Thursday, 31 December 2015

Pupils Resume Thursday 7th January 2016

We look forward to welcoming pupils back to school on Thursday 7th January.

Best wishes to all our families for a healthy and happy 2016.



Term starts Thursday 7 January 2016
Mid term break
  • Monday 15 February - Friday 19 February 2016
Term ends Thursday 24 March 2016
Easter holidays
Friday 25 March - Friday 8 April 2016


Term starts Monday 11 April 2016
Mid term holidays
  • Monday 18 April 2016 , Spring Holiday
  • Monday 2 May 2016, May Day
  • Thursday 5 May 2016, staff only day to coincide with Scottish Parliament election 
  • Monday 23 May 2016, Victoria Day
Term ends Thursday 30 June 2016

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Sciennes Winter Fair - YOU Made All the Difference!

Winter Fair – well done to all of us, we’re great!
You baked, you donated, you ate, you raffled, you tombola’d, well maybe not. Anyway, the point is, you were great and all in all you raised £5,000 pounds, so thank you!
In particular, we want to thank all parents, carers, staff and local businesses who donated their time and goods. And of course, we want to thank those pupils, present and past, who gave up their Saturday to make sure the whole thing ran smoothly.
Phew, that’s a lot of thanks. However, one final thanks, that’s right, wait for it, you’ve guessed it, to the big man with the red coat, big black shiny belt and white beard who took time out of his hectic schedule to be with us on the day.

Season’s Greetings to all from Sciennes Parent Council

Saturday, 12 December 2015

RoSPA Post-Installation Inspection of Playground Report

Click on the link or on the document preview below to view the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Post-Installation Inspection Report on Sciennes' Playground, commissioned by City of Edinburgh Council:

RoSPA Post-Installation Inspection Report


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Chief Medical Officer Launches 'Who's In Health?'

Sciennes was thrilled to host Scotland's Chief Medical Officer, Catherine Calderwood on Tuesday 1st December to launch the  'Who's In Health?' project in Scotland. Mrs Noble and our Science Specialist, Mr Mark McKenna, worked with the CMO's team to help deliver a programme of discussion and activities for P6C pupils, designed to encourage more young people into medical careers.

Chief Medical Officer launches campaign to show children why literacy, maths and science matters.
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood today visited Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh to launch the Primary Futures ‘Who’s in Health?’ campaign; to help young children understand how people in the health sector use literacy, maths and science in their jobs.

Who’s in Health? is a free initiative for state primary schools run by the Education and Employers charity in partnership with the Medical Schools Council. It encourages volunteers from the healthcare sector to visit primary schools and chat informally to children about their jobs. This is to help the children (aged 7–11) see the relevance of what they are learning - especially in science, mathematics and English - and to broaden and raise their future aspirations. Volunteers may be hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, ambulance drivers, high street pharmacists, healthcare assistants, dieticians, surgeons, midwives, students and researchers to name just a few. Volunteers and schools connect via the free online service Primary Futures.

The schoolchildren were joined by medical student Callum Cruickshank who is in his fourth year at the University of Edinburgh and founded the “You can be a doctor" programme - an online resource to give young people the support and information they need to become a doctor.

Dr Calderwood told the children in the Schools Science Centre about her medical career and her role as Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. She said:

“Whether you are an obstetrician and gynaecologist like me, a GP, radiographer or psychologist, currently studying or a qualified professional, your talent and enthusiasm can be a fantastic motivator for children. I’d encourage as many of my colleagues in healthcare to get involved and connect with schools. I want to ensure we encourage as many young people as possible into hugely rewarding professions, like mine.”

Director of Employers and Education, Nick Chambers said:

“Many children see certain areas of health, such as medicine, as not an option for them, either because they don’t know anything about it or because they believe that such futures are for other, perhaps more privileged people. Who’s in health? inspires children and help them see the relevance of what they are learning – to careers in healthcare. The scheme is aimed at pupils aged 7-11. It is not necessary to have experience of outreach work with young people. Signing up only takes a few minutes and from there you will be put in contact with primary schools.”

The Who’s In Health initiative supports the Developing Young Workforce strategy, which encourages more employer engagement with education to support reducing youth unemployment by 40% by 2021. In addition, the new Career Education Standard (3-18) aims to better support all children and young people in making informed decisions, not only in terms of subject choice but future pathways and learning opportunities. The revised Work Placements Standard sets out expectations for the young person, employer, school, local authority and parent/carer before, during and after work placements.

