June 2017

Published: 30 June 2017

Well, it’s been another busy week here at Knox. I am glad that we decided to have the fire drill on Wednesday, as I think we would have had to be out in snorkels and flippers on any other day! That said, the pupils did really well and we were all out of the building in the requisite time.

On Friday of last week we had our Sports’ Awards Evening. Thanks to Mr Wands and his team for organising the event and for Mr Illingworth and Mr Mackinnon for their compering skills. It was wonderful to see the live Tweets coming out, recognising the hard work and talent of pupils, coaches and members of the community.

I heard about recent music successes this week. So, congratulations go to: Zoe Buxton (Grade 4 Oboe – Merit), Harry Rogan (Grade 5 Saxophone – Distinction), Nikolaus Hogg (Grade 6 Flute – Merit), Isaac Smith (Grade 8 Saxophone – Distinction), Hannah Trotter (Grade 8 Flute – Distinction), and Isla Booth (Grade 8 Piano – Distinction). I would also like to congratulate Tom Wilson who plays Violin in the Senior Orchestra of NYOS (National Youth Orchestra of Scotland) and Phoebe Hayman who sings with the Training Choir of NYCGB (National Youth Choir of Great Britain).

This week I also heard that Jack Martin has just graduated with a BA (Hons) from Stirling University. I would like to congratulate him on all his hard work and wish him well for the next step in his career.

Wednesday saw the school vote in the final round of selecting our new Senior Prefect Team. Following a consultation with the S6, we have decided to go with two Head Prefects and three Deputies. All the candidates had to produce a manifesto, take part in a hustings, go through interview, and then came the vote. I am delighted to announce that our two Head Prefects for session 2017-18 are Cole Dean and Fergus Dickson, who will be ably supported by Cara Morrison, Kara Singh and Gregor Booth. They are a formidable bunch of people and I look forward to working with them over the session.

On Wednesday evening we had our Awards’ Ceremony. It was a fantastic evening where we recognised the achievement and efforts of approximately 150 of our pupils. The prizes ranged from subject awards, to recognition of personal achievement, to volunteer of the year. I would like to thank Iain Gray MSP for awarding the prizes and for giving such an entertaining speech.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending part of the Meadowpark Talent Show. As a colleague rightly put it, “…they brought sunshine to a rainy day”. The enthusiasm of the pupils and staff was great to see, through their renditions of songs that were as diverse as “Video killed the radio star “, to “Let it go”.

Yesterday we also said our formal farewells to staff that are leaving us: Mr Watson (Business Education), Mrs MacDonald (Meadowpark), Ms McClure (Meadowpark), Mr Fyvie (English), and Mr Murdoch (Computing). We also said a big thank you to Mrs Binks who joined us on secondment from Preston Lodge as she goes back to them at the end of session. I would also like to congratulate Ms MacLeod who will be taking over as Acting Depute in August. My thanks go to all the staff for their hard work and dedication and I wish all those that are leaving us the best for the future.

Today we finish, as usual, with the montage of the year and a chorus of “Summer Holiday”. School closes at 12.05pm and will reopen for staff on 14 August and for pupils on 16 August. There will be staff in school on 8 August to answer immediate queries about exam results and to make appointments for re-coursing that takes place on the 15 August.

Have a great summer.

S Ingham

Published: 23 June 2017

What a great and busy week we’ve had!

We welcomed the P7s in for their two-day visit on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and what an impressive bunch they are! They coped so well with getting round the building, carrying all their stuff around, being prepared, and having a “can-do” attitude. The feedback that I got from them was really positive (lunch proved to be something of a highlight for a lot of them, as did science experiments!) and I think that they are in a really good place to transition to us properly in August. Thanks to all the S6 and staff who worked so hard across the primaries and in Knox to make this such a successful event.

As part of Money Week and our ongoing efforts to prepare pupils for leaving school we ran our first S6 'Developing Financial Futures' Day on Monday. We had three workshops being delivered by RBS MoneySense, the Stewart Ivory Foundation, and Citizen's Advice with topics ranging from Crowdfunding, Debt, Sources of Income, Student Funding, Homelessness and the transition to Independent Living - including sharing accommodation! SAAS (the Student Awards Agency Scotland) also delivered a talk to the S6 last week covering eligibility for support, tuition fee costs, bursaries/student loans entitlements, repaying your student loan and how to apply. All the S6 pupils attended this - whether they are intending on applying to university or not as some may be taking a year out and others may consider it at a later date. We are also working on an exciting 'Near to Peer' project with Edinburgh University and Young Enterprise; this will involve former pupils working with our current cohort in relation to preparedness for their financial futures, whether they are considering going to university, college or into work.

The pupils who took part in the Bridge Centre Motorbike Project attended a presentation on Wednesday lunchtime with the staff from the project. The pupils were rewarded with Advanced Bronze certificates for their biking skills, which saw them going from total novices on bikes to managing the bikes round a very challenging course. The staff from the Bridge Centre praised the Knox pupils as being the best pupils they have had on the project and were impressed at the quick progress they made on the bikes. They were also impressed at how well the pupils bonded and worked as a team on the numerous challenges that were set for them. It was great to see the pupils work towards their targets that they had set themselves for in school, and they intend to stick with these targets and develop them within school. Well done to: Molly MacIver, Holly Cameron, Summer Pilkington, Lucy Lemmon, Ethan Hammond, and Jakub Guzikowski. 

