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  • Mar 12 / 2014
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School Newsletter

Newsletter Thursday 22nd November 2018

Dear Parent/Carer,

Thank You

You will be aware that tomorrow, Friday 23rd November 2018, is my last day as Head Teacher at The Royal High Primary School.

On Monday 26th November 2018, I commence my new position as Head Teacher, Haddington Primary School, with East Lothian Council.

I leave the Royal High Primary School with very mixed emotions; with the very happy memories from my four years at The Royal High Primary School and the excitement of the challenge that awaits me in my new position.

I have enjoyed many happy times at The Royal High Primary School, however, the prospect of merging King’s Meadow Primary School and Haddington Infant School to become Haddington Primary School is a unique opportunity that interested me at this stage of my career.

A school community is made up of three components; pupils, parents and staff. The joint contributions of the three components determines the happiness and success of the school.

I take this opportunity to thank each part of the community.

Firstly, I offer my sincere thank you to the staff; teaching and non-teaching. I thank the teaching staff for their help, support, dedication and conscientious approach to teaching and learning. The teaching staff is supported by an outstanding team of Pupil Support Assistants who care for the children and support the learning and teaching. The success and effectiveness of the school also relies on the quality of the catering staff and janitorial staff. I can confirm that our lunchtime experience is of the highest quality and we have been very fortunate to have Mr. Nowakowski and now Mr. Gilhooley as our janitors.

I am always keen to avoid naming people specifically for fear of missing someone and causing some hurt. However, I must thank those in the team around me for their tremendous help, support and friendship; Eileen Forrest (retired Deputy Head Teacher), Tania Evans (present Deputy Head Teacher), Brian Cairnie (Business Manager), Diane Chapman (Administrator) and Anieka Baigan (PSA/Assistant Administrator). Without this team the job would be much more difficult.

Conclusively, heartfelt thanks to the entire staff team.

Secondly, I offer my sincere thank you to the parent community. I have held the head teacher post in seven schools and I can share with honesty that the parent community at The Royal High Primary School is the best I have worked with, maybe equal to that at Parsons Green Primary School. During my four years at The Royal High Primary School, the parents have been extremely supportive, understanding, cooperative, patient and helpful. The Parent Council group, regarding operational and fund raising, has been outstanding. The ethos created, and the funds raised are the result of great efforts and commitment. The wider parent community has supported the events with great enthusiasm. Once again, I acknowledge that the Parent Council group is made up of many people, however, I offer specific thanks to Gordon and Caroline Kaye, Beverley Klein, the Salton family, Becky Entwistle, Donna Morgan, George Callaghan, Daisy Watson, Kathryn Tulloch and Tracy Goldie without whom it would not have been possible.

Finally, I acknowledge the importance and contribution to the most important part of our community, the children (pupils). It has been a pleasure to work with the pupil community. In four years I can honestly say that there have been no significant behavioural difficulties and no exclusions. The children are polite, well-mannered and enthusiastic. They have been a great source of pride when many references have been made to their conduct in the local community and beyond. I will miss them enormously.

I will take many memories with me; P.7 camps at Lagganlia, special assemblies, children using the quad, choir events at the Queen’s Hall and the GLEE Choir competitions (thanks to Mrs. Belfall), P.1 induction, Scots’ Nights, Christmas and Summer Fairs, Sports Days, Parent Council discos. I could list so many. I consider the most significant achievement in my time at The Royal High Primary School is the developed ethos of community and the increase of parental engagement. I observed these developments during the most satisfying events that were ‘Circus Starz’ and ‘High School Musical’. Outstanding events.

I wish Mrs. Evans and Ms. Stewart, in their roles as Acting Head Teacher and Acting Deputy Head Teacher, the very best for this short interim arrangement. I wish Mrs. Hazel-Dunn, newly appointed head teacher, my best wishes and good luck for a happy time at The Royal High Primary School. I am sure Mrs. Hazel-Dunn will drive the Royal High Primary School onwards to even greater achievements.

