June 2015

Published: 25 June 2015

ON 19th June, HRH The Princess Royal, patron of The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, attended a garden party awards ceremony at the Norton House Hotel to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Grow and Learn Project participants from across Scotland. Amongst those attending was Josh Nisbet, one of our leaving S6 pupils, who was there to receive his Grow and Learn ‘Roots’ certificate.

This is an award that celebrates individual personal achievement and progress through garden related activities as well as setting personal goals. In order to achieve the award, learners undertake a minimum of seven core activities, 13 additional activities, achieve three personal goals and develop a personal portfolio that evidences achievement and progress made! Josh completed ninety two hours of work to achieve his CALEY Grow and Learn ‘Roots’ certificate. He is one of the first participants from a school to complete and receive an award. Josh worked on a wide variety of activities under the watchful eye of Mrs Devonald. These included; making bird and insect homes and feeders, often recycling materials found in the school to do so, preparing the ground, growing fruit, flowers and vegetables and listening to various pieces of music relating to the outdoors. Josh began the course knowing very little about gardening, but soon acquired new skills relating to gardening and the wider world. This has been so much fun that Josh would now like to complete the ‘Nurture’ Grow and Learn award.

The School of Rugby dinner on Friday night was an absolute delight. Thanks to Haddington Rugby Club for making us so welcome. All of the speakers (pupils, coaches, and club members) were great – speaking warmly of each other and encouraging everyone to do better next season. I was very proud to be there.

Talking of coaching, I have to thank the two coaches from City of Edinburgh Trampoline Club who have coached pupils at various events over the last couple of weeks. They have delivered trampoline sessions to two S3 Core PE classes, to two S4 core PE classes with a National class joining in, and to over 60 P7s on their transition visit to Knox. I would like to commend them for so generously giving their time, and I know that all of the pupils involved will have got a lot out of it.

Congratulations should go to the following pupils for passing their music certificates this week: Hannah Trotter - grade 6 flute - 87% - distinction; Isaac Smith - grade 6 saxophone - 89% - distinction; Rebecca Swinton - grade 7 flute - 91%- distinction; Katie Holton - grade 8 clarinet - 94% - distinction.

It was unfortunate that we felt the need to postpone the Sports’ Day this week. The weather forecast was not looking good, and following a bit of a downpour on Monday we decided it was better to be safe rather than sorry. The “new” date is Tuesday 30th June – so let’s hope for a decent forecast and no more rain. The same advice as last week stands regarding clothing, food and sunscreen.

Next week will be jam-packed (as usual) with the highlight of the week being the Awards’ Ceremony (Thursday, 2nd July). Now that we have broadened the number and type of awards, seating is at a premium. I know that some parents have asked for more than their allocated two seats and I apologise if we are not able to accommodate you, but we only have a finite number of chairs.

School finishes for the session on Friday 3rd July at 12.05pm.

All the best.

S Ingham

Published: 18 June 2015

Earlier this week I received the following report of the rugby event that the school had taken part in last Friday: “On a glorious summer's day last Friday, youngsters from various age groups at Haddington Rugby played in a tournament at North Berwick as part of the Trophy Tour ahead of this Autumn's Rugby World Cup. The matches were played at U16, U14 and P7 age groups and each of our teams recorded wins against their East Lothian opposition. However, the stars of the day were the P7 team from King’s Meadow who won their mini tournament with a great display of attacking rugby in their final. Haddington Rugby was runners up to North Berwick in the combined rugby community award. Our teams were supported by the rest of their squads and our girls’ squad who were treated to guest appearances from Vern Cotter (Scotland Coach), Chris Paterson (Scottish rugby legend) and Chris Dean (up and coming Edinburgh professional). This is just the start of the build up to this Autumn's rugby extravaganza. If it's made you want to try the game, then get in touch with Mr Marnoch or Mr Wands who will tell you more about how to sign up and join the others who are coming back to rugby next season through the expanded School of Rugby. Grab your chance now to represent Knox Academy against others in East Lothian and Edinburgh.” Thanks to Steve Wright and Mr Wands for this report.

Since then, we have had another busy week. What with the P7 Visit and the County Sports, I think everyone will sleep well on Friday night.

We had a very successful P7 Visit. Thanks to all parents who supported us. They are a great bunch of pupils and I know that they will be a huge asset to the school. If any parent has any concern arising from the visit days, they should not hesitate to contact us.

We’ve also heard that congratulations are in order for Murran Bland who was a finalist for the “Learning for Life” competition for her excellent poster. She received a Gold Award and was invited through to Glasgow University for the prizegiving event. The competition encourages young people to think about what’s important to them, the values that they hold and how they can be demonstrated.

Next Wednesday is the school sports’ day – weather permitting. As the pupils will spend most of the morning out on the field, can you please ensure that they have the appropriate clothing (layers are good) (PE kit or House colours are ok), something to drink and snack on, and (fingers crossed) some suntan lotion. We will provide some food and drink and there is always sunscreen available, but it never hurts for pupils to come prepared.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 12 June 2015

It has been wonderful to see the sun this week – pupils have been enjoying sitting out on the field at lunchtime and being out and about in it. We just have to hope that it stays like this for Sports’ Day on the 24th June.

