Saturday, 30 June 2012

Safe and Happy Holiday

We wish all our families a safe and a happy summer holiday. We look forward to welcoming you back on Wednesday 15th August.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Fond Farewell to Primary Seven

Our current Primary Seven pupils will spend their last day at Sciennes on Friday 29th June. Mrs Noble will ring the bell to lead them out from the top floor while all the pupils line the stairwells to wave them off and wish them well at 12pm. The Leavers' Dance on Wednesday night was a terrific success. Thank you to local Delicatessen Haddow's for providing the amazing mobile barbecue unit. 100 served up with burger rolls, chips, a drink and a choc ice in 15 minutes! Thanks also to Mr Howie for compering the ceilidh dancing, Mr Hewitt for DJ disc spinning and to all the staff who set up tables outside and decorated the sheds. The photo booth was an added attraction. The Graduation Performance and Ceremony on Monday reflected all the hard work and creativity by P7 pupils and their teachers Mr Howie, Miss Phillips and Ms Ross. Particular thanks to Dance Division Instructor Cat Perry for choreography and filming. Thank you to Mr Howie for this joyful photograph of a fabulous year group

We wish you well, P7. Shine on and keep in contact. We'll miss you!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sciennes' Really BIG Cycle

Sciennes Big Cycle ready to set off from KB

Sciennes Big Ride on QBC


Thank you to all the families who took part in the Sciennes' Big Cycle to school on Wednesday 20th June. An amazing 327 children (half the school!) pedalled from King's Buildings to the playground. The sun shone and it was quite a spectacle, as can be seen from this video and photographs from Chris Hill.

Primary Five pupils from Sciennes Primary School also got the chance to try out the new cycle route from the King’s Buildings to the school, as part of Bike Week 2012.

They were accompanied by teachers (and keen cyclists themselves) Shona Pearmain, Iain Kearton, and Fiona Barker, Business Manager Angela Christie who arranged the events, as well as Lothian and Borders Police Cycle Cops PC Leon Malinowski and PC Andy Couillard.

P5 pupils have also enjoyed cycle training over the last few weeks, culminating in a cycle ride in the Meadows, as shown in this video from Chris Hill:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sports Days in Fickle Weather - LATEST!

We are all hoping for sunshine on Wednesday at 9.30am for P1-P3 and at 1.45pm for P4-6 Sports Day on the Meadows. Forecast not looking good for Thursday and Friday so we have taken the decision to make hay while the sun shines on Wednesday rather than risk cancelling altogether. Thank you for your support.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sciennes' iPad Pilot in Holyrood Press

Article by Paris Gourtsoyannis

Just months since its launch, a pilot placing iPads in classrooms is already having an impact.

Two classes at Sciennes Primary have got a new student, and the teachers are doing all they can to keep a lid on the excitement. In fact, there are over a dozen visitors in the classroom – school administrators, photographers, cameramen, journalists and Scottish Government staffers – but only one remembered to bring his iPad. The technophile Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, is joining Sciennes pupils to see for himself how the school, which is participating in a pilot programme taking in 20 schools across ten local authorities, is putting the Apple tablets to use.

The students demonstrated how the devices let them receive and submit homework using email and blogs; collect their work using a school ‘wiki’ page; and access the complete digital collection of the City of Edinburgh Central Library over the internet. “I think it was obvious that they were deeply engaged in their learning, and that’s a key issue,” says Russell. “What we want to do is enhance the involvement in learning, enhance the challenging nature of learning, encourage young people to explore and find things out. I saw all of those things around me,” says Russell.

“I think we’ll learn a lot from [the pilot]; I think that can be useful to other schools. I was impressed and I thought it was going in the right direction.” Education Scotland will evaluate the pilots to establish what can be learned from the experience at schools like Sciennes Primary.

Russell states readily that there is “no resource identified” for a national roll-out of iPads in schools, however, he does say that it’s “not an impossibility in future times.” Asked what he hopes to have gleaned upon completion of the pilot programme, Russell adds: “Our goal is – if I may quote Robert Louis Stevenson – ‘to travel hopefully’, and if you travel hopefully, then eventually you will arrive. We need to learn how this works, to embed good practice, to see where the opportunities are, to identify any pitfalls, to recognise the involvement in Curriculum for Excellence that this gives, and also to begin to think about the issue of, ‘do we do this on a broader scale’. This is part of the process of thinking about how we would do it.” Education Scotland won’t be the only organisation examining the iPad trials closely.

