May 2019

Published: 23 May 2019

The SQA exams are all but a week from completion and our young people have reported fair papers and hopefully this will be reflected in the grades they will receive in August.

Staffing

A warm welcome to Charlotte Todd, our new Librarian who started with us this week.

We are also currently advertising for a Senior Business Support Assistant (permanent, part-time 14 hours).

The school has been allocated probationers in Drama, Chemistry, Biology and History for session 2019-20

Common School Day

Letters have been issued this week and sent home via email for those in S4/5 (or posted if we don’t have your email so please do send your email to us – see below). This details all the timings for each school day and bus/taxi times for those travelling from further afield. This letter can also be viewed on the website and Twitter.

School Improvement Planning 2019-20

We have started planning the next steps in our improvement journey next year and for the 3-5 years beyond.  As you will be aware, the school invested a lot of time in session 2017-18 looking at the school values and consulting widely on these.  After this period of consultation our school values are Ambition, Respect and Community. We have focused on Respect this session and next session we will be moving forward with linking all three values through our classroom practice and the day to day life of all the school and in the wider community.  Alongside this we need to develop our school vision and again, I would like to engage all of our stakeholders in doing this; pupils, parents/carers, staff, community partners and our Cluster Primary school. This is important so we have an overall vision for now and the coming years for all who will attend Knox Academy. In the next few days I will be sending out a link to this survey by text and/or email and it would be great if parents/carers could complete this to help with the development of our vision so it really is us all involved in shaping this. Thank you in advance for your participation in this.  The survey will remain open for two weeks and should take a maximum of five minutes to complete.

The other aspects we will be focusing on as a school will be high quality learning, teaching and assessment and consistency of learners’ experiences; further development of digital skills for staff and pupils;  positive relationships; leadership opportunities for staff and pupils; evaluating and enhancing our curriculum; inclusion – including further development of our approaches to nurture. We will also be aiming to achieve our Rights Respecting School Gold Charter and our Silver LGBTQ Charter awards.   All we aim to do is to ensure that our young people achieve and attain the best they can through an inclusive and supportive environment which enables them to thrive.

Broad General Education Ceremony (S3)

Our first BGE Ceremony for S3 pupils transitioning to Senior Phase will take place on Friday 31May. We are very privileged to welcome Prof Norman Drummond as our Guest Speaker.  It is great that so many parents/carers are also going to attend this important event.   Please note the earlier start time of 10.30am

Monitoring/Tracking and Reporting and Parents’ Evenings/Prelims

Thank you to parents/carers who have been part of the short life working group on this. As a result of consultation the prelims will now move to the end of November/beginning of December.  The details of all Parent Evenings’ timings/dates and coursing dates will be shared soon on our school calendar as a result of consultation at this working group too.

Emails

Emails will be our main method of communicating with parents/carers from June onwards. If you have still to update your email, or have changed it, please email Emma Maguire  to make her aware of this so your records can be updated. Please can you do this by Friday 31 May at very latest.

Blazer Fittings

This will take place for the new S5 on Tuesday 4 June

Activities Week (Wednesday 15 - Friday 17 May)

Pupils participating in this week, and the trips to Paris, Mimosa and Dounans, seemed to have a fantastic time. Many learned new skills, developed their confidence and made new friends.  These weeks are great for further developing strong working relationships between staff and pupils and pupils and their peers. A huge thank you to staff who led groups/activities and to parents/carers who came along to support some of these. Thank you also to our community partners who worked with us to offer activities or use of their facilities.  Here are two reviews of activities:

On 15 May 13 Knox Academy pupils began their “MasterChef Experience” as part of Activities Week.  This experience was supported by many East Lothian businesses and included two chefs who taught the pupils invaluable skills.  On Wednesday, Kirsty from The Waterside Bistro was in school teaching the pupils how to make cheesecakes and lemon meringue pie. Then Chef Martin inspired the pupils with delicious Thai yellow prawn curry and trout fishcakes.   Throughout the experience the pupils planned their own three course menu and cooked it on Thursday where it was judged by the senior management team.  They enjoyed this immensely and unanimously agreed that Finlay Goodwin was the new Knox Academy MasterChef 2019.   The activity ended with a delicious brunch on Friday at The Waterside Bistro where James, the manager, treated the pupils to a VIP experience.  Special thanks must go to the local restaurants and individual chefs who supported this valuable experience, without them it would not have been possible.

On 15 May a group of 14 pupils started their “Health and Beauty Experience” as part of Knox Academy’s Activities Week.  Two beauticians from Cherish ran the whole of Wednesday concentrating on nail care and facials.  Then on Thursday the pupils had a morning session of mindfulness in the sunshine.  Julia Low from Remedial Health, with Julia came in to teach the pupils some massage techniques.  After lunch Tanya Dixon from Utopia gave each pupil individual hand massages and spoke to them about keeping their minds healthy. Then on the Friday the pupils took part in a photo shoot showing off their new skills and also enjoyed a delicious and healthy lunch.  Altogether it was a great success.

