Head Teacher’s Blog – June 2018

Head Teacher’s Blog June 2018

It is hard to believe that the summer holidays are fast approaching. It seems unusually quick this year and especially so given that we had snow in the playground so recently.

It was wonderful to see the boys, girls and families enjoying our school grounds on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon at the Summer Fair at the beginning of June. Yet again, I was amazed by the contribution the community of South Morningside make to their school. The work of the organising committee and the Parent Council in support of the school and your child is invaluable.

It has been a tremendous privilege to spend some of the money that has been raised by the Parent Council to enhance the learning experiences for all pupils across the school. We are actively engaged in developing the playground at Comiston Road and ensuring that Nursery, P1 and P2 have all the resources they need to develop our approaches to play-based learning. The children have also benefitted from many other experiences funded by the Parent Council, including new state of the art digital technologies, Scottish Opera for P6, Imaginate theatre visits for P1-5 and Generation Science workshops for the whole school.

School Inspection Visit

At the end of May we had a quality assurance visit from the Education Department. This supported self-evaluation will help us on our improvement journey and I will share the findings with you in my summary report later in the year. We were all very pleased with the inspection and in particular that the visiting Quality Improvement Officers identified the same priorities that we have been developing along with our cluster primary schools for next session.

Once again the boys and girls were wonderful in showing us at our best. We had piano recitals and the Pipe Band in the stairwell, Forest Kindergarten at the woods and lots of Play at Deanbank!

 

Staffing

Primary One numbers have recently been confirmed for session 18-19 at 105. This is the maximum capacity for classrooms at Deanbank. We have been interviewing this for a number of both permanent and temporary teachers and I should be in a position to confirm the class teachers for next session shortly.

Last week we began the transition process for P3, P5 and P6 in to their re-organised classes. The rationale for mixing classes around can be found on the website for information.

Our senior janitor, Roberto, will be leaving us at the end of term to move to a promotion as a supervisor based at Castleview High School. Roberto is very fondly thought of by the pupils and all staff and will be greatly missed.

 

New South Edinburgh School: June 13th

You will have received a letter from the council regarding an open evening for the new school. I continue to be involved in the planning and preparation for the new school and it is a regular agenda item with the Parent Council. The proposed date for opening the new school is from August 2020. I hope many of you will manage to attend that event.

Groupcall: Xpressions.

We continue to receive feedback from parents regarding Groupcall and in particular the Xpressions app. Please be assured that we pass all of your concerns on to the council and to Groupcall. At the moment Groupcall are investigating problems parents are experiencing. Our admin office now has a direct link to their support officer!

OnePlanet:

We were delighted at Parent Council to hear how pupils are taking responsibility for reducing the amount of plastic used in school. Daily litter collectors are out in the playground and I was persuaded to speak to catering staff regarding the use of one use plastic cups in the dining room. We no longer use plastic cups and straws and our playground is a much nicer and cleaner place to be. Well done all.

With our development of pupil profiling in P5 we are trialling the use of electronic reporting to parents this session reducing the amount of photocopying and paper used in school. P5 reports will be uploaded to the pupils individual 365 One Note account and safely can be shared and stored there.

Parent Helpers

We would like to thank all the many parents and grandparents who help us throughout the year, and so willingly give up their time to help us in so many ways. It would be impossible for us to give the children the range of experiences and opportunities that we do without your help and support- you truly are the unsung heroes of SMPS!

Sports Day

We enjoyed lovely weather for our Sports Days last week, in Braidburn Valley Park for P3-7 and at Deanbank for Nursery, P1 and P2. There was a fantastic atmosphere, with each House team working together and enjoying themselves. Thank you to all the parents who came along to support and a huge thank you to the Parent Council for funding the ice lollies, which were a very welcome treat!

Imaginate Festival

All our P1-5 classes went to theatre performances as part of the Imaginate International Children’s Festival – a wonderful opportunity for the children to experience world class creative and imaginative theatre. This opportunity (and the wonderful P6/7 theatre experience earlier in the term), were paid for by the Parent Council- thank you very much!

Interscholastics:

Well done to the school’s Inter Scholastics Team. This year it took place at George Watsons, because Meadowbank is shut. The whole team performed brilliantly and we were delighted that the P7 girls relay team were 3rd in the Final- the highest placed state school. The children were exceptionally well behaved and showed great team spirit, supporting each other loudly. Well done Ms Downie, Mrs Henderson the team.

School Football Teams:

Our school football teams have had a great season, with many boys and girls training regularly and participating in games and tournaments. The P6/7 Girls Football team are competing in the final of the Shield Cup for the third year running on 16th June- good luck!

The school football teams are a really important part of South Morningside and give so many of our children a fantastic experience of playing as part of a team and representing their school. I would like to thank all of our parent coaches, who spend every Saturday morning on a touchline, and in particular, the P7 coaches who will be hanging up their SMPS boots in June.

End of term

Our end of term church service is on Tuesday 26th June at Morningside Parish Church, starting at 9.45. It will be led by our P7s and we would love to see you if you are able to join us.

The school will close for the summer holidays at 12.00 on Friday 29th June.

School will re-open to pupils on Wednesday 15th August.

Michael Urquhart
Head Teacher.