Who’s in Health? is run jointly by charity Education and Employers, the National Association of Head Teachers, and the Medical Schools Council. The Medical Schools Council represents medical undergraduate and postgraduate education and training.

Primary Futures: 0207 566 4880
Medical Schools Council 0207 418 5427

Thank you to Richard Lyall (Chief Medical Officer's Team, Scottish Government) for organising this very exciting opportunity for our children.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Problems Accessing Website

Our Website Provider, Internet Kit (formerly IK Schools), has been experiencing difficulties in updating their servers over the last few months which has sometimes resulted in a message 'No input file specified' when trying to access our site. It is a major undertaking to move to a new host, but is an action we have been exploring.

Meanwhile, please access our website via this address:

Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date. We currently send a Tweet each time a post is added to our website, Class Pages and many other school blogs which automatically updates our Twitter account. We also pass on information about local events and initiatives via Twitter.

We are always interested to hear any comments regarding our communications so please feel welcome to email with any feedback.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Janis Mackay Book Signing Today!

Meet celebrated author and Sciennes' Patron of Reading, Janis Mackay today! Signed copies of Janis' books are available today at a specially discounted price for Sciennes' families between 11am and 12.30pm.

Book Week Scotland Assemblies with Author Janis Mackay

On Friday 27th November 2015, Sciennes' Patron of Reading - celebrated author Janis Mackay - presented at both P1-3 and P4-7 Scottish Book Week Assemblies. Thank you to Ms Bethan Owen for leading our school wide Book Week celebrations with Janis so successfully:

P5-7 BOOK LAUNCH- "Wild Song"
There will be an opportunity to meet Janis and buy signed copies of her books at a special discounted price for Sciennes' families between 11am and 12.30pm on Friday 27th November

Sciennes' Pupil Council thanked everyone for supporting City of Edinburgh's 1:5 Child Poverty Awareness project throughout Scottish Book Week by donating preloved, much loved and gift condition books to a child via Foodbank and other organisations.

Please note that the project has been extended at Sciennes and we will still be collecting donated books until Wednesday 2nd December. We hope to see you at the Winter Fair on Saturday 28th November 12pm-3pm. Coming along? Could your child select a favourite, high quality book to bring to gift to a child in need?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Hungry for Books Running in Edinburgh this Week

Could your child select one much loved, high quality, gift condition 'preloved' book to donate during Book Week Scotland (by Friday 27th November). Sciennes is one of six school collection hubs and our Pupil Council is helping to sort and deliver donated books.

A report on City of Edinburgh's 1:5 Hungry for Books project published in the Edinburgh Reporter on Tuesday November 24th, 2015 by Phyllis Stephen:

The Edinburgh Reporter went along to Dalry Primary School to find out about the latest project they are involved with. Donating children’s books to be distributed in the run up to Christmas is the latest phase of the City of Edinburgh Council’s pioneering child poverty campaign.

The ‘Hungry for Book’s challenge is part of the council’s ‘1 in 5: Raising Awareness of Child Poverty in Edinburgh’ campaign currently running in five primaries and one secondary school.

It is taking place during Book Week Scotland and the main aim is to highlight links between child poverty and low literacy.

The public are encouraged to donate high/good quality children’s books all this week until Friday 27 November and the pupils will then ensure these go to food banks or other organisations in time for Christmas.

Councillor Paul Godzik with the four clan chiefs from Dalry Primary School
 Councillor Paul Godzik with the four clan chiefs from Dalry Primary School

Each school will be a hub for donation of books in different areas of the city – Broughton High School (north), Royal High Primary School (east), Sciennes Primary School (central), Gracemount Primary School (south), Dalry Primary School (west) and Hillwood Primary School (south west).

Councillor Paul Godzik, Education, Children and Families Convener, said: “The ‘Hungry for Books’ challenge is a positive way of trying to help more children living in poverty access the type of books other children enjoy. It is well-documented that children from poorer backgrounds lag behind at all stages of education so it’s important we do all we can to close the attainment gap.

“Donating books for children to read, both on their own and with their parents, is a positive way for the public to play their part in achieving this.

The Council will continue the great work of our ‘1 in 5’ campaign to ensure every child in Edinburgh is given every opportunity to have the best possible start in life.”