This week I had the real pleasure of spending some time with Lucy Keegan who was a runner-up in a nationwide competition to create a new character as a guide in the 'Real Mary King's Close'. Lucy has won a family pass to the Close. The competition was judged by children's author Philip Caveney who said he was 'impressed by the exciting range of really exciting entries and the hard work each pupil had put into their characters.' In addition Mr Caveney praised Lucy by saying her 'detailed illustration of the kitchen maid was great and really stood out.' Congratulations to Lucy and we hope she and her family enjoy their trip to the 'Real Mary King's Close'.

Also this week we welcomed members of the Haddington Twinning Association in to school to talk to our S2, 5 & 6 about twinning and its benefits. Their presentation really made the youngsters think about our relationship with Aubigny and, I hope, has enthused them to think about the possibility of visiting. We also talked about twinning with the other year groups in the context of assemblies about “opportunities”. There’s lots on offer for young people here at Knox, but we are always looking for ideas – so I have encourages pupils to come and tell me what opportunities they would like to see here.

On Wednesday it was great to see some of our pupils heading off to King’s Meadow to help with their Sports’ Day. The School of Rugby pupils, in particular, looked very smart and enthusiastic. I hear that the day was a great success and that our pupils’ help was much appreciated. Speaking of sport… Congratulations to Simon Duke and Paul Cunningham who were selected recently for East Lothian Falcons u16 Rugby team. Both represented The Falcons and did Knox Academy proud. On the back of this Paul Cunningham has been selected for the next stage of selection process and is in the East Lothian & Borders training squad.

Also on Wednesday some of our senior pupils (Hannah Green, Natalie Forrest, Chloe Forrest, Iona Freckleton, Katy Irving) went to Perth to celebrate their success in this year’s YPI competition. They met up again with Steve Nelson the Manager of Beyond Boundaries East Lothian (the winning charity) and had a great day hearing about other charity successes and networking.

This afternoon we will have the Leavers’ Ceremony (mainly for the S6 who are leaving us). It will be the usual bittersweet occasion where we say goodbye to people who have been a massive part of the school, and we realise how much we will miss them, whilst realising that they are off to start a new and exciting phase in their lives.

As one group leaves us, next week we have the excitement of the P7s coming up for their visit (Tuesday and Wednesday). There is an information evening on Monday and I look forward to meeting new parents and our soon-to-be S1 then.

Here’s hoping for a fine weekend.

S Ingham

Published: 05 June 2015

The week of the change of timetable is always a bit of a bumpy one, but it is looking, as things settle down, that most people are where they need to be, doing what they wanted to do. Getting that right is a HUGE undertaking and I would like to take the opportunity of thanking Mr Illingworth, Ms Skirrow and the Office Staff for making it happen. The S4 have been away on Work Experience this week, so haven’t got their timetables yet, but I am hoping that everything goes smoothly for them on Monday. Also, I look forward to hearing about how they got on in their week away from school.

Last Friday the school joined up with the Jam Packed team to welcome 59 pupils from primary schools across East Lothian for our “Hack to the Future” Event. During the morning the pupils got to experience four different activities from digital storytelling using Twine, making a plain game in Scratch interesting, coding a squirrel using Python, and “hacking” Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi. The “Family Hack Jam” brought in various groups from all over the Lothians, some coming from the city centre to participate. They spent their time creating interactive stories ranging from the fate of Sherlock Holmes (who was having a pint in an Edinburgh pub) to a grisly end for Justin Bieber. I hear that watching families sit down to create and collaborate was great - something I hope as a community we can build on in the future. On Saturday there was the main event - the “Raspberry Jam”. You can see more of what went on at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uONHb8FLicE

On Sunday Mr Flood and Mr Simpson attended the opening ceremony of the Haddington Festival. I am told that it was a great community event (as usual) with families and friends out in strength. It was a particularly proud time for the school as Saimah Uddin was the joint winner of the Haddington Achiever Award. Saimah has worked very hard in her role as Sport Ambassador in the school, and also in her fundraising efforts, she is worthy recipient of the trophy.

On Monday night we had a meeting about the future of the School Of Rugby at Knox Academy. It was a grim evening weather-wise, but that atmosphere in our Food Court was far from bleak. School of Rugby goes from strength to strength here (thanks to great staff and parental support) and it looks like the future is bright.

Wednesday saw the running (or should I say “floating”) of the annual Duck Derby – I was delighted to hear that our own Mrs McInnes had picked the winner. It was a lovely evening and whilst I wasn’t able to go to that event I was able to represent the school at an open evening at St Mary’s Pleasance. It was a delight to see this hidden gem and I would commend it to anyone as a lovely place to visit.

I wish you all a good weekend, and look forward to seeing anyone who is in the float parade on Saturday (I’m judging, so be nice!) and let’s hope the weather holds.

S Ingham