Light The Blue Festival

Light The Blue is Aberdeen Performing Arts annual multi-artform festival celebrating the creativity of young people aged 5-25 across Aberdeen and beyond. Created for young people, by young people 2023’s festival takes place over the course of eight days across Aberdeen city centre with an electrifying line up of theatre, dance, film, music and more. We are delighted that Orchard Brae are again participating in events throughout the week.

Aberdeen Performing Arts in association with Orchard Brae School

The World Through My Eyes installation has been created with pupils from Orchard Brae School and visual artist Jenny Hood, accompanied by live performances by pupils created with drama artist Saffron Gilles will be going live on Tuesday 13th June at 1pm in the Big Sky Studio at the Music Hall. Tickets to this launch are by invitation only and available to parents, carers and friends. If you would like to attend, please contact the school to note your interest and we shall share the booking code when it goes live.

The World Through My Eyes installation will be open to the public throughout Light The Blue, exploring how we navigate the world from the perspective of a young person with complex needs. You can visit on Wednesday 14th – Friday 16th June, 10am – 5pm, and Saturday 17th June, 10am – 11am and tickets can be booked using the link below.

Other events that may be of interest include pop-up performances on the Bon Accord Centre Roof Terrace and Soundplay Projects have their sensory space set-up in the Music Hall on Saturday 10th June, On Saturday 17th June, the Big Gig at the Music Hall features Orchard Brae’s Makaton Choir. More information about the festival and events happening across the week can be found via the following link.

Friends of Orchard Brae 5k (ish) Fun Run

Tuesday 13th June will see the third running of our Friends of Orchard Brae 5k (ish) fun run. For clarity, it is very close to 5k, just not an officially measured course.

Entry is free with donations welcome. All money raised will be ringfenced and will go towards the upgrade of our sensory rooms. These are being uniquely designed to support sensory regulation, enabling all learners to calm and regulate in order to fully access learning opportunities.

The Route

Run, walk or jog … the route is just over 5k and starts and finishes in Seaton Park. We’re back on the original route as the trees that blocked the way last year are gone. This is step-free and a lovely route!

The event will be timed, but is ultimately just for fun! If you’re looking for a personal best time this is probably not the route for you (but it will be a good training run). The route is mainly on tarmac, there are a few cobbles, and it does take in the off-road path alongside the River Don so don’t wear your new shoes!


Spot prizes only – these will be randomly given out to our finishers.

Entry Requirements

Free entry for all. Participants must be over 12 years old on the day of the event. Any participant under 16 years of age must be accompanied by their guardian at all times.

Donations to Friends of Orchard Brae are welcome and can be made at registration or through Just Giving:


Please complete the Google form to register in advance:

Entry on the night is also welcome, however completion of the form will speed up the process. Registration will be open from 5:30-6:15 pm at Brig O’Don Restaurant, King Street. Huge thanks to Chris & the team for welcoming us back. From there, we’ll assemble at the start line (to the right of the entrance) for a 6:30 pm start.

Additional Information

Bring your own water if you need it. Please do not wear headphones or earphones (bone conduction only permitted) due to the need to hear traffic and instructions from marshals along the route.

My ‘legendary’ white chocolate fudge will be available for donations, as will Lorraine’s tablet.

After the run, we’ll go to the Brig O’Don (King Street) – all welcome to come along for food and chat.

There will be a tail walker so please come along and run or walk whatever your pace! Our tail walker (Nicola) has kindly offered to be last so nobody else will be!

Orchard Brae Achieve Bronze!

We are delighted to share that we have just gained the Bronze Rights Respecting Schools Award from UNICEF UK. This is the first official step in our ongoing Rights Respecting Schools journey.

The Rights Respecting Schools Award promotes understanding and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in schools. The convention itself consists of a range of articles that place a duty on governments, local authorities and all those supporting children to be ‘duty bearers’, upholding the rights of the children and young people in their care and ensuring that all those under 18 can access their rights, children being the ‘rights holders’. The convention underpins everything that we do as a school to ensure that all children and young people are valued, heard, and given opportunities to develop fully.