Planning has already started for next year! Can I also take this opportunity to ask you to support the Tesco Bags of Help Scheme to support Knox Academy's Activities Week by voting for us? Voting will take place between Wednesday 1 May 2019 and Sunday 30 June 2019.  This will mean that we can offer more activities free of charge or with minimal costs attached, meaning finance is not a barrier!

Eco-School

On Monday afternoon, the Eco-Committee invited the Bin It Roadshow to present to all S1 students. This is the second year that we've had the roadshow at Knox Academy. The presenters educated students on the problem of litter and how we can all do our part to keep or public spaces clean. Did you know it can take as long as 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose?! Better to recycle it! The Bin It show was interactive and engaging, with a few cheesy puns thrown in. It was great to have them at Knox to spread the message of eco-conscious living (by Jess Laudi).

Rugby

Joss Arnold (S2) has just been selected for the Borders and East Lothian U16 training squad who will train and play fixtures against the other Scotland regions (Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc.) in August. A great achievement for Joss who has just turned 14!

Hockey

Charlie Gates (S4) played goalie for Scotland U16s against England and Wales recently.

Youth Games

72 Knox pupils travelled to Meadowmill on Tuesday 21 May to represent the school at the Youth Games. We had teams competing in football, rugby, hockey, badminton and basketball throughout the day, with some of our S3 leadership team attending to help assist with organisation and coaching of the S1/S2 teams.

Gutsy performances were on display throughout the day, with many of our athletes having to cross over into multiple events, some of which they had little experience in. However, in the Knox spirit, all competitors were fiercely ambitious and were respectful of their opponents. The badminton team took an inexperienced group of S1 players alongside the expertise of Dylan Pearman and his squash abilities. They completed the highest team performance of the day with a 3rd place finish, and an excellent building block for next year. The football teams came up against some strong opposition however the never die attitude meant that wins were picked up in the boys games, and the girls managed to net a goal regardless of only having one ‘footballer’ on the pitch! Thank you to all the hockey girls that geared up and played almost 90 minutes of football to help us pick up the points! Moving forward, the team events will come down to the final date in the calendar for County Sports where competitors will look to climb Knox up the table through track and field events. (by Lana Borwick)

Staff/Pupil Half Marathon

Good luck to all staff and pupils running the Edinburgh Half Marathon this Sunday in aid of East Lothian Special Needs Playscheme.  Please do come along to support them along the way. The event finishes at Musselburgh Racecourse.

Dates for your Diary:

Friday 31 May                                                           S3 BGE Graduation Ceremony (10.30am)

Monday 3 June                                                         Start of new timetable (all years)

Tuesday 11 June                                                       P7 Information/Transition Evening

Tuesday/Wednesday 11/12 June                           P7 Transition Days

Friday 14 June                                                           S6 Prom

Friday 21 June                                                           SPOTY Awards (6pm start)

Wednesday 26 June                                                 Awards Ceremony (7pm start)

Friday 28 June                                                           End of term – 12.15 finish

Monday 12 August                                                   Staff resume

Wednesday 14 August                                             Pupils resume

Sue Cook

Published: 02 May 2019

The SQA exams are in full swing now with Maths today and English next week. Having spoken to a number of our senior pupils they feel the exams have been ‘very fair’ so far so I hope this bodes well for their results come August. 

Our Leavers’ Day, last Wednesday, was great fun and we started the day with a quiz, with a number of questions pertaining to notable events from when the year groups started school in P1, S1 and left in 2019.  This was followed by a lovely breakfast and I would like to extend a huge thank you to Tesco for their kind gesture.  Our Head Pupils then led an awards ceremony through a light-hearted Kahoot Quiz and this was followed by a photo montage from across the six years.  Finally, staff formed a line at the front door and pupils left the building with a good luck handshake from us all.  It has been an absolute pleasure knowing these young people and everyone in the Knox Academy community would like to wish them all the best for the future. I hope, as FPs, they will keep in touch and let us know about their successes.  

Staffing

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Library

We will now have a Librarian on a Monday and Wednesday after the holidays until our new Librarian starts full time on 20 May. Those pupils on study leave may access resources in their normal timetabled classes should they wish to do so.

Film Project

Some pupils from Knox Academy will take the lead in the production of a film exploring how they see living and working in their future local authority to be. Through film and media education pupils will plan, write and develop skills in media production to produce their piece for an authority premiere, which will be attended by parents, pupils and local officials, before being distributed more widely.

