Enjoying our Learning in Secondary

Burns Celebrations to start the week

We’ve had another busy week of remote learning. Starting on Monday with our whole school Burns Day Celebration, the week was started with great enthusiasm!

Daily Circle Time

To keep our routine going, many classes continue to do daily circle time. Some of our learners have their own circle time packs at home to support the familiar routine, others use the class slides to provide structure. It’s great to receive feedback on how our learners are getting on: ‘He thoroughly enjoys circle time.’

For one young man, circle time is also an opportunity to practise his bench sitting.

Personal Independence and Life Skills

We continue to develop independence in personal care. Staff take time to support us in doing things for ourselves. Handwashing is very important during a pandemic!

We’ve been cooking and baking. There was some delicious French Onion Soup on offer this week and beautiful golden shortbread. Look out Masterchef, here we come!

Expressive Arts

We enjoyed art, PE, drumming and music through Makaton Choir. A very detailed drawing was done to decorate a drum for a music session with Keith – the drawing is of a hunter being chased by an African lady that is protecting the animals!

We also took time to relax, both indoors and out.

Working Hard

We worked hard on a range of learning activities and tasks, some online and some more practical.

One of our senior pupils made an amazing cat house as part of her SQA work. I think you’ll agree, this is for one very lucky cat!


Finally, to round off the week we had an Assembly. We talked about mental health and the theme ‘Express Yourself’. Staff shared the ways that they express themselves and show that they’re unique. The slides are available to view in the Google Assembly classroom for anyone that was unable to join us. Our challenge for the next assembly on 12th February is to share a photo of us doing something that we enjoy – anything goes!

Countdown To Christmas

Orchard Brae Advent Calendar: Day 24

Christmas Day is almost here and we are delighted to share the final installment of the Orchard Brae Advent Calendar.

Today brings you a message from Caroline Stirton, Executive Head Teacher, along with a special video from staff.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year from everyone at Orchard Brae.

Countdown To Christmas

Orchard Brae Advent Calendar: Days 3 and 4

We hope you enjoyed the first day of the Orchard Brae Advent Calendar yesterday and we are delighted to share the next instalment with you.

For Day 3, Room 3 bring you a very special sensory retelling of Twas The Night Before Christmas.

For Day 4, Room 14 perform ‘I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas’ featuring a great vocal accompaniment from one of the pupils.

Join In The Festive Fun!!!

This festive season, our expressive arts elves – sorry, team 🧑‍🎄 – have been busy supporting classes in creating videos for a Christmas Countdown Calendar. However, for the final video they need your help!

They are looking for as many people as possible to be involved in the ‘Rockin Around The Christmas Tree’ video including all staff, parents and partner agencies.

To get you started, Keith and Emmeline have filmed an example including makaton signing.

To get involved we would like you to film excerpts of yourself signing or dancing along with the song which will then be edited together to create the final window on the Orchard Brae advent calendar.

Here is some filming information on the best way to film your excerpt.

Once you have your final video, please email it to Keith or Emmeline via their gw emails:


Return to nursery

All the returning children from Orchard Brae at Ashgrove have settled well since starting back in August. We have been able to welcome new children to our Nursery and it has been great to see how quickly they have adapted to their new setting. They all appear to be enjoying and becoming familiar within the Nursery environment.

We have been doing lots of sensory activities with painting, gloop and shaving foam. We have also been making vegetable and fruit printing pictures. We have been planting our spring bulbs and enjoying what remains of the “summer weather.”

As the trees are now beginning to change colour we have been exploring this concept as we go for walks in the local community. Some of the children have shown great interest in our apple and plum trees which grow in our outdoor play area and have been collecting them. We have used some of the plums for our snack. Next week we are planning to use the apples to make apple pie.

The staff team at Ashgrove are all looking forward to working with the children and supporting them throughout their time with us. 

Autism Outreach Service – Presentation: Nursery to P1 Transition

This is a new presentation written by Hayley McFarlane, a member of the Autism Outreach Team. Under the current circumstances we thought it would provide useful information for those schools with pupils transitioning into Primary 1 from Nursery.

Specifically the presentation will look at how to support transition through the use of visuals.

Autism Outreach Service – Presentation: Supporting ASD in the Secondary School

This presentation is one that has been delivered to education staff in the past as a twilight workshop, presented by Hayley McFarlane and Laura May, members of the Autism Outreach Team. Under the current circumstances, our team thought it would be useful for staff to have access to it online, to help contribute towards CLPL.

The presentation will briefly discuss the following topics, giving you some simple ideas of how you can support an autistic young person in your class or school :

  • Anxiety and ASD
  • Sensory Needs
  • Transitions
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Exam Support
  • Support in class
  • Routine and Structure

Happy Holidays!

We would like to thank all of our pupils, families and staff for their hard work, enthusiasm and endless support over the last four months!  You have amazed us with your strength and resilience during a very challenging and difficult time.

Last night’s virtual prom was a wonderful way to say goodbye to our school leavers and we wish them all well for the amazing journeys that lie ahead of them.

We also have to say farewell to some staff members too as they leave us for pastures new.

We say a fond farewell to Niki Anderson, our Head of Early Learning and Childcare, who is retiring. Niki has been part of our community for many years both at Hazlewood and Orchard Brae. We will miss her very much but wish her every happiness in her retirement.

We also say goodbye to Sam Stephen, our dance and drama instructor, who is heading off for new adventures in London.  Thank you Sam for your endless enthusiasm and boundless energy and for organising an amazing virtual prom!  We wish you well for the future.

Cara Blackstock, PSA in Room 8 will be leaving us to train as a teacher and we wish her every success in her future career.

Tracey Catto, from the Admin team, left us at Easter but farewells then were overshadowed by events so we would like to wish her well in her future endeavours.

Goodbye also to Jacqui Clutten, who has been a children’s escort for 17 years and farewell to her fellow escort Connor Cadger.

But as we say farewell to what has been an unusual year to say the least, the staff at Orchard Brae would like to share a little something to brighten up your summer!