Monday, 21 November 2016

Janis Mackay Celebrates Book Week Scotland with P5

What could be even better than having acclaimed author, Janis Mackay (our wonderful Patron of Reading), at Sciennes today for the start of Book Week Scotland? Janis is coming back tomorrow! Fantastic workshop for P5A and half P5B today, with P5C and half P5B tomorrow. All three classes are thoroughly enjoying Janis' "The Accidental Time Traveller" as their class novel and it is a delight for them to be able to work with her.

Signed books will be on sale outside the Hall from 3pm. Excellent Christmas gifts.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Roald Dahl at 100 P4-7 Assembly 9.9.16

On Friday 9th September at the P4-7 Assembly we celebrated Roald Dahl's life, work and world of pure imagination, ahead of the forthcoming celebrations to mark the centenary of his birth on 13th September.

Roald Dahl faced many challenges in his life. He would not have recognised the phrase 'growth mindset' but our children do, thanks to the great work of our Infant Depute Headteacher, Ms Carolyn Anstruther, and Class Teachers. Dahl's resilience to change, his hard work and perseverance are reflected in his life story and also in his success. "I can't do it YET!" and seeing the positives in making mistakes are attitudes we are trying to cultivate in our learners.  We listened to "Up Grow the Roses" from the Dahl screenplay for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" with its positive messages about learning from failures and to try, try again. We also asked the children which Dahl books they have 'not read YET'.

We are keen to encourage all Sciennes' pupils to join their local library as we continue to promote a love of Reading in our school and at home. P4-7 teachers have signed up their classes for The First Minister's Reading Challenge later this term and Ms Wendy French has been running her own 'Go For Gold' Reading Challenge in P5C since August. Eliza and Jaimee told everyone at Assembly what was involved. Pupils who read five books gain a Bronze Award, ten books brings a Silver Award and already many P5C pupils have been awarded with a Gold Medal and certificate for reading fifteen books!

We wished Happy Eid to all families celebrating and reminded everyone that MONDAY 19th SEPTEMBER is a holiday.

Pupil Council elections take place on Monday 12th September, with the results being announced on Thursday 15th September (International Day of Democracy).

"Up Grow The Roses" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Every bursted bubble has a glory!
Each abysmal failure makes a point!
Every glowing path that goes astray,
Shows you how to find a better way.
So every time you stumble never grumble.
Next time you'll bumble even less!
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses of success!
Oh yes!
Grow the roses!
Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
(spoken)Yes I know but he wants it to float. It will!
For every big mistake you make be grateful!
Here, here!
That mistake you'll never make again!
No sir!
Every shiny dream that fades and dies,
Generates the steam for two more tries!
(Oh) There's magic in the wake of a fiasco!
It gives you that chance to second guess!
Oh yes!
Then up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses!
Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
Disaster didn't stymie Louis Pasteur!
No sir!
Edison took years to see the light!
Alexander Graham knew failure well; he took a lot of knocks to ring that
So when it gets distressing it's a blessing!
Onward and upward you must press!
Yes, Yes!
Till up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success.
Grow the ro
Grow the ro
Grow the roses!
Grow the ro
Grow the ro
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses of success!
Grow the ro
Grow the ro
Grow the roses!
Those rosy ro
Those rosy ro
Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success!
Start the engines!
Batten the hatches!
Man the shrouds!
Lift the anchor!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Introducing The First Minister's Reading Challenge

Sciennes P4-7 Assembly First Minister's Reading Challenge from Sciennes Primary School

At the P4-7 Assembly on Friday 2nd September, we introduced pupils to the First Minister's Reading Challenge, which launched on Thursday 1st September. All P4-7 pupils will soon receive their very own Reading Passport to record their reading journeys until May next year. There are many competitions and the accompanying teacher resources with suggestions for creative challenges feature Janis Mackay, our Patron of Reading. We are really looking forward to taking part! 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Has Your Child Joined Your Local Library?

At Sciennes, we would like to encourage all our pupils to join their local library. Is your child already a library member? Children can join in person or using an online form:


Apply online for library membership:    


This will also give your child and your family access to a huge range of online resources, including eBooks and Audio books via Overdrive.


Sign up today!

Library membership for under 16s

Babies can join the library from birth - all we need is a parent or carer's proof of identity. Older children can join using our online form below or in person at any library.

If you are under 16 a letter will be sent out to your parent or carer asking whether they will allow you to use a computer in the library.

We will also ask them to confirm your age. We need to know this because some of our DVDs can only be watched by people over a certain age.

The letter will also ask your parent or carer to contact us if they have any concerns about you using the library.

Edinburgh Libraries

Thursday, 1 September 2016

First Minister's Reading Challenge Launched Today!

Information for Parents

What is the First Minister’s Reading Challenge?
The First Minister’s Reading Challenge is a new programme for Primary 4 – 7 pupils in Scotland, providing opportunities and resources to help them develop a love of reading.
There are a range of challenges to encourage children to go on their own reading journeys, explore different types of books and celebrate personal reading achievements. The Reading Challenge aims to support schools and communities to develop reading cultures and for these to be embedded and go on to benefit your children in the long-term.
The First Minister’s Reading Challenge will run from September 2016 until May 2017 and there will be a celebration event in June 2017, where good practice from across the country will be showcased and prizes awarded.

