January 2018

Published: 16 January 2018

Christmas Events
Knox Academy was full of Christmas fun in the last week before the festive break and I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff and pupils who worked so hard to make this happen.

Christmas Boxes  -  Every register class showed both their creativity and kindness by filling boxes with  goodies for people in our community, then decorating the boxes. Designs were based on Christmas songs and there were some amazing creations. I am very grateful to members of our Parent Council who helped me to judge the boxes – a very difficult task as the standard was so high. After being judged, the filled boxes were delivered to Social Work, the Foodbank, the Butts sheltered housing and Haddington Day Centre. Some of our S1 pupils helped to deliver the boxes, and they had a lovely time at the Day Centre chatting to the clients. The winning designs were as follows:

  • Garleton  4L2
  • Lammerlaw  3L1
  • Traprain  5T2
  • Highly commended Meadowpark
  • Overall winner  4G1.

Christmas Concerts  -  On Tuesday of the last week, the school was filled with music at two wonderful concerts. In the afternoon, the P7 pupils joined the audience, and this was followed in the evening by a sell-out event. And no wonder! The talent and dedication of so many of our pupils was clear, and it was a joy to listen to the performers. You may have seen the lovely write-up of the event in The Courier, by an appreciative audience member.

S6 Pantomime  -  We saw a very different kind of show in the Hall at the end of the week, when the S6s performed their panto, loosely based on the Shrek story. Written and directed by Emily Merritt and choreographed by Arran Marsh, the show was hilarious! Special mention must go to the musicians, who were extremely professional and certainly enhanced the action on stage. Every year group saw the panto on the last day, ending the term with lots of laughter.

Christmas Jumper Day and The Twelve Days of Christmas  -  On the final day, we all came to school in our Christmas jumpers, making a donation to Save the Children for the privilege. After the panto performances, the final event of the morning was the traditional Knox Academy whole school singalong of The Twelve Days of Christmas. What a great way to end the term!

Mrs Slowther, who was with us as an extra depute for most of last term, has now returned to her substantive post as depute at Dunbar Grammar. We are very grateful for the support that she has given to Knox Academy pupils and staff in her time with us and, in particular, to thank her for her valued contribution to the work of the senior management team. Ms Dornan, physics teacher, leaves us for a promoted post in another authority at the end of this week and we wish her well in her future career. On the first day of the new term, it was a pleasure to welcome Mr Elder-Smith to Knox, the new member of the RME team. Another new member of staff is biology teacher Ms McDonald, who will be joining the science faculty shortly. Please note that, at present, we are short-staffed in the school office. The small team is doing a wonderful job coping, but please do be patient if you do not get a response as quickly as you would like when contacting the office.

In assemblies this week, I’ve been reminding pupils of things that really matter to us here in Knox Academy. In particular, I spoke about the warm, positive relationships that are at the heart of our community. We cannot take these for granted, however; we must all make a conscious effort to be kind, considerate and respectful towards each other at all times. I also reminded pupils that being punctual and following the dress code are part of the way we do things here at Knox. Looking to 2018, I acknowledged that – while we hope for a good year for everyone –we are all likely to face failure, obstacles or things going wrong at some point through the year. What matters is how we respond to those situations. The story of the Kobayashi Maru test illustrated that we need to come at a problem from a different angle, try a different strategy or think differently. If we know we have the power to do that, then we can be excited and brave about the year ahead and, perhaps, boldly go where we’ve never been before.

Parent Council Meeting
The next Parent Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 17 January at 6.15 pm, in the Library. All parents and carers are very welcome to attend. Topics to be discussed at this meeting include: the consultation on the Education (Scotland) Bill and Empowering Schools document; the curriculum; and home learning.

Benchmark Assessments
Senior pupils begin their benchmark assessments in most subjects this coming week. Some of these assessments take place in the Assembly Hall, others in classrooms during lesson times. Pupils have an individualised timetable for their assessments. We hope that the experience of sitting these assessments over a set period of time will help to prepare pupils for the diet of SQA examinations in May/June.

Careers Fair
This is a key date for your diary, whatever year group your child is in. From 6.00 – 8.00 pm on Monday 29 January, there is an opportunity for pupils and parents to gather more information on a wide variety of jobs, professions, and courses from the people who know what it is really like. I’m delighted that this initiative is the result of collaboration between school pupils and staff, our Parent Council, and our regional DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) group. Don’t miss it!

Amnesty International Youth Group
This group was working very hard in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday. They delivered assemblies to all year groups, highlighting the work of Amnesty International. They also took part in a sponsored ‘Give It Up’, where participants gave up the right of either speech or identity for a time. Through this initiative, and a badge and bake sale, the group raised funds to support the ‘Write for Rights’ campaign. In RMPs classes, all pupils learnt about current human rights abuses and the work of this annual campaign. Pupils were invited to design and make a card to send to the people involved and also to write letters to officials such as presidents and prime ministers.

School of Rugby
Mr Marnoch, our School of Rugby Co-ordinator, is delighted that the School of Rugby has been chosen as one of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund charities. This initiative will help us to provide essential kit and training equipment for the girls’ and boys’ teams over the coming year. It is a simple way for parents, carers and friends of the school to support rugby here at Knox each time you shop. If you are already a member, all you have to do is visit: https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/16298 and nominate Haddington School of Rugby as your local charity. If you are not a member, there is information here about how to sign up: www.coop.co.uk/membership. It’s very straightforward to join and costs nothing. Mr Marnoch will keep us updated throughout the year to let us know how the initiative is going.

Dress Code
Generally, the majority of pupils at Knox Academy are following the school’s dress code, which is very pleasing. I am concerned, however, that some of our pupils are still wearing ripped jeans which are not part of the dress code and are not appropriate for a formal place of work and learning. I would appreciate it very much if parents and carers could ensure that their child does not wear such trousers to school. The dress code is a key part of the school’s positive ethos and I would welcome your support with this.

Contact Email Addresses
Following discussion at a recent Parent Council Communications subgroup meeting on how to improve email communication between home and school, we have set up new email addresses for each House team. If you have a pastoral query, you can now email your child’s guidance teacher and/or depute House link via the relevant email address. Key email addresses are as follows:

General enquiries: knoxacademy@knox.elcschool.org.uk

Head teacher:  lrodger@knox.elcschool.org.uk

Garleton House -  Guidance teacher:  Ms Adam  DHT:  Mrs Falconer

Lammerlaw House - Guidance teacher:  Mr Meekison  DHT:  Mrs MacLeod

Traprain House -  Guidance teacher:  Mrs Doig  DHT:  Mr Illingworth

I look forward to a very positive, fulfilling and happy 2018 for all in the Knox Academy school community.

Lauren Rodger
Head Teacher