October 2014

Published: 31 October 2014

This week we have run the gamut from sport to the Scottish Youth Parliament and back.

For most of the assemblies this week we have had Caroline Davis, East Lothian’s Dialogue youth Coordinator in to talk to mainly the senior pupils about being part of the Scottish Youth Parliament.  We have three seats representing the county and, whilst it might feel like the odds are stacked against you if you run, I think it would be a really rewarding experience.  If anyone is interested in running, the elections will be held in March and further information is available at www.syp.org.uk.  Caroline also asked me to advertise the East Lothian Youth Council, which aims to work with the Area Partnerships to develop the voice of young people in East Lothian.  If anyone is interested they should contact me in the first instance.

On Tuesday evening we welcomed a large crowd of prospective parents to the school for the P7 Open Evening.  We managed to get everyone into their groups and off on tours.  The atmosphere was very positive and I look forward to the developing relationship between Knox Academy and the S1s of 2015.

On Wednesday evening the Higher Dramatists had their performances assessed.  The performance was attended by a large parent/family audience of almost 30. Pupils sustained their roles well and the quality of writing and directing was to their credit.

In sporting news, the School of Rugby had a visit from Edinburgh Rugby’s Carl Bezuidenhout and Wicus Blaauw, and the S2/3 Boys’ Football team triumphed 9-0 against North Berwick yesterday. 

We are in the process of collating the Merit Letters for the month of October.  I am delighted to say that over 600 pupils received at least one merit this month.  In the interests of ecology and time I would like to congratulate ALL the pupils who have had their efforts recognised.  I will be writing to the parents of pupils who have received ten or more merits (still over 70!), but they will be coming in the “pupil post”.  I suspect that these letters are not ones that will get lost at the bottom of the school bag, but just in case…

One of our Young Enterprise teams – Team Immortal has asked me to advertise their Twitter account: .  If you follow them, you will get the latest information on their product and events that they will be attending.

Also today is an important day for the family of ex-pupil Daniel Swallow.  His family are gathering in Portsmouth to watch him graduate from HMS Collingwood (The Royal Naval Maritime School).  He is now a qualified Communication Information Specialist.  I send him and his family our warmest congratulations.

The PSP will be having their monthly meeting on the 5th November.  The meeting kicks off at 6.15pm and all parents are welcome.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Have a good week.
S Ingham
 

Published: 24 October 2014

Since coming back this week I have definitely felt that autumn is upon us.  I did remind pupils about this at assembly before we went on holiday, with particular reference to coming to school appropriately clad and shod for the weather.  I would be really grateful if parents can ensure that pupils have appropriate shoes on (all back no white or coloured piping) and that they think about wearing a sweater or cardigan (all black) to ensure that they are warm enough.

Many pupils were busy during the holidays, none more so than some of our swimmers.  Pupils competed on the 19th October at the East Lothian and Borders Schools’ Championships.  Congratulations to all pupils who competed, in particular: Fiona Dickson, Fraser Samuel, Andrew McKnight, Kyle Eadie, Megan Watt, Brigid Hay, Kieran McDonald and Lucy Ballantyne. I look forward to hearing how they get on when all the heats across Scotland are completed.  The fastest 20 across the country will go through to the finals that are being held in Glasgow.  Fingers crossed!

The S6 are well into the throes of getting their UCAS forms completed.  Thanks to everyone for their support in this massive piece of work.  My advice, as ever, is for pupils to get as many people as possible to read over their personal statements, to ensure that they have given a good account of themselves.  We ask for the forms to be completed before the Christmas Holidays so that we have a buffer of time in case anything goes wrong.  I read all the forms, so the sooner they get to me to be checked the sooner they can be sent off.

One of our biggest events of the year is coming up on Tuesday (28th October): the P7 Open Evening.  Any parent with a child who is currently in P7 is welcome to attend.  The evening comprises of a brief meeting in the Hall (starting at 6.30pm) followed by tours round the school, finishing in the Social Are where there will be refreshments and an opportunity to talk to staff.  I am looking forward to meeting our prospective parents.  Please remember that if you do not have an address within the school’s catchment area, and you wish your child to come to Knox, you will need to complete a placing request that can be found via this link: http://knox.is/Z4y.

Have a very good week (and remember the clocks go back at 2am on the 26th October).
S Ingham

 

Published: 10 October 2014

Last Friday night was the “celebrating Sport 2014 Awards Ceremony”.  It’s a night to celebrate the achievements of the many sportspeople and sports clubs within the county.  People connected with Knox were nominated in three categories:
Finlay Munro – Young Volunteer of the Year.
Ms Jeffrey – Performance Coach of the Year.
Sally Birrell – Young Sports’ Person of the Year.
All are worthy nominees and I am proud of our association with them.  I would like to congratulate Finlay in particular for winning his category for his work with the school’s Under 15 Basketball team.  I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Jeffrey on being appointed Team Coach for the Great Britain squad at the 2014 World Trampoline and DMT Championships.