All primary schools in Scotland will be sent an information pack in early September, containing all the information they need to get involved, so ask your child’s teacher if they have registered, how your child can participate and how you can support them at home.

Why is it Important?
The importance developing a life-long love for reading cannot be underestimated for children and the impact it has on all aspects of education - the curriculum and beyond - is immeasurable. Allowing children to enjoy the fun and pleasure of reading by developing a reading culture in schools, communities and families is therefore incredibly worth-while and something which lies at the heart of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

What can you do to help?
Helping children to fall in love with reading at home is just as important as what goes on at school. There are many ways you can encourage your children to develop the reading habit and support them throughout the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
Children will be more excited about reading if they can choose materials related to their interests. Encourage them to try out new types of books and magazines too. Give your child the chance to discover what they like to read.

If you are looking for recommendations to get your children hooked on books, you will be able to browse ‘Places to Start Your Reading Journey’ on our website, a collection of 100 carefully selected children’s books, each with a further two recommendations, making a total of 300 titles. The collection represents a wide range of children’s books, including non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels. The titles have been selected by a panel of experts, including teachers, librarians and booksellers, and are intended to inspire you and your children to get involved. They are split into different categories and you can filter them by age, genre and rating. The titles, however, are not mandatory reading, nor are children required to read them in order to take part in any aspect of the Reading Challenge. All reading is good reading and we encourage children to choose titles which they enjoy. We hope our collection sparks imaginations!

As well as our suggestions, we also encourage everyone to send us their own book lists with their favourite children’s titles which will be published on our website. We already have a few lists online, from children’s writers, well-known public figures and learning professionals. Help us provide even more inspiration by encouraging your child to send us their own list of no more than 10 of their favourite titles along with a short paragraph about who they are and the theme of their list to
Furthermore, a fantastic resource in your community is your local library. Visit the library regularly and let your child choose their own book. Encourage them to talk to their librarian about their choices, ask them for recommendations and use their own library card.

Reading aloud to your children doesn’t need to stop when they get older and, as long as it’s something you both enjoy, it’s a great way to appreciate a good story together. Even if your child prefers to read on their own, take time to chat about what they are reading. It shows that you value their opinions and interests and builds confidence.
Being a reading role model can be incredibly powerful; if your child sees members of their family reading, discussing what they have read and carrying books around, they will value reading more. Making reading a social experience with friends, siblings and relatives can be fun. Some children want to start mini book clubs to discuss books they are interested in or have a party based on a book they love.

Your child may receive a Reading Passport from their school where they will be able to record books they have read throughout the Challenge and what they think of them. Talk to them about the books and reading materials they enjoyed and the ones they didn’t. You might want to discuss challenges they and you face as readers, and that it’s ok to start a book and realise it’s not for them. They could also take their Reading Passport along to their local library and record recommendations inside. However, filling in the Reading Passport is not a mandatory part of the Reading Challenge so be guided by your child’s teacher.

Many children don’t want to read simply because the books they encounter are too difficult or the themes or language are not challenging enough. Ask your child if they feel a book is interesting and challenging and speak to their teacher for advice. You could also take advantage of new technology; reading texts on electronic readers, such as an iPad or Kindle can make it seem more engaging to children. There are also a number of fantastic apps available to support struggling readers.

One of the most important things you can do with your children is make time to talk about books, stories, and words. Let them develop their own interests and, above all, help them to value reading and the world it opens up to them.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Grange Fair Donates £760 to Newington Library

Thank you to Sciennes pupils and families who contributed to the Grange Fair community event on May 16th. This year's surplus of £760 is being given to Newington Library. Julia Cormack, Librarian, plans to spend the money on folding tables for crafts, lego, materials for craft and adult relaxation activities and Scrabble sets.  
Thank you to all who contributed and attended.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Victor Hugo Delicatessen Sponsors 'Food Focus' P1-P7 Book

"Food Focus" book in collaboration with local business
"Every child and young person is entitled to develop skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work, with a continuous focus on literacy and numeracy and health and wellbeing."
Curriculum for Excellence: Building the Curriculum 3

Primary Four pupils marked the book launch of "Food Focus" - a collaborative venture between local business Victor Hugo Delicatessen and Cafe and each class at Sciennes - on Wednesday 29th June at the Meadows.

Twenty-two classes, from P1-P7, contributed selected highlights from our annual whole school 'Food Focus Fortnight." Each page promotes and celebrates healthy eating and an appreciation of cuisine from different cultures, which marries extremely well with Victor Hugo Delicatessen's business ideals.

