News in Edinburgh

Funding boost for project to help autistic children

A specialist project for children in Edinburgh and East Lothian with autism to help the development of their social interactions and communication skills has received a £5,000 boost from Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation.

Lothian Autistic Society will provide valuable learning activities for autistic children, who are more inclined to struggle during their learning experience at school - not because of inability but because of a different learning style not generally encouraged through mainstream education.

The donation will allow the charity to run their ‘Grow, Play’ project for 20 children across Edinburgh and the East Lothian region. The programme for the project, set to run for six months, is designed in a highly stimulating way whereby learning is delivered through play activities and is for children.


Stage version of CBeebies show comes to Edinburgh

Tickets are now on sale for In The Night Garden Live, the stage adaptation of the smash-hit CBeebies children’s TV show. The show will come to the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh in April as part of its first ever tour of UK theatres. In the Night Garden Live will be at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh from April 27 and 28 2019. See or call 0131 529 6000


Ranger service marks anniversary

A ranger service which provides a wide range of activities for children and young people is marking its 40th anniversary this year.

The Hopetoun House Ranger Service, near South Queensferry, was established in 1978, when it was voluntary, and three rangers worked on a rota system. The ranger service of 2018 still provides a warm welcome to visitors, guided walks, information on the nature trails and education visits. They provide a variety of events and activities throughout the year, as well as running very popular nature clubs for 7-18 year olds.


Relax as you design your personalised Christmas gifts

Don’t let the children have all the fun when it comes to decorating personalised gifts. At Doodles, Edinburgh’s original “paint your own” pottery workshop, adults can enjoy a complementary glass of mulled wine and a mince pie every Tuesday evening in November and December from 6 - 9pm. Call 0131 229 1399 to book or visit


Brunton panto fun lets the young join in the traditional antics 

Twenty-four young people from across East Lothian will be joining the professional cast on stage when the Brunton Theatre’s panto Jack and the Beanstalk opens at the end of this month. The youngsters, who range in age from P4 upwards, each won a part in the Musselburgh Theatre’s panto chorus after competing in an open audition for children in East Lothian. Jack and the Beanstalk runs from Tuesday 27 November until Saturday 5 January. Tickets are available from The Brunton on 0131 665 2240 or


Raviv is Changing the Way People Learn

Families are reaping the benefits with Raviv’s physical exercise programmes stimulating brain activity and helping overcome learning difficulties. Benefits include improved reading, writing, numeracy, memory, motor-skills, ADHD, confidence and self-esteem. Contact Karen: 07711 623605 or visit


Primary schools take starring role at Stellar Awards

Four Lothian primary schools picked up awards at a ceremony designed to highlight education excellence last month. The Stellar Awards celebrate educational excellence in West Lothian, with awards handed out in categories including academic achievement, STEM, literacy, the creative arts, numeracy, sport, health and wellbeing and groups and community heroes were acknowledged. Among the winners were St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Linlithgow, which won the STEM Award, Knightsridge Primary School in Livingston, which won the Literacy Award, and Bankton Primary School in Livingston which won the Numeracy Award. The Parkey Pals from Parkhead Primary School in West Calder also won a Community Heroes Award.


Campaign launched to spread word about right to defer

A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of parents’ rights to defer their child’s start to school until August after they turn five.

Most parents are aware that children born in January or February can defer their start in P1 for a year. Many take advantage of this if they feel their child isn’t ready for school and such children are automatically entitled to another year of pre-school education.

What is less widely known is that parents have a legal right to defer those born from mid-August to December and delay their start at school until they are five when their school career starts. However, an extra year’s funding of early learning and childcare is not automatic and is only awarded at their local council’s discretion.

The new campaign, Give Them Time, aims to raise awareness of this right. Patricia Anderson, a spokesperson for the campaign said: “There is no consistent approach taken by local authorities when considering applications from parents of mid-August to December born children for an extra year of early learning and childcare funding.

We believe the procedure for deferring entry to primary one and legal information regarding deferral rights should be accurate, easily accessible and written in plain English on all councils' websites and issued by EL&C centres when each child starts.

Visit or email for more details.


Charity appeal for winter clothes for kids

HAVE you tried on the children’s winter coats or boots in the last few weeks and found they’re too small? If you have, Ratho-based charity Kids Love Clothes would be delighted to take them off your hands.

The charity helps struggling families with young children in and around Edinburgh by providing them with quality pre-loved clothes for ages 0 to 12 years. The team of volunteers have been inundated with referrals and urgently need winter clothes for girls and boys, including coats, fleeces, trousers, PJs, dressing gowns, long-sleeved tops, hats and gloves. They are also looking for boys’ and girls’ winter boots and shoes sizes 8, 9 and 10.

The charity has drop-off points across Edinburgh and the Lothians, which are listed on its Facebook page, for clean clothes, ideally in a bag labelled with the size. The charity is also always keen to hear from volunteers who can spare a few hours to sort clothes at its unit in Ratho or to iron clothes.


Tailored Parties from Misheru Hikari

Misheru is a professional storyteller, trained actor and drama specialist and will entertain the whole family with funny and creepy stories in the traditional Japanese style of Rakuga, otherwise known as sit down comedy. Misheru recently performed her show, She and her Cat at the Edinburgh festival in front of the Japanese consulate and was well received by all who saw her perform. She also juggles, plays fun games, and throws in a bit of laughter yoga to make sure everyone is having fun. Misheru is CRB checked and has public liability through equity. For details email


Sing Your Heart Out

Is your child crazy for canines? Mad for music? Then go along to new class starting in January on Saturday. Take part in a musical or learn how to sing at sight. Designed with fun in mind for children from P1 to P7. Visit


First for the city as new school opens 

A NEW primary school in Edinburgh was officially opened last month. St John’s RC Primary School in Portobello was opened by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

The new building is the first primary school in Edinburgh to be built under the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme and is situated on part of the former Portobello High School site. The two-stream primary school has a flexible design with both formal and informal teaching areas for each year group and bright open spaces to maximise learning. The remainder of the site and the former St John’s site will be made into a park for the local community to use.


New head’s pledge as she takes up post 

THE new headteacher at Letham Primary School in Livingston is aiming to help make the school and pupils the best they can be. Sharon Wallace has been appointed to the key role of leading the Craigshill school and is well-known in the community after previously serving as both class teacher and depute headteacher at Letham. She began her career as teacher in England and has also worked as a Curriculum Support Officer leading on Literacy and Numeracy for Falkirk Council.
She said: “I am delighted to have been appointed headteacher at Letham Primary and Nursery Class, and my vision is to make the school the best that it can be.
“We pride ourselves on our wonderful relationships with our local community at Letham, and are dedicated to working with every pupil, parent/carer and the Craigshill community.”

Golden success for special school 

Beatlie School Campus in Livingston has become the first special school in West Lothian to achieve a Gold award from United Nations' children's charity UNICEF.

It is one of just three special schools in the whole of Scotland to win the top award in the Rights Respecting Schools programme, which places children's rights at the heart of the curriculum.

To achieve the award, the school demonstrated how they have put the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the core of the school's planning, policies, practice and ethos. This includes teaching about children's rights, as well as encouraging respect in all relationships involving teachers, adults and pupils.



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