Big Hopes Big Future

Befriending Support in Fa’side. We all need a hand sometimes. 


A new befriending support project running in Fa’side – Tranent Cluster started this year. This project focuses on helping children and families prepare and be ready for transition to nursery or primary school.

Guest Speaker: Evelyn Swinton of Big Hopes Big Future project.

The project is run through Home-Start East Lothian, and the co-ordinator, Evelyn Swinton, was guest speaker at the Parent Council AGM on 25th June. (Big Hopes Big Future is being rolled out nationally, having started in England and now funded locally and in Aberdeen for families with young children, not yet in school).

Evelyn shared this short media film, made here in the Tranent cluster, which gives an indication of what the project aims to do and how it works. The joy of giving caring support at the right times, is how much it can benefit the children, not just the parents.

By providing friendly but high quality of support to families, whether new to the area or facing some particular difficulties, parents can work with their peers to help get life back on track.

The Parent Council and staff present enjoyed the presentation and appreciated Evelyn’s time in answering questions too. All hope that any local families with a young child, who could benefit from a friendly face there to help and support, will be able to be matched to the Big Hopes Big Future volunteers and also benefit from the programme.

To find out more about Home-Start or BHBF project, please contact Home-Start East Lothian.

Home-Start East Lothian
Early Years Centre,
Sandersons Wynd,
East Lothian EH33 1DA
Tel: 01875 616066
  • Volunteers receive training and support from the East Lothian team.
  • Families supported through BHBF or other Home-Start volunteers, or the Support from the Start Family Support Worker Heather, can be assured of being matched to a very caring and understanding person who will work with them to ensure the help needed is provided.
  • Families and volunteers tend to report a sense of developing a real friend and having a lot of fun too.

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15 June 2018


This week we played out in the wind and made kites and capes. We loved watching the trees blowing about! We also made cards for our dads or granddads and took them home ready for Sunday.

P1R and P1B

P1R and P1B enjoyed visiting Winton Castle this week. We saw the biggest carpet in Scotland and saw a bathroom that all 30 of us fitted inside! We also spotted lots of features of castles and enjoyed having playtime in the walled garden. We have also been working hard on preparing for our assembly next Thursday.


This week in P2 we have been making notes from a picture that we looked at. We then used these notes to create exciting stories. There were superheroes, robots, princess’, space, aliens, toads and rocket ships!

We also had a visit from Miss Meli who is from France. She taught us how to sing ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and we created our own monsters from our knowledge of French.


This week we’ve been very busy investigating different world habitats. We’ve been reading non-fiction texts in books and on the internet to find out information about our chosen habitats. We learned how to make notes and then we used this information to do Mrs Grant’s ‘habitat in a shoebox’ challenge. Well done P3, they’re amazing!


Primary 4 completed our class talks on fact and opinion. Everyone’s talk was well prepared and everyone was given the opportunity to review the talks.  As part of our technology work, we made movable robots, robotic hands.


This week we said goodbye to our butterflies. We have really enjoyed watching them change from very small caterpillars to much bigger caterpillars, to cocoons and then onto butterflies. We have also been learning about table etiquette and how to properly set a table for dinner.


We have been very lucky this week to have Betty the French student come and assist us during our French sessions this week. It has been a wonderful opportunity for the students and staff to have an expert here to answer any questions and assist us with our learning.

Primary 6 also enjoyed learning some new rules for Cricket this week and are working very well as a team.


After the excitement of the show last week it’s time to look ahead now. Most of the class have been to Ross High School for their 2 day induction visit.  There’s a lot of excitement now about moving on.

60 second update 1 June

1 June 2018

Everyone in the nursery has been enjoying using the material as costumes, dens and to make beds and picnic blankets this week. We made surprise invitations for P6 and we have had great fun with the hay bales.

P1R and P1B
We have had a busy week preparing for our banquet on Tuesday 5th June at 2pm. Can’t say too much as we don’t want to spoil it for our guests. Do hope all parents in P1 received their invites this week! We hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you.

P2 went on a trip to the Botanic Gardens this week. We learned all about different ‘Plants We Use’. These included: Cocoa bean, bamboo, lemon, green banana, red pineapple, boomerang, ginger, tree tomato, rain stick, aloe vera, and vanilla. We got to taste lots of different things as we walked around the gardens. We got shown a plant that wilts once or twice a year and then regrows and produces beautiful flowers. (It was humongous!) We also looked at the silver birch tree and found out that if you cut the bark then you would find lots of sap would start seeping out.

