December 2016

Published: 22 December 2016

We’ve had a great week at Knox.

We discovered that we have raised over £300 for Save the Children thanks to the Christmas Jumper Day last Friday.

On Monday we judged the Christmas Box competition. We received boxes from nearly all tutor groups that were decorated along the theme of “Christmas Films”. The boxes were filled with goodies galore that I know were appreciated by the recipients. The overall winning box came from 1L2, and what impressed the judges (Mrs McGillivray and 2 P7 pupils from King’s Meadow) was the combination of decoration and content.

The concert on Tuesday night was wonderful. With over 120 pupils involved in various bands, ensembles and choirs, we were treated to items that ranged from “A Vaughan Williams Christmas” to “Mambo Italiano” by way of “Blue Moon”. Thanks go to all the music staff and instructors who have rehearsed so hard with the pupils, and thanks to all the parents and carers out there who support the youngsters with their musical endeavours.

Yesterday I helped judge the S1 Nativity competition that is run by the RMPS department. Pupils are asked to depict the Nativity in their own way and we regularly see beautiful pictures, craft work and cakes. This year the order of merit goes like this:

Overall winner: Reuben Phoenix Hill (1T2) for his fabulous website with full coding and a whopping 25 hours of work.

Runners up: Anna Munroe (1L1) for her beautiful light up Nativity Manger in a box made out of craft straws and other materials. Maya Lavender and Jessica Goodfellow (1G3) for their edible manger.

Special mention for originality goes to Lizzie Vischer (1L1) for her coloured jar tea light Nativity.

And today, we have had the S6 panto “Back to Knox” that was written, directed, produced and musically accompanied by the S6. It has been a marvellous production, full of music, dance and gentle humour. The PE staff have been entertaining pupils with dancing and fun and the rest of the staff have been enjoying the company of their classes as the day has gone on. We close at 4pm today and will reopen for everyone on Monday 9 January 2017.

Have a great festive period and I wish everyone health and happiness in 2017.

S Ingham

Published: 16 December 2016

As befits the season of goodwill to all, the school’s Amnesty Group has been working really hard to raise pupils’ awareness of Human Rights abuses around the world. Over the last few weeks the group has presented a week's worth of Assemblies, run a bake sale, an “Amnestea”, and organised a sponsored silence raising awareness and money for Amnesty. As Mrs Montgomery says, “they are a dedicated and enthusiastic group!”

Following on from her trip to Auschwitz, Ruby Smith attended a reception this week at the Scottish Parliament in conjunction with the Holocaust Educational Trust, as one of their young ambassadors. Ruby met the First Minister and spoke to her about her trip. There was also a Holocaust survivor in attendance who gave a testimony of the need to be open minded to the current refugee crisis. This is powerful stuff, and Knox is proud to be associated with this project.

In sporting news, three Knox Rugby players: Kyle Eadie, Freddie Cunningham and Simon Duke have been selected to play for the East Lothian Under 17 Rugby Squad. They have a match against a team from the Borders on Monday, so we wish them all the very best and hope for a successful encounter.

Last night saw the annual Christmas Dance here at the school. The theme was “Masquerade” and pupils duly arrived be-masked and in their finery. The atmosphere was super with the dance floor being full all evening. Thanks to the parents from the PTA who ran the cloak rooms and the refreshments table. Also thanks to all of the staff who gave up their evening to support the event – it was massively appreciated by the pupils and myself.

Next week we go into full Christmas-mode. We have the Christmas concerts on Tuesday (2pm and 7pm), enough Scottish Country Dancing as to exhaust a professional athlete, and the now famous S6 panto. The school closes at 4pm on Thursday (please note it is a full school day).

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 09 December 2016

First, some sporting news: On the 27th November over 80 pupils travelled from all over the county to compete in the Mid and East Lothian Secondary Schools Badminton Championships held at Meadowmill Sports Centre. All 6 Secondary Schools from East Lothian and three from Midlothian had players representing their school at this event. Following this event selection will now take place for pupils to represent Mid & East Lothian Schools at the Scottish Schools National Championships which will be held on the 12th and 13th March at Bells Sport Centre, Perth. The results from the Knox contingent are pretty impressive, I think you’ll agree:

Final results – U14

  • Girls’ Singles Runner up – Amanda Martin
  • ‘B’ Final Winner – Kirsty Booth
  • Runner up – Catriona Watson
  • Boys’ Singles ‘B’ Final Runner up – Kyle Sutherland
  • Girls’ Doubles Runners up – Amanda Martin & Rachel Broadley
  • ‘B’ Final Winner – Kirsty Booth & Catriona Watson
  • Boys’ Doubles – Winners – Callum Rettie & Kyle Sutherland
  • Mixed Doubles – Winners – Calum Rettie & Rachel Broadley

