January 2019

Published: 25 January 2019

Good afternoon

It has been another busy week at Knox Academy and the final week of the S4/5/6 Prelims.  Pupils will receive their results over the next week or so (I know some have received results already) and Faculty Heads will be communicating with parents/carers if there are to be changes to presentation levels – hopefully not the case for most of our pupils.  As I said last week, please can I ask parents/carers to encourage a regular pattern of study from now on as the final exams will be here much faster than they think. In reality, once we return after the holidays there are only two days before S4/5/6 pupils go on study leave.  I will be sending out a letter in February with the exact details of this.

Staffing

Nick Tait, the new Faculty Head of Technologies will start on 4/02/19.

Rebecca Graham, PE, starts with us on Monday and Gavin Boyle, Biology, will start in a week's time

Mrs Caroline Falconer (DHT) is embarking on a 23 month secondment as a Quality Improvement Officer with the South East Improvement.  Interviews for her acting DHT post will take place on Friday 1st February.

Job adverts for English and Home Economics close on Sunday and I will keep everyone posted after this stage in relation to interview dates.  We are also advertising for a part-time Guidance teacher as Mrs Doig will return part-time at the beginning of February.

Squash

Dylan Pearman, in S2, has been selected for the Scottish Squash Talent Squad after many great performances in recent tournaments (see January’s HT’s Update).  This is one step away from the Academy Squad and is the best in Scotland at under 19 age group.  There are currently about 15 pupils in the Academy Squad.  The Talent Squad Lead Coach will be guiding the young players through the process of developing all the necessary attributes for the athletes to begin to compete at the top level. The programme will be holistic to develop all the necessary attributes a top junior squash player requires with a strong focus on technical and skill development and coached at a level that will be understandable and workable for all athletes involved. This will be the perfect opportunity for players to build all the necessary skills to be a top squash player in a highly supportive and quality environment surrounded by their teammates.

We wish Dylan well in this squad – what an exciting opportunity to be coached and compete at such a high level at this stage.  This is a great accolade for Dylan and for Knox Academy.

Drama

A group of junior Drama pupils are preparing work to be shown to the P7 pupils and parents who will come to Knox next year, their working title for the drama is Advice to My Younger Self. We are developing it on Thursdays after school and are excited to develop this story into a funny, helpful story to show to younger pupils who are about to come to high school (by Emma Whitfield).

Holocaust Memorial Day

Ten pupils were invited to Queen Margaret University for a Holocaust Memorial Day event.

The afternoon began with the Lord Provost introducing why we should remember the Holocaust so we can learn from the past and ensure a safer and fairer future.  He also spoke of the 170 children who came on Kinder transport to East Lothian.  Professor Goldblatt then gave an interesting presentation on Treblinka and showed us a picture of a memorial where each stone represented a village where someone had lost someone in the Holocaust.  Sophie, a student of art therapy at QMU showed us a video about her travels to discover members of her family that she had lost because of the Holocaust.  Our pupils were then given an opportunity to work on a piece of art on the theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day "Torn from Home" and draw what they would take with them if they were torn from home.  Some of these pieces of work will be displayed in the Haddington library.  The day finished with a lighting of the candle to remember the victims.  Pupils also had a moment of reflection as they listened to the Kaddish. 

The day finished with a wee treat of a cookie and juice before travelling back by bus.  The group enjoyed the day and learnt something important (by Liane Montgomery, RE teacher)

Music

Huge congratulations to Ben Gentil who passed his Trinity Drums Grade 3 before the Christmas holidays.

Probus Burns Lunch

The school received a lovely note thanking some of our Senior pupils for attending the Probus Burns lunch. They said what a pleasure it was to have such a lovely, well-mannered and talented group along and how much they all enjoyed their musical contribution. They particularly enjoyed the Goat's Toes and said that the future of music was safe in their hands.