Dalry Primary School Head Teacher, Grant Gillies, said: “The ‘1 in 5’ project has had a significant impact on the life of our school and the decisions we make because the children and families in our school community face real challenges. It is our job to equip them with the skills and aspirations to overcome these. More than that though, as a school we have social responsibility to ensure opportunities are for all and they are inclusive. That’s why pupils are very excited about being part of this Hungry for Books Challenge.
Another good example of the impact of raising awareness within our school  project is when we planned for our whole community outing at Christmas. We spoke about the way we charged for it in the past and this year we have a price structure that means bigger families pay less. It is these small things that make a difference. Small changes in our approaches make for big changes in our children’s lives.” 

The ‘1 in 5’ project aims to raise awareness of the impact of child poverty and identify best practice and changes that can be introduced to make school more affordable for families on low incomes. The project involves working with children, staff and parents to challenge the stigma that affects children living in poverty.

Last week a poster competition was launched at Hillwood Primary School where pupils took part in creative art workshops led by artist Heather Lucchesi to design images which highlight some of the issues faced by children whose families live on or below the poverty line.

Winning images  will be incorporated into a poster to be distributed to primary schools across the city along with guidelines for schools on how best to support families living on low incomes including actions to reduce the costs associated with school such as school uniform, trips and resources.

Councillors on the Education, Children and Families Committee heard last month that just over 21% of children in Edinburgh live in poverty and this figure is forecast to increase significantly by 2020.

Every area of the city is affected with each Council ward having child poverty rates of over 10%. It’s estimated that the cost of delivering services to address the impact in the Capital is around £156m a year according to the Child Poverty report which outlined various actions being taken by the Council to lessen the impact. Key areas identified include:
  • Developing more flexible and affordable good quality childcare to meet the needs of families on low incomes
  • Improving attendance at schools and early years establishments, and the attainment and achievement of young people
  • Reducing the attainment gap between lowest achieving pupils and their peers across the city
  • Identifying and developing more safe places to play
Other actions include increase breakfast club provision and further develop family engagement with a focus on strong home-school partnerships.
The report also highlights the importance of income maximisation to raising attainment. Research has shown that the level of household income plays a major role in attainment levels with more initiatives needed to increase wages, encourage take up of unclaimed benefits and other finance-related poverty costs.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Boyd Anderson Ski Race Trial

Extremely well done to all sixteen P6 and P7 pupils who took part in time trials at Midlothian Ski Centre on Tuesday 24th November, to decide the six fastest participants who will compete in the Boyd Anderson Ski Race on Monday 30th November.  Grateful thanks to parents Mrs Helen Ellen (who has initiated a highly successful after school ski racing club for Sciennes pupils at Hillend this year) and Mr Gerry Fox for their expert score keeping and judging as well as transportation of pupils.

Thank you also to Louise Sharp at Midlothian Ski Centre for organising two excellent ski instructors - Alexa and Mark - for the group.

Selection was closely run, with all pupils ski-ing in superb times and all can be justly proud of themselves. Particular congratulations to P6 pupil Cole who secured third fastest time and we hope that the other P6 competitors will be keen to try out next year, too, including those who took part in ski racing today for the very first time.

A genuine pleasure to escort such a commendably supportive, positive group of young athletes.

Position Run 1 Run 2 Fastest
1 Alasdair 16.19 14.66 14.66
2 Esther 14.91 14.96 14.91
3 Cole 15.56 16.29 15.56
4 Stephen 16.72 15.72 15.72
5 Flora 16.16 16.78 16.16
6 Jonathan E 16.19 16.22 16.19
7 Andrew 16.32 17.93 16.32
8 David 18.1 16.59 16.59
9 Boris 17.78 16.89 16.89
10 Robert 17.41 16.91 16.91
11 Susannah 17 17.78 17
12 Isaac 17.66 17.28 17.28
13 Rose 17.62 18.71 17.62
14 Jonathan F 19.56 17.97 17.97
15 Emil 19.47 19.1 19.1
16 Cameron 19.75 19.16 19.16

Monday, 23 November 2015

Janis Mackay Launches 'Wild Song" at Sciennes!

