March 2019

Published: 19 March 2019

Last week was a superb week for our Green Flag Eco-Group and Green Team to raise awareness of ‘green living’ and how this can impact on our environment.  Activities ran daily and culminated in some of our P7s visiting Knox Academy on Friday for eco-activities.  It was great to receive positive feedback from some P7 parents about how much their children had enjoyed these activities, led by the pupils in the Eco /Green Teams.   Great to see our young people leading learning.   A huge thank you to Jess Laudi and the team for such a fantastic week and for all the staff and pupils who bought items such as bamboo toothbrushes (more about this topic later on in my news).

This week we are looking forward to welcoming a number of our partners, including John McMillan our Provost, who will be leading our S6 Employability Skills interviews.  We are so grateful for their time, energy and expertise in supporting us with these and we know the pupils will benefit so much from this experience.

Staffing
Alice Clubb, currently Faculty Head of Maths at North Berwick High School, will start with us on Monday 25 March. 

We are currently re-advertising for a part-time Home Economics teacher and about to advertise for a Support for Learning teacher.

Parents’ Evenings
Thank you to all the parents/carers who come along to the various evenings we hold through the year; information evenings, careers events, formal parents’ evenings. We are aware that it is not always possible for all parents/carers to come along to these evenings or to always get an appointment with your young person’s teacher(s).  If this is the case, please let the Guidance teacher know and we can ideally arrange a face to face meeting for you at another time or the Guidance teacher can gather this information for you and feed it back to you. 

If you have attended our Parents’ Evenings and have any feedback as to how you think we can improve these, please let the Parent Council know as we will be reviewing this soon alongside our Reporting, Monitoring and Tracking approaches.  Alice Clubb, our new DHT, who starts on 25th March, will be offering parents/carers the opportunity to come along to meet with her to look at both of these areas.  If you would like to be on this group, please email Emma Maguire and put ‘Review of Parents’ Evenings’ in the subject heading, and we will get in touch with you with the date for this meeting once Ms Clubb arrives.  Please also let us know, in your email if during the day or early evening would suit you best.

Drama
A huge thank you to all the Parents/Carers who came to watch their young people perform in their National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher Drama at the open dress rehearsals last Thursday.  Well done to all performers and to Ms Whitfield for her hard work and support she has given to all pupils throughout the year to prepare them for this.e

SQA examiners will be in to mark exam pieces for National 5 and Higher on Thursday 21 March and Advanced Higher on Wednesday 27 March. To all our performers in exams this year, Break a Leg!   (by Emma Whitfield, Drama)

Music – Spring Concert
Tickets are now on sale for this event which will take place on Thursday 28 March 2019.  There will be a dress rehearsal/performance to P7s in the afternoon with the evening performance starting at 7pm. Tickets, priced £5 for adults and £3 for pupils/concessions, are available from the Technical Department at break time and lunch time and on the evening itself (unless sold out so buy early to avoid disappointment).  There is no reserved seating at our concerts (tickets may be numbered but this is just to allow us to keep note of numbers sold).

East Lothian Showcase
The annual East Lothian Showcase concert took place on Monday 11 March at the Brunton Theatre. The quality and range of talent that came out through the various performances was amazing and thoroughly enjoyable.  Experiences like this provide invaluable opportunities for pupils to develop a wide range of skills and collaborate with peers from across the region.  Knox Academy was heavily represented in all the items, including soloists and orchestra leads (apart from the choir which is an exciting new venture but only featuring Musselburgh Grammar and North Berwick High School pupils at the moment). These events don’t happen without the passion, commitment and hard work of the instrumental instructors and a huge thank you is due to them

If you have never attended the concert I would totally recommend it and I for one will be back next year (David Russell, DHT)

Mrs Reynolds was also at the Showcase and this is what she had to say: ‘The pupils, ranging from S1 - S6, displayed exceptional musical talent and it was clear the hard work that had gone into the pieces.  They were a credit to the school and great ambassadors for music at Knox Academy.’ 

