September 2018

Published: 28 September 2018

Good afternoon

It has been another busy week here at Knox Academy.  It has been the European Week of Languages and the Faculty has had a lot of exciting events for our young people to engage in as part of this week.  The sports teams are busy this weekend with Rugby and Hockey fixtures here at Knox Academy and Ross High School. We wish them luck in these!  Keeping with the theme of hockey, our senior girls’ team will have played 3 games within a week come Saturday.  This takes great effort and commitment so well done to all involved! They had a tough Cup Fixture against a very strong Loretto team on Monday. They matched them in the 1st half but Loretto's match fitness and sharpness showed in the second half and they managed to win the match. This had been our girls 1st match so things were bound to progress from there. They then played Fettes which turned out to be a fantastic game - The girls worked really well together as a team and the match ended in a draw after being keenly contested. 


We said a fond farewell to Bev Skirrow (Business Manager) and Lauren Jeffrey after both being at Knox Academy ten years.  We wish them well in their future pathways.

We warmly welcomed Richard Watson in Technologies and William MacKay in Maths.

We have also have a preferred candidate for our Maths position (job share) and one candidate wil start after the October break.

We are currently recruiting in English and Geography.

European Week of Languages

Every year the Modern Languages department at Knox Academy celebrates the European Day of Languages with a whole week of events. Each morning registration classes went through videos and activities covering a variety of themes, including polyglots, multilingual celebrities and athletes, music in other languages, and a "guess the language" quiz! On Tuesday, we held our annual Euro quiz in the hall for S1s, which saw students working in groups to answer questions about European geography, flags, languages, and food. S3 students completed a carousel of activities in class which covered general knowledge, landmarks, flag, and dictionary skills. Finally, our two Advanced Higher French students visited S2 classes to give a presentation about their experience of learning languages, international school trips they've attended, and the benefits of learning languages. We hope that students have a deeper insight into the fun and benefits of learning other languages!

Dalguise - S6 Outward Bound Trip

 S6 were absolutely top-class at Dalguise this year. Their behaviour was a credit to the school; they managed to get the balance between that extra level of 'banter' that such a trip allows and maintaining respect just right, and were a pleasure to be away with. In terms of the activities they were brilliant too, pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and encouraging each other all weekend. For sure, the least stressful weekend away with S6 that I have experienced.

Not the least painful, though; I reckon a trip to the physio is required! (by Alex Redford).

A huge thanks to all the staff who accompanied the trip -which wouldn't have been possible without you.  The S6 I have spoken to all have said what an amazing and memorable time they had.


Charlie Gates, in S5 and one of our Sports Ambassadors, has been picked for the Grange Men's first team hockey squad who are travelling to Barcelona next week to play two games in the Euro Hockey League. Grange are the current Scottish champions and Charlie has only really been involved with the first team since the end of last season so is thrilled they consider him good enough to be part of the European squad.  The Knox Academy community would like to wish him all the best for his and team's performance.


Congratulations to Dylan Pearman in S2 for his performance in coming 7th at the Scotstoun Squash Championships last weekend.  Three days of intensive matches against other competitors two years older than him as he has just gone up an age group.  We are very proud of you!

Have a lovey weekend

Sue Cook




Published: 21 September 2018

It was lovely to see everyone return from the holiday weekend looking refreshed.  Pupils are engaging well in their learning and those I have spoken with report making good progress across their subjects.  I would like to congratulate our new S1 cohort who have settled well at the school and seem to be enjoying the vast array of subjects they attend. 

Staff News

We look forward to welcoming Mr Richard Watson in Technologies on Monday. 

We are in the process of interviewing for vacancies in English, Maths, Physics and Geography (0.6FTE).

We say a fond farewell to Lauren Jeffrey (Geography) and Bev Skirrow (Business Manager) next week.

Good luck to Dr Lyons who is running two marathons this weekend (yes, two)! 

School Uniform

Knox Academy has a proud tradition of wearing its school uniform with pride and a reputation for our pupils looking smart.  Please could I ask parents to continue to support this as we head towards the autumn/winter months to ensure that alternatives to our uniform do not creep in (ripped jeans etc.).  For security reasons woolly hats and hoodies (the actual hood) should be removed before entering the building. I would like to thank parents for their support with this.