I am presently doing everything possible to ensure there is a seamless ‘handover’ with continuity. To support this, my e mail address will be ‘live’ for two weeks following my departure. In the event that there are any outstanding issues to be addressed, please do not hesitate to e mail me at willie.french@royalhigh-pri.edin.sch.uk

Finally, I wish everyone in the school community a happy, healthy and successful future. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Royal High Primary School community.

Thank you to everyone for their kind wishes and generous thoughts.

Please feel most welcome to stay in contact and I hope that our ‘paths may cross again’ in future.

The success and effectiveness of every school is based firmly on relationships. The necessity for all parts of the school community to ‘work together’ is vitally important. The word ‘love’ is rarely used in school vision and aims statements. It is very important. Please afford everyone respect and ‘show some ‘love’.

Willie French (Head Teacher)

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November 12 2018 – Information Update

Dear Parent/Carer,

Staffing information

I can now confirm that my final day at The Royal High Primary School will be Friday 23rd November 2018.

From Monday 26th November 2018, I will be Head Teacher of a school in Haddington, East Lothian. I will write in more detail during the course of next week.

In the meantime, I can confirm the following details:

  • Mrs. Anna Hazel-Dunn, presently Head Teacher at Nether Currie Primary School, has been appointed to the post of Head Teacher at The Royal High Primary School. Mrs. Hazel-Dunn has visited the school on several occasions and I will do everything possible to ensure an effective and robust ‘handover’ is undertaken. I know that Mrs. Hazel-Dunn is very excited about her new position and I am sure she will be a real asset to the school and its wider community. The process of appointing Mrs. Hazel-Dunn’s successor is underway and it is likely that Mrs. Hazel-Dunn will take up her position at The Royal High Primary School at the beginning of next session, Tuesday 8th January 2019.
  • From Monday 26th November 2018 until Friday 21st December 2018, Mrs. Evans, Deputy Head Teacher, will assume the role of Acting Head Teacher. I am delighted that Mrs. Evans has been afforded this opportunity. Mrs. Evans is an outstanding Deputy Head Teacher and she will deliver an excellent job as Acting Head Teacher. In the event that there is a slight delay with Mrs. Hazel-Dunn’s start date it is likely that Mrs. Evans’ tenure as Acting Head Teacher may be extended.
  • From Monday 26th November 2018 until Friday 21st December 2018, Mrs. Evans will require an Acting Deputy Head Teacher to assist and support. It was very encouraging that a number of our staff expressed an interest in this position and were keen to contribute to the school in a wider sense. I am pleased to inform you that Ms. Stewart, presently teaching P.1A, will assume this role. During this period Ms. Stewart’s P.1A class will be taught by Ms. Fiona Herbert. Ms. Stewart will be based in school and will be in a position to support Ms. Herbert.

Other staffing news

  • We welcome Ms. Rebecca Leslie to our nursery classroom as a newly appointed Early Years Officer.
  • We welcome Natasha Cruickshank and Kirsty Cunningham to our team of Pupil Support Assistants.
  • On Monday 26th November 2018 we welcome back Ms. Stephanie Torrance from maternity leave. Ms. Torrance will be sharing the learning and teaching in P.6A with Ms. Ferguson.

What’s been happening?

  • Thank you to everyone in the school community for the tremendous amount of donations for our Harvest Assembly. These have been donated to the North Edinburgh Food Bank. Thanks also for the outstanding attendance at the assembly.
  • P.6 classes attended The Filmhouse for a World War 1 movie.
  • P.5 and P.6 classes attending squash coaching.
    ‘Kids Gone Wild’ – all classes participated in an outdoor, loose parts play week. This was a great success and an effective learning experience. My sincere thanks to Daisy Watson and Caroline Kaye (both parents) for organising this event.
  • P.7B visited the Scottish Parliament.
  • Thanks to the Parent Council and Oscar’s for a great Hallowe’en evening in school.
  • We welcomed visitors to our Open Day.
  • We have registered our P.1 pupils for next year.
  • We enjoyed a great attendance at our Parent Consultations.
  • We welcomed the ‘Poppy Biker Squad’ to celebrate Remembrance.

