November 2018

Published: 23 November 2018

It has been great to see the leadership of our young people in action this week as our S6 Pupil Leadership Team has led a series of House Assemblies on one of the school values RESPECT.  These assemblies ended with a personal message from Nicola Sturgeon who talked about Knox Academy’s School Values and how she uses these values in her work and how if we live by these values we will do very well in life for ourselves, family, school and our community. If you go to our school website you will be able to watch the video.  I would like to thank Ms Sturgeon for her support of the school in engaging with us.

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI)

I was very privileged to be invited along to Kate Bulloch’s S5 class who were presenting their cases for their particular charities to be awarded the £3000 the school has been given for being part of this project (pupils also have to fundraise for their charity as part of this). The YPI project involves young people going out, as a group, to research a charity of their choice to find out what they do, the impact the charity has on people/community/animals  etc. and what difference to them £3000 would make to their work.  During each team’s presentations the group listening to them grade them on such aspects as their knowledge of the charity, their presentation skills and what value the £3k would add to the charity’s work.  The charities the young people presented on were: Muirfield Riding Therapy, Changes, Leuchie House, The Yard and Stepping Out.  The pupils spoke eloquently and passionately about their charities and they had definitely done their research.  The overall winner has still to be decided after all pupils have presented although Leuchie House this round of presentations.   Well done to all pupils involved!


Vacancies live/going live for:

Teacher of PE – 1FTE permanent

Teacher of Physics – 1FTE permanent – at Knox Academy until June 2019 then permanent within East Lothian Council

Teacher of HE – 0.55FTE permanent – Mon, Tue and Friday

ASN Auxiliary – Meadowpark – part time/term time – permanent

Two Biology posts – 1FTE permanent and 0.33 FTE temporary

Mr Steven Elms (PE) leaves us next Friday (post advertised) to start a new post at Dunbar Grammar School. We would all like to wish him the very best at his new school and thank him for all his hard work and commitment here, not only in the PE department but in terms of all the extra-curricular activities/events he has run and the trips he has been involved in.

Model United Nations

Last Friday, Knox Academy made an impressive debut at the third annual Model United Nations Conference hosted by North Berwick High School and attended by 18 Scottish schools from both the state and independent sectors.

Ten Knox Academy pupils – two delegations of five – represented the views of Kenya and Australia, held over seven hours of passionate, and at times, heated debate and discussion.

Over a prior preparation period, our delegates diligently researched a predetermined current world issue which comes under the remit of the UN, prepared a resolution paper and, on the day, lobbied for support from other UN members - climaxing in a debate of both the chosen paper and relevant amendments.

The Knox Academy group debated impressively and were admirably involved in the programme, conducting themselves in an exemplary and diplomatic manner, matching, and even out-performing, schools who have both attended and hosted previous Model UN Conferences over many years.

Notably, one of our pupils collected an award for the best first-time delegate in the Environment Committee, while a second had an amendment to a paper successfully voted on.

The commitment, diplomacy and tenacity show by the 10 delegates from Knox Academy was impeccable and every single pupil should be rightly proud of their performance – they are a credit to Knox Academy and themselves.  (by Adam Miller)


Dylan Pearman, S2, is a very promising squash player.  Last year Dylan was selected to play for Scotland in the under 13 squad and this year has moved into the 15 age group category.  Since the start of the season Dylan has been playing for Tyne's (Haddington) men's team and winning most of his matches. He also competes further afield on a regular basis and at the Scotsoun Gold event in September he came 7th in the boys under 15 group.  Last weekend at the Tayside and Fife gold event Dylan was runner up, beating the number 2 seed in a 5 set battle. Dylan has a number of competitions coming in December and all in the Knox Academy Community would like to wish him well at these and we will look forward to hearing how he performs.


On Monday, students from the Eco-Committee and Green Team collaborated with children from Pear Tree Nursery to do a litter pick. Knox students guided the young nursery students around the corridors and outside the school grounds to collect litter and recycling. A large amount of recycling was collected and saved from going into bins! The Pear Tree children built their confidence with using hand-held pickers to grasp litter and Knox students were very enthusiastic in motivating and supporting the young ones! We'll be continuing this partnership throughout the year!