To gain our Bronze Award, a small group of teaching staff evaluated our progress against key outcomes before developing an action plan for moving forward as a school. We will look to sharing more news as we progress on our journey and would welcome involvement from families and associated professionals in taking things forward.

This poster provides an easy to read overview of the UNCRC. We will be sharing more information on these rights as we go forward on our journey, learning together.

Reusable Period Products

Aberdeen City Council are offering free period products around the city and are now offering reusable products including menstrual cups and reusable pads in addition to disposable products. If you would like to access these, please visit one of the venues listed or contact Mhairi Wilson (Specialist Nurse, Orchard Brae).

See the latest video for more information:

Parent Support Groups

One of our main aims is to support families across the city through creating safe space where like-minded parents/cares could meet, have a chat and feel understood. In order to make it happen we have been liaising with schools and setting up Parent Support Groups in 5 primary schools (Stoneywood, Fernilea, Kaimhill, Glashieburn and Woodside). All groups are led by AOR staff and they meet monthly. Parents make suggestions what they would like to discuss and if they would like to have guests (SALT, OT, School Nurse, SW, charities). We are looking at setting up more similar groups in different schools in the future.

If you would like to join one of the groups and meet parents, have chat and enjoy a cuppa, please get in touch with Alex Polanska.

Thank You

Thank you to The Makaton Charity for our participation certificate. Huge thanks to the pupils and staff who participated – it is always a joy to take part in The Countdown To Christmas and we can’t wait until next time!

Happy Christmas

We would like to wish all our pupils, their families, staff and associated colleagues a very happy Christmas. Have a wonderful festive season and t get you in the festive spirit, here are a few videos from our recent Christmas Concert along with our entry for the Evening Express Carol Concert.

Evening Express Carol Concert

Day 7: Room 7

Day 10: Room 10

Day 13: Drumming

Day 15: Room 15

Day 18: Room 18

Day 20: Howes Hoose

Letter To Parents/Carers – December 2022

Dear Parents, Carers and Friends of the school

New Post

Mrs Karen Gebbie-Smith, Head of Primary will be stepping down to take on another new and exciting role within the ASN service. 

Karen started in June 2010 and has given dedicated service to both Woodlands and Orchard Brae Schools and although this is not goodbye, we will miss her not being around school daily.  However, I am pleased that we will still be able to call on her skills and knowledge to help support our ever-growing Orchard Brae ASN community.

Karen takes up her new post on January 16th and we wish her all the very best.

Retirement? Really?

Mr Jim Johnston will be leaving his post as class teacher at the end of this term.  Jim has worked with many pupils and families and has also given many years of dedicated service to both Orchard Brae and Woodlands Schools.

Orchard Brae staff, pupils and their families will miss Jim with his pupil centred, nurturing approach.  However, I am sure you will join us and colleague’s past and present in wishing Jim a long and happy retirement.

Performing Arts

Through the power of technology, we made an appearance at the Evening Express Carol Concert and this year, we also opened the Music Service Concert on Tuesday night.  Once again showcasing our talented group of signers, #proudheidie moment!

The adverse weather we have had recently has meant the postponement of our first live Christmas Show in 2 years until Tuesday 20th December, we have limited space in the hall so are only able to allocate 2 tickets per family.  I look forward to seeing you then.

And finally, a thank you to you, the whole team in Orchard Brae and our wider community.  Despite the many challenges we have faced, we do it together, this has been wonderfully exemplified by the care and thoughtful support provided recently by our neighbours at Heathryburn.  I wish them and you all the very best Christmas wishes and look forward to seeing what the new year brings


Important Dates

Thursday 22nd December – last day of term

Monday 9th January -return to school

Tuesday 10th January – potential strike day – school closed to all pupils

Monday 13th February – Mid-term holiday

Tuesday 14th February – In-service day – school closed to pupils

Wednesday 15th February – In-service day – school closed to pupils