A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

05 April 2019

It is amazing to think we have reached the final day of Term 2 already.  It has been very busy over the last week or so with our Spring Concert last Thursday evening followed by our S2 Battle of the Bands this Wednesday; more about this later.  Last Friday afternoon saw many of our Senior Pupils attend an extra study session put on by staff across all subjects in the school. Many pupils took advantage of this to get some extra tips or support for forthcoming exams and I would also like to thank staff for putting this on.  Please can I ask parents/carers to encourage young people in S4/5/6 to adopt a regular study pattern over the holidays and to balance this with some leisure time too.  Extra support for study timetables, tailored for an individual’s exam timetable, can be found on the MyExamApp. A real focus on preparation for exams over the holidays will mean the few days back at school after the Easter holidays, and before going on exam leave, can be used for last minute questions/support from teachers.   During exam leave the Library will be open on a Monday and Wednesday should senior pupils wish to use it to study in (please refer to the letter I sent out to all S4/5/6 Parents/Carers in early March.  For those on exam leave, food is also available at breaks and lunches at our Food Court. If attending school for exams or to study pupils should attend in uniform so they are easily recognisable as members of our school community.  Teachers will be available throughout the exam leave, during normal period times, should pupils wish to see them with questions about coursework or their forthcoming exams. The school canteen will be available for use for all our seniors as usual throughout the whole exam diet, and free school meal entitlement also continues throughout this time.

Finally, staff here at Knox Academy would like to wish all of our seniors sitting exams the very best in their performance.  Our Leavers’ Ceremony for all pupils leaving school this session, whether S4/S5 or S6, will take place from 9 am - midday on Wednesday 24 April.  A massive thank you to our local Tesco for sponsoring this. 

Staffing

We are currently advertising for a full time teacher and an ASN Auxiliary for Meadowpark. Both of these posts close during the Easter holiday and interviews will be held shortly after this.

Tesco Bags of Help Scheme to support Knox Academy's Activities Week. 

Please vote for us! Voting will take place between Wednesday 1 May 2019 to Sunday 30 June 2019.  As I am sure many of you know, Knox Academy Activities Week provides pupils with access to a whole range of different extra-curricular activities. The aim of the week is to allow pupils in S1-S3 to gain important skills that in turn allow them to become successful, valuable and responsible members of their community. Experiences in the past have included a huge variety of different activities such as cooking, mindfulness, mountain biking, sailing, build a band, cultural excursions and arts/crafts. Pupils are able to gain life skills, independence, resilience, accountability, all while having fun. 

I cannot put it into words the difference these experiences make to our pupils, the only issue is that for some of them it is no longer an option to take part due to financial restrictions, however, thanks to various funding opportunities from members of our local and wider community, Knox Academy is breaking down this barrier! (by H McBride)

Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament

A huge thank you to Angus Langlands (S5) as our outgoing member of the SYP and congratulations to Adnan Ros (S4) who has been appointed as one of the new MSYP for East Lothian.  Adnan is a very active member of our Eco School Committee and I am sure he will be championing this, amongst many other prominent issues, for young people in his new role. We wish him well and I am sure he will update us on his work as the year progresses.

Knox Academy PTA

Please support the PTA in raising funds for Knox Academy by joining the 100 club.  For as little as £3 per month you could be in with a chance of winning £50.   It is very easy to sign up for. Please contact the PTA to do so. Thank you!  (by PTA)

Library

As per last week’s HT update, I said I would update everyone in regard to cover for our Library. We will now have a Librarian on a Monday and Wednesday after the holidays until our new Librarian starts full time mid-May.

Scottish Swimming National Age Group Championships

We had four pupils last week competing in these championships - Aidan Ballantyne, Louisa Stoddart, Owen Williamson and Lauren Clark.  All of them performed exceptionally well and were great ambassadors for East Lothian Swim Team and Knox Academy.  The results were as follows: Wednesday: Aidan: 200m Breaststroke 11th; Owen: 100m Backstroke 8th; Louisa - 100 Freestyle 2nd/50m Breaststroke 29th.  On Thursday Aidan: 200m Butterfly 15th; Owen: 400m Freestyle 16th; on Friday - Aidan: 100m Breaststroke 12th;Lauren: 200m Butterfly 9th; Owen: 200m Backstroke 9th; Louisa – 400m Freestyle 6th/200m Butterfly 23rd ; on Saturday - Aidan: 200m Freestyle 8th;Lauren: 100m Butterfly 10th; Owen: 100m Butterfly 35th; Louisa – 800m Freestyle 3rd/100m Butterfly 11thand also the 200m Individual Medley; on Sunday - Aidan: 800m Freestyle 4th; Owen: 100m Freestyle 16th / 50m Backstroke 11th; Louisa – 200m Freestyle 7th/50m Butterfly 3rd.  

What an amazing amount of swimming from all over the four days and to perform at such a high level continuously certainly shows a lot of ambition and commitment. Well done to you all! (by S Cook/L Borwick)

On Saturday 30 March, Angus Langlands competed in the Lothian Disability Sports Spring Swim Gala at Mercat Gait in Prestonpans. This was Angus' 1st swim meet and something he has worked consistently hard to achieve during the academic year as part of his National 3 SQA PE award. 

He entered the meet independently and represented Knox Academy.  Angus competed in the 25 metre Freestyle race and was placed 2nd, whilst also gaining a Personal best of 29.5 seconds (0.5 seconds faster than his previous recorded fastest swim). It was another achievement for this very determined young man and shows that hard work and resilience are just as important as ability. (by Karen Fraser)

Prelims – Parents/Carers – views sought

We are considering moving prelims to November/early December. It would be good if parents could comment on (a) ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the moving of prelims and ideally comment why they are making their choice and (b) whether you would prefer an October or February Parents’ Evening to hear about your young person’s progress if we did move to a November/December prelim date. Full details of our rationale and how to submit comments can be found in the Prelim Date Change Consultation article.