The Eco-Committee is also looking to collect a few household items for an upcoming project so if you have any of these items please hand them in to the school (please clean first)! We're looking for:

Glass jars (clean & empty) with lids. We mostly need mid to large sized jars.

Empty spray bottles. This could be empty spray bottles from cleaning products (e.g. window cleaners) and beauty products (e.g. toner and perfume sprays).  As long as it's possible to open the lid and refill the bottle, we'll take it.
Thank you (The Eco-Committee and Miss Laudi's class)

Children in Need
What an amazing day it was at the school last week as we had a dress up/dress down day for Children in Need. Our senior pupils organised the event. They also visited our local primary schools (St Marys, Kings Meadow and Haddington Infants) as well as receiving contributions from the public when they were out and about. Together we managed to raise £1944.10. This amount also includes the £166 Meadowpark raised from their various two days of activities and tasty home baking.  Well done to all involved. I believe this is the most ever raised.

Duke of Edinburgh Award
Thank you to Debbie Riley, Duke of Edinburgh leader and parent volunteer, who came to Knox Academy yesterday at break time to present nine of our young people with their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Awards – a very proud moment for them all.  Many of them now are going to be embarking on their Silver D of E course.  Congratulations to all and a huge thanks to Debbie Riley for supporting them through the award (photo on Twitter).

Haddington Business Community Partnership

Congratulations to Scarlett Totney, S1, who designed the winning logo for the new Haddington Business Community Partnership   Her winning design can be viewed in the East Lothian Courier and on our school's Twitter feed.

Dates for your diary
Parent Council – Tuesday 4th December
Christmas Dance – Thursday 6th December
S1 Parents’ Evening – Tuesday 11th December
Finally, please can I ask for parents/carers to support your young person wearing uniform to school as it creates a feeling of community at the school and helps us maintain our proud sense of tradition.  I think the uniform is striking with the blue and red colours and gives all young people an identity with the school with which they should be proud to be part of – I know I am.

Enjoy the weekend
Sue Cook

Published: 16 November 2018

Good afternoon

It has been a busy week here at Knox Academy, culminating in a dress down day to raise money for Children in Need.  We haven’t totalled up all the monies raised yet but I will report back on this next week - the buckets were very heavy so that is always a good sign! 

Last Saturday I attended the Service of Remembrance at the Corn Exchange.  The service commemorated the end of World War I and was held in association with the Royal British Legion Scotland and local Veterans Groups.  The Moderator of the Church of Scotland spoke about what poppies stood for, asking us to remove them from our lapels to look at them as she did so.  She spoke about the black centre signifying the darkness of war, the red being the blood flowing in all the different directions and the green shoot being the growth of new life.  The Moderator then dropped three poppies, one by one, on to the floor as she spoke about those who has lost their lives in battle or serving their country.  It was lovely to see a number of Knox Academy pupils attending as part of the Cadets service.

Mr Flood and senior pupils attended Sunday’s service at St Mary’s Church and laid a wreath on behalf of Knox Academy at the Cenotaph. Mr Flood, with some other senior pupils, also attended the Garleton Singers Concert in the evening for Poppy Scotland, where £2189.25 was raised.  One of our staff members, Suzie Stewart, was in the choir. 

Thank you to Mr Flood and all the senior pupils who represented the school at the above services and performance.


Vacancies go live today for:

Teacher of PE – 1FTE permanent

Teacher of Physics – 1FTE permanent – at Knox Academy until June 2019 then permanent within East Lothian Council

Teacher of HE – 0.55FTE permanent – Mon, Tue and Friday

ASN Auxiliary – Meadowpark – part time/term time – permanent

A huge thank you also to Karen Munro, Biology, who leave today to take up her new post at Beeslack High School. They are very lucky to be getting such a great teacher.  We will miss her here.