Our Patron of Reading, the celebrated Scottish author, Janis Mackay,  took time out of her hectic schedule to support Sciennes pupils and staff get into the spirit of Scottish Book Week which takes place between November 23rd and 29th this year.  
Kick off was on the morning of Monday 23rd November when Janis worked with our three P3 classes, exploring her novels “The Accidental Time Traveller” and “The Reluctant Time Traveller” and using them as a springboard to set the P3’s off on a literary mission which will be unveiled later in the week.  
In the afternoon, Janis invited the P5’s, 6’s and 7’s to take part in a very special event: the launch of her latest book “Wild Song”.  Pupils and staff explored the central themes of the story and learned about the journey Janis took in the writing of this book.  They, too, were set a challenge to be completed by the end of the week.

Janis will return on Friday 27th November to lead our Assemblies and to celebrate the creative responses of the children to task set on Monday. 
There will be an opportunity to meet Janis and buy signed copies of her books at a special discounted price for Sciennes' families between 11am and 12.30pm on Friday 27th November.
Many thanks to Janis, our wonderful Patron of Reading,  who brings books to life in our school and best of luck to all the classes who we know will rise to the challenge in true Sciennes style!

Bethan Owen

Sunday, 22 November 2015

1:5 Hungry for Books - Gift a Child a Preloved Book during Scottish Book Week

Sciennes' Pupil Council is leading a 'Hungry for Books' campaign, launched at House Assemblies on Universal Children's Day 20th November and taking place ONLY throughout Book Week Scotland from Monday 23rd November to Friday 27th November.

Sciennes Primary School is proud to be one of six schools in Edinburgh working with Pattie Santelices (City of Edinburgh Principal Officer Mental Health and Well Being) and committed to raising awareness of children in poverty.

The aims of the project are:
* To highlight the scale and impact of 1:5 child poverty.
* To explore cultural and structural explanations of child poverty.
* To consider the costs associated with the school day at Sciennes
* To reflect on how we can make education fairer and equitable for all 

Last year, P3 pupils successfully organised a whole school Harvest appeal leading our school community to donate food items generously to Foodbank. This year, we are asking everyone to feed minds by donating at least one 'preloved', much loved, quality children's book which will then be redistributed by Foodbank and other organisations.

Sciennes is one of six school hubs for the city - Central Hub - and our Pupil Council members will work with volunteer Librarians to help collect and deliver donated books.

Hungry for Books 23rd – 27th November ‘Gift a child a pre-loved book’
Did you know that 1:5 children live in poverty or have at some time in their lives? This is shocking to us in Sciennes’ Pupil Council. And we want to help. So we have decided to do a book collection. Please give a child in poverty a book to pass the time and make them feel like an ordinary child. And try to think how many hours are really in a day when you don’t have the money to buy expensive video games and other things. So please bring a book for the book bank.
Hamish Croft, P7 member of Sciennes Pupil Council 

1:5 children living in poverty leave school unable to read well. These children are also less likely to have books in the home and read for pleasure. During Book Week we are seeking donations of high quality children’s books which our Pupil Council will then redistribute to children in need through Foodbank.
I would also like families in school, who would welcome an opportunity to select some books, to please contact me directly. I can assure you of my utmost discretion and confidentiality.
Alison Noble, Headteacher

Article 28  The right to learn

Road Safety Week 23rd -27th November

The theme for this year's Brake's Road Safety Week is 'Drive less, live more.'  Please remind pupils that they should not cycle, skate or skoot in the playground and we have  also been reminding children that they should remember to wear a warm, waterproof jacket with a hood each day. Be bright, be seen!