Rugby
Jamie Goan, Euan Murray and Joss Arnold (who played a year up) all represented East Lothian Falcons vs the Borders team last week. These three boys join the twenty-two boys who have been involved with the East Lothian Team this year. (by Thomas Salked)

Swimming
Last week several Knox pupils found out that their swims were accepted for Scottish National Age Groups which take place in Glasgow from 27th March - 31st March. This meet, for many swimmers is their main meet of the year racing against the country's best. For others, this meet will be used as a platform to achieve entry into the British Summer Meet in Sheffield, racing against the rest of the UK. Four Knox swimmers have qualified in various disciplines and events over the course of the 5 days. Aidan Ballantyne will take to the pool racing 8 events; Owen Williamson racing 7 events; Louisa Stoddart racing 10 events and a big congratulations to Lauren Clark who has qualified for the first time, racing 2 events. The pupils will represent East Lothian Swim Team and we wish them all the best in their individual races and relays!

ECO-WEEK 2019
This week saw the arrival of our 3rd annual Eco-Week here at Knox Academy. The Eco-Committee delivered an assembly presentation to all year groups to encourage them to make environmental changes in their daily lives. Over the years, eco-memes have become a tradition and these enthusiastically decorated our front entrance doors too.

Miss Laudi, the Eco-Committee and the Green Team planned an engaging schedule of events to get the Knox community to think about how change is so essential to overcome the environmental problems we face. On Monday, Miss Laudi and some S4 students ran a plastic-free beauty tutorial at lunch time, which was attended by students and staff. We talked about plastic-free alternatives like shampoo bars, solid facial cleansers, solid moisturisers, toothpaste tabs, coconut oil, lip balms and more! On Tuesday, we welcomed Lil, an East Lothian-based eco-shop to Knox Academy at lunch time and during our S2 Parents’ night. Students, staff, and parents had the opportunity to explore and purchase eco-friendly items like reusable straws, shampoo bars, reusable water bottles, reusable coffee cups and even compostable parchment paper! On Wednesday, the Green Team did its usual collection of recycling from classrooms. They really are essential to the cause! On Friday, the Eco-Committee and Green Team welcomed P7 students from St. Mary's PS and Yester Primary for our first ever Eco-Games. The event provided P7s with an opportunity to meet and interact with current Knox students and P7s participated in a carousel of exciting eco-themed events. Green Team members led the groups through the carousel while Eco-Committee members ran the activities, including eco-Pictionary, a drama scenario about bees, climate change trivia and a recycling sorting task. P7s really enjoyed the event and our Knox students did an amazing job of ensuring that the event ran smoothly!

A few initiatives are running past Eco-Week. Firstly, the Eco-Committee is running a clothing collection for Rock Trust, a charity which supports homeless youth. All clothing donations can be brought to Miss Laudi's room by 22 March. Secondly, the Eco-Committee sold bamboo tooth brushes and completely sold out! Thanks so much to students and staff for their enthusiasm! We've decided to extend our bamboo toothbrush sales and if anyone else would like to order, they should bring £2 to Miss Laudi by 22 March. Eco-Week 2019 is the biggest and best one we've seen yet and we're so thrilled that it has been a massive success! Well done to the Eco-Committee and Green Team! (by Miss Laudi).

First Minister’s Question Time
Marilyn Briggs and Adnan Ros attended First Minister’s Question Time at the Scottish Parliament last Thursday. They watched a lively debate which focussed on issues such as Independence and Brexit. Adnan and Marilyn are running as candidates in the East Lothian constituency for the Scottish Youth Parliament. Voting opens on Friday 15 March and ends on 29 March. More information about how to vote will be given out an Assemblies and on the school website later this week (by Kate Bulloch).

Broad General Education (BGE) –S3 Graduation Ceremony
Every transition is important in a young person’s life but the transition from the BGE to their Senior Phase is a very significant one.  This is an exciting stage with lots of new opportunities and challenges ahead.  As a school whose values are ambition, respect and community, we want to continue to work together with parents/carers and our partners to build upon these values and recognise the great work of our young people.  If you have a child(ren) in S3 we would like to invite you along to a Graduation Ceremony to celebrate your child’s achievements over the last three years at Knox Academy and to help prepare them for the next three years in Senior Phase.  The date is Friday 31 May at 11am.  I will be writing out to all parents/carers after the Easter holidays but wanted to give you lots of warning so you can save the date in your diaries now.  Thank you and we will look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible (or an extended family member/friend if you are unable to make it).