As we were unable to appoint in Biology and English these posts will be re-advertised.  Our  Biology post will now be advertised as a 1FTE permanent post which I hope will encourage more applicants.  Mrs McLeod, who is part-time at Knox Academy, will also work a Monday from December onwards.   We will also be advertising a 0.33FTE in Biology (temporary)

Our English is a 1FTE permanent post (with one day based at ELC working with the Literacy Coordinator)

S1-S6 Christmas Dance

This will take place at the school on Thursday 6th December.  Tickets will go on sale on the 25th-27th November.  These will cost £5 each and include entry into the raffle.  The theme is ‘Dress to impress Glitter Ball’.

East Lothian Swimming Gala

Congratulations to all pupils who took part in the East Lothian Swim Gala on Thursday 15th November.  Seventeen swimmers attended to represent the school and put in a stellar performance. Thank you to all those that attended, it was great to see so many club swimmers represent the school, and also those that were willing to step up and help out.

Number of top place finishes:

1st place: 10

2nd place: 17

3rd place: 7

S2s: 2nd overall

S3s: 3rd overall

Combined totals of S1-S3: Knox Academy: 3rd overall.

S4s 3rd overall

Congratulations to Louisa Stoddart (S2); Owen Williamson (S2) and Aidan Ballantyne for winning all their events (by Lana Borwick)

Supported Study

Supported Study has now started for Chemistry (Thursday 8:00-8:25 and again 1:20-1:50) where pupils can come and get help with Questions (Alex Dickie)

S4, S5 and S6 Study Skills Session

The Senior Leadership Team is running a Study Skills Session for all of our Senior Phase Pupils on Monday 26th November from 4-5pm.  Parents/carers are also welcome to attend.  This will be held in the school library.  We look forward to seeing you there.


Have a lovely weekend

Sue Cook





Published: 09 November 2018

It has been another busy week at Knox Academy and this will gather pace as we move towards Christmas.  It was wonderful to see so many parents/carers at the S5/6 Parents’ Evening on Tuesday and I am sure all left with information from staff about your child’s next steps for learning to enhance their progress.  May I also take this opportunity to talk about the forthcoming Senior Phase prelims in January (timetables to follow soon).  It is important that senior pupils plan well in advance for these and devising a study programme, that they adhere to, will help them to attain their potential.  I would also like to advise parents that the website, SQA Understanding Standards, provides detailed advice on National 5 , Higher and some Advanced Higher subjects and gives helpful tips on how to answer questions to ensure maximum marks are gained. It also provides past paper questions.  It is well worth having a look at with your child.  Scholar is also a great tool for study/revision as well as Knox Academy’s own use of Show My Homework, with pertinent work issued by teachers on topics being covered.  If your child requires support in creating a study timetable please ask them to see their Guidance Teacher.


A warm welcome to David Russell who started with us this week.

English interviews take place next Thursday, 15th November.

I have been unable to move to an appointment of a Biology teacher and this will be re-advertised shortly.  I am liaising with the Authority to support us with this recruitment.

Our advert for a PE Teacher, to replace Steven Elms, should go live this Monday.

Our Pupil Support Worker advert runs until Sunday and I am hopeful we will have enough applications to allow us to appoint shortly after this.

Steven Wands, our Active Schools Coordinator, is going on secondment for 9 months and we are liaising with Active Schools to agree a replacement for him.

Louise Steenson, one of our Home Economics teachers,  has been appointed at St Augustine’s in Edinburgh (start date to be confirmed).  An advertisement for her replacement will go live next Friday.

Scott Marnoch - On behalf of the Knox Community I would like to thank Scott for his hard work and commitment during the last eight years at Knox Academy, both as a Pupil Support Worker and in his role with the SOR.  We wish would like to wish him all the best in his new role as Active Schools Coordinator at Dunbar Grammar School.

Other staffing news

Terry Devonald, a Pupil Support Assistant at the school, was at an award ceremony yesterday with Scottish Mentoring Network.  She was nominated by her colleagues there for all the volunteering work she does. Terry didn't win the award but she was highly commended, which is quite an achievement in itself.  Well done.