School Streets Pilot Update

On Friday 20th November, Cameron Rose, Conservative Councillor for Southside/Newington, Edinburgh, posted information about the School Streets pilot on his blog which includes an update from City of Edinburgh Council's Road Safety Manager:
"The school streets project is being taken forward as a pilot scheme for a maximum of 18 months; it is an innovative concept, the first of its kind on this scale in Scotland. It is being promoted under the statutory powers of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which sets out the streets in each scheme, the operating days and times, and the groups which are exempt from the restrictions. These conditions cannot be changed during the life of the pilot, although the scheme is being monitored and evaluated at intervals throughout the 18 month duration, to inform and shape any possible future permanent schemes.
The Sciennes scheme is the only one in Phase 1 located on a through route. It was never the intention of the scheme to exclude all traffic from the streets; there are general exemptions including residents’ vehicles, blue badge holders, emergency vehicles, healthcare workers, such as doctors and nurses, and essential services, such as mail deliveries, gas, electricity and water. In order to reduce the impact on the daily running of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, there are additional exemptions for the Sciennes scheme. These include taxis and private hire vehicles accessing the front entrance and delivery vehicles specifically serving the hospital.
My team is working with the school and the Junior Road Safety Officers to look at conducting assemblies and classroom activities to remind pupils of the dangers posed by traffic and how to behave when entering and exiting the school on foot or by bike.
The Scottish Taxi Drivers’ Federation, Fleet Transport Association and Road Haulage Association were formally consulted about the scheme. We will contact them again clarifying how the restriction affects their members and requesting they send a reminder out.
Lothian and will be approved for use in any future schemes ensuring consistency across Scotland The "When lights flash" wording is used to remove the need to add the exact operating days and times, which would be impossible for drivers to read as they approach the sign.
In addition, we will shortly be erecting signs in advance of access routes to the area warning that "Livingstone Place and Sciennes Road between Sylvan Place and Tantallon Place are closed to traffic at the beginning and end of the school day".
We hope that drivers’ awareness of the schemes will increase and drivers with destinations outwith the area will avoid it at the restricted times.
We are aware that the police cannot always be present to enforce the scheme. For the first few weeks of the scheme, they have been undertaking an educational role by stopping and speaking to drivers and explaining the new restrictions to them. Shortly they will begin issuing tickets to offenders who will face paying a £60 fine. We will be publicising this and are expecting it to have an effect on drivers currently flaunting the rules. This is in line with the other Phase 1 schools which started at the end of September, where compliance has improved since formal enforcement has commenced."

The theme for this year's Brake's Road Safety Week is 'Drive less, live more.' Our School Streets pilot continues (see below).

Why School Streets?

City of Edinburgh Council is introducing 'School Streets' at a number of primary schools across Edinburgh, including Sciennes Primary School, for an initial period of eighteen months. These locations have been experiencing ongoing road safety issues caused by drivers bringing their vehicles too close to the school gate.

The benefits of introducing school streets are that:
    •    walking, cycling and active lifestyles for pupils and parents will increase 

    •    traffic speed, congestion and pollution around school gates will reduce 

    •    we are responding to a demand from parents and residents.

How will it operate? 

Vehicles will not be able to drive in, out or around the school streets when the scheme is in operation. Large signs will be at the entrance to the scheme and they will have flashing lights to indicate when the scheme is in operation. Only those with permits will be exempt from the closure. 

Which streets will be closed and at what times?
Streets affected:
Livingstone Place

Sciennes Road (between Sylvan Place and Tantallon Place)

8.35am to 9.00am and 2.40pm to 3.30pm Monday to Thurs
8.35am to 9.00am and 11.55am to 12.20pm Friday

I am a resident of a school street. Can I drive in and out of my street when the signs are flashing?

Yes – local residents living within the streets that are closed should apply for a permit that must be displayed on the car windscreen. Residents who live in the School Streets zone will receive a letter from the Council giving advice on how to apply and further information is also available on the Council website. If your household has more than one car you should apply for one for each car. Please note this only applies to those living at the address and not visitors.

What other road users are permitted in the street?
Disabled users displaying a blue badge will be permitted as well as emergency services and contract school transport dropping or picking up pupils from the school.

Who will enforce school streets?
The scheme will be enforced by Police Scotland. The penalty for ignoring the signs will be a fine.

Where can I find out more?
Please go to or email

Edinburgh and Midlothian Schools Swimming Championships November 2015

Thank you to former parent, Nicki McGregor (Convenor of the Edinburgh Schools Swimming Association) for inviting us to take part in this year's swimming championships at Ainslie Park Leisure Centre on Sunday 22nd November 2015.

We have seven P6/7 club swimmers (who submitted recent minimum swim times and are able to use starting blocks) competing at this high level event.

Good luck, Sciennes' Swim Team!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

French Immersion Day Friday 11th December 10am to 4pm

Tickets available for a French Immersion Day (£90) at the Institut Fran├žais d'Ecosse on Friday 11th December 10am to 4pm 13 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT

Monday, 16 November 2015

French Book Day

Drop in all day from 10am to 4pm at the Institut Fran├žais d'Ecosse on Saturday 28th November 13 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Winter Fair Sat 28th November 12pm-3pm

Sciennes Christmas Fair 
Saturday 28th November

This a fun-filled event which includes a magic show, films, craft activities, tombola, home baking, face painting, nail bar, lucky dip, hamper raffle and lots, lots more. Santa will be making an appearance.

