August 2018

Published: 31 August 2018

Good afternoon. It has been another busy week at Knox Academy. The Senior Leadership Team has been involved in visiting classes across the school, observing lessons and experiencing, first hand, the quality of learning and teaching our young people are in receipt of in their subjects.  This has been a very positive experience for us all as we get to talk to learners about their progress and to teachers about their teaching approaches.

We have preferred candidates for our full time teachers of Maths, Support for Learning and Technologies.  We have also a preferred candidate for our Biology post.

Short-leet interviews for the Depute Head Teacher take place this Monday, 3rd September.

Pupil News
Six of our S4 pupils take to the Northumberland coast this weekend as part of their Duke of Edinburgh expedition.  They will walk 25 miles over the course of the weekend and will use photography as their theme.   What a great opportunity to walk in such a beautiful area and with the sun forecast to shine, i am sure they will get some stunning pictures.  

I would like to offer a huge thank you to Phil Gilholm, Scott Marnoch and Lana Borwick for accompanying the pupils on this trip.   

Pupil Events
Forty-four of our S5/6 pupils will attend the Fire-Up Scotland Event at the SSE on Wednesday 15th September.  At this conference pupils will hear from inspirational role models challenging them to be the best they can be (as we do at Knox Academy through our value AMBITION) while proving there are a variety of pathways to reach various destinations.   The role models will come from across the world of education, business, entertainment, the arts, sport and culture.  It sounds like a very inspirational day and should leave our pupils ‘fired up’ at the end of it.

Parent Council
I received a very warm welcome at my first parent council meeting of the year on Tuesday evening.  There was a fantastic presentation from Calum Blair, Faculty Head of Maths and Computing, which reviewed the results and where he discussed the faculty's  vision/next steps for the next three to five years.  The Pupils’ Senior Leadership Team also presented on their committees and key priorities for this session.  Shamin Akhtar, Councillor, expressed her thanks to them for all their support of the Haddington 700 events.  Further to this Stephen Wands gave an update on his role as the Active Schools Coordinator and all the opportunities available to the young people at Knox Academy  before school, at lunch and after school. 

It was a really interesting meeting and parents asked a number of questions about the exam results and the curriculum.  If you can, it would be great to see even more parents/carers along to future Parent Councils. The next one takes place on 23rd October and will include presentations from Charli Prime (Meadowpark DHT) and Vicky Lyons (Support for Learning Leader).

Extra-Curricular Clubs/Active Schools (by Mr Wands)
The Extra Curricular Timetable can be found up at PE and around the school or on the School Website. 

We are looking for pupils in S1-S6 to be part of this years Sports Council. If your keen on sport and want to help make Knox Sport great! - Pick up an Application for from Mr Wands today!

Knox Hockey Academy is looking out for a Teacher or Parent to help with Hockey (after school on a Monday) or on Saturdays. Please Contact Mr Wands for more information.

We had a fantastic evening on Wednesday this week when Knox Academy hosted a screening of the film Resilience for almost 400 people in partnership with Loreen Pardoe (Support from the Start), and chaired by Tina Hendry from Re: Attachment.  It was a great turnout, proving that our East Lothian community is committed to raising awareness of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and supporting those people in our area who are most in need.  Our huge panel included representatives from the Violence Reduction Unit, Who Cares Scotland, Adoption UK, Emotion Works, Support from the Start, as well as individuals who have experienced ACEs themselves.

Thanks to all of the Knox staff, and in particular Susanne Fox, for making this event possible.

Aside of this, further congratulations to Miss Fox who completed the Haddington Sprint Triathlon for the first time on Sunday, 26th Aug.  It was cold and rainy, but there was a great turnout of participants and supporters.  Thanks also to the Duke of Edinburgh pupils from Knox Academy who helped at the event - you were all fantastic!

Congratulations to Jenny Leighton, Faculty Head of Health and Wellbeing, who completed the Tough Mudder Challenge at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh last weekend. 

Lauren Jeffrey has also been shortlisted for Coach of the Year 2018 (as well as her trampoline club, City of Edinburgh' being nominated for Club of the Year (they also support the coaching here at Knox Academy and have provided trampolines for us).

Great to see our staff sharing their achievement too and it would be great if all young people (or their parents) would continue to let us know about their achievements outwith school so we can celebrate these too and I can write about them in my updates.

Dates for your diary:

  • Wednesday 5th September – Senior Phase Information Evening  7-8pm
  • Friday 14th – Monday 17th September (inclusive) – Holiday
  • Tuesday 25th September – UCAS Evening for Parents/Carers   7-8.30pm
  • Wednesday October 10th – P7 Open Evening

Have a lovely weekend and I am glad the sun is going to be shining for the Haddington Flower Show as well as our DofE walkers.

Sue Cook

Published: 24 August 2018

Good afternoon
This has been the first full week back in the term and pupils and staff seem to have settled back quickly to the focus of the school - learning and teaching.   Already the term is gathering pace with various activities up and running.  The School of Rugby has commenced for both the boys and girls and the first match will take place tomorrow.  Other young people are also out at the football and basketball training one morning a week at Meadowmill. 

Mr Elms is busy planning a sign-up event/fayre for our S1/2 pupils.  This will take place in a few weeks time and is aimed at raising the profile of all extra-curricular activities on offer here at Knox Academy.  We are hopeful of lots of new recruits attending all these.  As well as providing an opportunity to develop new skills they also provide an opportunity to build friendships across the school. 

Haddington 700
It would be great to see as many staff, pupils and parents at the Haddington Medieval Big Day (tomorrow) which celebrates 700 years of Haddington's historic Bruce Charter.  As part of this event there will also be an opportunity to enjoy the Red Hot Chilli Pipers at 6.45pm. They are an amazing pipe band and having seen them a number of times I would definitely recommend coming along to hear them.