House Ties and Achievement Ties
We have been working with a group of pupils, parents and staff on reviewing our approaches to recognition of achievement and our House profile.  From these discussions it has been agreed to move forward with a House tie and Achievement tie and this will form part of our school uniform from session 20/21.

The Achievement ties will be awarded to pupils for a significant piece of work/winning awards/ representing teams over the season/playing in the school orchestra/jazz band/wind band etc. over sustained period, and also for ‘diligence in their school work over the year’. These Achievement ties are not only about recognising academic attainment but about recognising achievement and commitment in the widest sense and are part of supporting our value of ‘ambition’ at the school. 

As part of the recognition of ‘achievement’ I would encourage parents/carers to also keep the school informed of your young person’s achievements out of school and we are encouraging all our pupils to let us know these too.  We have such an array of talent here that it would be a shame not to recognise and reward this.  Achievement Ties are paid for by the school.

Two options for both the House and Achievement ties have been designed and pupils are getting the opportunity to decide which ones they favour.  The House and Achievement Ties can be viewed on our school website. We would like to extend this to opportunity to staff, parents/carers and our community partners so please follow this link for information on how to cast your vote.

If you do not have access to Twitter please feel free to email to cast your vote or alternatively, phone on 01620 823387.

Thanks you for helping support our vision.

Emails
In order to improve communication at the school and to reduce the amount of group call messages, we will be sending out a letter this week to parents/carers asking for your permission to send information via email.  I would like to thank you in advance for your support with this.  Many schools now use this as their main communication system and say it is highly effective.

Finally, please can I encourage parents/carers and friends of the school to follow us on Twitter and . This allows you to keep up-to-date with our day to day news as it happens.  The school calendar, on our website, is also kept up-to-date with all of our events and parents/carers should continue to refer to this regularly so they know of any events that are coming up for their child(ren).

Dates for your diary:

Thursday 28th March - Spring Concert (7pm)

Friday 5th April - End of term (finish 12.05pm)

Tuesday 23rd April - All resume (staff and pupils)

Wednesday 24th April - S4, S5 and S6 Leavers’ Event (midday finish)

Thursday 25th April - First day of exam leave for S4, S5 and S6 pupils (not in school)

 

Sue Cook

Published: 07 March 2019

It has been great to meet with staff, pupils and some parents this morning as part of the working group looking at strategies to recognise achievement in and out of school.  Some good ideas were discussed and once I have collated these I will feed back to everyone about the school’s next steps.  We also looked at a House tie for the school, which will be part of our school uniform next session.  Pupils, parents and staff were able to review a variety of different styles of tie and select their favourite. This will also be consulted on at the forthcoming Pupil Parliament and Parent Council meetings and at registration to gather lots of views.  I will also put the most popular options on Twitter after these meetings so parents/carers can also vote. 

As I said in a previous Head Teacher update, I will be sending out a letter in April giving details of our school uniform for session 2019-20.  It would be great in the meantime if parents/carers continued to support the school and ensure their young person wears uniform to school as this ensures that we are identified as a school community and ensures a professional dress code pupils link with for ‘work’ as opposed to ‘leisure’.  This also allows them to keep their casual clothes for after school hours, as well as ensuring, through the school dress code, that everyone is identifiable in the building, which ensures the safety of all.

Staffing

Mrs Caroline Falconer (DHT) is embarking on a 23 month secondment as a Quality Improvement Officer with the South East Improvement.  Alice Clubb, currently Faculty Head of Maths at North Berwick High School, will start with us on Monday 25th March. 

This week we interviewed for a Librarian and were successful in recruiting an experienced candidate who will start with us at the beginning of May.

Interviews took place for both Modern Studies and PE over the last week. These are new posts and are not replacing staff leaving.  I am delighted to say we have preferred candidates for both of these positions.  These posts will start in August.

