Tag Archives: Relate

A Message from Mr Murray – Relate, Rupture and Repair, Near and Far, Parent’s Night, Gardens, Forest, STEM, Children 1st, Kitbag and much, much more


The first week of term is always very busy and this year was no different. Even before the children arrived we had a wonderful morning with Dr Suzanne Zeedyk. She talked with us about how children “attach” to others and brain development. She left our staff team thinking about a cycle called relate, rupture and repair. This cycle was thought of by Dr Allan Schore. I found it interesting because every day, hundreds of children “relate” to me, and I to them. They tell me stories and I do the same. I do my very best to give my full attention and usually succeed but at times I can’t due to the volume of wee faces and at this point a “rupture” occurs where a child may feel cheated or simply that I don’t care. I do care, you know I do, but Dr Schore states that resilience occurs when rupture happens and then meaningful “repair” occurs. So this disappointment as it were is actually an opportunity to build “hardness” or resilience. Dr Zeedyk took this further and offered us a hook or a slogan to help us draw on the research idea

“Making up is more important than messing up.”

We will be using this idea to ensure relationships continue to be our key focus at all times as we begin our work on building brains at Burnside. Further information will follow providing you with opportunities to learn more.

We introduced our strategic (how to get things done) pathways (our focus areas) to staff this year and we will share our NEAR & FAR approach in a newsletter later this coming week. This will help us all speak a common language of resilience and relationship and give you a clear idea of the direction our school is travelling in.

P1 and Nursery started their respective journeys and our approach of letting parents/carers attend by staggering times yielded a positive outcome, in that very few, if any children appeared distressed. Both my own daughters started at another school this week and so I realise just how important for child and parent these special times are and just how nervous parents can get (yes I was a bag of nerves but both my daughters happily skipped into P1 and Nursery.) The work starts well ahead of the day of course and our transition gets better and better with every year. This year, following feedback from yourselves and guidance from the Scottish Government, we will have a parent’s night at the end of the first term which will replace “meet the teacher”.

Our school roll is now the highest it has been for several years. It sits at 420 not including the Nursery (capacity of 90). So we are well on the way to reaching the 500 mark which fills me with great excitement. We have so many children benefitting from the terrific family support and staff / partnership team we have to offer at Burnside.

Our gardens have been cleared, weeded and levelled over the summer and we are now ready to take forward the idea of the Nursery garden, an Oriental Zen garden (Mandarin & mindfulness) and a Burnside Berry farm (complete with poly tunnels and a partnership with one of the local farms). We will establish a parent/staff/child/partner group to take these exciting ideas forward so keep your eyes peeled for more information.

Outdoor learning specialist Gavin Brebner also visited and we have already put dates in our diary to begin our work developing skills and learning through outdoor experiences and challenges. Our forest will also be transformed and we are looking at building a forest capable of rich learning opportunities in Science, Technologies, Engineering and Maths (STEM) next year. We are calling the project “The Learning Estate” We will also be creating a play focus as well as the STEM subjects and will work with partners, the children, staff and yourselves to transform the ideas into reality for all our children.

Part of Suzanne Zeedyk’s work will be to raise our awareness of Adverse Childhood Experience and its impact on life outcomes. We will screen a film which will support all of our understanding in this area. The date is September 7th at 6.30 p.m. and we will run a school age crèche to support your attendance. We want as many of our families as possible to attend this one off event and tickets will be issued to each family upon request. We expect a full house and the Pupil Equity Funding money is ensuring we have the rights to screen the film.

Our first Parent council meeting will be on 5th September and will (you have my word on this) last no more than an hour. You can bring your child as we will be having a crèche to support attendance. We need your opinions, ideas and most importantly your energy, experience and enthusiasm to move our school forwards. We cannot do this without you and we really need you to attend. It starts with a wee talk from me about the plans for the school then we talk in more detail about these projects. We also ask for your opinion on things like reporting, homework, green cards and other areas of our school practice. We need you! It’s not stuffy and is pretty informal and I’ll even make you a tea or coffee when you arrive! Please drop a wee note to confirm if you will attend into the office next time you drop off your child. We need at least one parent from every class – please help me and try and come along.

Children 1st – one of Scotland’s most successful charities – visited me last week and we are going to form a partnership. They will introduce “kitbag” to our school staff and in turn support children’s social and emotional needs. We will keep you updated about our efforts with mindfulness, which has been shown to positively impact children’s stress levels, and self-regulation (responses to stress.)

We welcome Miss Breen and Miss McCreath to our teaching staff, Mrs Brymer and Mrs Bisgrove who are joining our classroom assistants team and Mrs Cargill to our office.  We will recruit a further two support staff so each stage can have at least one support staff allocated. We would also like at least one parent volunteer so each class can benefit from your help. After we speak to you about your interest/preference you will be given a year group and then when you arrive you will be given a job to do. This may involve listening to children reading or helping younger children adding or taking away sums. Our teachers are all very friendly and know how hard it is coming into the school for the first time – we know how to look after people and last year 18 parents volunteered regularly. Wonderful. Please contact the office to volunteer 30 minutes to an hour or more to help us improve and support all our children.

On Monday I will meet with NHS Tayside to identify opportunities to support the school and additional support needs and further details of this partnership will be forthcoming. I will also attend an authority Head Teacher day to discuss the new Government proposal for education and funding and further information will, of course, be forthcoming.

Our pedagogy (learning & teaching team) – Ms Roberts, Mrs Hoggan, Ms Wilson (Team leader) & Ms Kennedy – are meeting to prepare for our new approach to teachers planning together each week. This idea will support us in having in-depth discussions about your child and their progress. Thanks to Mrs Bisgrove’s efforts in designing our tracking system, it will also help us keep a record of your child’s learning outcomes each week in reading, writing and maths and detailed information about achievement & wellbeing. This will ensure we have regular discussions about the pace of learning and the amount of challenge / support your child receives.

Busy week as I’m sure you’ll agree and I look forward to next week’s instalment. Remember if you need a word I’m at the gate next to the incredible Mrs Wilmot in the mornings and at night and Mrs Goodwin is in the playground in the mornings – remember together “we are unstoppable.”

Nicky Murray