December 2018

Published: 20 December 2018

It has been a fantastic final week of term here at Knox Academy.  The pupils and staff on the Aubigny trip seemed to have had a fantastic five days away and seemed to have been immersed in the culture and customs of Aubigny (with much eating of the flavoursome French cuisine)!  We look forward to the possibility of welcoming some young people back to Haddington in August next year and them spending a few days at our school.

Staffing

We have made appointments in Biology (1 FTE permanent) and also appointed a Faculty Head of Technologies yesterday. 

We also should have an English supply specialist joining us at the start of next term so that is very positive news indeed for the English team and also for our pupils.  We are still aiming to recruit a permanent 0.8 FTE and this will be advertised again in January.  We are also hopeful of recruiting a specialist supply in Home Economics until we recruit someone to our 0.6 permanent post.

As I said in my last update, Mrs Caroline Falconer (DHT) is also going to be taking up a 23 month secondment as a Quality Improvement Officer with the South East Improvement Collaborative and a start date has still to be agreed for this.  This will create an acting DHT position at the school which will be advertised in the New Year.

I would like to also wish Simone Jenkins all the best as she leaves Knox Academy to go full time at Ross High School.  Simone is one of the cheeriest cleaning staff I have met and will miss her smiles and cheerful singing.

Christmas Concert

Both the afternoon and evening concerts were amazing. We welcomed our P7 cluster primaries, Meadowpark pupils, local care home residents and some parents to our afternoon performance. They were certainly treated to a toe tapping performance and everyone seemed to be smiling broadly as they left the hall.  The evening was every bit as entertaining and none of the performers seemed to have lost their zest after performing earlier on.  The vast array of talent on the stage left us all feeling very proud to be staff and parents of these amazing young people.  The closing rendition of ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ saw the first staff band take to the stage with all performers from the evening joining them to sing along with them.  This was a great end to a great evening.  I would like to thank all the pupils for letting us appreciate their musical talent and to all the staff who have taught and mentored them along the way. The National 5 and Higher Art work displayed in the foyer showed the talent in the school and as I said in my Tweet, could be exhibited in any gallery. Thank you to the Art Department for putting this display together and to our young people for letting us showcase their talent.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to all our parents/carers, friends, family, staff and our partners who came along to support the event and were such a receptive audience.  With concerts like this, ‘I wish it could be Christmas Everyday….’

S5 Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI)

Wednesday saw our YPI School Final. Our S5 has been researching social issues and charities in their YPI classes this year. The YPI programme sees all S5s researching social issues and building relationships with a local charity. At the School Final our five finalists showcased their findings in a competition to win £3000 for their chosen local charity.

This year we had groups representing the following local charities; East Lothian Young Carers, East Lothian Special Needs Play Scheme, Leuchie House, Changes and Rocking for Tots. The presentations were an absolute joy to watch; the passion, creativity and professionalism on display was brilliant to see and makes us all very proud of the young people who were up on stage. They were an absolute credit to the school

Congratulations to our winning group: Anna Cameron, Catriona Dee, Emma Dickson, Eve McBain and Jocelyn McKnight, who were representing the East Lothian Special Needs Play Scheme. The five girls captured the hearts of the audience with a passionate and detailed presentation which included a powerful short video which they created. Their presentation really made everyone think about the challenges faced everyday by youngsters with additional support needs.

A very proud day for the school seeing such altruism and philanthropy on display! (by Alex Redford)

S6 Panto

It was a fun filled Wednesday evening as our S6 took to the stage to perform their take on a Mamma Mia type story.  The panto was written, directed and performed solely by our very talented S6, which in itself makes it very special! A fun evening was had by all on stage and those in the audience – and we had fun singing along too. 

Christmas Boxes

The theme this year was Christmas Films and the quality of beautifully decorated boxes by tutor groups, filled with goodies, did not disappoint!  Linda McInnes and I had the privilege of judging the winning boxes and this was a very difficult decision.  After much contemplation, Meadowpark won the overall prize, with 1G1, 2L3, 5C winning the House boxes and 6B being highly commended.  What a great effort by all and the Social Work Department, the Day Centre and Bield Housing were all delighted to receive these boxes as gifts for our local community.  Thank you to all pupils and parents/carers for their contributions. Particular thanks to Mae Ball and Angela MacDonald for leading on this.

Today many of us are dressed in our Christmas jumpers and donations will be sent to Save the Children UK.  We will also be ending the term with all our young people and staff taking part in a ceilidh, a Christmas Quiz, watching the S6 Panto and then the whole school singing the 12 Days of Christmas.  Apparently I have to start the singing….obviously no one knows that this is not one of my talents!

I would also like to thank everyone for their support in my first term at Knox Academy.  It’s a great school and I am very proud and privileged to be the Head Teacher here.  I am already looking forward to the many exciting things we have planned for 2019.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all pupils, staff, parents/carers and partners of the school a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sue Cook

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Published: 14 December 2018

It was great to see such a high turnout for our S1 Parents’ Evening on Tuesday night and so many S1 pupils attending with their parents, which allowed them to hear feedback too.  Parents/carers working together with the school is such an important part of raising attainment and achievement so if you were unable to attend for any reason, please contact your child’s guidance teacher to get an update from teachers.