S6 Dalguise Trip

The S6 head off today for their weekend trip to Dalguise.  This involves them taking part in numerous team building activities and, I am sure, getting very wet.  This provides the S6 with an opportunity to build team skills as well as have plenty fun they will remember for the rest of their lives.  A huge thank you to all the staff accompanying them.

Eco Committee and Green Team

The Eco-Committee & Green Team have launched an eco-logo competition this week and are keen to receive as many entries as possible.  The overall winner will also get a prize as well as their winning logo being used.  More details are available from Ms Laudi.

Home Support Group

Parents/Carers of dyslexic students are invited to attend the first home support group meeting for dyslexic students on Tuesday 25th September at 6pm in the Library.  Dr Lyons will be leading these sessions.

S1/2 Pupils – An Opportunity to Shine

The Expressive Arts and Technologies Faculty is offering an amazing opportunity for S1/2 pupils to be involved in an after school club to develop their acting skills alongside the National Theatre.  Pupils will perform a play especially written for them culminating in performing this at the school and the Traverse Theatre.  If they are nominated after their performance at the Traverse, the next step is performing in London.  This is an opportunity not to be missed and I would be grateful if parents/carers could speak to their children and encourage them to step forward for this.  As well as developing their acting skills it will build many other skills such as confidence, team work and problem solving – as well as having lots of fun too. Notes of interest should be made to Mrs Pereira.

Lead a Bright Future

A group of S3/4 pupils has been working with Lead a Bright Future on establishing an Enterprise Hub at Knox Academy.  They applied for, and won, funding of £1,000 to support pupils who wish to set up their own Business Enterprise.

They are now going to present their ideas at assemblies for distributing the £1,000 and establishing a Hub for all pupils to access. Well done to all the pupils involved in this and for taking it forward at the school.  Another great example of pupils’ leadership in action.

School Values

The school values of Ambition, Respect and Community permeate everything we aim to do at Knox Academy.  We are going to look, in depth, at one value a term.  This term’s focus is Respect.  Our Head Pupils, Sam Thomson and Hana Elder, along with the Prefect Team, will be leading a series of assemblies, for all year groups, during the month of October, highlighting what respect means to them as pupils and how we can foster this in and beyond our school community.  It is great to see our young people leading learning too. 

Our Hot Chocolate Fridays this term are also focusing on rewarding pupils who have shown respect for self, others or the environment.

Have a lovely weekend

Sue Cook

Published: 13 September 2018

Good afternoon

There have been a number of activities and events across the school this week involving lots of pupils and staff.  Every activity has offered our pupils an opportunity to further their learning, develop their understanding on a topic(s) or learn new skills.  Or, in the case of the Extra-Curricular Careers Fayre, consider new activities and develop peer relationships across the school. 


We are currently recruiting for a full time Maths teacher and 0.6FTE Geography teacher.

Our preferred candidate for our DHT post is David Russell (currently DHT at Liberton High School, Edinburgh) and preferred candidate for our Business Manager position is Peter Luke (currently the Business Manager at Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh).

Bev Skirrow, our current Business Manager, will leave Knox Academy on Thursday 27th September after ten years here.  Her skills and attributes have made her a highly successful Business Manager here and an excellent member of the Senior Leadership and wider staff teams.  We wish her well in her new post.

All the fun at the Freshers’ Fayre

There was a great atmosphere on Tuesday 11th September atmosphere at this year’s S1 &S 2 Extra Curricular Fresher’s Fayre.

This event was a key catalyst in encouraging S1 & S2 pupils to explore safe and stimulating activities to complement their academic studies.  This year’s event was bigger and better than ever with 25 activity stalls being run by Staff and Senior Pupils, who lead these activities.  Stalls Included the Knox Hockey Academy, Amnesty Group, Knox School of Rugby, Yoga, Drama Club, Girls & Boys Football, Girls Computing Club, Netball and much, much more!

I think it’s fair to say that Knox Academy is now providing a diverse and inspiring array of Extra Curricular Activities for S1 and S2 Pupils. There really is an opportunity for everyone to engage in quality clubs and to develop new skills and friendships along the way.

