December 2015

Published: 18 December 2015

Knox is fully imbued with the Christmas spirit. Last Friday, approximately 70 of our pupils went to the Lyceum to see “The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe”. By all accounts it was a great success and the pupils were a credit to themselves and the school.

On Tuesday, we had the traditional display of Christmas Boxes that had been put together by our tutor groups. It was a lovely display and Jennifer Macrae and I had a really difficult job judging who would be getting the plaudits. Eventually we decided on the following:

Overall Winner: 4L3, for their beautiful and well-stocked fireplace.

Lammerlaw Winner: 1L1’s penguin house

Traprain Winner: 1T2, with their fireplace, complete with mince pie and sherry for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph

Garleton Winner: 5G1, for their very sparkly Christmas pudding

Judges’ Special Mention went to 5G2, for their enormous Christmas pudding

Highly Commended went to: 3T2, for a beautiful house with fairy lights, 1L2’s Christmas scene, and 4G1’s simple Christmas cracker. Thanks to Jennifer for coming in this week to take assemblies and for helping with the judging.

On Wednesday I was also involved in judging the S1 Nativity Scenes. Congratulations go to the following pupils:

1st prize - Tristan Swann (1T1) for his triple box spectacular

2nd prize - Louise Allan (1T1) and Alanis Cordiner (1T1) for their beautiful nativity stained glass

3rd prize - Emma Wallace (1L1) for the nativity in the round

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the Christmas Concerts. One of the P7 pupils who came up to the afternoon performance put it very well, “That was awesome!” How right he was. There was music to appeal to most sensibilities done with an attention to detail that would make anyone proud. I did not stop grinning throughout. Thanks go to all the music staff, instructors and pupils for making both concerts so memorable.

Today we have donned the Christmas jumpers (the mild weather notwithstanding), and raised £420 in so doing. The S6 Pantomime has been outstanding with some fabulous singing, dancing, and acting. And, as if that wasn’t enough, pupils have been ceilidh-ing away. We will finish with the Twelve Days of Christmas and hopefully send pupils out in a festive mood.

School resumes for all on the 5th January 2016.

Have a wonderful Christmas and all the very best for 2016.

S Ingham

Published: 11 December 2015

It’s been another full-on week at Knox Academy.

On Wednesday we had the final of this year’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative with the S5. We had six groups presenting on behalf of local charities: Anti Bullying East Lothian; North Berwick Beach Wheelchairs; Kid Zone; The Trussell Trust; East Lothian Special Needs Play Scheme; and New Horizons. Every group had visited their charities and were able to give a really personal account of the sterling work that they do. The final was judged on the quality of the pupils’ presentations and they made it really difficult. At this point I would like to thank Councillor John McMillan, our Head Prefect, Harry Bowles, a previous winner of the final, Natalie Forrest, and Max Sykes from Canon UK for being fellow judges. Eventually, after much wrangling, we decided that the group representing New Horizons had just edged it. Hannah Paxton, Eilidh Watt, Claire Thomson, and Lucy Hargreaves had given a compelling account of the work that this charity does to alleviate homelessness for young people in Haddington. New Horizons will receive a cheque for £3000 thanks to the girls’ efforts. The representative from YPI Scotland, Linda Kirkwood wrote to me saying, “Knox teams just go on getting better and better and it was such a joy to hear their care and passion as well as their high level of skill and commitment. They are indeed a credit to their school and community.” I don’t think I could have put it better myself.

On Thursday we decided to run the House Challenge that was postponed from October. So, during period 6, pupils were engaged in different activities that would gain their House points. I’m still in the process of collating the results, but these points, along with those for the various Christmas Boxes will make a big difference in the Inter-House competition.

Thursday night saw the Snowball Dance. The pupils looked stunning, having gone all-out in the finery-stakes. Thanks go to Mrs Ball and the parents who supported us by manning the tuck shop, looking after the cloakrooms and donating prizes. I must also thank the large number of staff who attended in order to look after the pupils and keep order.

Next week will be very busy. The Christmas Boxes are due to be judged on the 15th December (Tuesday) and there are the two Christmas Concerts on Wednesday (2pm and 7pm). On Friday we have our Christmas Jumper Day, along with the S6 Pantomime, House Ceilidhs and the Twelve Days of Christmas, before we finish at 12.05pm. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Have a lovely week.

S Ingham

Published: 04 December 2015

It was lovely to hear that so many of our pupils had been involved in the “Christmas in Haddington” event and the turning on of the lights. The link between the school and Haddington community is something of which I am very proud – and long may it continue. Speaking of which, we are gearing up for Christmas here at school and looking forward to opening our doors for the Christmas Concerts that we hold. They are taking place on the 16th December at both 2pm and 7pm and tickets can be purchased from the school. The concert programme sounds really good and I am looking forward to the day.

Yesterday I found out that the school has helped Haddington to raise £4489 for the Poppy Scotland appeal. It is a testament to the commitment of our young people that they were out in all weathers delivering and replacing collection cans, and helping to sell the poppies themselves. Thanks should also go to Mr Flood for his help and guidance. I couldn’t be prouder.

On Wednesday we had the final Parent School Partnership meeting of the 2015. There was lots to talk about, ranging from discussing changing the group’s name (to the Parent Council), to all the initiatives that the pupils are taking forward. As ever, any parent is welcome to attend and the next meeting will be on the 13th January, 6.15pm in the school library.

We’ve been doing a bit of recruitment over the last few weeks and I can announce that we have a preferred candidate for the PT Guidance post, and that Ms Machen was successful in becoming PT (Curriculum) Communications. Hearty congratulations to both.

One of our pupils, Georgia Greenan, will be jetting off to Mexico in the summer as part of the Girl Guide programme. She undertook a rigorous selection process and was only one of nine Guides selected from Scotland to go. As a result, Georgia has to do some fundraising so is having a shopping night at Gibson’s in Haddington on Monday 7th December between 6pm and 8pm. If you have time, please drop in and support Georgia. I look forward to hearing about her adventures when she returns to school in August.

Next week, on Wednesday, we have the Youth Philanthropy Initiative final. I am looking forward to hearing the pitches that our S5s make, supporting their chosen charities. As ever, it will be a hard-fought final and the judging panel will have a really difficult task of deciding who should get the £3000 cheque. On Thursday we’re having the Christmas “Snowball” Dance – it’s gearing up to be a fab-u-lous event. I look forward to seeing everyone dressed up to the nines and enjoying themselves.

Have a great weekend.

S Ingham