You can order your entry tickets, film and magic show tickets NOW on Wisepay.
Please bring donations of home baking into school on Friday 27th November (items to be individually wrapped please) or on the day of the fair.

From anytime NOW you can drop off the following items at school reception:
  • Send in bottles/jars/toiletries for the Tombola
  • Send in DVDs/Computer Games/Toys – good quality only please
  • Send in a box of mince pies, shortbread or biscuits for the refreshments stall
  • Send in GOOD QUALITY Sciennes uniform/football strips
  • Wrap and send in small gifts (pencil, rubbers, small note pads, hair clips) for the lucky dip, value 50p (labelled boy/girl/either).
  • Donate something for the Christmas Hampers Raffle such as Christmas pudding, pies, wine. (Each year group is making a hamper, so please hand in donations to class teacher.)
  • Food for the South Edinburgh Food bank, non perishable items or, for example, a chocolate advent calendar/seasonal food.
  • Jams and preserves
  • Home baking (on Fri 27th or Sat 28th only please)
  • N.B. No books please because we are arranging a separate appeal 'Hungry for Books' soon.

We would be grateful for your support if you can donate some time to set up and/or run the stalls.
Please sign up if you are available to assist:

Sciennes Events and Fundraising Group, Parent Council 

P4-7 Assembly 13.11.15

On Friday 13th November, Mr Forrest Howie led a powerful and thought provoking P4-7 Assembly to help the children think about how they could take simple acts to bring about change. He explored inspirational examples, telling stories about Malala Yousafzai and Samantha Smith as well as George Clooney's recent visit to Rose Street's Social Bite Social Enterprise cafe. He also gave us historical examples of Martin Luther King's campaign for civil rights and Emmeline Pankhurst's campaign for Votes for Women and made us think how we can encourage and support change makers, as well as be change makers ourselves by taking simple acts, such as writing letters, like Samantha Smith did in the 1980s.

Food for thought, and Mr Howie's Assemblies continue to take us all forward in recognising and realising rights. House Assemblies on 20th November will feature Unicef's OutRight campaign and continue our focus on the Global Goals.

Our P7 House Captains did a great job of promoting this year's Winter Fair which will take place on Saturday 28th November 12pm-3pm.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Chess Success!

P6/7 Chess Champions. Thank you to Anna Davis for this great photo
Chess Club
What a start! The chess season kicked off on the 22nd November at Wester Hailes with Sciennes entering four teams. The highlight of the day was the P7/U A Team winning the tournament. This was a real achievement as they won the largest ever tournament and beat Tiger Cubs along the way. To put this into perspective, Tiger Cubs had two Scottish internationalists representing them. The members of our winning team were: 
Sergei Mackinlay-Vich 
Matthew Ross 
Matilda Ball Torokoff 
Aidan Davis 
A big congratulations to them all and a special mention to Matthew who ended the day with a perfect 5/5. The team received a large shield named after our former head coach, Bill Platts. Bill received this honour for his excellent services to junior chess. Our B and C teams also played superbly and despite both teams being a player short, they managed to finish mid-table. 
The P5/U team were playing in a very competitive section but played valiantly and finished joint third. Jennifer and Johnathan Feng had fantastic debuts scoring 4 out of 5. 
It is not just our current pupils that are excelling at chess. Former pupil Ioannis Dabos-Doukas has just finished representing Scotland at the World Youth Championships. With 150 players in his section, Ioannis scored 5 out of 11 against the very best players in the World. This was the top Scottish performance among the squad of 16. We are very fortunate to have Ioannis as one of junior coaches at Sciennes Chess Club. Congratulations Ioannis! 

Andrew Green 
Head Coach

Janis Mackay Book Week Scotland 2015

Our Patron of Reading, the celebrated Scottish author, Janis Mackay,  is taking time out of her hectic schedule to support Sciennes pupils and staff get into the spirit of Scottish Book Week which takes place between November 23rd and 29th this year.  

Kick off will be on the morning of Monday 23rd November when Janis will be working with our three P3 classes, exploring her novels “The Accidental Time Traveller” and “The Reluctant Time Traveller” and using them as a springboard to set the P3’s off on a literary mission which will be unveiled later in the week.  

