A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

26 November 2021

Our assembly this week was on Autism Awareness. We had a broad introduction to autism that focussed on what autism is and what autism isn’t.  We looked at the idea of a developmental condition as opposed to an illness and what this means for people living with autism.  We looked at some of the main ways that autism presents itself and the barriers that some people face.  We looked at the “spectrum wheel” as a better model for understanding how autism effects people as opposed to the “spectrum line”.  There was even a very brief introduction to one of the famous pieces of psychological research (Heider-Simmel). 

Our seniors have now embarked on their prelims and will be engaged in them for the next two weeks.  These seem to be going well in the first few days and are allowing pupils to get a formal experience of the exam system in preparation for their final SQA exams in April/May 2022.  The results of these prelims will help pupils and teachers to identify areas pupils have performed well in and to identity where extra support is required to ensure further progress. It would be great if parents can support time for revision at home and help pupils stick to their study plans. Thank you.

Staffing

We are about to advertise two posts.

Full time (permanent) Support for Learning Leader (PT)

Full time (permanent) teacher of English

Covid-19 Reducing Risks in Schools – Update 22 November 2021

Current mitigations remain in place in terms of face coverings (unless exempt), hand sanitising, cleaning of work stations and ensuring increased ventilation.  The update to school uniform is already something we have considered and we are asking pupils to bring a warm fleece or jacket they can wear to keep them warm in class should they need it due to the increased ventilation. Physical distancing between staff and staff/pupils remains at 1-2M at all times. Our one way system has also to be retained. The Scottish Government is also stressing the importance of us all participating in the twice weekly asymptomatic testing and recording the results online. The testing also alerts us, if it is positive, to self-isolate and book a PCR test and therefore reducing the spread in our school and community. In line with general guidance, face coverings are expected to be worn by all pupils over 12 years of age on school transport.

Visitors can attend the school by prior agreement and must follow all health and safety mitigations in place when doing so. However the default for all meetings with parents/carers (including Parent Councils and Parent Consultations) is online.

Digital Schools Award

This has been awarded to Knox Academy, by Education Scotland, in recognition of our school’s excellence in integrating digital technology into learning and teaching. Thank you in particular to Calum Blair (CL Numeracy and Computing) on his leadership of this, and to all staff and pupils for their investment in their digital learning and application of these skills.  You have all really embraced our digital learner journey over the last few years (and more). This award is a huge achievement and a great accolade for our school and community and I know we will continue to invest in our progress over the coming years as we develop our skills further. The school is also going to become a mentor to other schools to help them progress their digital skills too – an exciting opportunity for collaboration. 

School Bells

We have now had four full weeks on our ‘trial’ of the school bells ringing four times a day (start, end of break, lunch and end of the day).  A survey has been sent to all pupils and staff for their views on whether this is retained or not. The survey closes at midday today and pupils, staff and parents/carers will be notified of any changes next week. If we do revert to bells at the end of each period this would not take effect until 6 December 2021.

S3 Parents’ Evening

Thank you to all parents/carers who attended this parents’ consultation on Tuesday evening. From speaking to our staff team the conversations were very good and allowed parents, pupils and staff to support next steps in learning/progress.  S3 will now be receiving some support in preparing for their learner pathway choices for S4, both in Personal and Social Education and also from our Skills Development Scotland Advisor, Chris Trotter. We will also be posting lots of links on Twitter, so please do follow on this too . Thank you.

S2/3 Options Choices Webinar For Parents

SDS Webinar: Helping your child with S2/3 option choices - support for parents and carers

About this event

Looking for some help to support your young person with their option choices?

In this webinar parents and carers will hear from SDS’s expert, qualified careers advisers and find out about where to go for additional information and support.

Date and time: Wed, 1 December 2021 (18:30 – 19:15). The link to sign up is here:

Parent Council Meeting - Learner Pathways and Careers (Focus)

The next meeting is on 9 December at 6.30pm (virtual meeting). At this meeting our invited speakers are Chris Trotter (Skills Development Scotland and our Knox Academy Careers Advisor) and Elaine Gorman (Developing the Young Workforce). They will be talking about learner pathways (course choices); supporting young people with their aspirations and qualifications for routes in to employment, university and college.  This will be of great interest in particular to parents/carers of young people in S2, S3, S4, S5 and S6. If you would like to attend this meeting please email our Chair of the Parent Council to gain access to our meeting code, parentcouncil@ka-net.org.uk. It would be great to see as many people attend as possible. Further learner pathway information sessions are also planned for January and Mr Russell will be issuing more detail about these soon.

