June 2019

Published: 28 June 2019

What an amazing last few weeks of term it has been. We had our annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards Evening (SPOTY) last Friday night, with many of our young people recognised for their sporting achievements throughout the year at school, regional and national levels. It was great to have Lucy Lanigan, Scottish hockey player, and Gemma Gibbons, silver medallist in Judo at 2012 Olympic Games, to present prizes and be our guest speakers.  A huge thank you to Louise Allan and Charlie Gates (new S5) who organised the whole evening. What tremendous leadership skills they showed in doing this and we are very proud of them for this.  Thank you also to the PTA for supporting the event and to Allan McDougall Solicitors for sponsoring the event.

Evening of Celebration

It was another great night on Wednesday when we gathered together as a community to celebrate our young people’s academic and wider achievements across the year.  The evening started with a film that gave an overview of some of our main achievements at the school this year and this was followed by Maria Lyle, our guest speaker for the evening, talking about being a Paralympian and the challenges she has faced throughout both her school and sporting careers.  She spoke from the heart and her key messages were based around resilience, self-belief and the power of community.  Pupils were then presented with certificates for hard work and commitment throughout the year before moving on to subject awards, named awards and finally S3 and S5 Duxes. 

Congratulations to all of our young people who received awards at SPOTY and our Evening of Celebration. 

International Trade Summer School

A team of five pupils attended the International Trade Summer School on Tuesday 25 June in Edinburgh. The event was organised by the Department for International Trade and Liam Fox, the Minister for this Department, sent a personal message to all the teams, wishing them luck. 

The team were up against six other schools from East Lothian, Edinburgh and Fife. They were faced with three challenges throughout the day which included creating an export strategy for selling bicycles to Morocco and making decisions about production and resources to maximise profitability. After much hard work, determination, good negotiating, excellent team communication the team presented their ideas to the rest of the competitors and judges; Knox Academy came out on top!  They have been rewarded with a visit in July to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London where they will have the opportunity to meet school teams from England and present their winning ideas. They will also have the chance to find out about the role of the DIT and career opportunities in the civil service.  Congratulations to all five of you and wish you all the best in London.  (By Dot Ferguson)

Exam Results and Re-Coursing

First of all, I hope that all our young people do exceptionally well in their exam results when they receive them in August.  However if they do not perform as well as they had hoped, here are details from Mr Russell regarding the process for S5/S6 re-coursing.

If, after the SQA results are issued on 6 August, any pupils feel they require to be re-coursed, the procedure will be as follows:

From 14 August, re-coursing forms will be available from the school. Pupils who wish to be re-coursed should fill out the form, detailing the reasons for requesting a change as well as the change itself and getting forms signed by Curriculum Leaders. The completed forms should then be handed in to the school office by Friday 16th August at latest. Once all forms have been submitted, the changes will be investigated and as far as is possible implemented. No changes will be made before Friday 16 August and the aim will be to have as many as possible processed by Monday 19 August. In the meantime, pupils should continue to follow their June timetable. Staff will also be consulted as to any changes that they feel are beneficial/ necessary. Parents/ carers will be informed of any course changes so that they are aware of the courses/ levels being followed. These procedures are designed to make the process as equitable as possible.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience with the process. If you have any questions about it after the 19 August, please contact me – drussell@knox.elcschool.org.uk

Dates for your diary:

Wednesday 14 August - School resumes for all pupils at 8.30am

Tuesday 3 September - Parent Council Meeting (6.15-8pm) School Library

Have a lovely summer break

Sue Cook


Published: 21 June 2019

It was fabulous to welcome our new S1 pupils on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  After an introduction to the days from Mr Illingworth, I spoke to them about our school values of Ambition, Respect and Community.  I was delighted to say that every one of them showed these values in action over the two days.  The pupils followed a ‘real timetable’ and were introduced to staff, experienced new subjects and enjoyed some very challenging tasks.  I am sure they made lots of new friends too. Thank you to all parents/carers who have been in touch since the visit to say how much their young person enjoyed Knox Academy.  We are all really looking forward to welcoming them all after the holidays.

