Headteacher Update & News Letter for parents Sept 5th 2016

Senior Leadership Team: We work as a strong team at Cramond. You can approach any of the Senior Leadership Team listed below on any matter- we meet regularly and communicate between ourselves. I thought it may be useful, however, to also direct you to each of our main (though not exclusive) area of expertise.

  • Helen Donaldson, Head Teacher – Pupil welfare, personal & family. Curriculum, attainment, complaints, concerns, suggestions, playground, maths, medical needs, health & safety, staffing.
  • Gillian Waddell, Depute Head – Additional support needs, Early Level (Nursery & P1), Literacy, inclusion, pastoral, academic, social & emotional support for pupils.
  • Alison McKay – Principal Teacher – Health & wellbeing, active schools, road safety, cycling, clubs, behavioural support, football, sports & PE.
  • Kari Cessford, Principal Teacher –Literacy, SEAL maths, Expressive arts (including music clubs), community links, additional support needs, inclusion, volunteers, students & newly qualified teachers and family support.
  • Lyndsy Adam, Business Manager (Wed & Thurs at Cramond) – playground, facilities, volunteers, school budget, finance, excursions, health & safety, IT, first aid training, staff training, fire safety, transport and management of non-teaching staff.

After School Club update from Jonathon at Oscars. Contact number 07585905391 :

‘Breakfast Club, Attendance;     Mon (16)   Tue (17)   Wed (17)           Thur (12)           Fri (6)

Open from 7.30am each morning. Managed by Iain Campbell. Serving range of cereals, toast, milk and water. Parents/children accessing via the dining hall door.

  • Low level activities such as arts & crafts, board games, floor games.
  • Children have settled in really well and are enjoying having the club within the school.

After School Club Attendance; Mon (26)           Tue (25)       Wed (24)   Thur (20)         Fri (8)

Open until 6.00pm each evening. We had originally requested (and been advised by Lets Department this would be okay) a let to operate until 6.15pm but this was an issue with Facilities Management in terms of having someone to lock up the school at the slightly later time. The earlier closing time of 6.00pm caused a few issues with some parents but it seems to have calmed down and no further problems have been reported.

Staffing: Iain Campbell (Manager), Lisa Strachan (Deputy Manager), Sophie Mitchell (Play Worker) and Louise Ballantyne (Play Worker). Due to the good weather, the children have been enjoying lots of outdoor play, using a restricted area of the playground to ensure effective supervision. Our staff are using 2-way radios to communicate between the playground and the dining hall. We are using one member of staff at present to go between the two areas to escort children from the playground back into the school to visit the toilet. This will obviously be less of a burden when the building works have been completed. Staff are continuing to liaise with children and parents to gain their feedback with a view to introducing new resources and implement new snack ideas. Like the breakfast club, the children appear to enjoy having the after school club on-site and they have settled in really well’.

‘We are delighted to welcome wrap around care at Cramond and are so pleased with the positive partnership with the school. We see benefits for pupils and families.’ Mrs Donaldson

Sharing the Learning: What an amazing turnout and positive feedback we had. It seemed to work better having an assigned slot per year group. Although this meant a little waiting time for some parents, it made it far easier for pupils to cope with having adults in their room. Some children do find this unsettling so it is best to limit this to 30 minutes. Lots of people handed us feedback sheets – please pass on your comments, questions and suggestions in any format – we are listening!

Our school values are evident in everything we do, say and share at Cramond. Based on the Olympics, our Values are Respect, Excellence & Friendship.

Our motto in the playground is Play Safe, Play Fair, Think 1st!

Requests for holidays in term time. At Cramond I regularly receive requests for leave during term time. Please see link on school website and the post about attendance and absence. I draw your attention to this extract from Scottish Government guidance:


New P1 Registration Week: 7th – 11th November, 2016.

Edinburgh Schools Open Day 2nd November, 2016.

Reading Challenge. At Cramond we actively promote reading for enjoyment and wish to develop a lifelong love of reading.

You may have heard of the First Ministers Reading Challenge – I attach the link to the list of books which you can filter by age and ability. Many parents have asked us in the past, for a list of good book titles. https://www.readingchallenge.scot/begin-your-journey

All our classes are increasing the amount of teaching time spent promoting and developing reading but we will not be asking children to write reports or record everything that they read as we know this puts many children (and adults) off reading. We encourage the children to always have a book on the go and pop it in their school bag to read when they get a chance. We are happy for pupils to borrow books from our library. We are looking to the brilliant example in our nursery starting soon called ‘bedtime stories’. See Mrs Waddell or Ms Cessford for any literacy pointers.

