November 2009

Published: 27 November 2009

This has been Work Experience Week for the pupils in S4. Feedback so far has been very positive and I look forward to hearing all about the placements next week.

The Garleton S3 and S5 teams competed in the national finals of the ‘Make Your Mark’ Enterprise challenge and travelled to the Science Centre, in Glasgow, yesterday. All had an enjoyable time but did not emerge as the winners.

During the week I visited the S5/6 classes timetabled in Column C. The theme was attitude to work and study and preparartion for the prelims in January. While some pupils seemed a little surprised that that it is only 6 working weeks to the prelims, They all assured me they were revising and working hard. There were many positive comments from staff, however some pupils need to be a little more organised and meet all deadlines.

Yesterday was very busy:

We had a visit from Bright Red Publishing (who hold the contract from SQA to publish all SQA Past Papers as well as several revision guides). The company had in turn awarded the printing contract to Haddington-based company, ScotPrint. As the local school to ScotPrint, Bright Red decided to present Knox Academy with a set of the past paper books that have been placed in the library.

In the afternoon, after carefully checking the conditions and weather forecast, a group of senior pupils and RMPS staff, set off for an overnight visit to a Buddhist monastery. They travelled to Samye Ling in Dumfries and Galloway, hopefully the weather has stayed kind.

In the evening, parents, pupils and guests were treated to the Expressive Arts Evening. The evening was arranged by Ms Duff and the staff from all the departments in the Expressive Arts Faculty (Music, Drama, Art and PE). The event was hugely successful and many parents and guests made a point of saying how much they enjoyed seeing all the talented pupils and wanted to thank staff for their involvement. As usual, the prefects played their part, helping with ‘crowd control’ and serving refreshments. Wonderful art, beautiful music, daredevil acrobatics, moving drama and the debut of the Knox Academy Tap Dancing Group - great! Congratulations to all staff and pupils involved.

Best wishes,
JB Craig


Published: 20 November 2009

The week got off to a time travelling start with the opening on Monday at lunchtime of a ‘Dr Who’ exhibition in the Library. This had a grand opening and proved very popular with staff and pupils alike. The exhibition was organised by S5 pupils as part of their ‘Self in Society’ course.

It has been Enterprise Week and the Garleton teams swept to a double victory in the ‘Make Your Mark’ challenge for S3 and S5 pupils. Both teams have reached the national final and will be travelling to the Science Centre, in Glasgow, to compete on Thursday. Good luck to both teams.

Yesterday, a group of S3 pupils accompanied by Mrs Ferguson travelled to Edinburgh to take part in the Stock Market Challenge, held on the campus of Edinburgh University. There were 25 schools in the competition and the Knox team gained a very creditable 4th place.

On Monday evening the school held a consultation evening for the parents and carers of pupils in S1. It was a busy evening and I hope the parents found the information useful for supporting their youngsters and that it re-assured them the pupils have settled in well at the school.

During the week I managed to visit the Advanced Higher classes, the theme being attitude to work and study. It was a great pleasure to hear so many positive comments from staff about the work ethic in S6. Long may this continue!

The S4 pupils have now completed the prelim examinations and next week will be on Work Experience. I am sure thay will have an infomative and enjoyable week.

Today the S6 pupils organised the school’s Children in Need Appeal. Virtually all of the S6 pupils (and many members of staff) were in fancy dress following the theme of characters from children’s books and cartoons. As well as collecting from fellow pupils, S6 visited the Cluster Primaries and caused a bit of a stir in the town. Costumes ranged from Captain Hook and Tinkerbell to a clutch of Harry Potters, from Sponge Bob Square Pants to Wolverine and from Little Red Riding Hood to 3 suomo wrestlers (!). A terrific effort from the S6 and I am sure they have raised a great deal of money.

Best wishes,
JB Craig


Published: 13 November 2009

This week the school has been concentrating on the S4 diet of prelim examinations. However, other activities have been taking place: a theatre trip (RMPS), Construction Challenge (Technical), Author Visit (English) and visits to the Business Education Department by staff from Standard Life.

The S4 prelims are just about halfway through. The pupils seem to be reasonably happy with the papers so far, but we will not be celebrating until the results come out.

On Wednesday, the school held a minute's silence to mark Remembrance Day (for operational reasons, at 11.11am). Also, I was a member of the judging panel for the S3 History pupils' model trenches competition. All were of a high standard and it was difficult to agree the top 3, so both classes will be awarded House Points. The models are on display in the Library.

This week I visited all S3 classes in column D on the timetable (Sciences, Music and Geography). Again the theme was homework and the vast majority of classes were given a 'satisfactory' by their teachers. Just a few youngsters need to be more organised and hand homework in on time and to the best standard possible.

The first rota of the ACE Friday morning for S1 finished today. Having seen some of the evaluations completed by the pupils and the exhibition in the Library on 'Destination Africa' (including wonderful masks), it does seem to have been very successful and enjoyed by all.

Finally, today, the senior boys played the staff in a fiercely contested and close (?!) football match. Well done to all involved.

Best wishes,
JB Craig


Published: 06 November 2009

The pace has not let up at the school.

This week the S4 prelims began with the Art, Hospitality and Music practicals. The prelims are a very valuable experience for the youngsters and helps them to prepare for the rigours of the exams in the summer.

There has been lots of activity on the drama front. On Tuesday, members of the National Theatre of Scotland provided a workshop for senior pupils studying drama. This was followed in the evening by a trip to the theatre to see the NTS production of 'The House of Bernarda Alba'. The pupils and staff reported that it was a great production and very emotional at the end. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, the pupils studying Higher Drama performed their investigative drama pieces. I was lucky enough to catch the Thursday performances of the two groups performing their own plays on the theme of 'Conflict'. These were convincing performances from committed and talented pupils.

The weather has not been kind to the sporting fixtures, but last Friday, the under 16 Boys' Football team had a well earned victory away at West Calder (5-3).

On Wednesday, the School Council had a very successful training day. They spent the morning on a team building and community exercise gardening at St Mary's Pleasance. This proved to be hard work but a rewarding experience. In the afternoon the Council held a business and planning meeting. Thanks go to Miss Duff, Miss Bulloch and Mrs Fairbairn who not only organised the day but took part in the activities.

The Parent School Partnership (the Parent Council) met on Wednesday evening. The PSP is preparing for the AGM and an election to the council, information will be on the website and in the next Knox News.

I have been visiting the S2 English classes this week. The theme has been 'Homework'. Once again it is a pleasure to report that all classes were given a 'clean bill of health' regarding the quality of their homework and their reliability in meeting deadlines.

Finally, the school held Remembrance Day Assemblies yesterday afternoon (a little earlier than usual as the hall will be used for the prelims next week). The assemblies were organised by Depute Head Girl, Debbie Blair and Depute Head, Boy Peter Martin and all participants were from S6. The assemblies were very moving and all pupils stood in silence while the poppy wreath was placed on the school memorial by the Head Boy and Head Girl. The pupils have been so generous in donating to the 'Poppy Appeal' that we have had to request more collection cans and poppies to sell. Well done to everyone involved.

Best wishes,
JB Craig