September 2014

Published: 26 September 2014

There have been a multitude of things going on this week.

The cast lists for the various Drama productions and the S6 Panto have been published, so rehearsals are getting underway.  Talking of rehearsals, the East Lothian Youth Orchestra has begun their intensive rehearsals for a concert that is being held here on Saturday.  I look forward to hearing the performance.

Earlier on in the week four of our senior pupils took part in the first round of the Debating Matters competition.  Mrs Fairbairn writes, “On Tuesday, Mr Flood and I were fortunate enough to accompany the S6 debating team to their first competition of the year, hosted at Mary Erskine's School.  Lev Crofts and Naomi Rogers went head to head with Kelso Academy on the incredibly complex issue of three parent IVF and won, putting Knox through to the regional final later in the evening. Janina Calder-Petrie and Caitlin Wright topped off an excellent night for Knox with a win in the final against Mary Erskine on the topic of the closure of public libraries, holding their own in the face of a barrage of difficult questions from the opposition and the judges.  One of the judges commented that it was the best debate he had been involved in judging. Special mention should go to Lev Crofts who was given the award for best speaker. I'm incredibly proud of them and can't wait to take them to the Scottish and Northern Irish final later in the year.”  Thanks to Mr Flood and Mrs Fairbairn for accompanying the pupils and to all those staff members and pupils who attended the debate training sessions to get our teams up to speed.

Tuesday night saw the inaugural meeting of the Nungate Study Club.  It meets every Tuesday between 5.15pm and 6.15pm in the Nungate Community Centre.  Any pupil in S4, 5 or 6 is welcome and there is no need to sign up in advance.  Light refreshments are available and the person supervising will be more than happy to help pupils out wherever they can.

Yesterday the Pupil Council for this session met for their training day and first meeting.  They asked me to go along and I spoke to them about the School Improvement Plan and the role of the Managers in making it happen.  I think that they are formidable bunch of young people who are going to make a real difference in the school and I am looking forward to working with them.

Next week is busy.  There are pupils going off to Mull on a Princes’ Trust Expedition and S2s will be designing, building and racing Land Yachts. On Wednesday there is a PSP meeting at 6.15pm and on Thursday there is the S1 Settling-In Evening at 6.30pm followd by the KASG Blingo Evening.

Have a great week
S Ingham

Published: 19 September 2014

This week we welcomed Mrs Falconer to her post as Acting Depute Head Teacher.  She joins us from Portobello High School in Edinburgh, where she was PT Curriculum (Social Subjects).  Mrs Falconer has introduced herself to pupils at assemblies and is already getting to grips with her role as Head of Garleton House.  Please remember that the Deputes (Mr Simpson – Lammerlaw, Mr Illingworth – Traprain, and Mrs Falconer – Garleton) are your first port of call if you have any issues with how things are going with your child.

On Tuesday I had much pleasure in talking to S2 and S3 about the residential trips that are on offer for this session’s Activities’ Week.  They range from Outward Bound at Loch Eil, to football training outside Barcelona.  All pupils got a brochure to bring home with more detail about each trip and pupils are asked to note their interest on the form in the brochure and get it into the box outside the School Office by the end of Interval on Monday.  If the residential trips are not your child’s cup-of-tea, there will be an extensive range of in-school packages, and I did remind pupils that they are more than welcome to design their own activity package if they like (although they should speak to Mr Taylor about it first).

Today the S6 and some brave staff head off to Dalguise for the Staff/S6 weekend.  I hope that they have a fabulous time and, on Saturday, I will be popping up to see how they are getting on.  I suspect that there will be many memories forged and the odd embarrassing photograph taken.

This year we have two pupils who have successfully applied to Project Trust to take a year out before university.  This week we hear from Kara Anderson:
“Project Trust is an educational charity that sends school leavers to volunteer in over 20 countries worldwide. I decided to apply after having a visit from one of the staff during an assembly. I have always wanted to take a year out from education as I didn’t think I was ready for University yet. Project Trust offered me the opportunity to be immersed in a new culture while doing something different and rewarding. So I was thrilled when I was accepted by Project Trust to volunteer in Ghana after attending a week selection course in the Isle of Coll. I could be volunteering in a range of different schools, with different age groups, from Kindergarten to Junior High School in villages such as Hohoe, Abor or Tegbi. I will be teaching English, basic science, ICT, maths, as well as joining or setting up my own extracurricular activities, such as sports or crafts. Over the 12 months I will be carrying a huge sense of responsibility but it will be rewarding seeing the improvement in my students. Before I leave I face the challenge of fundraising £5900.  I will be doing this in a few ways such as applying for grants from charitable trusts, holding events and working part time. So I hope everyone can help me reach my goal by eating loads of cakes from bake sales and pieing your favourite teachers with shaving foam. You can follow my progress and fundraising efforts on my facebook page-  “

Have a very good weekend.
S Ingham

Published: 11 September 2014

Well, it might be a short week, but it’s not been a week that’s short on news.