PTA Burns Supper

I am sure all who attended the Burns Supper would agree with me that this was a great evening.  This was my first Burns Supper at Knox Academy and will certainly feature as one of the most memorable as staff, pupils and parents/carers came together to celebrate Scotland’s National Bard, Rabbie Burns.  I would like to personally thank the Provost, John McMillan who engaged us in a funny, historical and moving Immortal Memory. Thank you also to Sam Thomson who did the toast to the lassies and Hana Elder who did the toast to laddies –with lots of humour attached.   Also thank you to Alexander Hogg who piped the haggis in and to Connor Moore for the address to said haggis.  This was followed by the Selkirk Grace, by Angus and Ross Langlands, before we all tucked in to the scrumptious haggis, neeps and tatties provided by the Tweedale and Golf Tavern.  The S2 girls who served us looked amazing  in their chef whites and did a grand job, smiling cheerfully as they went.  Hamish Allan gave a great recital of ‘To a Mouse’ and this was followed by excellent singing from Michelle Lewis (staff) and Niamh Brotherston and Holly Kerr (duet).   Thanks also to Mr Steven Illingworth as Master of Ceremonies (and teller of some terrible jokes)! 

Finally, the whole event wouldn’t have happened without those on the PTA and volunteers who worked together to make it happen, especially  as similar to ‘To a Mouse’, ‘’The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley,” as they were unable to use the skills of our own catering staff and had to look further afield to outside catering to support the event – so a massive thank you to the PTA for making it happen!

Dates for your diary:

S3 Parents’ Evening – Thursday 31st January – 5-7pm

February holiday – 11th – 18th (Inclusive)

S2 Parents’ Evening – Tuesday 12th March – 5-7pm

Parent Council and AGM – Tuesday 19th March – 6.15-8pm (Library)

Easter holidays (staff and pupils the same) - Break up on Friday 5th April at 12.05pm and all resume at 8.44am on Tuesday 23rd April.

 

Have a great Burns Night and weekend

Sue Cook

Published: 18 January 2019

Good afternoon

The weather has turned a lot colder this week but the heat has certainly increased for our senior pupils who have been sitting their prelims.  These continue in to next week too. Once over I would ask parents/carers to support young people studying on regular basis and to ensure they have an official study plan to adhere to as this does help them focus.  Support for this can be found on our website and in the presentations from our Senior Leadership Team.  Pupils may also go to SLT or Guidance for help in devising a study timetable – we are most happy to assist.

Staffing

Nick Tait visited the school yesterday to meet with the team and will start as Faculty Head of Technologies on 4/02/19

Rebecca Graham was appointed to the PE post and will start on 28/1/19 and Gavin Boyle, to the Biology post. He will start on 29/1/19.

Mrs Caroline Falconer (DHT) is embarking on a 23 month secondment as a Quality Improvement Officer with the South East Improvement.  Interviews for her acting DHT post will take place on Friday 1st February.

We are also still actively recruiting for Home Economics, English and a part-time Guidance teacher as Mrs Doig will return part-time from February.

Parent Council

We had a very good turnout of parents/carers at the Parent Council on Tuesday night. This evening featured a presentation by John Taylor, Faculty Head of Science, on the faculty’s improvement plan and the strides they are making towards progress in the areas of Leadership of Change, Learning and Teaching and Equality and Inclusion.  I was also able to show the new posters on one of our school values ‘Respect’ which has been designed by pupils and parents working together.  This will be displayed around the school in corridors and classrooms over the coming weeks.  Thank you to all who took part in this and helped lead the school in our improvement.  Please do come along to attend future meetings if you can as it is lovely to have as many voices leading school improvement as possible.

S4 Parents’ Evening

Another great turnout from S4 parents/carers last night and all those I spoke to remarked on the high quality feedback they got from staff in terms of current progress and next steps.  Great to see positive comments from parents/carers on our school twitter too (please do follow us on and as lots of information posted on an hourly basis and very current).  