A BIG thank you to everyone that was involved in running the stalls, I know that the many Knox Clubs are looking forward to welcoming some new faces along in the weeks to come. A huge thank you also goes to Mr Wands for organising the fayre.

Young Sports Ambassadors

I am really pleased to announce that Louise Allan and Charlie Gates have been selected as this year’s Young Sports Ambassadors.  I had great pleasure in meeting Charlie and Louise this morning and hearing them talk about how they intend to raise the profile of sport at the school for all pupils and through many different channels, including engaging with sporting bodies at a local and national level.

The Young Ambassadors programme is funded by the National Lottery and is a key element of Sport Scotland’s contribution to developing young people as leaders in sport.

Each year, two pupils from each secondary school in Scotland are chosen as Young Ambassadors to promote sport, and motivate and inspire other young people to get involved in sport in their schools, clubs and local communities.

Louise and Charlie's applications stood out from the many we received this year. We are confident that they and our other Sports Leaders will have a big impact on the quality and quantity of Activity Clubs available at school.  Thank you again to Mr Wands for accompanying Charlie and Louise to the conference at Murrayfield last week and supporting them in their roles.

Celebrating Sport Awards

City Of Edinburgh Trampoline Club (who run the sessions here at Knox Academy) have been shortlisted in the Club of the Year Category at the East Lothian Celebrating Sports Awards Ceremony on Friday 26th October. 

Lauren Jeffrey (Geography) has also been shortlisted as Performance/Development coach of the year at the same event in October at the Brunton Theatre.

I am delighted to have been invited to attend this evening and I am hopeful of seeing many of our Knox Academy pupils receive awards for the various sports they are involved in.

Italian Lunchtime Club

A lunchtime Italian club for S2 has started on Tuesdays at 1.20 in T1.3, Mrs Cochrane's room.  We will be looking at topics such as saying your name, where you live and what age you are, describing people and personalities, the weather, clothes and family members.  The lessons will be built around the film Cinema Paradiso.  Later in the year we will find out about cultural events, food and some of the main Italian cities (by Mrs Cochrane)

Duke of Edinburgh (by Philip Gilholm)

Congratulations to the 2 groups who are working towards their Bronze award with the Pupil Support Base this year in successfully completing their qualifying expeditions over the first two weekends in September.

The first weekend saw Cara Lavender, Sophie Cheyne, Abbie Gibson, Hannah McKnight, Ajla Husic and Robert Dickson complete their 2 Night Expedition down in North Northumberland, walking for 2 days with an overnight camp just outside Bamburgh.

It was a challenging route, differing from a walk in Scotland with different access rights, the group persisted through the entire 2 days to be successfully assessed, all done with lots of enthusiasm and hard work. The assessor noted how very well the group supported each other and shared the workload during the walk and at the campsite.

The second group completed their expedition last Friday and Saturday on a similar route but in reverse, starting in appalling weather which they endured for half of Friday but thankfully cleared up for the rest of the time out. This expedition went very well with a couple of small blips in navigation which were very quickly remedied. The assessors for this group also remarked how well they worked as a team, particularly at the campsite where it was getting dark by the time they cooked their dinner.

Many thanks to Scott Marnoch and Lana Borwick (Knox Staff) who gave up their weekends to support the first expedition, their involvement was well received by the participants. Also a massive thank you to the assessors, Jim Gilroy, a retired teacher from Newcastle, who assessed the first group, and David and Margaret Habgood, retired teachers from Gifford, who all give up their time for free and who were all very supportive in helping both groups achieve success. 

Maths Week (by Mr Blair)

The Maths Department organised a number of activities for Scotland's Maths Week. Classes have been working through a ‘Maths wi nae Borders’ competition which has five tasks and is inspired by the annual ‘Mathématiques sans Frontières’ contest. Escape Edinburgh volunteered their time and resources to create Knox Academy's very first Escape Room! Groups of pupils and staff have taken on the challenge of solving the puzzles and challenges with great gusto and enthusiasm. A huge thank you to Escape Edinburgh for working with us on this.  Professor Adam McBride from Strathclyde University also came to the school and worked with some of our S3 and S5/6 pupils. For the Higher pupils, he did a ‘Maths is BEST’ talk which showed that Maths is the language of the modern world.  For a group of S3 pupils he spent time doing various activities and problem solving along with the maths staff. It was a great week and we are sure our pupils benefited from the various activities on offer highlighting that maths is both fun and challenging.