Our school librarian, working alongside another school’s librarian and pupils, will link with partners from Queen Margaret University, who will provide learners with the opportunity to engage in workshops where pupils will collaboratively decide the format of the work, produce a script and project manage the creation of their piece. The creative process will see pupils use their school libraries as film production offices and filming will be done within and outside of the normal school day.

The process will see pupils gain literacy skills through script and report writing, and they will also gain experience in creative and digital technologies which will impact on their life-long learning and provide skills for future workforce career pathways.

A huge thank to Bill Plain, our former Librarian, who put the bid forward for this project and made it a successful one for Knox Academy.

Drama

N5 and Higher learners in Drama are invited to three revision sessions before their exam on Thursday 23 May; Wednesday 8, Wednesday 15 and Wednesday 22 May 3.50-4.50pm.

The Junior Drama Club are carefully devising a drama piece that they are excited to show to parents during the Primary Transition evening next month. The club shall then present to P7 pupils who come to Knox for their transitional visit days. (by E Whitfield)

Broad General Education Ceremony (S3)

Our first BGE Ceremony for S3 pupils transitioning to Senior Phase will take place on Friday 31May. We are very privileged to welcome Norman Drummond as our Guest Speaker.  All S3 Parents/Carers are warmly invited to this ceremony and should book seats by completing the tear-off slip on the letter sent home and then return this to the school office ASAP (see website for original letter).

Monitoring/Tracking and Reporting and Parents’ Evenings/Prelims

Thank you to parents/carers who responded to say they would like to be part of the short life working group meeting to discuss this.  This group meets next week and an update of progress will be provided in the near future.

Squash

Dylan Pearman in S2 took part in the Tyne District Squash & Racketball finals on Saturday.  He played in the Open Handicap Racketball, Open Squash Handicap and the Open Squash (which are open to all members - Juniors & Adults). Dylan performed amazingly well and won all three finals.

In the history of Tyne Squash Club, Dylan is the youngest person to have won any of the titles and no one has ever been in all three open finals on the same day, never mind winning all of them. What a fabulous result! 

During the Easter holidays Dylan also had the fantastic experience of playing the U13 World Champion and although he didn’t win he said the experience was one he will remember and gained a lot from it. 

Emails

Emails will be our main method of communicating with parents/carers from June onwards. If you have still to update your email, or have changed it, please email Emma Maguire  to make her aware of this so your records can be updated (please refer to letter sent a few weeks ago about this).

Activities Week (Wednesday 15 - Friday 17 May)

S1-S3 will all be involved in activities over these three days. S1 pupils are split into 2 groups (both will go to Blair Drummond for 1 day and both will go to Edinburgh for 1 day).  The Edinburgh day trip includes Edinburgh Dungeon’s OR Camera Obscura and all will visit Edinburgh Castle.  Both groups will go to Foxlake together on Friday.

S2/3 pupils are either away to PGL watersports trip to the South of France or Paris if they have opted for a residential trip.  If not the choices are: Masterchef, Go SUP and More, Art Attack, Health & Beauty, Question of Sport, Explore Edinburgh & STEM Engineering.    

Pupils who have not chosen any of the packages will be allocated a timetable to follow for these three day which will give them a variety of different classes to experience beyond that of their normal timetable.

Tesco Bags of Help Scheme to support Knox Academy's Activities Week.

Please vote for us! Voting will take place between Wednesday 1 May 2019 and Sunday 30 June 2019.  As I am sure many of you know, Knox Academy Activities Week provides pupils with access to a whole range of different extra-curricular activities. The aim of the week is to allow pupils in S1-S3 to gain important skills that in turn allow them to become successful, valuable and responsible members of their community. Experiences in the past have included a huge variety of different activities such as cooking, mindfulness, mountain biking, sailing, build a band, cultural excursions and arts/crafts. Pupils are able to gain life skills, independence, resilience, accountability, all while having fun.

I cannot put into words the difference these experiences make to our pupils, the only issue is that for some of them it is no longer an option to take part due to financial restrictions, however, thanks to various funding opportunities from members of our local and wider community, Knox Academy is breaking down this barrier! (by H McBride)

Dates for your Diary:

Monday 6 May                                                          School holiday (all)                                                       

Tuesday 14 May                                                        Parent Council 6.15pm – Library            

Monday 20 May                                                        Holiday for pupils and staff in-service day

                                                                                   (SQA candidates sitting exams on 20May should attend)

Friday 31st May                                                         S3 BGE Graduation Ceremony (10.30am)

Monday 3 June                                                         Start of new timetable (all years)

Tuesday 11 June                                                       P7 Information/Transition Evening

Tuesday/Wednesday 18/19 June                            P7 Transition Days

Sue Cook