Researchers from the University of Hull are conducting what they believe is the only independent academic research into what impact iPads in the classroom have on education, and will be collecting data from every participating school in Scotland. Kevin Burden, the director of postgraduate professional development in the Faculty of Education who is leading the project, hopes to publish an evaluation of the pilots by September. “One of the intentions is to try and draw up a framework with a list of recommendations for further investigations, and also in terms of rolling out a larger programme,” Burden says.

Even at this early stage, Burden reveals that the research is producing early signs that the devices are having an impact, increasing parental engagement with their child’s studies. “In those schools in the pilot that have let the devices go home, there are indicators of greater parental involvement,” he says. “We’ve done a baseline survey of parents, so that at the end of the project we can go back and ask them whether or not they’ve been more engaged, for example, in homework. In one of the surveys we conducted, one question was simply asked of them, do they think the device helps their children’s learning, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.” The way teachers approach a lesson is also being influenced by the presence of iPads in class, Burden suggests. “You can see some schools where teachers are using it to a limited extent: maybe as a replacement for what they’ve already got, for example, to use in a demonstration or to show something on the whiteboard. Other schools are moving to a more student-centred approach; Sciennes are very much an example of this. They’ve only been using [iPads in class] since about March, but they seem to have already embraced the idea that it’s a very much a student-centred device.

Creative elements are now far easier to incorporate into lessons, he adds: “In the past, if teachers wanted to do something creative such as make a movie, it was quite a complex operation.

I saw a lesson where students were making their own news stories using a simple app; they did the whole thing, outputted it, and were able to share it with the class at the end of the lesson, in a way that would have taken far more time previously, to the extent that the teacher just wouldn’t do it. That’s what I think is beginning to become the real game-changer.” While those involved in the pilot programmes are eager to share their enthusiasm, others have expressed their concerns about those being left out. Jenny Lang, education convener at Labour-led Aberdeen City Council, warned that without greater commitment from central government, devices in class could become the preserve of the wealthiest local authorities. “We can see that there may well be benefits, but what we don’t want is a two-tier education system where schools in more affluent areas are able to finance these projects,” said Lang. “That would be uppermost in our minds. It’s all very well the Scottish Government saying it’s keen to see these types of project, but we need to see finance coming from central government.”

Lang’s worries are echoed by Laurie O’Donnell, a former director of learning and technology at Learning & Teaching Scotland and one of the early architects of Scotland’s educational intranet, Glow. O’Donnell believes “We all learn better if we’re learning things we’re interested in, that motivate us, set at just exactly the right level for us – not too easy and not too difficult. Portable devices strike me as being very important in delivering that, getting to the point where every learner has an education customised to best meet their needs. The challenge is scaling it. The danger of portable devices is that it works in one class, or for one part of the school, or for one age group within the school – how do you scale it across the whole system and how do you sustain it? If we think portable devices help children to learn better, then surely we get to the point where we say, ‘That’s something that everyone should have access to?’”

Russell calls on local education chiefs to embrace the opportunities available. “What we need to be doing together is moving this forward, and that’s what I’ll try and do.”

Sciennes Big Cycle

We are celebrating Bike Week with a cycle to school day on Wednesday 20th June. We would like to exceed last year’s total of 300. In addition we are organising a cycling bus which will start from King’s Buildings, moving down Mayfield Road, (using the new bike corridor), probably turning left into Sciennes House Place and then onto Sciennes Road. The estimated time of departure is 8.25. We hope as many families as possible will be ready to feed in from the side streets as we pass. Lothian and Borders Police have been made aware of our plans and the only stipulation is that we must stop at all red lights. They are very kindly sending along two of their cycling policemen to accompany us.
Miss Bevan and Ms Christie

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Sports Day Postponed Friday 15th June

Regrettably, Sports Day on Friday 15th June was postponed for a second time. Families were informed by email on Thursday due to the forecast for heavy rain. We are all hoping for sunshine on Friday 22nd June for P1-P7.