In the afternoon, Janis has invited the P5’s, 6’s and 7’s to take part in a very special event: the launch of her latest book “Wild Song”.  Pupils and staff will explore the central themes of the story and learn about the journey Janis took in the writing of this book.  They, too, will be set a challenge to be completed by the end of the week.  

Janis will return on Friday 27th November to lead our Assemblies and to celebrate the creative responses of the children to task set on Monday. 

There will be an opportunity to meet Janis and buy signed copies of her books at a special discounted price for Sciennes' families between 11am and 12.30pm on Friday 27th November.

Many thanks to Janis, our wonderful Patron of Reading,  who brings books to life in our school and best of luck to all the classes who we know will rise to the challenge in true Sciennes style!

Bethan Owen

Friday, 13 November 2015

Children in Need

Children in Need 2015, Friday 13 November
Linked to our involvement in the City of Edinburgh 1:5 Poverty Awareness pilot, one of our aims is to spread the impact of fundraising across the year. We are extremely grateful for the hugely generous support for the P3 led Harvest Appeal with Mercy Corps, which has raised £2700 to provide nine playgrounds in Syrian refugee camps, and we feel the Children in Need appeal follows the P3 appeal too closely. Please note, therefore, that this is the reason why this year Sciennes is not holding any Children in Need fundraising events in school.  However, we are always interested to hear of pupils who have taken their own initiative at home, if any child wishes to get involved outside school.
Senior Leadership Team

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Scotland's Climate March 28th Nov 12pm Meadows

Some members of our community might be interested in supporting the upcoming Friends of the Earth Scotland Climate Change march at the Meadows November 28th 12pm

"Show your colours for climate, justice & jobs.

Join the worldwide movement marching for a better future.
Ahead of the UN climate change negotiations in Paris,
we’ll stand up for people affected by rising global temperatures
and demand that world leaders agree an ambitious deal.

A low carbon society will create green jobs, improve our transport and food systems and protect our land, air and water.
Scotland needs to show its colours in Paris and beyond
with strong action on climate change.

Wear your brightest colours as Scotland marches on this weekend of global action.

Everyone is encouraged to attend so please invite your friends, families and followers.

The march is organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), a diverse coalition of organisations in Scotland campaigning together on climate change. Coalition members include environment, faith and international development organisations, trade and student unions and community groups.

To have a fun and successful march, we are relying on volunteers to help us steward. Could you help us on the day? For more information send an email to Paul -

Find out more at
Join the conversation on Twitter using #ScotClimateMarch

Sustainable Development Global Goal 13

Sunday, 8 November 2015

P7 Pupils Perform at James Gillespie's Christmas Concert

James Gillespie's High School Christmas Concert 2015
Thursday 17th December, 7.00-9.30pm

This concert features pupils from James Gillespie's High School and P7 pupils from its six associated primaries, including Sciennes Primary.

Items will include JGHS wind bands, string orchestras, clarsach and guitar ensembles, percussion ensemble, pipe band, accordion group, chamber choir and many various junior and senior choirs.

Repertoire includes Christmas items and also ranges from Scottish traditional to classical and contemporary music.

A musical feast for all senses!

**On sale from the Usher Hall from Monday 19th October 2015, 10am**Tickets: £10 / £8 / £6

Thursday 12th November P1 Enrolment for August 2016

P1 enrolment for catchment pupils due to start P1 in August 2016 will take place on THURSDAY 12th NOVEMBER 9am-11.30am and 2.00pm- 3.30pm. 

If you live in catchment and your child is 4 years old by 28th February 2015 and due to start school in August 2016, please come along on Thursday 12th November 2015, 9.00 – 11.30am or 2.00 – 3.30pm to complete an enrolment form.
Please bring the following with you: 
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Name, address and telephone number of doctor
  • Council Tax payment book or Council Tax letter
  • a current utility bill (in your name)
  • Names, addresses and telephone number of three emergency contacts. 

N.B. these are the ONLY accepted forms of proof.

Please feel free to bring your child but this is not essential if s/he is attending nursery. There will be transition and induction opportunities for your child to visit school in the summer term.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


To view the main page of the Sciennes website without its surrounding frame, click on the link at the top of the site: 'CLICK TO VIEW WITHOUT FRAME'

We currently send a Tweet each time a post is added to our website, Class Pages and many other school blogs which automatically updates our Twitter account. We also pass on information about local events and initiatives via Twitter. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date.