Haddington Business Community Partnership is designing a new logo and has invited our pupils to help them do this.  They have asked that the logo emphasises the community working together to benefit Haddington.  They have suggested the logo could use HBCP as an acronym but ideally would like to have the full name on it.  They have asked that the logo is made up of only three colours and is different from any other groups/companies in Haddington. 

They would like the initial logo designed by the end of September.

Please speak to the Art Department if you are interested in designing this logo.  The company is offering the winner a voucher for a local shop (pupil's choice).  So get your creative hats on!

Paul Samson very kindly came in to do Scholar assemblies with our Senior Pupils this morning. This system supports study for many SQA subjects and is a really useful tool to help pupils in raising their attainment beyond the classroom.  Paul praised our pupils' attentiveness, politeness and friendliness.  We would to thank him for his time in helping to support our young peoples' learning.

Have a lovely weekend
Sue Cook

Published: 23 August 2018

I have received a very warm welcome from the staff and pupils at Knox Academy since I arrived last Monday. There is a lovely buzz around the school as staff and pupils enjoy being back and everyone looks rejuvenated and ready for learning, teaching and the year ahead. I enjoyed meeting all pupils at a series of assemblies I held on the first day back.  At these I asked pupils to reflect on Knox Academy’s values of ambition, respect and community and gave examples of how these can be applied in everyday life in and around our school and community. I encouraged pupils to be the best they can be in all that they do and by practising the Knox Academy values, they will achieve their potential.

Knox Academy’s exam results showed improved performance from both 2015 and 2017, although marginally down on 2016’s results.  74% of S4 pupils attained five or more qualifications at National 3; 69% achieved five or more passes at National 4 and 47% achieved five or more passes at National 5 at grades A-C and 55% at grades A-D.  There were some outstanding individual performances in S4 with eight of our candidates achieving seven A passes at N5.  These results are a really strong foundation to build S5 performance upon and I would encourage all parents/carers to continue to support their child to study at home as the transition from S4 to S5 in terms of challenge and pace moves up a few gears and much more study is required, especially at Higher level. 

The performance of our S5 pupils in their Higher exams was down on the three previous years. 55% attained one or more Highers; 35% three or more and 16% attained five or more Highers.  Twenty two of our pupils achieved five Highers and some with straights As across all subjects. Many other pupils achieved a mixture of Higher and National 5 awards and will build upon these in their 6th year. 

All returning S4 and S5 pupils (going in to S5 and S6 respectively) had an interview with their Depute Head Teacher last week to review their course choices and to speak about their attainment in their exams.  This was to ensure that they were coursed appropriately for the year ahead. The DHTs commented what a valuable experience this had been for both the pupils and them as they got to speak to all pupils about their learning, achievement, attainment and aspirations. 

This showed an improving trend over the last four years at Higher level.  Those attaining one or more Highers was 62% and then added to their results from S4 and S5 (accumulate) this rose to 76.22% having achieved one or more Highers over S5/S6 (1% lower than last year which in terms of statistics is not significant).  This is more than a 13% increase since 2015 and 2016.   30% of the year group attained three or more Highers and the accumulate total was 66% (12% more than last year and the highest value in four years). No pupil in S6 achieved five Highers (this is not unusual as many do a combination of National exams, Highers or Advanced Highers).  45% achieved (accumulate) five or more Highers over S5/6.  Again, an improving trend over the last four years.  29% of pupils in S6 attained one or more awards at Advanced Higher and this was in line with previous years.

I congratulated all the S4 and S5 pupils on their performance during my assemblies and said the coming year(s) offered them a great opportunity to build upon these achievements and their skill set ready for university, college, employment or apprenticeships.  I would also like to extend my congratulations to the pupils who have just left S6. The Knox Academy community wish them well for their future and hope they will keep in touch and come back and visit us so we can use their skills in the future development of the young people at the school.

We are interviewing for Biology, Technologies and Maths teachers this week.  The Home Economics Auxiliary post has just closed and we will be organising interviews for that shortly.  We also have adverts out for a teacher of Support for Learning (part-time permanent) and a School Business Manager.  

Melissa Smith has been performing in the Captive Productions Schools Edition of Les Miserables at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

Charlie Gates – represented Scotland U16 Hockey at a tournament down in England.  

Congratulations to them both.

I received a very nice letter from the University of Aberdeen informing of us of our former pupils’ achievements.  

  • James Beacon, Master of Arts in History
  • Jordan Currie, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • Alasdair Hastings, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • Roisin Kennelly, Master of Arts in Anthropology
  • Thomas Muir, Master of Arts in Economics-Politics

Congratulations to all the above.

A new Guinness World Record was set on Sunday 12 August at Haddington Rugby Club. The Knox Academy School of Rugby players, coaches and parents all played a big part in the event as 458 players helped beat the previous record of 442 in the largest number of players taking part in a continuous game of touch rugby. 

When it wasn’t raining it was pouring, however despite the worst weather of the summer it was great to see so many of the SOR players from S1 to the Under 18s and the Girls rugby all taking part in the fun and becoming World Record Holders.

Well done to all involved!


  • Tuesday 28 August – Parent Council – School Library at 6.00 pm
  • Thursday 30 August – UCAS Evening for Parents/Carers 7-8.30 pm
  • Wednesday 5 September – Senior Phase Information Evening  7-8 pm
  • Friday 14 – Monday 17 September (inclusive) – Holiday
  • Wednesday 10 October – P7 Open Evening

S Cook
Head Teacher

Published: 13 August 2018

Knox Academy staff warmly welcome Susan Cook to the school as she takes up her new leadership position as Head Teacher.

We look forward to seeing all our students again, including our new S1s, after the summer holidays on Wednesday 15 August 2018.