Yesterday S3 presented to members of the Haddington Twinning Association about the town’s association with Aubigny. When, I popped into the classes, I saw pupils presenting with clarity and confidence and they really impressed our visitors. Congratulations to all the pupils involved for their hard work (photos of certificate winners are on the school’s Twitter feed).

We’ve had a letter from Andy Edmonston, Chief Superintendent in charge of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Division in which he says, “As the weather improves and children and young people venture out on foot and bike to enjoy it, I seek your help in pushing the road safety message. I would encourage your students, pupils and staff alike to take responsibility for their own safety and to be mindful of the hazards walking and cycling on the roads present.” Given the proximity to the holidays I thought that I would share this message with parents and carers so that you can build on the road safety messages that we give at school.

Next week there is still a lot going on. We have Senior Prefect elections, Awards’ Ceremony on Wednesday evening, and the last day of term on Friday. We will be having a dress-down day on Friday and school will close for the summer at 12.05pm that day.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 16 June 2017

I meant to mention how proud I was of the pupils who took part in the Musical Theatre Showcase at Ross High School last Wednesday. They danced, sang and acted their way through the evening with gusto and were a credit to themselves and the school. I couldn’t have been more proud of their courage and teamwork.

It was also a real pleasure to attend the annual School Of Rugby awards dinner last Friday. The venue was packed with the largest number of team members, coaches and supporters that there has been at this occasion. The pupils gave their speeches with confidence and humour and we were all kept in very good order by Mr Gordon Bathgate. Thanks to Haddington Rugby Club for hosting us and for supporting the school’s rugby endeavours throughout the session.

This week we managed to dodge the rain and have our re-vamped sports’ day. The heats were in the morning, with really good numbers taking part. The finals were held in the afternoon alongside some of the more “fun” competitions. The pupils behaved impeccably, and we will announce the winning House at the Awards’ Ceremony.

Next week we are very excited to get to meet our new S1. The information evening for pupils and parents is on Monday 19 June at 6.30pm, however, doors are open from 5.30pm for parents to come and get lunch-money put onto Young Scot cards and to get things sorted. We then expect to see the new S1s on Tuesday and Wednesday at the usual school times. Pupils will congregate in the Hall and then will be buddied around the school by our S6. We are really looking forward to getting to know our new pupils better, and getting them set up so that they hit the ground running in August.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 09 June 2017

Imagine my delight when I received the following on Friday night from the Operations Manager of the outward bound Centre in the Lake District: “The pupils have been polite around the centre and enthusiastic on activity. It is without hesitation that I say your staff and pupils are a credit to both you and the school and I for one would welcome them back to Ullswater at any time.” It’s lovely to get that feedback and I would, again, like to reiterate how grateful I am to everyone who made Activities’ Week a success and how proud I am of the pupils for being great ambassadors for the school.

The new S6 had their induction this morning. They looked at their responsibilities as S6, voted on how they want their senior leadership team to be composed, planned for their committees and helped redefine the vision for the school. All-in-all a very busy morning and a great start to their final year.

The S4 have been out on work experience this week. From what I hear, it has all gone well with all pupils attending their placements. I look forward to hearing about how it went for them when they return on Monday.

Speaking of Monday…There will be a meeting for Haddington Hockey at school starting at 7pm. Players, Parents and Coaches are encouraged to attend the meeting to discuss the BIG plans for next year. Representatives from School and Haddington Hockey Club will be delivering a presentation on the night highlighting the vision for Haddington Hockey. They will then field questions and take any suggestions. Please come along and have your say.

Next week there’s quite a bit going on. We’re practicing for fire alarms during registration, Monday to Wednesday. On Tuesday we are having sports’ day all day – athletics heats in the morning and whole school sports in the afternoon. Fingers crossed for good weather and make sure that your youngster comes prepared for all eventualities e.g. layers of clothing, sunscreen, water, snacks etc.

Have a great week.

S Ingham

Published: 02 June 2017

I was very proud to represent the school at the opening service of the Haddington Festival on Sunday. I was especially proud of Calum Learmonth in his opening of the Festival and of Lucy and Ellana who won the “Haddington Young Achiever Award” for their work coaching hockey and working with pupils with additional support needs. A special mention also has to go to the King’s Meadow and St Mary’s String Orchestra that played three beautiful tunes with great skill.

What a marvellous Activities’ Week it has been. Thanks to all parents, pupils and staff who have made this possible. We have had youngsters travelling all over Europe, and closer to home (Linlithgow, Perthshire, the Lakes). The pupils in school have been trampolining, making music, meditating, visiting Colstoun Cookery School – all sorts of entertainments! I spent time with the S1 yesterday at the culmination of their Board Games Challenge and seeing their hard work in designing, pricing and advertising their games was brilliant. This morning, I was treated to a performance by the “Build A Band” team. They had composed three songs themselves and did two covers of White Stripes and Linkin Park songs. Their teamwork, mutual support and talent were great to see.

In other news, I attended a very informative Parent Council Meeting on Wednesday night and it was a pleasure to welcome Mr John Wrinn in to the Chair. We discussed the inspection follow-up; the feedback on the Respectful Relationships for Learning procedures; how we are going to be spending our Pupil equity fund monies next session (hopefully); and priorities for session 2017-18. That was the last meeting for the session.

Next week sees the start of the new timetable (although the new S4 are away on Work Experience). All pupils will get a personalised timetable at registration, so it’s important that everyone is in on time. Any queries will be dealt with throughout the day and instructions on how to get help will be issued to pupils at registration. We are hoping for a busy and productive June, so watch this space.

Have a marvellous week.

S Ingham