Huge congratulations to our S2 Girls who played Ross High School last night at Netball.  This was a closely fought match (their first ever competitive game). The score was 12-10 to Ross High School.  A tremendous start to their season though. Thank you goes to Lana Borwick, Hana Elder and Bethany Hunter for training the team. 


Congratulations to our Senior Girls Hockey team that competed at Mary Erskine’s tournament last week. The team acquitted themselves well and came away at the end of the tournament as 'Bowl Winners', having beaten Boroughmuir High School in their final.


Mr Elms and Miss Borwick are looking forward to seeing Iris Ramage (S4) and Ella Blamire (S3) in action on Saturday morning as they are playing for Hibs U15's against Rangers in the Scottish Women’s Youth Cup Final . All in the Knox Academy community would like to wish them luck - especially Iris who is using the Cup final as one of her performances for National 5 PE (by Mr Steven Elms)

Well done to Haddington Athletic U13s read the story here.

Girls’ Morning Fitness

Miss Borwick is hoping for a push in girls’ morning fitness from all Hockey, Rugby, Football, Netball players and any other girls who would like to join in this opportunity. The session starts at 7.30am in the PE games hall or small gym followed by a lovely healthy breakfast. A great start to any day!

Careers Fayre

On Thursday a group of senior students attended the Skills Scotland event at Ingliston in Edinburgh.  It was a great opportunity to meet with local and national employers and find out more about the different careers they offer.  There were representatives from colleges too and the pupils were also well fed as they sampled what the college students had made.  Indeed, some who looked too closely at the hairdressing courses found themselves quickly gelled and glittered!  One of our pupils was invited to Glasgow to attend a taster course in animation - a chance to try out a course before he applies next session and others are certainly considering alternative careers now.  It was a useful, informative event and one which next year's seniors should all attend. (by Ms Lynn Adam)

Eco-Committee/Green Team Workshops

On Monday, Claire from KSB Scotland came to the school to deliver a workshop on Climate Change. Pupils participated in a variety of activities that illustrated the causes and effects of climate change.  Pupils and staff learned a lot from her visit about doing everything we can to be green.

S3 Forensic Science Event

We are hosting a Forensic Science event here on Monday for our S3 students. We are very lucky to have Jon Bates, an ex-forensic scientist from Sci-High to come in and speak to our pupils and to do some practical workshops with them. I am sure it will be a very interesting event and an eye-opener into how crimes are solved.

Service of Remembrance

Tomorrow I will be attending, with some senior Knox Academy pupils (who will be coordinating the retiring collection), the Service of Remembrance at the Corn Exchange. This service will commemorate the end of World War I and is being held in association with the Royal British Legion Scotland and local Veterans Groups.

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland will lead the service in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant, Major Michael Williams MBE.  Colours will be paraded followed by a Drumhead Service.

Mr Flood and senior pupils will also be attending Sunday’s service at St Mary’s Church and laying a wreath on behalf of Knox Academy at the Cenotaph. They will also be attending the Garleton Singers performance of ‘The Armed Man’ on Sunday evening.

Today we held a two minute silence at school to have time for our own reflection and to remember those who gave their lives in the line of duty.  This is a particularly poignant year as it is 100 years since the end of World War 1.  There are many tributes across East Lothian to mark this, with one of these being the gathering of pipers at War Memorials across the County, at 6am on Sunday, to play one verse of ‘When the Battle’s o’er’ – as well as the traditional tributes at 11am.

Enjoy your weekend

Sue Cook

Published: 05 November 2018

The weeks seem to be whizzing by and there is so much going on in and around the school at the moment.  We had a very informative series of assemblies last week run by the Eco Committee on ‘Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’ and how young people and staff can contribute to this from in a very simple way - instead of drinking out of paper cups using re-useable ones instead.  The Eco Committee has also introduced a facility to recycle make-up containers in a new recycling container.  The Eco-Committee also welcomed MSP, Michelle Ballantyne last week and the details of this visit are discussed later on in this update.  Great to have our work in this area recognised beyond the school and our local community.


