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


Orchard Brae Connect – Online Training

Sensory Processing with Karen Gebbie-Smith (Head of Primary)

11-12pm on Tuesday 2nd March 2021

Orchard Brae Connect are pleased to invite you to this online workshop via Microsoft Teams. This workshop is open to all parents / carers and families of pupils at Orchard Brae School.

We look forward to welcoming you to a relaxed hour where we will explore the senses, understand sensory differences and share strategies to help our youngsters regulate their unique systems. It may also help us to regulate ours too! All you need to bring is an open mind and a cuppa.

If you are interested in attending this event please email rebecca.j.duncan@gmail.com noting the following information:

Your name, email address, child’s name and class

You will be sent a link to join the workshop by email before the event.

LIVE PE: Wednesday 24th Feb at 2 pm

We have big news this week! Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will have a LIVE PE lesson. To join us all you need to do is to check the ‘PE at Home’ class on Wednesday at 2 pm and there will be a link for the ‘Meet’.

You will need: comfy clothes and a willingness to have fun!

Amanda and Salvi look forward to seeing you!

The PE at home classroom on Google is updated weekly and the team are doing a great job in providing a range of activities to suit pupils of all abilities. These include Dance, Boccia, Orienteering, Scavenger Hunts (this week’s is a lovely sensory, texture hunt) and our regular PE with Salvi and Amanda, ably supported by our own Young Leaders in school.

Please ask your child’s class teacher for a link if you are not in the PE at Home classroom.

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 For Parents And Carers

Please find below a letter for parents and carers from Eleanor Sheppard (Chief Education Officer) following yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, about the proposal for phased school returns.

Children’s Mental Health Week 2021

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, led by the charity Place2Be. This year’s theme is Express Yourself and is ideal for all of our learners. There are lots of lovely ideas for creativity and self expression with links on their website such as the art ideas below. Every activity has stories and music in addition to the art ideas so there really is something for everyone.

The sample below is from the Colour Project. Click on the links for more information and a sample of what is on offer:

The Place2Be website is well worth exploring:


BBC also have links for mental health week with some fun clips for younger children on emotions:



Aberdeen City Educational Psychology Service Hub

Our colleagues at the Educational Psychology Service have recently launched their Digital Hub. This is available online and is well worth a look for supporting both you and your children. These are tough times for everyone so it’s important to care for yourself too. One of my personal favourites is the Circle of Control, a reminder to try not to waste time and energy thinking about about things I cannot control or change.

Explore the Educational Psychology Hub further here:


Place2Be Free Training for Staff

Finally, for staff there’s an opportunity to engage in free training around supporting the mental health of our children and young people. Please follow this link:


As always, feel free to share anything you enjoy!

Thank You!

A huge Orchard Brae thank you to Andy Gerrie for his fantastic fundraising efforts on behalf of the school!

He has (very bravely) undertaken a sponsored shave and raised over £440!

Your amazing efforts are much appreciated by all at Orchard Brae and we hope you’ve got a warm woolly hat handy!!