Swimming

Over the weekend of 12-13th January a group of swimmers from Knox Academy proudly represented Haddington ASC at the East District Age Group Championships Round 3 in Glenrothes. Swimmers competed in events over the distance of 200m as well as 4 x 50m relay events. Notable achievements were Aidan Ballantyne (S3) who came 2nd in 200m Butterfly, and 1st in the 200m Breaststroke. Owen Williamson (S2) came 3rd in the 200m Freestyle. Congratulations to all the swimmers that competed and are now working hard to achieve standards for national meets as well as the Scottish Schools Championships that take place next weekend

(by Lana Borwick, PE Teacher)

Netball

Congratulations to our ever growing Netball teams who played Ross High school on Wednesday evening.  Although we didn’t win the girls showed great team skills.  We took 28 girls along to this event so this was phenomenal and shows how much Netball has grown in popularity during the year. Thanks to all involved in leading and coaching the teams. You are doing an amazing job at inspiring these girls!

PTA Burns Supper

The next Fund Raising activity is the BURNS SUPPER which is a very enjoyable evening. This takes place on Thursday 24th January from 7-10pm (wine/beer/soft drinks available).  Tickets cost £10 and available from Mrs Ball and Ms Borwick. If you would like to make a donation for the raffle that would be wonderful.  Please hand it in to the school office for the attention of either of these staff. 

Dates for your diary:

Burns Supper – Thursday 24th January – 7-10pm – Knox Academy food court

S3 Parents’ Evening – Thursday 31st January – 5-7pm

February holiday – 11th – 18th (Inclusive)

 

Have a lovely weekend

Sue Cook

 

Published: 11 January 2019

Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a good festive season and feels rejuvenated for the year ahead.  It has been a busy start to the second term and S4/5/6 pupils are busy preparing for their prelims which start this Monday.  We also had the S2-S5 Learner Pathway event on Wednesday evening and a very high turnout of parents/carers attended this.  This gave information valuable information about all the courses on offer in S3 and Senior Phase, as well as talks from our partners, such as Edinburgh College, information about Foundation Apprenticeships and the various pathway young people can adopt to achieve their goals (presentations will be on our website in the next few days if you were unable to attend).  The coursing interviews, for all year groups, will take place over the next few weeks.

This evening was further supported with a Careers Fayre on Thursday night, when we had thirty two representatives  from a vast array of careers, along to talk to all our young people about their jobs/roles and the pathways they followed to get there.  Again this provided a platform for pupils to consider future career options and subjects they may need to select in order to attain the necessary qualifications.  It also afforded an opportunity to our young people to look beyond jobs that they are familiar with and open their eyes to employment/study that they may never have considered but were inspired about from their discussions with these employers.

A huge thank you to all our business/career guests for giving of their time to support the learner journeys of our young people.  Thank you also to the pupils and parents/carers who attended/supported these events - I am sure you found them extremely informative.

Staffing

Nick Tait has been appointed as Faculty Head of Technologies and will start on 4/02/19.

Rebecca Graham was appointed to the PE post and will start on 28/1/19 and Gavin Boyle, to the Biology post. He will start on 29/1/19.

Gail Fraser was appointed as Pupil Support worker and started on 7/01/19.

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 post should go live today in My Job Scotland.

We are also still actively recruiting for Home Economics, English and a part-time Guidance teacher as Mrs Doig will return part-time from February.

Squash

Dylan Pearman, in S2, played in the Scottish Squash 2018 Junior Open competition in the boys under 15's from the 28th to the 30th December at the Oriam (Heriot Watt & Edinburgh Sports Club). The event attracted nearly two hundred children from thirty-one different countries playing in boys & girls categories in U11, U13, U15, U17 & 19. In the boys Under 15 category there was 32 entries and Dylan came 13th overall.  Congratulations to him on his performance and we will continue to look forward to charting his progress across the year.

Music

Dillon Ball got a Distinction in his Grade 7 Cello.  David Graham and Molly McHugh got a distinction in their Grade 5 Theory last week, getting 92% and 99% respectively!  Well done to all three.

Finally, good luck to all of our S4/5/6 pupils who sit prelims over the next few weeks.  Please can I ask parent/carers to support time and space to help them study and not to cram the night before - and instead try to get to bed early the night before so they are rested.

Dates for your diary:

Parent Council – Tuesday 15th January 2019 – 6.15-8pm – School Library

S4 Parent Consultation – Thursday 17th January 2019 – 5-7pm

 

Sue Cook