • all shops and stores
  • all close contact services including hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools
  • tourist accommodation
  • visitor attractions
  • public buildings like libraries and community centres
  • cinemas, theatres, concert halls, amusement arcades, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys and snooker/pool halls
  • stadiums and events – with maximum numbers

What must close at Level 2

Places and business that must close at Level 2 include:

  • soft play, funfairs, nightclubs and adult entertainment

This is not a full list. You can get more information in the sections below.

Full details can be found in the link below.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels: what you can do – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Once I have received the updated school’s guidance from the Scottish Government, I will update our Covid-19 risk assessment and share it with you.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact school.

Take care

Kind regards

Caroline

Letter To Parents/Carers – 29th April 2021

We have certainly seen a change in the weather this week but we have enjoyed a busy week in school. In outdoor learning the children have been planting a variety of trees within the grounds creating our very own orchard. Look out for photos appearing on our website.

As part of my final term here at Orchard Brae I have been invited by each class for a special appointment to spend tie with them in class and enjoy a wee snack together. This week I have been in Room 9 and Room 18. I am really looking forward to spending some time with each class. I will keep you posted on what I get up to. Room 9 shared a lovely snack with me and then we went out to plant some trees in the new orchard. I am visiting Room 18 tomorrow afternoon. 😊

Next week sees the May Day holiday Monday and then an Inset day on Tuesday 4th. Work starts on the new polytunnel next week and we will share pictures once it is complete. I hear we have a pumpkin patch planned and that the seeds have already been planted so lots of growing going on.

I have attached a couple documents that I was asked to share by Karen Crozier one of our NHS physiotherapists. Karen is looking for help with a research project that she is doing relating to 24 hour postural management. The documents will also be posted on our website and FaceBook page if you are unable to access via this email.

I hope you all have a pleasant May weekend.

Take care

Caroline

Letter To Parents/Carers – 23rd April 2021

I hope this finds you well.

I have attached a copy of the school’s updated Covid-19 risk assessment. This reflects the changes in guidance from the Scottish Government as well as Aberdeen City Council’s guidance.

It has been nice to see the school busy with the full return and I continue to work closely with NHS, Health Protection Team and families of those pupils that have not yet been able to return to school to ensure we have procedures in place that will enable this to happen as far as is possible.

The display of tartan in school today has been tremendous to mark our virtual Kiltwalk day. I have seen a kilt, tartan troose, tartan skirts and many more tartan garments and the weather has been on our side too.  I know many of the pupils, parents/carers and staff have been busy fund raising for Friends of Orchard Brae so a very big thank you to everyone.  

I hope everyone has a good weekend

Take care

Kind regards

Caroline

Letter To Parents/Carers – 26th March 2021

We have reached the end of another term and I would like to thank you all for the way you have supported the school and worked with us to get through another challenging period of national lockdown. I congratulate you all in the many ways you have embraced online learning with your child and joined in and contributed to the many sessions and activities that have taken place over the term.

As we go into the 2 week Easter break we can remain positive that on 6th April the First Minister will confirm that a full return to school will be possible from 12th April as long as the virus levels stay low.

I have a couple of links that I would like to share with you which I hope you will find helpful.

Firstly,  I would like to draw your attention to the fact that as unpaid carers you are eligible to sign up for a covid-19 vaccine. Please use the link below to register:

https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/vaccinating-carers

Hopefully many will apply and uptake on this option – the more of us that are vaccinated the more protection we have for our whole school community.

I received information from the Child and Family Mental Health (CAMHS) Early Intervention Team this week with a link to a series of webinars they have available to support parents and carers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCID3OzHwlngMuHVcoQXZvYQ

The webinar topics include:

  • Episode1: Welcome and meet the team 
  • Episode2: Body tools​for anxiety 
  • Episode3: Thinking tools​for anxiety 
  • Episode4: Managing anxious behaviours​ 
  • Episode5: Talking to your child about anxiety​ 
  • Episode6: Understanding the adolescent brain and impact on teen mental health during the Covid-19 lockdown 
  • Episode7: Looking after your mental health and wellbeing 
  • Episode8: Resources you may find helpful 
  • Episode9: Supporting your child on the return to school following lockdown 

Please don’t forget you all very welcome to join in with our Virtual Kiltwalk activities on 23rd April. The day will be full of activities from walking to dancing and we would love it if you could join us in any way you can. A wee hint of tartan will be the dress code of the day.

If you wish to raise funds for Friends of Orchard Brae you can register for free by emailing Lisa Simons at friendsoforchardbrae@mail.com

I hope you all have a good Easter break.

Take and stay safe and well

Regards

Caroline