We are always interested to hear any comments regarding our communications so please feel welcome to email with any feedback.

The Sciennes School Website comprises:
  • The School Calendar - Diary Dates
  • The Parent Council Website
  • The Sciennes School Flyer - weekly online newsletter sent by email and published on the School website
  • Sciennes Twitter 
  • Sciennes Facebook
  • Class Pages - blogs for each year group P1-P7
  • Curricular blogs e.g. Health and Wellbeing, Rights Respecting Schools, Music, Reading
  • Community Pages - e,g, Active Schools, Active Travel, Playground Improvement Group, Sciennes After School Care Scheme (SASCS)
Call Parents
The system we use to communicate directly with you via personal email and text.

Online ordering using Image Scotland.

Our online system for lunch, milk, trips, clubs and permissions. Sciennes was the first school in the city to adopt this system a few years ago and remains one of few to have implemented it, in Edinburgh and indeed in Scotland, thanks to the efforts of Angela Christie, Business Manager.

Please do contact us or your Parent Rep if you would be interested in receiving support with our online communications.

Playground Officially Opened! - A Message of Thanks from our Headteacher

Official Playground Opening Ceremony
Youngest pupil David and oldest pupil Liza with David Ewart, SportScotland and Alison Noble, Headteacher
Thank you to everyone who came along on Saturday 31stOctober 2015 to mark the Official Opening Ceremony of our amazing new Playground. Many thanks to piper and drummer who provided us all with a warm welcome, lending to the sense of occasion. Liza, the eldest pupil, and David, the youngest, performed their honorary duties superbly by cutting our official ribbon. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to give my sincere thanks in public to the parents, children and members of the community who have devoted so much of their time, commitment and resources. Together we believed and together we achieved, raising a truly extraordinary sum to turn playground visions into reality for all our children. 

We are grateful to the parents who worked so hard on submitting funding applications, enabling us to secure match funding from SportScotland through the Commonwealth Legacy Fund. David Ewart, from SportScotland, presented us with a plaque to mark our achievement in creating such a magnificent active space together, as a singly united community. We all enjoyed delicious cake and thankfully the rain didn’t arrive until we were leaving!

Establishing a natural environment which provides endless opportunities for activity and creativity was key to the vision developed by parents and school and it has been an absolute joy to witness that vision come to fruition. The playground supervisors and Senior Leadership Team have noticed a remarkable improvement in the quality of play and behaviour at playtimes. Our accident statistics have dropped and while previously we used to have several children who regularly visited the Care Zone just for some TLC, there has not been one child since August.

The playground has been timetabled for curriculum activities and the Class Teachers are greatly enthused by the opportunities our new area has provided. Fiona Sellar, Class Teacher and Outdoor Learning Coordinator, has inspired all the staff with her presentation on how the play area will support, enhance and enrich learning.

We have been using the strip of land across the road for curriculum activities but recently gave access to the area at lunchtime for play. It is offering a superb space for running, jumping, climbing, building and great teamwork.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the members of the Parent Council Playground Group, who volunteered almost three years ago to support playground improvement. Following a parent survey, the playground was identified as an area causing concern and a priority for action. An exceptional group of people offered their time, skills, talents, knowledge and valuable support, encouragement and kindness to support improvement. At times, as Headteacher, I have felt overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness and dedication. They spent a huge amount of their personal time, in addition to their busy family and work commitments, to help create and develop a shared vision for our playground. The vision has now become a reality and is a true reflection of powerful parental and community engagement to improve the learning outcomes and experiences for the current and future children at Sciennes and in the community. 

The generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness of so many companies, individuals, parents and families have been tremendously valued and appreciated. Particular thanks to Stephen Mozier from Grounds for Learning, Louise Caldwell City of Edinburgh's Play Development Officer, Margaret Westwood Chair of International Play Association Scotland,  Savills and the Grange Association. My most sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has given their support to this vitally important initiative. There is still more to do and the Playground Group will be meeting again soon to take forward our next steps. Parents and carers will be most welcome to come along and support. 

Thank you to Chris Hill for providing us with these photographs of the opening ceremony. We hope you enjoy the photographs that will be posted regularly showing our children having fun and learning. 

Alison Noble, Headteacher 

Thank you to Business Manager Angela Christie, who has been a driving force in delivering our playground vision