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

Futures Event

Thanks to all parents, carers and partners for supporting the Orchard Brae Futures Event last week. It was great to be back in person for this annual event and there was a lovely buzz in the hall as you took the opportunity to network and chat informally to the providers in attendance. The presentation from the event is below. Feel free to get in touch if you wish to discuss anything further.

Why not visit the art gallery this weekend…..

Soundplay Projects ( work across sculpture, installation, music and sound art to make inclusive and accessible audio-visual artworks and music. Come along and play, communicate and express yourself with movement, rhythm, sound and light. This event is open to all and is especially suitable for families who have children with additional support needs.

Soundplay North East

Saturday 12–Sunday 13 November 
Art Gallery, free (last admission 30 mins before closing) 

Soundplay Projects ( work across sculpture, installation, music and sound art to make inclusive and accessible audio-visual artworks and music. Come along and play, communicate and express yourself with movement, rhythm, sound and light. This event is open to all and is especially suitable for families who have children with additional support needs 

Soundplay Lab 
(Learning Space, ground floor) 
Expect a noisy exploration of light and sound where a cardboard box can make otherworldly sounds, or a bike wheel generates techno beats! Explore and control different devices at your own pace, use your voice to activate psychedelic animations and build amazing instruments with playdoh, tinfoil and fruit.  

Drop-in sessions will take place on:  

Saturday at 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:15pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm 
Sunday at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm 

No need to book . Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Signwave Installation  
(Seminar Room, top floor) 
Play with ambient sound and LED light to create hypnotic music with Signwave, an interactive plywood sculpture.  
Supported by Aberdeen City Council Creative Funding  

Visiting Aberdeen Art Gallery

By local bus 
Lots of local buses stop on Union street and the Gallery is a short walk along Belmont Street. The closest bus stops are outside His Majesty’s Theatre, on Blackfriars Street and Schoolhill. 


There are 4 blue badge on-street car parking spaces outside Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The nearest car park is the NCP at Harriet Street, the Bon Accord shopping centre or Denburn.


  • Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other recognised assistance dogs welcome 
  • Lift to all floors and level access to all spaces 
  • Changing Places Toilet on Level 2 
  • Power-assisted wheelchairs welcome 
  • Large print labels, magnifiers and portable stools are available 
  • Induction hearing loops at the Welcome Desk, ground-floor café servery, Cowdray Hall and Learning Space. Portable hearing system also available.  
  • Quiet Time is on a Monday afternoon 
  • Our staff have taken part in Dementia Friends training 
  • We are part of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme

Winter Reminder

As we head into the winter months, please find below a general reminder of illnesses in school.

Due to the increased vulnerability of our Pupils, we must all take extra precautions when dealing with potential infectious illnesses.

If you feel your child/young person is unwell, please contact the school to check before sending them on to transport.

If your child has required paracetamol/Ibuprofen, please contact the school before putting them on transport.

Pupil Escorts will be encouraged to contact the school if they feel that your child is in any way unwell, so please be patient and understanding.

Other Information

For cough/colds/respiratory illnesses – Please keep your child at home if the following applies:

· coughs where the child young person is unable to perform cough etiquette in the infectious period.

· Runny noses – Green/yellow or constant runny nose.

For Diarrhoea and vomiting

• Please ensure that 48 hours has passed between the last episode of vomiting and or loose bowel movement

If your child/young person has a regular cough/vomits/diarrhoea or paracetamol/ibuprofen for medical reasons, please ensure that the school have been informed of any condition. Otherwise, normal exclusions will apply.

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:

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:

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: