March 2015

Published: 27 March 2015

Last weekend some very dedicated mathematicians went to “Maths Camp”. This is the second year that the maths department has run this popular event. Mrs McInnes writes: “The pupils were a joy to be with and were complimented on their behaviour and good manners by all the staff at the centre who came in contact with them. They took part in all the activities with great enthusiasm. As maths teachers it was wonderful to hear them talking about maths and working well together.” This was a great opportunity for the senior pupils to get some serious maths revision in before the end of term and I have no doubt that everyone will have benefitted. My thanks go to the members of staff who gave up their weekend so freely.

Meanwhile on the fields of sporting endeavour… The Senior Boys Rugby 7’s squad played and won the East Lothian 7’s Tournament at Meadowmill last Friday. Although they had lost to North Berwick earlier in the day, like all good teams, they learnt their lessons from the previous encounter, and went on to beat them in the final. The Under 15 squad played well and came second in their tournament. Congratulations to all involved! Knox girls’ rugby is growing from strength to strength. The Knox girls’ team displayed pace, style and strength during the day. They won all their matches and were crowned East Lothian Champions! Congratulations need also to go to Miss McPhee who takes training and masterminded the tactics on the day!

On Tuesday we had the S2 Parents’ Evening. It was well attended and, as usual, there was a good buzz about the building as pupils, parents and staff got together to help our pupils improve and reach their potential. Then,on Wednesday evening - equally well attended (but on a slightly smaller scale) we had our penultimate PSP meeting of the session (where has the time gone?). We were delighted to have our two school counsellors attend to let parents know about the type of work that they are doing with our youngsters. Angel Leitch (Chief Executive) also joined us and it was great to get her perspective and input on the issues discussed.

Yesterday our prospective S1 for session 2015/16 visited us for a Maths Transition Day. It was a full-on experience with pupils participating in problem-solving, poster making and building a giant tetrahedron. The pupils were ably assisted by some of our S3s and seemed to be having a lot of fun demonstrating their ability to break codes and provide quick-fire answers to problems. Dr Martin Carette who ran the tetrahedron input has emailed to say: “The overall experience was a very positive one for me and I was particularly impressed by the atmosphere in school, particularly the overall calm, friendly and welcoming manner of all the staff that I met.” Major thanks go to Mr Wren and Mr Blair from the maths department, the S3 helpers, and to everyone from the primaries who helped make this a really fun day.

As I type, the final Spring Concert rehearsals are taking place and it’s all sounding very fine. I look forward to the concert on Tuesday evening. Pupils will finish school for the Easter Holidays on Wednesday and everyone resumes on the 20th April.

Have a very good week.

S Ingham

Published: 20 March 2015

This week assemblies have been about remembering all the positive things that go on at Knox. I find that we can often get bogged down in the “bad news” stories and we forget the huge number of things that we have going for ourselves as a school: charity fundraising; 93% of pupils reaching positive destinations when they leave; extra-curricular opportunities; sporting and musical success etc. etc. The school is going form strength to strength and it’s thanks to the hard work of staff, pupils, and parents that we continue to move forward.

Talking of good new and success: Our S1 girls’ hockey team won the East Lothian Hockey Tournament on Friday. The played 7 matches and won all of them. It’s the 1st time for a long time that any school at any age group has knocked North Berwick off the top of the table. It should also be noted that the S2's placed 2nd in their event the week before. Our Team comprised of: Isla Booth, Mairi Dewar, Catriona Dee, Eve McBain, Catriona Wrinn, Ingrid Clark, Emma Dickson, Jenny Vischer, and Sophie Charbonnier, and was ably coached by a combination of senior pupils, parent helpers, and Ms Stobie. Congratulations to all involved!

Wednesdy morning saw the PE Department welcome the P7s from our associated primary schools.  The event was part of our transion process.  By all accounts everyone had a fine time.  Special thanks go to the senior pupils and School of Rugby pupils who helped organise the activities and kept everything running smoothly.

On Wednesday evening the cream of East Lothian’s musical talent performed at the annual Showcase Concert (or, as I think of it: the warm up to the Knox Academy Spring Concert!) As usual, Knox Academy was well represented and all the pupils played marvellously. Thanks to the staff, pupils and parents who made it happen.

Yesterday, we had the short-leet interviews for the permanent DHT’s post – I am delighted to say that we have preferred candidate and are awaiting the completion of references and discolusre. Also the S3 had their Diphtheria and Tetanus immunisations. The nurses have asked me to pass on their thanks for how well behaved and positive the pupils were.

Today I had the pleasure of visiting various classrooms where they were watching the solar eclipse. Of particular mention is the effort of the school’s “Da Vinci” Club who transformed part of the Biology corridor into a set of pinhole cameras. It was great to see all these pupils actively involved in their learning.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on detailed guidance that supports parts of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. This Act is a new law that will give children, young people and their families extra support and will encourage everyone to talk about children’s wellbeing using the same words. The consultation on the guidance is due to run until 1 May, 2015. It is mainly aimed at the people who support your child – including parents’ organisations – but individual parents are welcome to get involved if they wish. You can take part in the consultation via this link:

Next Tuesday there is the S2 Parents’ Consultation Evening and on Wednesday we have the Parent School Partnership at 6.15pm. I’m looking forward to catching up with parents at these events.

Have a very good week.

S Ingham

Published: 13 March 2015

As I intimated last week, Knox Academy pupils had a full-on weekend.

Knox rugby teams hosted Kelso on Saturday which, as in the past, was a tough test against Border opposition. Our S1 team played their best rugby of the whole season, putting in a fantastic team effort, eventually losing out 21points to 19. The S1 team then mixed with the Kelso team and played the Belmont S2 team (apparently these players were “massive”) but again, our pupils played with huge confidence and gave Belmont a close game. The S2 gave another fine performance narrowly losing to a Kelso team that have been unbeaten this season. It was a great turn out for the team and the coaches were delighted to see the commitment from the boys. Our S3/4 unbeaten run came to a halt against a well-organised team. Sadly, our team lacked the depth we usually have owing to injury and absence. We really need S3/4 boys to come back and help their comrades out in this team, there is a potential to be one of the strongest teams the Knox/Haddington club have had in a while, but we need more players.

Knox School Of Rugby lunch was held at Haddington Rugby Club on Saturday. The event had over 100 people attending, with players and parents coming along. Scotland legend Chris Paterson was there as guest speaker and fielded questions from the audience. It was a great event and fantastic to see all players/parents socialising together. The highlight of the day was the sight of Chris dressed in his dancing shoes playing rugby with the S1 boys.

The girls' U15 team had a great tournament at Murrayfield on Sunday for the Edinburgh and Lothian’s Girls’ Regional 7’s. This was their first chance to showcase their snazzy new blue and pink strips, which looked fantastic amongst all the dark colours on the pitch. The girls finished 3rd out of 6 teams and competed in great style despite the weather. Good job ladies!

Knox Rugby is still looking for players: boys and girls of all ages, especially given that Knox is becoming a Super School of Rugby. Contact Scott Marnoch if you are interested.

Congratulations to the S2 girls hockey players who came 2nd out of 8 teams in the East Lothian inter School event held last Friday in Dunbar. Today it’s the turn of our S1 Team - Go Knox!

A big “well done” to everyone that represented Knox at the Scottish Schools’ Cross Country event in Irvine on Saturday. There were strong Knox performances in a range of age groups. It was very pleasing to see so many Knox runners entered this year’s event. Special mention goes to both Bethan McGregor who placed 9th and Rachel Watson who ended up 11th in the toughly contested senior girls’ event.

On Sunday the Knox Academy Pipe Band competed in the Scottish Schools’ Pipe Band Championships at Broughton High School in Edinburgh. This is the third time that the band has competed, and having done so well previously, has been put into a harder class. The pupils looked very smart in their kilts (thanks to Haddington Pipe Band for working in partnership with us there), and had the unenviable task of being last to perform in their class. Knox was the only state school competing in the class and played “Campbell’s Farewell to Redcastle” and “Men of Argyll”. They came fifth out of the nine bands playing, but given that they have only been competing for a relatively short period of time, I think that this is a massive achievement. Thanks to all the parents for their support, the piping and drumming tutors for their hard work, and to the pupils for making it all worthwhile.

Thanks to all the S2 parents who attended the Information Evening on Wednesday. I apologise for not being there, but the “lurgey” has finally caught up with me, and no one should have to put up with the sight of a sick Head Teacher.

Today there are various things going on to raise money for Comic Relief. Thanks to all of those staff and pupils who have put themselves forward to do “something funny for money”.

The only “big” thing for the diary next week is that the S3 pupils are getting their immunisations on Thursday.

Have a good weekend.

S Ingham

Published: 06 March 2015

On Tuesday S4 and S5 parents joined us for a meeting to go over the coursing process for their youngsters. I can’t believe how quickly all of this is coming round, and how easy it is to start thinking of Activities’ Week, new timetables and the Awards’ Ceremony. Time is flying by. S4 to S6 parents (and hopefully pupils) will be pleased to see that the Easter Revision Timetable has been published, and I hope that as many pupils as possibly take advantage of this opportunity to get some targeted study in over the Easter Holidays.

Also on Tuesday, our debating team took part in the “Debating Matters” Scotland and Northern Ireland Final. Lev Crofts, Perry Stewart, Caitlin Wright, Janina Calder-Petrie and Naomi Rogers debated valiantly, but despite being praised for their skills did not manage to win overall. When I caught up with them, though, they were upbeat, holding their heads high, having had an excellent day. Well done to all of them and thanks to Mrs Fairbairn for all her support.

We are in the process of sorting out the school-based packages for Activities’ Week. Unfortunately some of the choice forms are not coming in as speedily as we’d like (S2 and S3). If we don’t get pupils’ preference forms back we will have no choice but to place them fairly randomly in the packages where there are spaces. It would be great if S2/3 parents could check with their children to ensure that the forms come back soonest.

We have a big weekend coming up with Rugby and Hockey matches, Showcase Concert rehearsals and the Scottish Schools’ Pipe Band Championships. I hope that everyone does well in whatever endeavour they are involved and I look forward to hearing how people did on Monday.

Next week there are S4 Coursing appointments on Monday and Tuesday and I look forward to seeing S2 parents at their Information Evening on Wednesday.

Have a very good week.

S Ingham