Diligence Awards  

These will be issued to our young people at the end of January. Diligence nominations, from subject teachers, are given to those pupils who have demonstrated hard work and commitment, on a day to day basis, throughout Term 1 (August – December).  The certificate will detail all subjects they have been nominated in. The ultimate aim is for pupils to be nominated in all of their subjects. If they are not, the goal for term two (January – April) is to aim higher and achieve this. The idea behind these awards is to create ambition (one of our school values) and raise attainment and achievement through sustained effort and commitment to their studies, thus ensuring they achieve their potential. These are really important awards and parents/carers should review these with their young person to identify their successes and also support them where ‘subjects’ missing require more sustained effort. More information on our diligence awards is available by clicking on this link Diligence Awards.

Children in Need

After totaling all monies, our Children In Need morning, last Friday, raised £780.47 - £3 more than last year. A huge thank you to all who donated and baked. Thank you also goes to S6 for organising the event.

Knox 2021 Christmas Concert

The Music Department had a wonderfully successful day recording the Knox 2021 Christmas Concert on Monday 22 November with Creative Industries expert Richie & his students from Edinburgh College at the helm with their professional sound & visual recording gear. Mrs Martin (Music) did a fantastic job of pulling it all together in a short space of time with invaluable support from our Instrumental Instructors (woodwind, brass, guitar, drums, piano, strings and bagpipes). It was excellent to have groups of dancers involved too, thanks to Miss Graham's Dance Club. Knox Academy students rose to the occasion with their performances and positive attitudes, demonstrating our school values of Ambition, Respect & Community. We are very grateful to Mr Gawn, Team Leader at the Instrumental Music Service, for linking us up with Edinburgh College and we look forward with anticipation to watching the Christmas Concert as a school community in December. The link will be shared for our concert during the last week of term.

Christmas Lunch

This will take place on Thursday 9 December. There will be vegetarian options available too. Please encourage your young people to enjoy this great feast that our Food Court put on for our school pupils and staff.  Soup and sandwiches will also be available on this date.

School Session Dates

The school session dates for 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 have now been published.

Library Books

There are currently many library books overdue.  To allow this back log to be cleared, can I request that parents/carers remind their young people to return these items before the Christmas holidays? (Ms R Fry)

Reporting Pupil Absence

Parents/Carers are reminded that student absences should be reported as soon as possible to allow the attendance record to be updated.  Absences can be reported either by telephoning the main office or e-mailing attendance@knox.elcschool.org.uk stating the reason for absence. (Office team)

Surveys for Parents/Carers and Pupils

Your views are sought on East Lothian Council’s Learning Estate Review and also on the Scottish Government’s Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021. Please read below for more information on both and the links to the surveys. Thank you.

Learning Estate Review

The council is sharing detailed information on its school buildings with a new website giving a full picture of its estate at individual school, cluster and East Lothian level.

The website brings together information on the condition, suitability and capacity of existing schools and the council is keen to hear the views of families, communities and learners.

The events are part of the development of a Learning Estate Investment Plan for East Lothian. The plan will set out the council’s investment priorities for its schools to make sure that all facilities support high quality teaching and learning equally across the county, and to outline the investment needed for this to happen. It will also consider how school buildings support community use.

You can share your feedback by:

  • Visiting the website and completing an online survey
  • Emailing the Learning Estate team
  • Attending an online drop-in session to give your views directly (Wednesday 1 December 5-6pm)

The feedback will be analysed alongside the results of the online questionnaire exercise that was held in February and presented at a future council meeting. For more information, including dates of event in your area and a link to the questionnaire, click here.  The consultation closes on 17 December 2021.

Consultation by the Scottish Government on The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021

Parents, pupils and staff are being asked to give their views about: The ways that products can be obtained free of charge; the location where the products are stored and the types of products available free of charge. The consultation includes those who may need to use the products now and in the future. Parents/carers can complete the survey here. The consultation closes on 14 January 2022.

Further Information:

Periods | Information and Advice on Periods | Young Scot

Home - RSHP

The Period Products Free Provision Scotland Act 2021

Covid-19

Please continue to report all positive Covid-19 cases to covidinschools@eastlothian.gov.uk or if you do not have access to email, telephone 01875 613921. Please also inform the school so we can amend your young person’s attendance record. Pupils should continue to do twice weekly LFD tests. LFD kits are available every morning on arrival to school and during the day from the office. They can also be collected from pharmacies and test centres.

Please do not send pupils to school who have symptoms. They should self-isolate and book a PCR test and not return to school until they know this is negative and they have no symptoms.

The Parent Club also provides useful information on testing for pupils.

Dates for you diary (please also see the School Calendar for overview and updates):

Thursday 25 November – Friday 10 December – S4/5/6 Prelims

Wednesday 8 December – S2 Parents’ Consultation (virtual) – 5-7pm

Thursday 9 December – Parent Council (virtual) – 6.30-8pm

Thursday 9 December – Christmas lunch (Food Court) (sandwiches and fruit still available too)

Friday 17 December – End of Term (12.15pm)

Sue Cook

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk for the latest information and updates