May 2017

Published: 26 May 2017

On Monday the staff had a very worthwhile in-service day. We had presentations on autism awareness; how we can prepare young people better for the workplace; and our new procedures for Respectful Relationships for Learning. In the afternoon we looked at our vision for Knox Academy over the next three years and drafted the priorities for the School Improvement Plan. All-in-all it was a busy and productive day.

We continue to have our partners from Colstoun House in the Food and Health Department doing cookery experiences with our S1 and S2. The pupils have moved on from the noodle stir-fry to fish or veggie cakes, and I can testify that the food has looked (and smelled) delicious. I only hope that some of it has lasted until it gets home!

We’re still very excited about KT Tunstall’s visit to the school last week. We made a connection with her through our partnership with Canon UK, and she came to talk to a group of girls about confidence and creativity. She was a complete inspiration to all who were there, and seemed to enjoy herself so much that the school got “shout-outs” at her gig at the Queen’s Hall on Friday night and when she was on Radio 2 on Saturday. We are hoping to keep the relationship going with her and would like to thank our friends at Canon, KT and her management team (especially Charlotte) for helping to make it all happen.

On Wednesday, Angus Langlands, who represents us on the Scottish Youth Parliament spoke at the “Get Connected” Event at the Brunton Hall. Angus delivered his talk and Power Point presentation, speaking truthfully and eloquently about having additional support needs and how this impacts on his life. He genuinely moved the audience with his account and held his nerve speaking to over 90 adults (no mean feat for anyone). Mrs Fraser, who accompanied him said, “He conducted himself with grace and displayed excellent manners to all he met yesterday. His conduct and appearance were remarked on by all. He is an ambassador for Knox Academy and the school should be proud of the young man he has matured into.” Hear! Hear!

Next week is Activities’ Week, and whilst a couple of trips are starting their journeys today, I’d like to wish everyone well for their trips and travels. The long-stay trips tend to Tweet a lot so, keep your eye out on our timeline for news and updates (especially regarding travel home).

If you are looking for things to do this weekend, can I suggest attending the Haddington Pipe Band Ceilidh that is happening at the Corn Exchange this evening (7.30pm start)? Also, one of our pupils, Findlay Wallace is playing in a concert at St Mary’s Church on Saturday with Dalkeith and Monktonhall Brass Band. Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £7 (£3 concessions). They will be playing music from the stage and screen and it looks to be a great night out. On Sunday the school will be represented at the Haddington Festival Opening Service and I look forward to seeing you there.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 19 May 2017

The weather has felt a little kinder this week and pupils have been out and about.

We have had visits from our P7 Pathfinders Group, who have come up to Knox to get a better view of how the school works and to meet some of the staff prior to the transition days. The group then goes back to their respective primary schools to let the other P7s know what to expect. The Pathfinders arrived in good form yesterday, many coming from their Sports’ Day, held on the Knox playing fields. Speaking of which…

Our S3s have been helping out with primary sporting events (including yesterday’s). As part of their Sky Sports Ambassador role, the S3 have been supporting numerous transition days this session, but come into their own when the weather is better and they can be out and about. It makes a massive difference for the primary pupils to get to know our pupils as early on as they can so thanks to all involved.

Also yesterday a group of our string players attended a masterclass run by Nicola Benedetti. All the pupils came away feeling inspired and wanting to improve their playing. The quote from the day was, “Absolute engagement is vital – engagement physically, emotionally and mentally…Engage yourself entirely.” Thank you so much to Ms Turbayne for securing tickets to this sell-out event.

Activities’ Week is almost upon us, with pupils getting their bags packed for the off (for some) at the end of next week. Can I remind everyone involved with Activities’ Week that they should pack carefully for all eventualities (even if you are just on day trips) – plenty of water, sunscreen, hats, layers of clothing, a reasonable amount of spending money, and snacks/lunch etc. Part of the educational side of these trips is for pupils to organise themselves, think ahead and problem-solve. I hope that everyone has a great time.

Next week, pupils are not in school on Monday (22 May). The Library will not be available for study that day as the staff need to use it to meet, with the Hall being needed for examinations.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 12 May 2017

It was good news for Knox Academy School of Rugby from Saturday’s East Lothian 7s Tournament. Out of our 5 teams competing, three won silverware. Well done to our S1, S2 and U15 team on winning their sections. It has been a hard season for all the players in the School of Rugby, so it was fantastic to finish the season on a high. I look forward to the traditional end-of-season dinner hosted by Haddington Rugby Club, when I’m sure I’ll be hearing about the team’s triumphs in more detail. Thanks to all the sponsors, parents, friends and coaches who have worked so hard to make the pupils’ experience such a good one.

On Wednesday we had a “double whammy” of P7 transition events. Our prospective S1s came up to get a taste of what it’s like in the “big school”, meet some new people and to complete activities in the PE and English departments. Mr MacDonald (PE) writes: 'The Health and Wellbeing transition event was a massive success as the S3 Sky Sports Leadership group demonstrated great character to deliver a fantastic programme that was both exciting and enjoyable for all primary pupils. The efforts of the Active Schools Coordinators and the staff within the Haddington cluster, who supported this event, have to be recognised.” Mrs Rankine (English) said, “From a Literacy perspective, the transition event went really well. P7 pupils worked collaboratively in small groups to create a poster about their Commonwealth country. They worked really hard, with the help of our own S2 pupils, and produced bright, colourful and informative posters. The S2 helpers were organised, supportive and positive, engaging really well with the P7s and responding to all their questions and concerns. We were delighted with them. A good day had by all.”

On Thursday, 17 S1 pupils, accompanied by Mr Flood, Miss McPhee and Mrs Gillies, visited the Avant Homes Burnell Park development in Haddington to mark the unveiling of a new plaque dedicated to Sgt P A Burnell-Phillips, the development’s namesake. Burnell-Phillips, a heroic fighter pilot during the Second World War, died in a plane crash near the development in 1941. To mark the unveiling of the commemorative plaque, Avant Homes donated 20 Hawker Hurricanes Airfix kits to the school that pupils built and painted as their own personal tributes to the pilot. Well done to all the pupils involved who were a credit to the school.

Also on Thursday our pupils were participating in the East Lothian Youth Games. They participated in a wide variety of sports, from Football to Golf and, by all accounts, played hard and were great team players. Unfortunately, overall, the team did not manage to place in the top three, but we are no less proud of them and their positivity for that. 


So all-in-all it’s been a week of collaboration and supporting each other at Knox Academy. Not too shabby.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 05 May 2017

The exams are well and truly underway, and pupils have been in and out of school getting advice and help with their revision during the week.

We have also been having trip meetings for the excursions during Activities’ Week, and I think it’s fair to say that some parents are just as excited about the trips as their children are. All we have to do now, is get the weather sorted so that everyone has a week of glorious sunshine!

The school is now at the stage of pulling together feedback from parents, pupils and staff to help with our Improvement Planning. We will be adding results of any parental consultation to the website as the days and weeks go on and we’ll flag that up to you. We had a very productive meeting of S1 parents in February and the information that we got from that is going to be posted imminently.

Although it might seem a long way away, we are beginning to organise the Awards’ Ceremony. Can I ask that anyone who has a trophy to return it to the School Office as soon as possible so that we can start organising engraving etc.

Have a great week.

S Ingham