On Wednesday, the P3 children took part in a Football Festival at Forrester Park in Tranent and they loved it! They played short matches against children from other schools and they won 4 out of their 5 matches! They’re still talking about it! As ever, a big highlight was ……… going on a bus together!
We’re still collecting shoeboxes for our habitat in a box activity so please donate any spare shoeboxes if you can. Thanks.

Primary 4 have been doing science experiments related to our water topic. We talked about fair testing and investigated evaporation and melting. We have written newspaper reports which show the skills that we have been learning such as direct speech, wow words and we have had a go at alliteration.

Exciting news, our caterpillars are in their cocoons! We are now watching carefully to see when they emerge as butterflies. We have also been to visit John Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar this week. This was a really interesting trip and we found out lots of new John Muir facts that we didn’t already know.

This week Primary 6 enjoyed their second session of Cricket, the pupils have all shown great enthusiasm towards the sessions. The pupils have all gained so much confidence and are really working well together in their teams. Primary 6 have also started looking at different elements of time including time in French.

This week has all been about preparing for our show next week.

Parent Council AGM Invitation

Pencaitland Primary School Parent Council  Annual General Meeting.

You are cordially invited to the PPS AGM 2018.


To be held in PPS on 25th June 7-9pm.

We would also like to invite any nominees / volunteers to note interest in joining the parent council, as we have three parent members standing down this year.



All parents and carers of a child in the school are automatically part of the Parent Forum and are eligible to be nominated / volunteer. 

We note grateful thanks to Neill Russell for his time and commitment and support over the past couple of years, especially with IT and the formation of sub group looking at unconscious bias and creating the online “donation of books” sign up.

Ralph Averbuch will also be stepping down after many years as he will no longer have a child in the school. Keeping on the tradition however, Ralph is already a member of Ross High Parent Council and recommends getting involved and hopes to remain involved as our community member.

Especial thanks to Carol Snow are also required, as Carol will be stepping down from parent council after lengthy service, including 5 years as Chair (over two separate periods). Carol was also, formerly, the East Lothian representative to the National Association of Parent Councils, so we all bow down before her! A mighty service indeed. Carol is creating some time, not for rest and recuperation from community work, instead she is helping to lead our new Community Intergenerational Choir, along with Charlotte McMillan and our recently formed committee. (Link will take you to Facebook).

If you would like to find out more about the PC and considering joining the crew, please email – or talk to one of the current members – Carol, Ralph, Jim, Flor, Neill, Loreen, Erica, Dave or Viv. Check out the parent council page for more info info around what we do. 


60 second update

25 May




This week in the nursery we were using the rugby balls to practise throwing and catching. Mrs Cooper was showing us how to make paper fly, and on Tuesday we walked right round the whole school!

P1R and P1B have been working hard on our Castles Topic. We have been organising a banquet for some Royal guests- writing invitations and designing crowns and outfits! We can’t wait to welcome our guests!


This week in P2 we have been using prediction skills while we are reading, looking for different clues within the text about what might happen next. We have created beautiful sunflower pictures using different materials e.g a fork, our fingers, pencils and lots more.


This week, we’ve been finding out about local habitats. We went for an observation walk around the school grounds, looking closely at all the different habitats we found. Then, we used the laptops to do some research about what might be living in these habitats around school and we recorded our findings. Each child then created a local habitats collage map, showing all the information they’d found.  Well done P3, your habitats ‘maps’ are great!


This week, Primary 4 have been continuing to learn about fractions.  Our focus was comparing the sizes of fractions.  We have found it tricky but with lots of practice, we’re getting there.  As part of our topic work on Water, we have been learning about ways to save water and we have been making posters to inform and encourage people to save water.


We have been outside lots this week carrying out our John Muir work. We have been weeding and planting in the garden and have also measured and drawn plans of the garden plots. Our classroom caterpillars are eating lots and getting bigger every day.


Primary 6 had fun painting their food sculptures. We have been learning about all the different factors that can affect a healthy diet. In French we have continued learning different parts of the body.


We are pleased to announce that we have 4 films shortlisted for the Edinburgh and Lothians Schools Film Competition:

  • Jelly Terror
  • Discover Earth
  • Newsround Special
  • How to Master Life

The final is at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh on 21sth June. Fingers crossed!