Active Schools Coordinator

I am pleased to let parents/carers know that Adam Martin will be the temporary ASC for Knox Academy and will support us two days per week.  Adam is currently the Primary Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Tranent Cluster and has been since starting work full time with East Lothian Council after a stint working at the London 2012 Olympics.  Adam has previously supported Preston Lodge HS in a similar situation and has a very good knowledge of the Secondary tasks and challenges.  

Spring Concert – Thursday 28 March 

The Spring Concert again showed off the amazing musical talent at Knox Academy. We had performances from the pipes and drums to start the evening and this was followed by choirs, the orchestra, Goat’s Toes, jazz band, choir, S2 Build a Band, jazz quintet, ‘Tears in Heaven’ sung movingly with a guitar accompaniment and the evening reached its crescendo with a rendition of  ‘Mamma Mia – here I go again’…!  It was a brilliant night’s entertainment and always a pleasure and proud moment for all present to be able to listen to such high quality performances from all involved. A huge thank you to all the young people performing, the Music teachers, Mrs Martin and Ms Loughrey and all the amazing instructors whom without their hard work and commitment such concerts would not exist.

S2 Battle of the Bands

On Wednesday 3 April the Music department were delighted to hold Knox Academy's first S2 "Battle of the Bands".  Each class chose a song to perform and have worked on it over several weeks.  The standard of performing was very high and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day for all involved.  Almost all of the S2 pupils participated.  The judges had an extremely difficult decision to make and it was very close but the winning class was 2L2 who played "Valerie".  They will look forward to their prize of a "free" period in music next term. A huge well done to all of S2.  We look forward to more competitions next year!

Squash

Dylan Pearman (S2) recently represented the East of Scotland in the U15 Scottish Squash Junior Inter-regionals and won all his matches 3-0 and the East won the U15 tournament.  Scottish Squash has been approached by England Squash to enter junior teams into the Regional Junior Team Championships and it is great to announce that Dylan has been selected to play again for Scotland.  This is great for Dylan and the school and we wish him well in his performance and look forward to hearing about how he gets on. For those of you who have ever played squash you will know how physically taxing it is on your body and the high level of fitness required to play it! 

Oxford University Exchange

Congratulations to Reuben Phoenix-Hill and Kaci Smith in S3 for being selected as the Knox representatives for the new Oxford University Initiative. They will join up with 10 other S3 pupils from across East Lothian and spend a week at Exeter College – undertaking a range of classes, tutorials and other activities.  All of the pupils who put themselves forward should be proud of themselves as the selection process and tasks involved were very taxing.  It was fantastic to see them challenge themselves but also support each other. All three school values of ambition, respect and community were in evidence.   

My Time in a Stock Car

Ryan Hutchison is one of our S2 pupils and it was only through conversation with Ryan last week that we found out about his talent in Stock Car racing. Ryan is going off to compete in the British Championships this weekend and he is super excited about the prospect (and so are we).  I asked him if he would write me a bit about his racing – so here it is:

I started doing stock car racing when I was 11.  I race mini stax which is for 11 to 16 year olds. I decided I wanted to do stock cars when my dad first took me when I was 10.  As soon as I turned 11 my dad bought me a car and took me to Cowdenbeath for my first race.  I absolutely loved it. I had always liked the fear of getting hit and crashing badly. When I turned 12 I won my first championship at Lochgelly.  It was the Scottish Championship.  I was over the moon and then months later I won the European Championship at Northampton. I was so happy to win a second championship.  I am 13 now and this weekend it’s the British Championship at Milden Hall, so hopefully I can win that. 

Good luck Ryan!

Ryan’s story shows us all that so many of our young people hide their light under a bushel and it is so great to hear about their talents. If your young person is achieving out of school please do get in touch to let us know – we are keen to celebrate their achievements too. We are very proud of our young people’s achievements both in and out of school.

Reporting, Monitoring and Tracking (Reports) and Parents’ Night Feedback

If you have attended our Parents’ Evenings and have any feedback as to how you think we can improve these, please let the Parent Council know this as we will be reviewing this soon alongside our Reporting, Monitoring and Tracking approaches.  Alice Clubb, our new DHT, is offering parents/carers the opportunity to come along to meet with her to look at both of these areas.  If you would like to be on this group, please email Emma Maguire and put ‘Review of Parents’ Evenings/Reporting’ in the subject heading, and Mrs Clubb will get in touch with you with the date for this meeting.  Please also let us know in your email if during the day or early evening would suit you best for meeting. Thank you.

Emails

Emails will be our main method of communicating with parents/carers from June onwards. If you have still to update your email, or have changed it, please email Emma Maguire  to make her aware of this so your records can be updated (please refer to the letter on Change of Main Communication Method sent a few weeks ago about this).

Dates for your Diary:

  • Friday 5 April - School finishes at 12.05 pm for Easter Holidays
  • Tuesday 23 April - All resume
  • Wednesday 24 April - Leavers’ Ceremony (pupils only who are in S4/S5/S6 and are leaving this session) – 9am start and midday finish     
  • Thursday 25 April - SQA Exam leaves starts and the first SQA exam takes place
  • Monday 6 May - School holiday (all)                                            
  • Tuesday 14 May - Parent Council 6.15 pm – Library

Have a lovely Easter break
Sue Cook