Letter To Parents and Carers – August 2022

Dear Parent/Carer

Welcome back to the new session at Orchard Brae and a special welcome to all the new families that join us this year.

After a two-year break, it was great to see all the pupils enjoy a more social lunchtime as they all came together in the hall.  I was amazed and delighted to see them all having a positive experience with their peers.

The transport since we started has become slicker but we will continue to look at ways to improve this, including looking at the external layout for buses and taxis.  I will keep you posted with all developments.

Our Orchard Brae @ Ashgrove campus has enjoyed a good start to the year.  The seniors have had a great time and are well settled thanks to the warm welcome of the existing staff and pupils.  More improvements to the outdoor and indoor environments will be happening there over the year but again I will keep you posted.

The opening of the swimming pool continues to be delayed despite efforts during the summer to resolve this.  I am aware that many of you are concerned about this but I want to reassure you that the team here at OB are working with central officers to get the pool back up and running. Our parent council, OB Connect, also continues to collaborate with us in this matter and have been proactively seeking solutions to help resolve this, my thanks to them for their ongoing support.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our newly appointed teachers Sarah Little (Rm 5), Sharon Reid (Rm 12) and Dawna Reid (NCCT) are new to OB and we have Nicola Cruikshank (Rm 14), Tania Morrice (Rm 3) and Sam Wildi (Rm 15), who enjoyed it here so much, they decided to stay. 

There have been a few changes in the Senior Leadership Team, I have listed these below.

Clare Russell – Head of Secondary – no change

Karen Gebbie-Smith – Head of Primary (Mon/Tues/Wed)

Naomi Farrimond – Head of Primary (Wed pm/Thurs/Fri) and PT Secondary (Mon/Tues/Wed am)

Lesley Parker – Head of ELC – no change

Lorraine McLean – PT PEF (Mon/Tues/Wed am) and PT Secondary (Wed pm/Thurs/Fri)

Amy Dunnett – PT Primary – no change

Heather Liebenberg – PT ELC – no change

Our annual family barbeque organised and run by the Friends of Orchard Brae will take place this weekend from 11-2pm.  We look forward to welcoming everyone to enjoy some exciting activities, stalls and a burger (or 2!).

Many thanks


Last Week Of Term

We have had a wonderful activities week as we prepare for the summer holidays!

On Tuesday we enjoyed an Orchard Brae ‘Proms In The Park’. Unfortunately, the weather meant that we couldn’t enjoy a picnic outside but as you can see from the video below, everyone had a great time listening to the live music provided by the Fyvie Folk Club.

On Thursday, we all took part in our Animal Themed Sports Day. Use the QR code or link below to view a Thinglink showing all the fun!


And finally we would like to wish you all a very happy and relaxed summer holiday. Have lots of fun and we can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to what you’ve been up to when we return in August!

Aberdeen Performing Arts Events

Aberdeen Performing Arts have upcoming performances which are suitable for those with additional support needs. For more information please follow the links below.

Happiness Collectors

The world’s supplies of happiness are running low and we need your help to top them up! Happiness Collectors is a fusion of physical theatre and audio-immersive storytelling for family audiences. A 20-minute performance experienced through headphones (provided by us), suitable for family audiences aged 5+. No booking necessary – arrive early to secure your spot.

More info here: www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/whats-on/the-happiness-collectors

Access note: This performance is unamplified with all sound coming through wireless headphones. We’ve had great responses from young people with additional support needs who have enjoyed the freedom of taking off the headphones and experiencing the fun, physical nature of the performance.

Light The Way (Promenade Event)

Saturday 18th June
16:30 – 16:45

Bon Accord Centre Roof Garden

An exciting series of multi-artform, pop-up performances created especially for #LTB22. Find out from young people across Aberdeen what Light The Way means to them. Watch the participants light the way and see their ideas come to life!  

More info here: www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/whats-on/light-the-way-outdoor-promenade-event

Access note: This performance features dance, theatre and music – with a few songs signed in Makaton and a dance performance featuring disabled performers.

The rest of our programme can be viewed here: www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/light-the-blue.

Drake Music

Abi Sinar, a musician with Drake Music, has been working with students at Orchard Brae for the last two years, even throughout lockdowns, in developing the North East Digital Orchestra project. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a digital orchestra for school leavers and young adults, enabling them to develop their musical skills and create new music using a range of inclusive music technologies.

Pupils who have been involved in the project have been supported by Abi to develop their musical skills using a variety of accessible instruments and have created this video for you to enjoy, where they play Ode To Joy as well as their own additional compositions to the song.

Many thanks to Abi for her support and in making the film. If you would like to find out more about Drake Music and their work, please follow the link below:


Take A Break

Take a Break Scotland are pleased to announce that they are now open for applications!

Take a Break provides grants to unpaid carers of disabled children and young people, who have complex additional support needs, or serious or life-threatening health conditions.

Applications are open until 5:00pm on Monday 20 June 2022.

If you have concerns about travelling either in the UK or overseas, there are options on how you can use your grant if awarded.

Visit their website: https://takeabreakscotland.org.uk for more information and how to apply online.

Holiday Weekend

Just a reminder that all Orchard Brae establishments will be closed on Monday 2nd May for the May Day holiday and Tuesday 3rd May for in-Service Training. The Nursery based at Ashgrove Children’s Centre will also be closed on Thursday 5th May for local elections polling. This does not affect the main school or Nursery at Howes Road which will be open as normal.

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.

Fairtrade Week

There has been lots of fun going on in school this week as pupils and staff have been busy exploring Fairtrade.

Classes took part in a Fairtrade scavenger hunt around the school, and explored Fairtrade products through a variety of sensory activities as well as arts and crafts and cooking.

It’s been wonderful to see how engaged everyone was in their learning and we enjoyed sharing our learning in this afternoon’s whole school assembly.

For those of you who were unable to join us, you can view our assembly PowerPoint below.

We hope that you have all enjoyed our Fairtrade week. Thank you to all the staff who made this possible and to all the pupils for their enthusiasm – who would have guessed that pancake day would fall in Fairtrade week!?!?

Have a great weekend and hopefully the songs don’t stick in your head too much!