A warm welcome to David Russell, who starts with us today as Depute Head Teacher.

English and Biology – interviews for both these posts will take place over the next week two weeks.

Pupil Support Worker, to replace Scott Marnoch, is currently being advertised.

Congratulations to Steven Elms who has been offered a position as a PE Teacher at Dunbar Grammar School.  This will leave a vacancy here and we will be advertising this post at the end of the week.


Our U16s Rugby team travelled to Greenock and beat St Columba's 41-7 progressing to Quarter Finals of Plate competition.

Our U18s Rugby team travelled to Kingussie where the beat their opponents 74-10 and progress to the semi- finals of the Scottish Cup Plate.

Well done to all the players involved!

Poppy Scotland Launch 2018, Scottish Parliament

Mr Flood, accompanied by Georgia Greenan and Liam Govan, S6, attended the launch.

On Wednesday evening, we visited the Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh to attend the annual Poppy Scotland reception. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War so it was an extra special occasion. During the event we heard speeches from representatives from the Scottish Parliament, as well as members from Poppy Scotland charity committee. They spoke about the vital work they carry out to help veterans of war and about the importance of remembering our relatives who fought so hard in the war. They emphasised that if it wasn't for all the heroic efforts and sacrifices of men, women and animals, the world would be a very different place and we might not even exist.

It's important to realise that the charity itself cannot do what they do without our vital help and support. Thanks to volunteer groups all across the country Poppy Scotland continues their vital work.  It was very nice to know that our work as members of the Poppy Scotland Team at Knox Academy means so much in helping the charity take care of the veterans of war and keeping the memories of our ancestors alive in the hopes that nothing like that ever happens again. So please next time you are out and about and you see volunteers from Poppy Scotland selling poppies buy one and make a donation as it’s people like you that help fund this very important charity (by Liam Govan, S6)

East Lothian Council's Resilience Event – Brunton Theatre

Mr Flood, accompanied by Neil Watson and Matthew Nelson in S5, represented Knox Academy at this event.  

The event was very informative about what the Council will do in an emergency. Lots of different issues were brought up but the most talked about were flooding and what will happen if it snows.  The Met Office representative explained all of the weather warnings and what to do when they are issued. We then gave our ideas as to what the schools can do to help the community. We said that when the school closes a group of pupils could get together and clear some streets of snow. They could also check on vulnerable people in certain areas of Haddington (by Neil Watson)

Thanks to Mr Flood, Neil and Matthew for giving up their time to attend the event.

East Lothian Sports Awards

It was a privilege to attend this on Friday 26th October, at the Brunton Theatre, and mix with all the talented sports stars on East Lothian. Orla Winn was nominated in the category ‘Sports Person of the Year for someone with a Disability’ for her talents in Wakeboarding. Andrew McKnight, a former pupil of Knox Academy won the Coach of the Year award


On Monday afternoon, three students from Knox Academy’s Green Team hosted students from the Dunbar Eco Team to share ideas and make plans for some environmental initiatives in East Lothian. Both groups of students entered and won the Viridor Eco Competition in June and they have been tasked with coming together to make their ideas a reality. Furthermore, following on from the competition, both groups were contacted by MSP Michelle Ballantyne who was interested in learning more about the project.  Mrs Ballantyne visited both groups on Monday afternoon to discuss environmental issues relevant to young people. The groups talked about canteen packaging, recycling facilities in schools, and raising public awareness about what can and can't be recycled. Mrs Ballantyne also shared her experiences with avoiding plastic and offered some insight into the challenges of implementing a UK-wide ban on plastic straws. The afternoon was productive and we have some exciting ideas in the works so keep an eye out for them! (by Jess Laudi)

Have a good week and we will look forward to meeting our S5/6 parents/carers on Wednesday at Parents’ Evening.

Sue Cook