Staffing

We have made an appointment in PE and await a start date being agreed with the candidate’s Head Teacher.

We are interviewing for a Biology teacher on Monday (1FTE) but unfortunately did not get any applications for our part-time temporary post and I am liaising with the authority to seek advice and support with this.

Mrs Caroline Falconer (DHT) is also going to be taking up a 23 month secondment as a Quality Improvement Officer with the South East Improvement Collaborative and a start date has still to be agreed for this.  This will create an acting DHT position at the school which will be advertised in the New Year.

We are also still actively recruiting for Home Economics and English (Ms Machen will be sending out a letter to S1 and S2 Parents/carers about arrangements in the interim until we appoint).

Best wishes to Steven Wands, our Active Schools Coordinator, who goes on secondment w.e.f 18th December. 

Knox Academy’s Choir

Twelve members of Knox Academy’s choir visited Haddington Care Home yesterday and performed Christmas carols for the residents. A good time was had by all.

Samye Ling

The Higher RMPS pupils have just returned from a great trip to the beautiful Buddhist temple, Samye Ling in Dumfries and Galloway.  Ani Sanchub, a nun, gave us a tour of the temple and an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism.  Pupils then had an opportunity to try some meditation and ask questions.  We also had time to have a tour of the grounds and peace garden followed by a trip to the shop and Tibetan tearooms for a chat and a hot chocolate.  Pupils behaved very well despite a breakdown with the bus on the way home but thankfully everyone arrived home safe and sound and enjoyed their experience.  (by Liane Montgomery)

Aubigny Trip

The pupils and staff headed off to Aubigny yesterday.  I am sure they will benefit a lot from this trip in terms of immersing themselves in both the culture and language.  It was a shame their flight was delayed significantly and that the train arrangements for arrival at the other end had to be changed to a coach but I am sure this will not detract from the trip in any way! Thank you also goes to Jess Laudi and Hannah McBride for accompanying pupils on this trip.

Mid and East Lothian Badminton Championships

Over 100 pupils travelled from all over the county to Meadowmill Sports Centre to compete in the Mid and East Lothian Secondary Schools Badminton Championships which took place on Tuesday 27th November.

All 6 Secondary Schools from East Lothian and Newbattle Community High School from Midlothian had players representing their school at this prestigious event

Mid & East Lothian Schools Badminton Organiser Christine Black would like to thank all the Sports Co-ordinators, volunteers, coaches and parents who assisted and supported the tournament and to all the players who provided some excellent badminton throughout the day.

We are delighted to say that in the region of 20 Knox players competed in this event. Congratulations to those mentioned below that came away with silverware!

Final results – U14

Boys Singles – ‘B’ Final Winner – Calum Winter

Girls Doubles – Runners up – Romilly McBain & Ailsa Thompson

Boys Doubles – ‘B’ Final Winners – Calum Winter & Ethan Rettie

Mixed Doubles – Winners – Calum Winter & Romilly McBain

Final results – U16

Boys Doubles - Runners up – Calum Rettie & Ryan Baikie

Mixed Doubles Winners – Ryan Baikie & Niamh Robertson

Final results – U19

Boys Singles - ‘B’ Final Winners – Niall Holman

Basketball

Congratulations to both our senior and junior basketball teams yesterday for their sterling performances against Musselburgh Grammar School.  Although we didn’t win either match all the pupils put 100% effort in. Final scores were:  Junior team 19-18 and Senior team 38-28.  Thank you to Michelle Lewis for coaching and accompanying the teams.

Former Pupil News

Arran Marsh, who left Knox Academy in June, is taking to the stage at the Usher hall in Edinburgh to perform in A Christmas Wish.  Arran is currently studying for a BA Honours in Musical Theatre. I was lucky enough to meet Arran as he was part of the pupil panel who interviewed me for this Headship.  All at Knox Academy would like to wish Arran all the best for his performance.

East Lothian Flag

I was delighted to be invited along to the Lord Provost’s festive gathering last night at John Muir House. It was lovely to meet so many partners of East Lothian Council and hear about all the amazing things that have happened across the county during the year.  It was also a privilege to be at this very historic event and the launch of the East Lothian flag – which is very spectacular in blue, yellow and gold.  Hopefully we will see it flying in Haddington soon so everyone can admire it.

Finally, please do come along and support our Christmas Concert on Tuesday evening (18th) at 7pm.  Our S6 Panto, bound to be lots of laughs, is on Wednesday evening at 7pm (suggested donation of £3 on the door).  Our final day at school will involve all of our pupils participating in a Christmas Quiz, Scottish Country Dancing and watching the S6 perform their Panto again. We will all then gather in the hall to sing the Twelve Days of Christmas before the bell goes for the holidays – a lovely way to end the term.