As I write there are senior pupils at the Hydro in Glasgow, taking part in a massive Referendum debate.  Looking at their Tweets it seems that they are anticipating a good discussion.

On Monday the Advanced Higher History class ventured to Stirling to visit sites associated with their course.  Ms McPhee told me that whilst she felt a bit at sea in the “Battle Game” at the Bannockburn Centre, we have some budding military tacticians in the S6.  She kindly and selflessly stepped aside to let the pupils be dressed as mediaeval knights (I await those photos for the Year book!).  It seems that good company, interesting sites and fine weather made for a very enjoyable day.

Also on Monday, our pupil representatives on the Haddington and Lammermuir Area Partnership met up to discuss their input at further meetings.  I am delighted that Hamish Hastie, Lois Finnie, Abbi Robertson and Emma De Costa are making the voice of young people heard in our Ward, and thank them for giving up their own time to attend meetings.  I am even more delighted to report that Hamish has been asked to be a National Adviser for “Scottish Youth Arts Voice”.  He is only one of 14 young people in Scotland who were selected to play an important role in defining the future of the performing and creative arts.  I think Hamish will have a fascinating time working with Creative Scotland and Young Scot on this venture.

Further delight came with the news that Stuart McInnes has graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in Architecture. 

Finally, I would like to publicise a new venture for Knox Academy.  We are going to be running an extra-curricular study opportunity at the Nungate Community Centre.  The sessions will be every Tuesday between 5.15pm and 6.15pm, and will start on the 23rd September.  Pupils from S4 to S6 are invited to come down (not necessarily for the whole hour) to get help with study, homework, UCAS statements etc.  The sessions will be manned by volunteers from the school and the community.  There will be light refreshments available along with whatever support we can offer.  The sessions will run as long as there is demand, so encourage your youngsters to “use it” or they will “lose it”.

School will be closed on Friday 12th and Monday 15th September.

Have a very good (long) weekend.
S Ingham

Published: 05 September 2014

As I indicated in last week’s update, the S6 have had a very busy week.  They behaved impeccably at the “Tomorrow’s Driver” event and, I hope, learned a lot about being responsible drivers.  A number of pupils went to the Higher Education Conference and the UCAS Evening last night was very well attended and very informative.  My thanks go to everyone who has helped make these events be such a positive experience for all.

I spoke to the S4, 5 and 6 at assembly this week about getting their work ethic right for this session.  I encouraged them to start reviewing classwork and preparing revision notes now, rather than leaving it to the last minute. 

Talking of getting work ethic right, I am delighted to pass on the following news of former pupils’ graduations from university.  If you know of others, please pass them on as it’s always great to hear.  So congratulations to the following:
University of Aberdeen
Hazel Leslie      MB, BS
Calum Watson  MA(Hons)

Heriot Watt University
Aidan Lindsay    BSc
Debbie Redpath BSc
Rachel Woods    BSc

The PSP Meeting on Wednesday evening was very well attended.  It was great to see some new faces and for the school to be so well supported.  Louise Elder (Chair) got us off to a flying start and I think it’s going to be a fruitful year for our parent-school-partnership.

The S1 had a very informative assembly this morning about the “Children’s University”.  Mary Brittain came to talk to the pupils about the scheme that enables youngsters (upto the age of 14) to get credit for learning outside of the classroom.  So, if your child is part of a club or organisation, or you take them to places of interest at the weekends, or during the holidays, the chances are that they can get credit for going.  When pupils reach a certain number of credits they are invited to Queen Margaret University for cap-and-gown graduation ceremony.  Pupils in S2 will also get the opportunity to participate and will have the same assembly on Monday morning.

Finally, it would seem that no sooner have we returned from our holidays than we are having more, but just a reminder that the school is shut on Friday 12th September and Monday 15th September.

Have a good week.
S Ingham