JGHS Transition Festival Monday 18th June

JGHS pupils will travel by coach to Meggetland on Monday 18th June to participate in a full day of activities with fellow P7 pupils from each of our cluster primary schools - James Gillespie's Primary, Tollcross, Preston Street and Royal Mile. Pupils should bring a snack, drink, packed lunch, comfortable sports clothes and suncream, contained in a bag they can carry between the various activity stations. Thank you to Mr Jonathan Wallace for all his hard work in organising the event.

There is a parents' evening on Monday 18th June at JGHS at 7.00pm.

Boroughuir Transition Festival is also at Meggetland on Tuesday 19th June and pupils should make their own way there.

Pupils should make their own way to school on Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st June by 8.20am for the three day transition visit. Class lists will be posted on the windows at Reception and S6 pupils will carry signs to gather each class together before entering the Hall together.

There will be a dress rehearsal on Monday 25th June in the morning then parents and carers are invited to the Graduation Show at 1.45pm- 3.00pm in the Hall. Please note that due to space restrictions only two tickets are available per child.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Mr Howie's Amazing Online Virtual Tour of Sciennes


Forrest Howie has created this wonderful virtual tour of our school to commemorate its 120th Anniversary. Click on any of the images to see each location as a 360 degree virtual tour. Double click to view full screen. The tour can also be accessed from a button beside our Guestbook and from the Links section in the main menu on the left.

Welcome to Sciennes! And great job, Mr Howie!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Memories Form Closed

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our online memories. The online form has now closed and the iBook will be released in instalments. Mary Turner Thomson is finalising the first chapter for publication for the iPad - "Introduction and The Victorian Era." Details to follow on the school website. The original draft will still be accessible but can no longer be edited.

What will the iBook look like?

Grateful thanks to our sponsor: The Big Lottery Fund through City of Edinburgh Council's "Growing Confidence" project.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sciennes 120th Anniversary Celebrations

Sciennes 120th Birthday from Sciennes Primary School on Vimeo.

Thank you to Mrs Barker for these stunning photographs and slideshow which really capture the day's events on Friday 1st June 2012.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

What a Party!

Thank you to all the families, pupils and staff for a magnificent celebration of Sciennes' 120th Anniversary on Friday 1st June. A huge amount of planning and organisation ensured the day was a wonderful success. It was an exciting start for the children as they arrived to see parents had strung their bunting from early morning. An army of parents generously baked and iced cupcakes for each of our 640 pupils and Mr John Reid, our Service Support Officer, built a fabulous perspex tiered cake stand. Callum Stark's mum had a baking blister from dedicated creaming! Each pupil had an ice pole to enjoy during a whole school playtime in a playground specially extended for the day by the street closure. Thank you to parent Claire Wheeler from the Sciennes School Council Communications Group for suggesting and arranging the street closure. Azfar was presented with a remote control car at Assembly for his winning school motto "Believe. Achieve" and all staff sported House coloured t-shirts bearing the new motto. These are available to buy for Sports Day for Grange, Lauder, Sienna and Tantallon Houses . Azfar unveiled the new school plaque with Secretary Mrs Ann Atkinson and her grandson, Charlie. The sun shone as forecast and it was wonderful to see so many families enjoying picnics together. Haddows Delicatessen provided a delicious buffet lunch for Sciennes' staff which we were also able to share with families. Mrs Watson's husband's band kicked off the party in style and Mr Howie made a splendid DJ with carefully selected songs from time periods throughout the history of the school. A whole school community team effort, but particular thanks to Ms Shona Pearmain and Ms Angela Christie for co-ordinating the memorable event and to Mrs Noble for putting into place and overseeing the entire project. Photographs of the day will be shared in due course.

Each year group has contributed to a timeline display in the Hall. The timeline is narrated here by Sergi P2 (Victorians) Sophie P3 (1920s), Sanaa, Rameen and Lewis P7 (1940s) Finn and Sophie P4 (1960s) Danny and Kirsty P5 (The Noughties) Amelie, Lucy and Sam P1 (The Present) and Eden P6 (The Future).

1 from Sciennes Primary School on Vimeo.