March 2016

Published: 24 March 2016

Do you mind if I brag a little bit more this week? You don’t? Smashing!

On Friday afternoon I helped a number of our S6 pupils to put on an afternoon tea for the local elderly. Around 30 people attended from Knox Court, Florabank and the Day Centre. As usual we over-catered but at least no one left hungry! The “brains” behind the event was Iona Croally, who must be congratulated for marshalling her team very well. Thanks to everyone who attended.

On Friday evening I represented Knox at a Saltire Awards event in Haddington. The Saltire Awards recognise volunteering hours completed by young people aged 12 to 25. It was wonderful to see so many Knox Academy pupils there. I was very proud to pick up the “East Lothian Inter-School Challenge” shield thanks to the sheer number of hours that our pupils have clocked up. Well done to all the pupils who received certificates that night, it’s great to know that you are making such a difference in the community.

On Tuesday night our Young Enterprise teams headed into Edinburgh to attend the Edinburgh and Lothians Award Ceremony. Team Fusion came out of the evening very well, winning second place overall for their Wine Charms business. William Syme was awarded Best Finance Director; Harry Bowles was deemed Best Sales Director; and Rosi Kelly was Best Managing Director. They got 2nd place for their interview and Chloe Forrest was joint third in the Best Production Director category. Congratulations go to all the pupils involved in Teams Fusion and Tenacity and thanks to those who have supported them throughout their endeavours.

Last night I was overwhelmed, as ever, by the sheer talent on display at the Spring Concert. I leave these occasions feeling about seven feet tall. I would like to thank everyone who made it possible – the parents, pupils, music staff, instructors, camera-people, stage crew, and lighting production. Everyone I spoke to couldn’t get over how well produced the whole event was and how much the pupils enjoyed what they were doing. It was a very fine night. There were a couple of raffles that took place to help with some fundraising – one of the prizes (a tartan Scottie dog) was won by a blue raffle ticket (numbers 26 to 30) with the serial number AR3B 5L4L – if you want to claim your prize, pop in to school.

Today we finish for the Easter Holidays and everyone should return at normal time on Monday 11th April.

Have a great holiday (as and when it might happen for you).

Sarah Ingham

Published: 17 March 2016

This week I have been the proud recipient of five trophies that have been won for the school.

The first came on Sunday from the Scottish Schools’ Pipe Band Championships. Our Pipe Band performed in the “Novice Juvenile B” class, up against some pretty experienced performers. The class consisted of thirteen bands, some of which were from individual schools; others were more “massed” bands from school clusters or councils. Our band came third in their class, winning a shield and a cheque for £200. I have now found that I can hold my breath for what seemed the duration of “Campbell’s Farewell to Redcastle, Men of Argyll, The Sweet Maid of Glendaruel, and The Brown Haired Maiden”! Many thanks go to Davy Barnes and Dave Henry for their tuition and advice, and of course, massive thanks to the parents and supporters who turn up to transport to venues, listen to rehearsals and hold their breath during performances, too.

The other four trophies came courtesy of the school’s Formula One racing team. They returned from the regional finals as Scottish Champions, earning a place in the British finals to be held at Silverstone. As well as the overall trophy, they won “Fastest Car”, “Best Research and Development” and “Best Engineered Car”. Well done to Connor Moore, Archie Goddard, Iona Riley, Findlay Wallace, Andrew Syme, and Cameron Coe. Ms Leggatt, who has supported and mentored the team throughout, could not have looked happier or prouder, and I’m sure the team will agree that they couldn’t have done it without her.

We had a very good Parent Council meeting on Wednesday evening. It was the penultimate meeting of the session (the last one is on the 18th May, and there isn’t one in April). We heard about the linkage made between the Parent Council and the Area Partnership and I would like to thank Louise Elder (Chairperson) for her work in liaising between the two groups. We also discussed reporting in the senior school and some of our future website developments. As ever, there’s a lot going on, so watch this space.

I had a lovely visit from some pupils from Primary 2A at Haddington Infant School. They popped up to the school to give me a fantastic thank you card. I had been down to the school as part of their World Book Week celebrations, and spent a very pleasant hour or so with the pupils. It was really good fun to share my book: “The story of the mole who knew it was none of his business”, and to answer their questions about what it was like in the “big school”- mind you, these pupil swill be turning up in S1 before we know it!

Next week we have the Spring Concert on Wednesday evening. No doubt this will be another impressive event and I look forward to seeing you there. Also, just a reminder that we finish for the Easter Holiday at 4pm on Thursday 24th March.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 11 March 2016

There’s so much that I am proud of this week, so let’s get started. Firstly, huge congratulations to Paul Cunningham in S4, who has been selected to play for the Scotland U16 Rugby Team at the Conwy International Rugby Festival in Wales. Steve Lawrie, head coach of the team says: “As a coaching group we are under no illusions that playing against Wales and France at this age is a tough test; however, it is vital we take our players out of their comfort zone and challenge them under test match pressures.” I know that Paul will rise to the challenge and give his best – we will be cheering him all the way. Paul’s selection is the result of a lot of hard work, dedication and resilience, and we’re very proud of him.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the U14 hockey tournament at Ross High last Friday. The Knox team turned out to be the team to beat having won the S1 event last year. While we started slowly against Ross High in the first match, the team improved game after game. Following a close victory over the ever-strong North Berwick, the Knox team went on to win all their matches and thus won the event. Mr Wands writes, “It should be mentioned that each and every player contributed to this win and that they all should be very proud of this achievement. I hope that is spurs them on to continue to work on their game and enjoy every bit of it along the way!” Thanks must also go to Chris Hargreaves who has coached this squad for 2 years and has put in countless hours of time into coaching and encouraging the squad.