Inspiring Purpose

All S1 pupils take part in the Inspiring Purpose poster competition in which they reflect on what really matters to them.  They have to think about the qualities they have and the ones they are developing such as perseverance, kindness and enthusiasm.  The overall winner was Olivia Dale who worked hard to produce a thoughtful and beautifully presented poster.  Well done.

Fire Up Scotland

On Wednesday 12 September, 30 pupils from S5/6 accompanied by Miss McBride, Miss Jeffrey, Mr Millar & Miss Fraser headed off to the Fire Up Scotland Event at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. The event was designed to invigorate pupils’ self-esteem and levels of motivation with regards to their future prospects. The group was treated to a number of extremely inspirational speeches from presenters such as Christian MacLeod, a pioneer in the art of establishing a luxury fashion brand at the age of 27, Lucy Lintott, who was diagnosed with MND at the age of 19 and has used her experience to raise thousands for medical research and Alice Thompson, co-founder of the leading homeless charity Social Bite. In-between speeches, the audience was entertained by a variety of gifted musicians, such as Indigo Velvet and Skapede Studios, both of whom have beaten the odds to achieve success and now work with young people across Scotland to help them to do the same. All in all it was a great day had by all and pupils seemed to have really taken on board the essential messages.  In the words of event organiser Gavin Oattes"Be The Milk".  Knox Academy is already looking forward to see what happens next thanks to such a successful event. (by Ms McBride)

I wish the Knox Academy community a fun and restful long weekend and I will look forward to seeing staff and pupils, looking and feeling refreshed, on Tuesday 18th September.

Sue Cook

Published: 07 September 2018

Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on our school values: Ambition, Respect and Community. These values were devised last session by pupils, staff and parents/partners to ensure that all in the Knox community work together to achieve successful outcomes for all.  Not only are these values being talked about during assemblies and registration but are being threaded through all lessons in the school so our young people learn to live these values as part of their daily life at Knox Academy and beyond.  It would great if parents/carers could also spend some time at home talking about what these values mean to you and how you use them in your lives.

As part of recognising these values being practised by our young people, our ‘Hot Chocolate Fridays’ are focusing on one of the values each term. This term we are focusing on respect.


I am delighted to say that we have preferred candidates for both our Depute Head Teacher and Business Manager positions. They will both be great additions to our Senior Leadership Team and bring many key skills and qualities to lead Knox Academy.

We also have a preferred candidate for our Support for Learning position who brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this position.

We were delighted to welcome Gill Pereira on Monday as our Curriculum Leader of Technologies. Richard Watson, currently at Currie High School, will start with us in this faculty in two weeks time.

Knox Academy said a fond farewell today to Angela Leggatt, in Technologies, who is moving to a post in the City of Edinburgh.  We wish her well and thank her for all her hard work and commitment here over the years.

We currently have adverts out for Maths and Geography.

Senior Phase Parents’ Evening

It was wonderful to see so many S4/5/6 parents attending this information evening. It provided details on the senior phase curriculum, examinations and the use of Scholar to support senior pupils’ learning and revision. All pupils in these year groups also had an assembly on Scholar so know how to access it as a study tool and it would be good if parents can encourage this on a regular basis.

Thank you to Zara Machen and Caroline Falconer (DHTs) for organising the evening.  Thank you to Hana Elder who gave a pupil’s perspective on the Senior Phase and also to Mike Falconer who gave the presentation on Scholar.

Duke of Edinburgh

Well done to a group of Knox Academy’s S4 pupils who, last weekend, completed the expedition section of their bronze DofE walking from "Slack" near Clackmannan to Castle Campbell near Dollar with an overnight at the Woods Campsite near Alva.