On Tuesday evening I attended the Advanced Higher Devised Drama productions.  There were two pieces: “Jack” and “Freak” that the pupils wrote, acted in, and directed themselves.  The pieces were very intense dealing with all manner of issues running from self-deception to fitting-in.  I am in awe of their ability to keep in character, remember lines, and stage-manage the productions.  Thanks must also go to Ms Whitfield and Ms Mackinnon for their hard work and support of the pupils.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jennifer Macrae (Minister from St Mary’s) was in to speak to pupils at assembly.  She spoke about all of us having the “seeds” inside us of compassion, hope, and joy,  and encouraged pupils to nurture these characteristics.  Given some of the distressing news that is out there at the minute, I think that we all appreciated being reminded that we can make a difference just by being who we are.  We have many visitors in the school in any given week e.g. volunteers that help with paired reading, speakers who come in to classes etc., and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who does come in – you enrich the pupils’ experience.

I would also like to remind all parents and carers that school closes today at 12.05pm and will reopen to pupils on Tuesday 21st October.  Things will get increasingly busy as we run up to Christmas, so I would also like to flag up the P7 Open Evening for all prospective S1 parents on Tuesday, 28th October at 6.30pm. 

S Ingham

Published: 03 October 2014

The week started with the Amnesty International/Rights Respecting School Group taking assembly for the S2.  They gave a moving account of the work of Amnesty and how it relates to the school achieving its Rights Respecting School status.  I think we underestimate how daunting it is for young people to stand up in front of their peers to give an assembly and I would like to congratulate all the pupils for their hard work.

The S2s have been experiencing the Land Yacht Challenge this week.  All of the pupils work in teams to design, build and race a land yacht.  In the course of the challenge they practise their communication and teamworking skills, as well as working on their problem-solving.  The pupils had a ball and some of the yachts are pretty amazing.  I would like to thank all the pupils for their hard work and all the staff involved for facilitating the event.

Pupils from the Hospitality and Cake Decorating courses took over assemblies on Tuesday and Wednesday to talk to pupils about raising money for MacMillan Cancer through their “Coffee Morning” initiative.  They provided staff with all manner of goodies at Interval on Wednesday and had a stall with items for sale and donations at Lunchtime for the pupils.  They raised over £200 in all – an excellent effort!

On Wednesday evening the PSP met.  It was great to see so many people there (I think we might have to change to a bigger venue to accommodate everyone).  The discussions ranged from views on the draft “Learning and Teaching” policy, to how the school organises cover, to praising the wonderful East Lothian Youth Orchestra performance last Saturday.

On Thursday I had the pleasure of being part of a panel talking about employability to various stakeholders from around East Lothian.  We were joined in our discussions by Dr Alasdair Allan, minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages.  I was talking specifically about the school’s partnership with Canon UK and it was a good opportunity to publicly thank Alison Hood (East Lothian Council) and Max Sykes (Canon UK) for all their help and support.

Yesterday evening we had the S1 Settling-In Evening.  It was good to see so many S1 parents there.  Myself and the Deputes were able to talk a bit about the vision for, and the values of, the school.  I think everyone was particularly captivated by Mrs Falconer’s presentation that involved making (non-alcoholic) cocktails (you had to be there).  Straight after that KASG held their fundraising Bingo Evening.  It was in full swing as I was heading home, and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.  I am looking forward to sampling my raffle prize (no, not wine, a bottle of our finest, local Rapeseed Oil).

This evening I am heading off to the Haddington Twinning Association’s “Absolutely French” evening.  Not a bad way to end the week, I think.

I’ll leave you with an article from a member of our S6 – Donald Turvill.  He is also going to take part in Project Trust next year, after he leaves us:
“Earlier this year when I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I leave school, although having university in mind, I decided that first I wanted to do something different that would benefit me for life. After looking around for options I came across Project Trust, an educational charity which sends 17-19 year olds overseas offering several different kinds of projects such as teaching, outward bound and social care. After applying to attend a selection course on the Isle of Coll, where Project Trust is based, I received an email informing me that I’d been accepted, so I proceeded to research the different projects that they offer. Selection lasted five days and was Project Trust’s opportunity to see if I was a suitable candidate to take a year out, this was also a chance for me to look into the different projects that they offer, and I was drawn to one particular opportunity that is available in Namibia, South East Africa and involves primary school teaching alongside helping to run a local newspaper – as journalism is something I hope to peruse as a career.  I knew that this was the one for me. About one month after returning from the selection course I received a letter from Project Trust, and just like that, I had been accepted to spend a year in Africa! So why am I writing this? Because the hardest bit of this venture is actually going to take place before I even fly away next August, as in the next year I have to raise £5,900 to cover the cost of my year out. In order to reach this goal I will be writing to hundreds of charitable trusts, holding fundraisers, taking park in sponsored events and just about anything else that will help me reach my target. To make a donation, or even just find out a bit more about what I will be doing in my year out you can visit wwwvirginmoneygiving.com/donaldsyearout. “

Have a very good weekend.
S Ingham