On Wednesday a number of our pupils headed to Torness Power Station for a visit. By all accounts they had a great time (see out Twitter feed). On Wednesday another group of youngsters were feverishly working to finish our BBC School Report film. They have worked really hard to pull together a thought-provoking report on housing in Haddington and how that might impact the town. You can access the film via this website. Congratulations to the whole team.

Yesterday we welcomed the Children’s University into school to celebrate the out-of-school achievements of some of our younger pupils. The pupils gain credit for learning outside of school, be it through visits to local attractions, learning a musical instrument or playing a sport. Hearty congratulations go to: Dylan Glass, Harry Thursz , Holly Cameron, Eilidh Graham, Liam Fairbairn, Sarah Greenwell , Louise Allan, and Andrew Graham. Special mention must go to Dylan Glass who has accrued over 400 hours of participation, he is surely a fabulous example of what people can achieve outside of school.

Last night I had the real pleasure of attending the East Lothian Showcase Concert at the Brunton Theatre. It’s an opportunity for our pupils to show off just how proficient they have become. Knox Academy was very well represented, with a number of pupils playing in multiple ensembles. The quality of the music was outstanding and was testament to the hard work of both pupils and instructors. It was a capacity audience who were all left in no doubt of the enormous musical talent that there is in East Lothian.

I believe that there is a rumour amongst the pupils that we will be finishing at lunchtime on the 24th March for the Easter Holidays. Please note that this is NOT the case – school will finish at 4pm that day, as normal.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 04 March 2016

We have had a bumper week this week.

Last Friday saw the final day for Ms Good of our Science and Biology departments. Ms Good had been at Knox Academy since 2004 and will be sorely missed. Our loss is Eyemouth High School’s gain.

On Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of being in the audience at the “New Spirit” concert hosted by Haddington Pipe Band. Several of our pupils were involved: they piped, they sang and they played – all marvellously. It was a really uplifting concert with many a stirring tune and some that were new to us. I would like to thank Haddington Pipe Band for their hard work and support, and I look forward to the continued partnership between them and Knox Academy.

On Monday, fourteen intrepid reporters who form the BBC School Report team left Knox Academy armed with video cameras, tripods and questions to meet with Iain Gray MSP at the Scottish Parliament. Iain was charming and affable and spoke in a relaxed and uncomplicated way about his feelings with regards the extensive building that is happening in East Lothian (the pupils are investigating the issues around new housing in Haddington). After the interview, Iain kindly took time out of his busy schedule to show the group around the parliament building and was an excellent raconteur, making the visit personal and particularly relevant to East Lothian. The concrete came from Dunbar and the seats in the Debating Chamber were crafted in East Lothian. All pupils behaved impeccably and are excellent ambassadors for Knox Academy. The BBC School report team will now edit their videos, with the help of Mr Dempster and Mr Plain to create a 3-4 minute news item which will be submitted to the BBC School Report website which goes live on Thursday 10th March. I would like to thank Ms Prime, Ms Bulloch and Mrs Fraser for supporting the pupils in this project.

On Tuesday, having qualified for this national event by winning the East Lothian tournament before Christmas, Mr. Mitchel (Coach at Haddington Badminton Club) and Mr. Wands took our U14 Badminton Team, to the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell. Knox was drawn in a tough pool that included George Watson’s and the High School of Glasgow amongst others. We finished 3rd in our pool and went through to the 5th / 6th place play-off match. Following some thrilling games in which all players contributed, we narrowly lost out 2 games to 3 placing us 6th overall. This is an excellent result for us and I’d like to extend my congratulations to all involved: Harry Anning, Jonathan Carruthers, Niall Holman, Jamie Gilkison, Kyle Sutherland, Amanda Martin, Rachel Broadley, Sophie Cheyne, Amy Mill-Irving, and Sophie Milne.

I am delighted to announce that Hamish Hastie is the recipient of this year’s Aubigny Scholarship. It’s a fantastic award that will allow Hamish to spend some time in Aubigny with families and working in the community. I wish him all the very best and we will say a fuller congratulations to him at our annual Awards’ Ceremony.

On Wednesday we hosted representatives from the Electoral Registration Office who were in to ensure that all the young people in the school who are eligible to vote are registered. It was a bit of a process to find youngsters and get them down to the Hall and get their details, but hopefully we now have as many young people registered as possible.

Have a very good week.

S Ingham