We are currently advertising for a teacher of Home Economics 

We are also advertising for 3 Additional Support Needs Auxiliaries for Meadowpark

Knox Academy’s School Improvement Plan for session 2019-20
Our School Improvement Plan for next session is now available.   We have aimed to have a very concise improvement plan so we can make significant progress across the year in the areas we have identified. We have also devised a parent/carer overview of our improvement plan which gives a summary of our key areas for improvement in each of our four priorities.

New School Ties with House Colours
These will be available to buy from the school office on the in-service days (Monday 12/Tuesday 13 August) and also on the first week of the new term. They will cost £6 each and the office would be grateful if the exact amount of money is brought so they do not have to deal with lots of change. For further information on dress code and about support in purchasing it, please refer to the Dress Code section of our website.  Please also note that hooded tops will no longer be acceptable dress code from August. The reasons for this are also covered in the dress code information.  

Achievement Ties and Diligence Certificates
As you will be aware from previous Head Teacher’s updates, we will launch our new approaches to the recognition of achievement and diligence in August.  Thank you to all pupils, parents/carers and staff who took part in our consultation to design ties and in agreeing the criteria. Diligence certificates will be awarded termly for all pupils showing hard work and commitment in their subjects.  More detailed information on both is given in this document. Mr Moncrieff is coordinating the achievement tie nominations and will let everyone know when nomination forms can be submitted for the October awards.  Forms will be available from the school office and also online for anyone wishing to nominate pupils (parents/carers/coaches/community partners).

Duke of Edinburgh Awards
Congratulations to all the young people who have completed their Gold, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expeditions over the last few weeks. They worked really well as teams and demonstrated all our school values in action. A huge thanks to two young people who supported one of their team members off the hill after injuring their ankle – great support!  Finally, thank you to parents and assessors for their support in making these happen.

Little and Large 
The Little and Large cooking finals took place in Musselburgh Grammar last Tuesday.  The primary finalists from our heats were Archie and Aidan (P6's) and an S3 Knox Academy pupil.  I am very proud to say that they won the contest with the judge saying their dessert was the best she had ever tasted! Next year’s final will be held here at Knox Academy. (by Sally Cochrane)

East Lothian Works
East Lothian Works has a brand new blog detailing all of the amazing successes and achievements that their clients, and students, experience. As East Lothian Council’s employability hub, East Lothian Works creates collaborations with schools in order to aid student thinking about their future career paths, and aids in their journey towards achieving their goals. The hub looks at providing opportunities for young people that will give them advantages when entering the world of work. For example, East Lothian Works is responsible for the organisation of the Foundation Apprenticeships that are on offer to senior phase students, and create the Pre-Vocational opportunities that young people can engage with. We have experienced many successes through these programmes, having had numerous students go on to find positive destinations as a result of their experiences with East Lothian Works. The new blog details these triumphs, and informs students, school staff, and parents, of the many opportunities that are out there. We encourage you to check out this site, and bookmark it, as there will be more posts in the future that may be of interest to you, with a particular emphasis being given to Foundation Apprenticeship courses over the summer holidays.
(by Alice Kerr, Graduate Intern at East Lothian Works)   

Knox Trampolining Club
Congratulations to our club for winning the Schools Trampolining Competition last Friday. It was really great to see these pupils buying into the schools values and dedicating lunch times and Friday afternoons to practice for the competition! 

Longniddry Villa Football team
A huge congratulations to Leo Harrison, Brodie Ritchie and Lewis Lang (and their team) who won the South East Region’s under 14’s Division 2 Football League last week (winning their final game 3-1).  This is a huge achievement for them all personally and also for their team. It was their skill, commitment and team work that ensured they finished top of this highly competitive league.  

Scottish Cook of the Year
Great to announce that Maria Millar, who is one of Knox Academy’s amazing cooks, has got through to the final of Scottish Cook of the Year. What a privilege it is to have Maria serve us her wonderful cuisine on a daily basis.  The assessing team will visit Knox Academy on 23 August. Watch this space for the result after this date.  We wish her well in her quest to win.

Please can I ask parents/carers to support our Eco School campaign by speaking to your young person about disposing of their litter safely and responsibly at all times, whether this be in and around the school or in our local and wider community.  Thank you.