We are re-advertising for a part-time Home Economics teacher.

World Book Day

There’s been a definite buzz around the Communications Faculty as the English Department celebrated World Book Day with Junior pupils today (Thursday) Pupils enthusiastically took part in a literary Kahoot quiz as well as Knox’s very own Guess the Teacher’s Favourite Book Quiz. S1-S2 pupils certainly enjoyed looking at the pictures of staff hiding their faces with their favourite books! All pupils will be issued with World Book Day tokens over the next couple of days and these can be used to get £1 off a book of their choice at various retailers. Thanks to all staff who helped make WBD 2019 a success (by Zara Machen, Faculty Head)

Drama

The Parents/Carers of National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher Drama students are invited to support performers at the open dress rehearsal of their performance exam pieces on Thursday 14th March, from 5pm in the Drama Studio.

SQA examiners shall be in to mark exam pieces for National 5 and Higher on Thursday 21st March and Advanced Higher on Wednesday 27th March. To all our performers in exams this year, Break a Leg!   (by Emma Whitfield, Drama)

Music – Spring Concert

Spring Concert - please note the change of date to 28th March 2019 – dress rehearsal/performance to P7s in the afternoon with the evening performance at 7pm. Tickets, priced £5 for adults and £3 for pupils/concessions, will be available from the Music Department later this week.  There is no reserved seating at our concerts (tickets may be numbered but this is just to allow us to keep note of numbers sold).

Gymnastics

Congratulations to Amy Reid & Oakleigh Robertson (S2) & all their teammates/coaches at Saltire Team Gymnastics. They won bronze in the Youth Division, Northern Qualifiers in Newcastle & qualified for the British Championships in Liverpool! What a fantastic achievement.

Cross Country Running/Cycling

Well done to Rudie Shearer who came 24th in Scottish Schools Cross Country Champs at Hopetoun House last weekend.  Also, as a member of the Edinburgh Goodson Race Team Youth girls’ squad, Rudie helped Olympic Track Cyclist Katie Archibald to launch the first Women’s Tour of Scotland, a world-class professional cycle event to be held in August.  It was great to meet with Rudie this morning to congratulate her on her achievements and also to hear that she is the Scottish Duathlon Champion for the 12-13 age group.  Another star at Knox Academy!

Knox Eco-Committee

The Knox Eco-Committee's much anticipated Eco-Week is happening next week from March 11-15. The Eco-Committee have been working hard to plan a range of events for students and staff. The Eco-Committee will be giving an assembly presentation to all year groups and events include a plastic-free beauty tutorial, an eco-shop coming to Knox, bamboo toothbrush sales, a screening of WALL-E, and a transition event for P7s. Bamboo Toothbrush pre-order sales have already been going really well and it's been so great to see students and staff making the choice to ditch plastic toothbrushes in favour of their compostable and eco-friendly alternative!

All events with their specific details have been posted on the school bulletin and on the Eco-Committee Twitter account (). We're looking forward to Eco-Week 2019! (by Miss Laudi)

Hockey

Congratulations to Nicola Stobie (Geography teacher) as her hockey team, Watsonians, has reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup. 

Finally, please can I encourage parents/carers and friends of the school to follow us on Twitter and . This allows you to keep up-to-date with our day to day news as it happens.  The school calendar, on our website, is also kept up-to-date with all of our events and parents/carers should continue to refer to this regularly so they know of any events that are coming up for their child(ren).

Emails

In order to improve communication at the school and to reduce the amount of group call messages, we will be sending out a letter to parents/carers asking for your permission to send information via email.  I would like to thank you in advance for your support with this.  Many schools now use this as their main communication system and say it is highly effective.

Dates for your diary:

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

Thursday 28th March                    Spring Concert (7pm)

Friday 5th April                               End of term (finish 12.05pm)

Tuesday 23rd April                         All resume (staff and pupils)

Wednesday 24th April                   S4, S5 and S6 Leavers’ Event (midday finish)

Thursday 25th April                        First day of exam leave for S4, S5 and S6 pupils (not in school)

 

Sue Cook