My special thanks to everyone involved and who attended the ‘Band ‘n’ Buttie’ night at Duddingston Golf Club on Friday 9th November 2018. A great night of dancing and butties was enjoyed by all. The evening captured a great community feel and much funding to support the school. One of the highlights of the evening was a very special dance performance by ‘The School Belles’. My sincere thanks to all on the Parent Council for their hard work but specific thanks to Kathryn Tulloch for outstanding organisation.

What’s happening next?

Please accept my sincere apology. We were scheduled to have our first focus week of the school session on week beginning Monday 19th November 2018. This was another ‘World of Work Week’ following the success of last year’s event. Owing to staffing changes and other factors, this is likely to be rescheduled for later in the school session.

  • We welcome nine S.4 pupils from Portobello High School for their S.4 Work Experience.
  • Thanks to Mrs. Chapman for organising our ‘Book Fair’ week.
  • Tuesday 13th November – Road Safety Magic Show for P.1 and P.2.
  • Wednesday 14th November – School ‘IT Refresh’.
  • Thursday 15th November – P.6 year group at Portobello High School for the ‘Pizza Challenge.
  • Thursday 15th November – P.3 at The Museum of Childhood.
  • Friday 16th November – P.4 Bake Sale.
  • Thursday 22nd November – P.7 classes at The Filmhouse for ‘Journey’s End’.
  • Tuesday 27th November – P.2 at Edinburgh Castle.
  • Tuesday 4th December at 5.00 p.m. – Duddingston Area Strings Orchestra Christmas Concert at Portobello High School.

Nations’ Christmas Craft Events as follows:

  • Wednesday 5th December – 9.15 a.m. to 10.15 a.m. – all those in Angles.
  • Wednesday 5th December – 10.45 a.m. to 11.45 a.m. – all those in Brits.
  • Thursday 6th December – 9.15 a.m. to 10.15 a.m. – all those in Picts.
  • Thursday 6th December – 10.45 a.m. to 11.45 a.m. – all those in Scots.

Please note the following:

  • In the event you are available – please volunteer to help.
  • Please donate any spare crafting materials you may have.
  • All parents and families are welcome to come along to watch and/or participate.

My sincere thanks to the Parent Council for organising this most valuable experience that allows siblings to work with each other.

  • Saturday 8th December – 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. – Parent Council Christmas Fair.
  • Thursday 13th December at 1.30 p.m. – Nativity Performance 1.
  • Friday 14th December at 10.00 a.m. – Nativity Performance 2.
  • Monday 17th December at 9.30 a.m. in the hall – M&M Productions perform ‘Robin Hood’ in the main hall.
  • Friday 21st December at 10.00 a.m. – P.4 to P.7 Christmas Assembly.
  • Friday 21st December at midday – school closes for Christmas Holidays.

Finally, my sincere thanks to all in the school community; pupils, staff and parents, for their continuing hard work and positivity.

Willie French (Head Teacher)

Newsflash – Tuesday 23 October 2018

Lagganlia Camp – Monday 25th February to Friday 1st March 2019

Primary 7 – Residential Outdoor Experience – Lagganlia Camp – Monday 25th February to Friday 1st March 2019

You will be aware that it is a tradition for our P.7 year group to undertake a one week residential outdoor experience in their final year at primary school.

I am pleased to inform you that our P.7 year group is booked to attend Lagganlia Camp. Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Learning is a City of Edinburgh Council facility. It is based in Kincraig, Kingussie, Inverness-shire within the Cairngorm National Park.

It is a wonderful opportunity for our P.7 children to experience a week outdoor in the fresh Highland air, cooperating with their friends, learning organisational skills and building resilience.