Victor Hugo, Continental Delicatessen and Cafe

Sincere thanks to the tremendous generosity of Victor Hugo Delicatessen owner, Karol Rzepkowski, who sponsored the creation of the book and additionally provided a free copy to each of our 99 P4 pupils. Karol is an - inspirational - former Sciennes' pupil and the "Food Focus" book details the history of Victor Hugo's, established by his father Zdzislaw (Jackie) Rzepkowski. Karol's father's story is also an inspiration:

Zdzislaw (Jackie) Rzepkowski
In 1957 the business was started in Edinburgh, with a first shop in Spittal Street, by Karol’s father Zdzislaw Rzepkowski. Zdzislaw found it hard for anyone to say his name so was more commonly known in Edinburgh as ‘Jackie’. Jackie was born in Poland and was only 16 years old when the Germans invaded. He escaped a firing squad but was taken to Auschwitz, and then a munitions factory in an Austrian labour camp before escaping over the Alps to Italy. He then made his way south until he met the allies and from there to the UK and finally Scotland. He joined the Polish division of the British Army and fought in the Woijtek Division. This was the division most famous for the bear mascot rescued as a cub in 1943 and who carried their shells into battle, ‘Woijtek the Soldier Bear’. Karol even has a photograph of his father and maternal grandfather both standing with Woijtek the bear. After the war Woijek retired and went to live out the rest of his days at Edinburgh Zoo. Jackie was demobbed and went to work.

Zdzislaw (Jackie) Rzepkowski and Karol's maternal grandfather with Woijtek the bear

Karol said, “Our first concern is that Victor Hugo’s business contributes in some way to the local community. We want to attract customers from outside but the vast majority of our clientele are locals. In a deli people can buy and eat straight away – it is the ultimate fast food! No-one ever comes into our shop and asks for a ‘pie’. Food has also been our first and longest lasting introduction to Europe. We celebrate our cultural differences through food and it allows us to embrace our European culture. We want to engage with local people and the local youngsters too because they are our future market. Sugar seems to be the
drug of choice at the moment and getting kids passionate about food is so important. We want children to get passionate and enthusiastic about good food so that they can in turn pass it onto their own children.

This is why we wanted to get involved in this book project with Sciennes Primary School. It was my school and I really enjoyed my time there so giving this opportunity back to the current students really feels like coming full circle.”

Very well done to P4 pupils Natalia, William and Hannah who gave speeches explaining how their classmates contributed to the book. Our Principal Teacher, Ms Shona Pearmain (currently on maternity leave), took the lead in co-ordinating classes' contributions and will be very proud - of the children as well as the finished result. Sciennes School has been filled with delicious aromas since 'Food Focus' was first established by Ms Pearmain in October 2013, after the launch of our new kitchen (partly funded by Sciennes' Parent Council). The kitchen is regularly used by all classes throughout the year to create delicious healthy food.

Thank you very much to the parents who attended the "Food Focus" book launch, including Hannah's father Mr Jimmy Chow, who provided such excellent photographs of the event. Grateful thanks to Georgiana's mum, Ivana Summerton, and Pupil Support Assistants Mrs Helen Robertson, Mrs Sally Nowell and Mrs Aliya Tariq who kindly laid out the books and cut up the special cakes for the children. Thank you to Janitor Mr Reid for helping with the gazebo, tables and chairs and to Class Teachers Mrs Susan Mackay and Mrs Katherine Clark. So typical of the Sciennes' Family that everyone kindly pitched in to support. Thank you!

Grateful thanks to published author and Sciennes' parent Mary Turner Thomson for giving the children the opportunity to see their work in print through her company Whitewater Publishing. This is the sixth book that Mary has published for Sciennes in six years and provides an extraordinary opportunity for our pupils.

It was wonderful to welcome back Karol to Sciennes earlier this year and give him a tour of his former school. We look forward to strengthening the links between Sciennes Primary and Karol's neighbouring business Victor Hugo Delicatessen and Cafe; such a prominent and fondly regarded feature of the local community - and frequently frequented!

More photographs on the P4 Class Page.

"Food Focus" in print!

Ready for their speeches!



Karol and Mary

Victor Hugo Delicatessen owner, Karol Rzepkowski. Karol's delicatessen and cafe can be seen in the background of this photograph.

Sciennes' parent Mary Turner Thomson

Thank you to Class Teachers Mrs Katherine Clark, Mrs Susan Mackay, Mrs Emma Kidd, Mrs Joanne Hogan and Ms Shona Pearmain

Hannah's page - lovely handwriting, Hannah!

Mrs Susan Mackay shows the children the special cakes

Thank you Mrs Summerton, Mrs Robertson and Mrs Tariq!
Not so healthy, but celebratory!

Thank you, Karol!
Back at school, everyone immediately engrossed in "Food Focus" books
"Food Focus" is a big hit with us!
Great to pass on Karol and his father's stories to Sciennes children.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Big Friendly Summer Reading Challenge Launches Today!

What is the Summer Reading Challenge?

The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign up at your local library, then read six library books of your choice to complete the Challenge. There are exclusive rewards to collect along the way, and it’s FREE to take part!

The Summer Reading Challenge website helps you keep track of your reading all year round: find new books to read, take part in competitions and play games.