Islay’s Chough; An endangered species

Mrs Clark’s P6/7 Class have been learning about Chough. The Topic, suggested and designed by Evie Wood with help from her Dad David Wood from the RSPB has seen the class learning all about one of Islay’s most endangered species – The Chough.

Chough are members of the Corvid family, along with Crows, Ravens and Jackdaws. There are less than 50 pairs in the whole of Scotland, occurring in only two places in the country, Islay and Colonsay. They are predicted to become extinct in less than 50 years.

An iconic species with their curved red beak and matching red legs – they are a culturally significant species on our rugged west coast landscape.

The children learnt that the Chough are at risk because of habitat change, lack of food, inbreeding, destocking and possibly climate change.

The class visited the RSPB Oa Reserve one afternoon in early June. There they met the Site Manager David Wood. The children were shocked to find out what the main features of a Chough diet are.

One of the main food stuffs they were surprised by, were dung beetles, which can be found in cow pats and other nutritious poo!

All the children were given gloves and a tray, they proceeded to go to David to get their trays filled with cow poo! They had to search through the poo to find as many dung beetles as they could. In one cow pat, there was over 20 beetles!

The children found 4 species of Dung Beetle: Geotrupes stercorosus, Aphodius rufipes, Aphodius pedellus, Teuchestes fosser. As well as Clown Beetles, Rove Beetles and all sorts of beetle larvae.

The children learnt that to help the Chough we should support nature friendly farming, provide them with nest sites, in old barns and caves, reduce the use of veterinary medicines in livestock, grace the right habitats and closely monitor the population.

The children were lucky enough to see Chough flying to and from their nest site through telescopes and binoculars during their visit.

David Wood travelled to Somerset to the Yeo Valley Farm to speak at a conference with leading experts from the Dung Beetle World – he will be sharing details of his work with Port Ellen Primary School for all to hear.

By Evie Wood

Solar Punk Outdoors

P67 have been involved in an Education IDL pilot called Solar Punk this term. THE PROJECT-A challenge to design and brand your unique neighbourhood on an island that is based on the principles of the 15 minute neighbourhood rules and Solarpunk movement.

The children became passengers on a shipwrecked boat and had to work together to create Solar Punk Island, turning a section of the island into their own habitat based on ideas of sustainability.

They created designs for architecture, built renewable devices, learned to filter water, made gardens and spent a day practicing skills in the woods and the beach.  See the video:



P6/7 Microorganisms Topic

In the first term of 2024 primary 6/7 started a topic on Microorganisms. Their aim was to understand different types of Microorganisms and how they helped and harmed the world.

One part of their project was researching different Microorganisms and making posters about them. The things they needed to have on their posters were an explanation of Microorganisms, a list of helpful and harmful Microorganisms, a fact file about two different Microorganisms, and fun facts. Almost all of the children were successful in this and some even had to use two sheets of A3 paper!

Another part of the project was  looking at things through microscopes, the class looked at a lot of different things through microscopes like worms, moss and sand. They were fascinated by this and spent a long time looking at different things.

They did two small mold experiments, one where they did different things to two slices of bread to see which grew more mold. They also got a variety of different food, some that was processed a lot and some that was not processed much, and out them all in an airtight box to see what grew the most mold.

In conclusion this was a great project and the class enjoyed it a lot.


On lunch break we run clubs! The different clubs are drawing, dodgeball, playground games, reading. The captains of the one house run them and everyone in there house is allowed to come. Every day it is a different house so that everybody gets to go to clubs. It is super fun because everyone gets to play with each other.  We enjoy the chance to run our own clubs and this links to the right to play Article 31.

Dance a Thon

On the last day of term Port Ellen primary school did Dance a Thon to raise money for making Blytheswood shoe boxes for children in Romania. Children in the school danced to different songs in the hall and in each class the best dancer got a prizes.  Everyone has enjoyed the Danceathon and it has raised a lot of money, helping children meet the right to health care article 24.

Our Trip To Jura

On Thursday 14th September we all went on a trip to Jura primary school to share our Rights Respecting Schools work with each other. Small Isles Primary already has their silver award and we wanted to learn more. We went with Mrs. Mackenzie, Mrs. Clark and Miss Clark.   When we got there we learned about the Outright  campaign on climate change and we worked in groups to come up with a problem we want our local councillors and MSP to solve.  We will work together to write to them about it to see if we can make a change.  We got to go out and play at break in Small Isles playground and then we went to the beach for lunch and ice cream.  We had a great day out and enjoyed making friends with children from Jura.

Philip Reeve and Sarah Mcintyre Visit!

On the 8th of September we got a special visit from someone. They were book authors! Philip Reeve and Sarah Mcintyre came to our school and did some games, talked to us about how to write books, and also joked around with us. They wrote books together like Pugs of the Frozen North, The Legend of Kevin, and many more. We did it in the hall and they had things on the wall where it was like a quest and we had to come up with ideas to make it more exciting to travel through. They also read a bit of one of their books which we all really enjoyed listening to. They came to Islay for the Islay Book Festival. That is where lots of famous authors come to Islay for this special festival.

Over all this was a great afternoon with good fun.


Lari Don P4 to 7 Google Meet

On the Thursday 7th of September 2023 primary’s 4, 5, 6 and 7 had a google meet in the primary 6,7 class room with Lari Don. In the meet they discussed writing books, her style of writing and much more! She read the children a small section of her book Storm Singing and a bit of her favorite fairy tale about a welsh monster. She did the meet for the Islay book festival.

Lari Don is a wonderful author who has written book for all ages here is the blurb of one of her most popular books First Aid for Fairy’s and Other Fabled Beasts.

Helen has absolutely no interest in becoming a vet like her mother she wants to become a musician. So she isn’t the best pleased when asked to help an injured horse. Only this isn’t a horse rather a centor. Helen is thrust into an extraordinary full of mythical beasts and fabled creatures.

Here is a link to Lari Dons website.


Rights are very important to children up to 18 all around the world.  We have been working on them to help us understand the value of it all. We have learnt that our opinion should be heard, no matter what age you are, All children up to 18 should have their rights and know them but some children in wars don’t get their rights,  like education, Safety, health, and to be heard.  If you think that you are not getting your  rights tell someone you trust. In Port Ellen school we have made a playground charter of rights so children can respect other children no matter what they look like or what country they are from.


This term we have been working with the new primary ones and twos. We have been reading them stories and they have been loving it, playing with them with the parachute and more. We all had a good time. On Friday we had a teddy bear picnic with them. We also had banana muffins when we were outside. We built houses boats and more for our and our buddies teddies. we looked after the new primary ones  at their first day. After we had the muffins we did a teddy bear race, it was fun!


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