Festive wishes

Sue Cook

Published: 07 December 2018

It is beginning to feel very festive here at Knox Academy. Last night’s Glitter Ball was a great evening and the pupils danced the night away in their stunning outfits.  I would like to particularly thank the PTA, Mrs Ball and Mrs Smith for organising and supporting this event.  We have the Christmas Concert on Tuesday 18th and the S6 Pantomime on Wednesday 19th December so please do come along to these events as they are going to be spectacular and both give the opportunity for our young people to showcase their talent.

Staffing

  • English, PE and Physics (full time permanent) – interviews are taking place for these three posts next week
  • Home Economics – this post is being re-advertised but we are very hopeful of having a specialist supply teacher in this area until we appoint
  • Biology posts (full-time and part time temporary) – adverts close this Sunday
  • Faculty Head Expressive Arts and Technologies – this post will go live today
  • Pupil Support Worker – we appointed Gail Fraser to this post last week and she will take up this position in January

Finally, on the staffing front, on behalf of all at Knox Academy, I would like to wish Louise Steenson, HE teacher, all the best for her new role as St Augustine’s, Edinburgh. Thank you for all your hard work and commitment during the time you have been with us.

Adoption UK

On Friday 18 Jan (0930 -1230) Adoption UK are delivering attachment ambassador training to key staff in the school.  If any parents/carers would be interested in coming along please email Steven Illingworth to book your place.   A further opportunity exists to come along to ‘Life in the Classroom – Attachment awareness on the Feb In Service (18 Feb 9-12). Again, please contact Mr Illingworth if you are interested in attending.

Cycling (by Archie Goodard in S6)

I spoke recently at a Spokes cycling event about inclusivity, I was representing young people and gave a short five minute speech about why young people should be encouraged to be part of the cycling community.  I was then part of the Q&A panel and participated in answering questions as to what is currently done to help young people in cycling.  I mentioned things such as the bikeability and bike maintenance scheme currently running at Knox Academy and used it as an example. I also talked about the weekly GoRide sessions run by Edinburgh Road Club.  It was a great opportunity to be able to speak and to be able to voice the opinions of young people within the community.

Swimming - East Lothian Swimming Championships

Excellent achievements from Knox Academy pupils, a few weekends ago, at the aforementioned championships.  Four medals were won by Louisa in (S2), one by Owen in (S2) and an excellent early season swims from Aidan in (S3) too! Well done to you all.  The sprints and middle distance championships have yet to take place.

Drama

Congratulations to the N4/5 Higher and Advanced Higher pupils who presented their Production Skills scenes to invited audience a week past Thursday. Thank you to the supportive audience who helped the performers to reflect on their work through completing audience evaluations. 

S5 and S6 learners also attended a performance of Mouthpiece at the Traverse theatre in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening; which I believe was a very moving and thought provoking play.  S1-S4 pupils attended a performance of the eagerly anticipated production of Wendy and Peter Pan at the Lyceum theatre in Edinburgh and seemed to have really enjoyed it too.

Thank you to Ms Whitfield for organising all of the above opportunities. 

S6 Panto

This will take place on Wednesday 19 December at 7pm in the school hall.  A suggested donation of £3 per entry can be made on the night.  Please come along to support this if you can as they have written and directed it themselves, which demonstrated real leadership.  I am sure it will be a great night!  

Star Awards

The Online Payments Team won the One Council’s Star Award for Team of the Year last night.   Both Bev Skirrow (our previous Business Manager) and Emma Maguire (our office team) were involved in this. Congratulations to both of them.

Young Provost

Louise Allan, one of our S4 pupils and Sports Ambassadors, is also the county’s Young Provost.  Her application to become the Young Provost involved her in outlining policies she felt would make a difference to young people’s lives.  Her entry talked about nurturing uniqueness in the Year of Young People and she talks about her own experiences of support. You can read the full article in last week’s East Lothian Courier.  Louise is a tremendous ambassador for the school and is involved in so many leadership activities both in and out of school.

Rugby

Great news that the Haddington/ Knox School of Rugby has finished second top of the Outlander Conference League. What a great effort from all of our age group players. Thank you also to the coaches, supporters and our sponsors for making this happen.

Parent Council

Tuesday night’s meeting focused on the school values and the Parent Council was involved in an exercise to help the pupils, staff and parents in working together to look at the rights and responsibilities within our value of RESPECT. Much of our work around our school values fits directly with our quest to become a Rights Respecting School.

Further to this task the Senior Leadership Team presented our proposed Curriculum Architecture and Rationale for next session.  Both  of these will be available soon on the Parent Council’s section of our website.  Comments on these would be most welcome and should be sent to Mrs Falconer.

Learner Pathway/Course Choice information for S2-S6 parents/carers will be early on in January and Mrs Falconer will be sending out a letter very soon with the date and format of this evening.

Key dates for your diary:

11th December - S1 Parents’ Evening - 5-7pm

18th December - Christmas Concert - 7pm

19th December - S6 Panto - 7pm

20th December - End of term - 3.50pm

7th January 2019 - Start of term - 8.44am

Have a great weekend

Sue Cook