Staffing: Mrs Dalziel is off unwell for the next few weeks. Mrs King will teach 2C on Wednesday – Mrs Waddell has nursery staffing organised. Both P7 teachers are back following a short illness.

Gym Hall update: The building work is on track and our grand new hall should be opening for use after the October holiday. What a great partnership with the building team and site manager, Jim. The wood frame is beautiful and now the windows are in, the place is pretty much water tight. I have seen inside (and from the roof) the progress made and samples of internal fittings. Fraser in P7 gives us a weekly update at assembly following his Friday site meeting with Jim.

WaterAid: Cramond hosted a Scottish Water memorial BBQ and fundraiser on Saturday 3rd Sept. Monies raised have gone to Water Aid. Our Place was the perfect setting for the family BBQ at the end of the cycle tour. The BBQ was in memory of a friend of mine, Bob Wilson, a keen cyclist. The local scout group (thanks James Kistruck et al) were amazing in lending us their gas BBQ plus event tents which they even set up. Our visitors enjoyed the outdoor space and play area of Cramond and have raised nearly £10 000 for Water Aid UK. The police and Sustran had a stall. Apologies to anyone who had wanted to play in Our Place on Saturday. It was all for a great cause.

Harvest Thanksgiving: With research showing 1 in 5 children in Edinburgh are living in poverty we have decided to do our bit by starting a Foodbank collection in the foyer. To launch this fully P3 are leading our Harvest church service on 23rd September. Donations for Foodbank are welcome. More details will be issued soon. In the meantime if you do take advantage of ‘buy one get one free’ offers at your local supermarket, you can add your donations of non-perishable goods to the collection point in our foyer. Thank you.

Pupil Achievements – Please let the school know (by email or a note to child’s teacher) of achievements outside school. We need new Golden Bricks in the foyer to share our success!

Our PLACE Update: See Our Place updates on school website. We have now had the Trim Trail repairs completed. We are about to start increasing depth of gravel under trim trail by adding more safe gravel along with a low tyre retaining divider. We had a full inspection report undertaken on 20th July along with a site visit by HSE last week. The latest ROSPA report is on the school website, along with our action plan and risk assessments. This supersedes the Feb ROSPA report.

Our Place was a parent led initiative supported by the school. It has transformed play and learning at Cramond, improved pupil activity & fitness levels whilst increasing mixed gender and mixed age playing. We now have very few squabbles (other than in football) to manage and pupils return to the classroom ready to learn. We have been used as example nationally of excellent practice and as a training venue for outdoor play and learning. At Cramond

  • Health and Safety of all is our number one priority and responsibility of all. Lead responsibility for H&S lies with myself, Head teacher.
  • P1-2 and P3-7 have split breaks to reduce numbers in the play space and more evenly match age/size/ability of pupils. We have a rota of P7 play buddies supporting Early Years play.
  • PSA (pupil support assistants) have training and regular updates on dynamically assessing risk, supporting play and in supervising to minimise risk. All staff wear high viz vests and have walkie talkies in the playground linking to office, medical room and leadership team.
  • We undertake comprehensive, documented weekly and daily checks of the whole playground. Some areas are deliberately challenging as part of natural play though our control measures reduce this risk to a tolerable level.
  • Staff dynamically risk assess area eg weather change etc. A simple red flag system is used where areas are temporarily closed. All parents are notified when a head bump or injury is sustained. There have been no notifiable injuries to HSE.
  • Should you have any concerns, wish to see the children at play or further items to discuss please contact us directly to arrange a meeting. All parents are invited to regular parent council CPSC meetings where Our Place is a standing agenda item.

Next Steps: Gravel & tyre below trim trail as detailed above, additionally:

  • Scramble slope – remove centre rocks & matting – relay matting and re seed. Line tyres at edge of slope adjacent to rocks.
  • I have ‘blagged’ free fake grass from the Udderbelly gardens. We are currently deciding where to lay this and sharing it with local schools and nurseries. £30 van hire, well spent!

Opportunities for parents to share feedback are actively sought and acted on. Eg recent sharing learning event, stay and play in June, CPSC meetings via class reps, annual schools survey and in house surveys. We are planning a CPSC parent survey in coming months. Your views are important to us – please call, email or contact the school or school council.