The children will be provided with opportunities that will include archery, canoeing, field studies, orienteering, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, caving and more.

The children will undertake this experience from Monday 25th February 2019 to Friday 1st March 2019.

The group will travel by coach outbound and return, leaving at 9.30 a.m. on Monday 25th February 2019 and returning around 1.30 p.m. on Friday 1st March 2019.

The cost breakdown is as follows:

  • £290 per person for the residential experience
  • £30 per person for coach travel
  • £320 in total

Payment for camp can be undertaken in as many instalments as suits your needs. Alternatively, you can make this payment in one full payment at any time.

Full payment must be submitted by Friday 8th February 2019.

Payment can be made via Parent Pay. Please consult with Mrs. Chapman and/or Ms. Baigan if you have any questions.

More detailed information will be provided at a Parent and Child Lagganlia Meeting. This meeting will be held in school on Tuesday 5th February 2019 at 6.30 p.m.

The meeting will provide information regarding:

  • Viewing video footage
  • A typical day timetable
  • Meal times and food/dietary information
  • Kit list
  • Dormitories and sleeping arrangements
  • Pocket Money
  • Medication
  • Questions

The staff group travelling with the children will be intimated at a time closer to this meeting. In keeping with previous years, it would be helpful to have five members of staff accompany the group.

I am hopeful that all forty-four of our P.7 pupils will travel as this is a wonderful experience and in many ways the highlight of their time at primary school.

Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions in the meantime or e mail me at willie.french@royalhigh-pri.edin.sch.uk

Please download this newsletter to complete and return the reply slip. Reply slips should be returned to your child’s class teacher.

Download this newsletter

Thank you for your help and support.

Willie French (Head Teacher)

Newsflash – Monday 8 October 2018

Information Update

Open Morning – Tuesday 9th October – a reminder that all parents/carers are invited to visit the school for a ‘walk around’ on the morning of Tuesday 9th October 2018. You are welcome to visit any class at the following times: *between 9.15 a.m. and 10.15 a.m. *between 11.00 a.m. and midday. The purpose of the open morning is to experience the school on a standard morning and to feel the ethos created for learning and teaching. The teachers are not available for consultation. I am attending a Head Teachers’ Meeting, therefore Mrs. Evans, Deputy Head Teacher, will greet you and discuss if required. I hope many of you will take the opportunity to ‘look in’.

Individual and Family Group Photographs – Michelle Scott, our regular photographer from Tempest Photographs, will be in school for the duration of the day on Wednesday 10th October 2018. The purpose of her visit is to photograph individual pupils and family group photographs. In an effort to keep the organisation simple, all children and all family groups will be photographed. All families will receive a sample photograph but there is no obligation to purchase the photograph(s). Please note that nursery children are included in this experience. I hope that children will wear their school uniform on this day for this occasion. I know that you will be keen to ensure your child(ren) are as presentable as possible. Thank you for your support.

Finally, I look forward to seeing some parents, carers and families at our Harvest Assembly at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday 11th October 2018.

The school and nursery closes for the October mid-term holiday on Friday 12th October 2018. It is the normal closure time. Pupils return following the October mid-term holiday on Tuesday 23rd October 2018.
I take this opportunity to thank everyone in our school community for their tremendous help and support. I wish everyone in the school community a well-deserved, happy and healthy October mid-term holiday.

Willie French (Head Teacher)

Newsflash – Tuesday 2 October 2018

Harvest Thanksgiving Assembly

Thursday 11th October 2018 at 9.30 a.m.

We will be holding our Harvest Assembly on Thursday 12th October 2017 at 9.30 a.m. in the school hall.
You will be aware that the Harvest Assembly at The Royal High School has contributed and donated to a varied number of worthy good causes in recent years.

This year, once again, we will be donating items of non-perishable foodstuffs and toiletries to the Edinburgh North East Foodbank. This is a local charity providing for local people. In this present climate of fiscal and financial austerity, many families are required to use the foodbank occasionally.