All of the young people behaved impeccably and Frank Brown, their assessor from Musselburgh Grammar school reported that they had been an absolute pleasure to work with and had all done a great job over the two days.

They group will be giving their presentation on the expedition to an audience on Sunday 9th September, and once they have uploaded their assessor reports for the other sections, they will all have completed their bronze awards.

A huge thank you goes to Debbie Riley (parent volunteer and DofE leader for Knox Academy pupils) for supporting these pupils through their DofE.

Good luck to Ellie Barr, Carrie Evans, Adnan Ros, Josh Robertson and school staff who are out on a further DoE expedition today and tomorrow battling against the elements.

Scottish Parliament Visit (by Mr Miller)

A group of around 30 S4 and S5 pupils from Knox Academy yesterday visited the Scottish Parliament following its resumption at Holyrood after the summer recess.

Accompanied by Mr Redford and Mr Miller, the party undertook a tour of the Parliament building, during which they gained access to the Chamber, and also to some of the committee rooms.

The very illuminating experience for the pupils culminated in a question and answer session with Iain Gray, the Labour MSP for East Lothian and a former leader of Scottish Labour at Holyrood, who was accompanied by Paul Wheelhouse MSP.

The pupils behaved impeccably and were a credit to the school, both in their behaviour in and around the Parliament building, and with the quality of the questions they had for Mr Gray.

Among the topics they raised with the MSP were seeking his views on the current controversy on anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, the likely effects on the funding for Scotland’s farmers after the UK leaves the EU, and, more locally, why the minority Labour administration of East Lothian Council has introduced fees for instrumental music tuition.

Volunteering Fayre

A huge thank you to all the organisations that attended Knox Academy‘s Volunteering Fayre this morning for our S4/5/6 pupils.  Pupils now have an increased understanding of what volunteering has to offer them and the skills developed from being a volunteer with these agencies/companies.  Also, they now realise that volunteering can result not only in friendships made and the development of skills but also the achievement of a Saltire Award.  Those in attendance were: Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator; MADE in East Lothian; MRT; Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home;  Meadow Park; East Coast FM; East Lothian Playscheme; Strive / Saltire Awards; Sue Ryder; Dementia Friendly East Lothian; Royal Voluntary Service and the Project Trust.  Thank you also to Jane Porter and Polly Cooke for being our keynote speakers.

Knox Academy’s Jazz Band

The Jazz Band played at St Mary’s Kirk last night as part of the ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ awards.  They put on an excellent performance which was appreciated by all.  It is lovely for our young people to be asked to play at such events so the talents of Knox Academy’s pupils are recognised widely in the community.  Thank you to Ms Woodsend for arranging this.

Knox Green Team

Back in June, 4 students from the Green Team entered the Viridor Eco-Challenge and along with Dunbar, we tied for the first place prize. ELC published the story on its website. Here is the link: On September 6th, 3 students from the Green Team are attending the Beautiful Scotland Awards in order to receive their prize. Well done to the Green Team!


The Knox Eco-Committee has already begun working on some goals for this year. Our current goals are to tackle the litter issue in the school, to make our Eco-Code more widely known in the school, and we're looking into starting up a new recycling program. Stay tuned! (by J Laudi)

S1/2 Carers

S1-S2 carers are reminded that the Wendy and Peter Pan Lyceum Theatre trip opportunity in December is filling up on a First Come, First Served basis, please make your payment through the I Pay link on the school website.

Maths Week

Next week is Scotland's Maths Week and we have Professor Adam McBride coming into school on Thursday to work with some of our Higher and S3 pupils. This offers a fantastic experience for young people to learn from one of Scotland’s most respected mathematicians.

S1/S2 Extra Curricular Fresher Fayre (11th September)

This event is a key catalyst in encouraging S1 & S2 pupils to participate in stimulating activities to complement their academic studies. There is a clear and evidenced correlation between Activity / Positive Social Networks, Ethos and Attainment!  It would be great if parents/carers could also encourage their children to engage in some of our school based clubs.

Dates for your diary:

14th-17th September (inclusive) – School Holiday

10th October – P7 Open Evening

13th -22nd October (inclusive) – School holiday

Have a fun and relaxing weekend

Sue Cook