Have a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year

Crikey! it has been some year. All of us have been called upon to make sacrifices and live our lives in a very different and unprecedented way. What has been remarkable though, is the camaraderie and spirt shown by our pupils and our parents. It has been heartening to see at first hand such a can do attitude despite our pupils missing out on some of the regular experiences of a school in normal times. We felt this especially for our new P1s but our staff have been amazing about ensuring that every child feels valued and cared for and we have done our best to compensate for some of those restrictions. But boy are we going to have a good year next year! We are looking forward to starting in our new building and when things return to some sort of normality, ensuring that our parents are welcomed and encouraged to participate within our school life as much as possible.

This is just a thank you to Team Letham; to our staff who have worked tirelessly, to our pupils who amaze and delight us every day and to our parents for making our jobs so easy. We couldn’t do our staff panto this year, we couldn’t do our nativity (next year’s will be big and bold for those who missed out!) but here is a little light relief from our multi-talented staff. Have a lovely Christmas!

Haddington Goat Trail -new kids on the block…

We were delighted to take part in the Haddington Goat trail this year. Run by MADE in East Lothian this project allowed 12 applicants to create a goat and it placed in a local shop in the run up to Christmas. Our entry ‘Vincent van Goat’ (sorry!) was an amalgamation of the pupils’ ideas. Check out our video to see how Vinnie was made and where he can currently be found.

Changes in Scottish Law

Scotland has become the first part of the UK to ban the smacking of children after new legislation came into effect.

Changes to the law giving children the same protection from assault as adults were passed by the Scottish parliament last year and take effect from Saturday.

Scotland becomes the 58th country to outlaw corporal punishment after the defence of justifiable assault was removed from Scots law.

The Scottish Green MSP John Finnie, who introduced the changes, said he hoped the smacking ban would help demonstrate to children that violence is not acceptable.

He said: “As I have progressed my campaign over the last four years, it has been noticeable just how many people believed that striking a child was already outlawed.

“I am pleased that this will now be the case.”

The children’s minister, Maree Todd, said: “I’m very pleased that Scotland has become the first part of the UK to legislate to ensure that children, without exception, have the same protection from assault as adults.

“This outdated defence has no place in a modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child.”

Joanna Barrett, the NSPCC Scotland policy and public affairs officer, said: “This new law, finally, gives children in Scotland their rightful protection against assault and the same safeguards as adults.

“By making this common-sense move to get rid of the outdated defence of ‘justifiable assault’, we will be joining more than 50 other countries around the world in taking measures to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

“This law sets out in clear terms that physical punishment should no longer be part of childhood in Scotland and it marks a momentous step in making it a country where children’s rights are truly recognised, respected and fulfilled.”