The Edinburgh North East Foodbank operates from South Leith Parish Church and is led by Rev. Iain May. He is keen to receive donations of food and hygiene items. I hope that Rev. May will be attending our Harvest Assembly. Please note the following information:

  • We will accept any non-perishable foods to include tins, cartons, packets/sachets, dried foods etc. More specifically, tinned meats (ham, corned beef, hot dogs, etc.) and tinned fruit would be particularly well received.
  • Hygiene items to include shampoo, soap, shower gel, toothpaste, etc. would be much appreciated.
  • We cannot accept any perishable foods, for example fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, breads, etc.
  • Please donate foods/items in a strong carrier bag. The bag should not exceed 7 items.
  • We will accept any donations from now until Wednesday 10th October 2018. Children should give their donations to their class teacher. Please ensure that items have not passed their ‘use by’ date. Thank you.
  • Please note that we are only looking for spare/surplus items you may have in your cupboards. Please do not go to any trouble to buy items.

Parents and families are welcome to attend and join us for this Harvest celebration. To assist us in our planning I require to know how many adults will be attending the Harvest Assembly. Please complete and return the tear off slip to your oldest child’s class teacher.

Thank you for your help and support. Willie French (Head Teacher)

Please download and return the attached slip to your oldest child’s class teacher


Newsflash – Thursday 12 September 2018

September Update

I offer my sincere thank you to everyone in the school community for a very positive and happy start to the new school session.

I take this opportunity to WELCOME a number of new staff to the school. Our new members of staff have settled into The Royal High Primary School very quickly and are already adding great value to learning, teaching and operations in school. WELCOME TO:

  • Mr. Pat Gilhooley our new Facilities Technician. This is the title of what was referred to as the ‘janitor’. Already a great asset to the school.
  • Ms. Rachael McKay has made a great start teaching P.3.
  • Mrs. Emma Gardner, our newly appointed Support for Learning Teacher, took up position on Monday 3rd September 2018 and is working very hard to familiarise herself with pupils and families.
  • Ms. Louise Reid, our probationer teacher teaching P.5B, Ms. Reid has made an excellent start to her teaching career.
  • Ms. Sacha McClorey joins our Pupil Support Assistant Team working with P.3.
  • Mrs. Catriona Bayrakter joins our Pupil Support Assistant Team working with P.7.
  • Mrs. Sam Heron joins our Pupil Support Assistant Team working with P.1.
  • Mrs. Alex Hilton joins our Nursery Team as an Early Years Assistant.

Ms. McClorey, Mrs. Bayrakter, Mrs. Heron and Mrs. Hilton have also made an excellent start. I wish them every success and happiness in their respective posts here at The Royal High Primary School.

Additionally, we welcome back Ms. Lisa Ferguson for her ‘flexible’ probation second year. Ms. Ferguson is teaching P.6A. Mrs. Belfall, our music specialist, continues to provide the highest quality musical experiences but has increased her hours to share P.2B with Ms. McCurry.

Use of mobile phones – I take this opportunity to remind our school community that I fully understand that pupils at the senior stage in our school, P.6 and P.7, bring mobile phones to school. I consider this an educational opportunity to develop responsible use of such devices. However, the mobile phone devices should not be used during school hours, these should only be used for purposes of communication on route to school or home. Many schools operate a policy of pupils handing their devices to teachers at the beginning of the school day. I am keen to avoid this action. However, if a child is seen to be using a mobile device during school hours, this action may be taken. Thank you for your help and support with this issue.

Breakfast Club – our Breakfast Club is thriving. My sincere thanks to Ms. Baigan for leading the Breakfast Club and to Mrs. Deas for assisting. There has been a little confusion with regard to the P.3 pupils attending Breakfast Club. I can confirm that the expectation is that Ms. Baigan and Mrs. Deas will retain the P.3 pupils along with P.1 and P.2 pupils until 8.55 a.m. In the event that a parent would like their P.3 child to play in the school grounds from 8.45 a.m., they must inform Ms. Baigan. Thank you for your help and support.