Final results – U16

  • Girls’ Singles ‘B’ Final Winners – Shannon Harkness
  • Boys’ Doubles ‘B’ Final Runners up – Adam Gray & Niall Holman


Mr Redford writes, “On Wednesday we had the final of this year’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative with the S5. We had seven groups presenting on behalf of local charities that they have been working with: Safe Families for Children; Beyond Boundaries East Lothian; Leuchie House; Dementia Friendly; Mid and East Lothian Drugs (MELD); Stepping Out; and SiMBA. Every group had visited their charities and were able to give a really personal account of the philanthropic work that they do, including some of the work the pupils themselves have done with the charities. The final was judged on the quality of the pupils’ presentations and they made it incredibly difficult for the judges. With that in mind, I would like to thank Rebecca Keegan, Depute Head Pupil; Claire Thomson, a previous winner; Councillor John McMillan and Nicola Wood from Speratus Group (YPI's local sponsor) and of course our Head Teacher, Sarah Ingham for taking he time out of their busy schedules to judge the event. After some debate, the winners were announced as the group representing Dementia Friendly. Gregor Booth, Taylor Clark, Chloe Johnston, Andrew McKnight and Evie Trouton won over the judges with their compelling account of the time they spent with the charity and those it supports and the amazing work the charity does for those suffering from the effects of dementia in our community. Dementia Friendly will now receive a cheque for £3000 thanks to the fantastic job that the pupils have done over the last few months. Each and every young person on stage was an absolute credit to the school and served to remind us all about the importance of engaging with those less fortunate than ourselves in the community. I am, as always, immensely proud to be part of the process.”

The 66 pupils who went out to see Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Lyceum on Wednesday evening were, as usual, a credit to Knox. Ms Whitfield comments, “We ALL agreed the fantastic set and costumes were a pleasure to watch. The Mad Hatter was a favourite character too.”

Thanks to all parents who came to the Parent Council Meeting on Wednesday night. We had a really interesting budget update courtesy of Ms Skirrow (Business Manager) that led to some good discussions. We also received updates from the pupils on matters as diverse as rooming to the Christmas Dance. We also had an excellent parent turn out to the S1 Parents’ Evening. It was great to have the opportunity to get to know some of our new parents and to get their feedback on how the first full term has gone for their youngsters.

Next week we have the Christmas Dance (Thursday, 15). I look forward to seeing all the pupils dressed “to the nines” for the event. Rules about the dance can be found on this website.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 02 December 2016

Again, I can report a busy week here at Knox Academy.

On Wednesday night two of our senior pupils attended an evening dedicated to Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce through the Edinburgh, East and Midlothian Chamber of Commerce. Jack Scott (S6), is the star of the video that has been put together to showcase the opportunity marketplace that has been put together by the DSYF group. Both he and Brigid Hay were accompanied at the event by Mr Flood, and the feedback that we received was very positive, “Jack did a fantastic job chatting with everyone in the room and the video was great. He was so confident and really engaging with everyone he spoke with. He really impressed the Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn.”

Yesterday two separate groups of senior pupils went on their travels – one to Lockerbie and one to Aubigny. The Dumfriesshire-bound group were heading to Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery, to help with their Higher RMPS unit on Buddhism. I know that they will have had a very warm welcome from the community and it will really bring to life what they have been learning about in class. The Aubigny group consists of pupils studying Higher French and is an opportunity for them to immerse themselves in the language and culture ahead of their exams.

My hearty congratulations go out to Tom Wilson in S3 who has won a place in the senior section of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. On a similarly creative note I would also like to say “well done” to the pupils who built replica World War 1 Trenches as part of their S3 History course.  The following three pupils were judged to have been the “top three” and they are: Elli Robertson, Liam Golecki and Lucy Keegan. There were also three other “honourable mentions” for Alisha Thomas, Alexander Doctor and Jenny Vischer.

Finally, a plea:

We urgently need new foster carers in East Lothian. Fostering with East Lothian Council means great support, great training and a good financial package. More importantly, as part of our fostering team, you’ll be doing something fantastic, helping children and young people from East Lothian to stay in East Lothian, close to the people that are important to them - helping them to feel safe, loved and nurtured in your home. To find out more phone us on 01620 827 643 or visit East Lothian Council’s fostering web site at

Have a great week.

S Ingham