Physical Education – Ms. Richards, our Physical Education Specialist Teacher, delivers P.E. lessons on Mondays and Tuesdays. Ms. Richards provides excellent P.E. teaching and experiences. However, Ms. Richards is very keen that all pupils wear the correct P.E. kit for lessons. Please ensure your child has the kit required for P.E. – t-shirt, shorts/leggings and indoor gym shoes. Thank you for your support.

At the start of a new school session, the school community identifies their improvement priorities for the year ahead.

Our priorities are influenced by the Scottish Government’s National Improvement Framework as follows:

  • Improving attainment in Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Improving Health and Well-Being.
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children.

We have broken these down and our priorities will focus on:

  • Improving attainment in spelling across the school.
  • Health and Well-Being – working on the City of Edinburgh Resilience programme to encourage and develop resilience in children.
  • Looking at assessment strategies to close the gap between the most and least disadvantaged children.

P.7 Pupil Council – we have undertaken our pupil council elections. Nine children from Ms. Armitage’s P.7A and seven children from Ms. Grant’s P.7B presented their campaigns at the P.4 to P.7 Assembly on Friday 7th September 2018. I was very proud to watch them present their posters, manifestos and speeches. Any of the sixteen candidates would make an excellent councillor. Most satisfyingly, all candidates received many votes with a very even distribution and a close result. Congratulations to the following pupils voted in by their pupil colleagues and staff members:

P.7A P.7B
Annaleigh Macnair (134 votes) Michael Crump (165 votes)
Sophie Steven (152 votes) Millie Bootland (153 votes)
Dawud Khan (139 votes) Jack Bolton (130 votes)
Iona Foulkes (110 votes) Alex Hunt (130 votes)
Eliska Cosway (92 votes)

The P.7 pupil councillors will now conduct an election in every class to elect one boy and one girl representative who will inform the P.7 councillors of issues they would like raised.

Nations’ Captains elections will take place on Friday 14th September 2018.

I am pleased to provide the following dates for your diary up to the end of this calendar year. This list is not exhaustive and dates will be added as the term progresses.

September 2018 

  • Monday 17th September – School closed for Autumn Holiday.
  • Thursday 20th September – 6.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. – P.7 Open Evening at Portobello High School.
  • Tuesday 25th September – 1.00 p.m. P.1 parents play session and information sharing.

October 2018

  • Tuesday 9th October – School Open Morning.
  • Thursday 11th October – 9.30 a.m. Whole School Harvest Assembly.
    October 2018
  • Friday 12th October – School closes for October Mid-Term Holiday.
  • Monday 22nd October – Staff In Service Day.
  • Tuesday 23rd October – Pupils return from mid-term holiday.
  • Wednesday 31st October – City of Edinburgh Council Children and Families Open Day.

November 2018

  • Week beginning Monday 5th November – P.1 Registration Week.
  • Wednesday 7th November – 4.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Parent Consultations.
  • Thursday 8th November – 5.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. Parent Consultations.
  • Week beginning Monday 19th November – Focus Week 1 – ‘World of Work Week’.

December 2018

  • Thursday 13th December – 1.30 p.m. – P.1 to P.3 Infant Nativity Performance 1.
  • Friday 14th December – 10.00 a.m. P.1 to P.3 Infant Nativity Performance 2.
  • Monday 17th December – 9.30 a.m. – whole school pantomime ‘Robin Hood’ performed by M&M Productions.
  • Friday 21st December – 10.00 a.m. – P.4 to P.7 Christmas Assembly (whole school attends).
  • Friday 21st December – Midday – School closes for Christmas Holidays.

As always, thank you to everyone in the school community for their help and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any concerns or alternatively share any successes or good news stories. E mail me at willlie.french@royalhigh-pri.edin.sch.uk

Willie French
Head Teacher