Dates for your diary

  • 21 June 2019 - Sports Personality of the Year Awards (5.30pm for 6pm)
  • 26 June 2019 - Evening of Celebration – Awards (7pm)
  • 28 June 2019 - School finishes for the summer holidays at 12.15pm
  • 12/13 August 2019 - Staff resume
  • 14 August 2019 - All pupils resume – 8.30am 

Sue Cook

Published: 06 June 2019

It was lovely to welcome our Senior Pupils back to Knox Academy on Monday after their SQA exams. The new timetable is now up and running and pupils are actively engaged in their new classes.  The new S4 will not start their new timetables until next Monday as they are out on work experience this week. A huge thank you to all the agencies/companies who have supported our young people in their work experiences and helped further develop their skills for life, learning and work.

A warm welcome to Andrea Campbell who started with us this week as a Maths teacher.

We are currently advertising for a HE teacher (3 days – permanent) to start in August.

Our new probationers in Drama, Chemistry, Biology and History will visit the school in a few weeks in readiness for starting with us in August.

Our Mandarin teacher will also start with us in August.

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 schools. This is important so we have an overall vision for now and the coming years for all who will attend Knox Academy. We have consulted parents/carers and some of our pupils and are now using the information gathered for part two of our consultation. This will involve a further questionnaire to ask about words/phrases that you would like to see feature as part of our vision statement. If you could take the time to respond to this it would be very much appreciated.

If you would like to comment on any aspect of our draft School Improvement Plan for next session please send an email to Emma Maguire and mark for my attention so I can feed this in to our planning. As we take aspects of our improvement plan forward throughout the year we will of course be seeking the views of parents/carers. This will include surveys, focus groups and consulting with the Parent Council. Thank you again to all parents/carers who have been part of our recent Achievement Group and the Monitoring, Tracking and Reporting Group – your viewpoints have been highly valued and effected change. 

Broad General Education Ceremony (S3)
Our first BGE Ceremony for S3 pupils transitioning to Senior Phase took place on Friday 31 May 2019. Prof Norman Drummond was our Guest Speaker and gave a very inspiring speech about being, ‘the best you can be and looking for the best in others’ and also, ‘getting anywhere from here.’  The key messages from all who spoke very much focused on our school values of ambition, respect and community.  It was great to hear about all of our young people’s achievements over the last three years and we hope they will continue to build upon these throughout their Senior Phase.  Thank you to all the parents/carers who came along to support their young person and the event. This will now become an annual event as feedback from those attending, and the pupils, was very positive.

Hong Kong – Tsung Tsin Christian Academy Visit
We are looking for two families to host one or two visiting young people from Tsung Tsin Christian Academy in Hong Kong in November 2019.  It is intended that after their visit we will do a reciprocal visit in September 2020 and hope that those families who hosted young people will be given the first opportunity to go on this trip.  If you are interested in this and are able to host, please can you email Emma Maguire. Thank you

Royal Horticultural Society Award
On 30 May 2019 three pupils from Knox Academy, attended the Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Scotland show. The pupils planned designed and created with support an ASN Base Sensory Garden from scratch. This was a culmination of several months work from each of the pupils who all require significant support to meet their educational, social and emotional needs in school.

On the day we arrived to find our spot - a 2-metre pallet area. We had to collect compost and begin to put our garden together. The young people used the theme of a Sensory Garden with particular emphasis on each of the five senses. After several hours work we submitted our garden and awaited judging from the RHS judges and the general public. This was our 1st year entering and we were genuinely not expecting to be placed, but we had great fun creating our garden. On Sunday we learned that we had been placed 3rd, gaining a Bronze Statuette! This was a phenomenal achievement for our young people and we are immensely proud of Sarah Greenwell, Douglas Whiteside and Leo Washington Mackay.  (Angus Langlands was involved in planning the garden but was not involved in the installation on the day). They displayed ingenuity, determination and creativity and represented Knox Academy brilliantly (Karen Fraser).

SchoolPay is an easy and convenient way of paying for school meals and school trips.  Please use this as your preferred method of paying for anything for your young person. 

Dates for your Diary:

  • Tuesday 11 June - P7 Information/Transition Evening
  • Tuesday/Wednesday 18/19 June - P7 Transition Days
  • Friday 14 June - S6 Prom
  • Friday 21 Jun - SPOTY Awards (6 pm start)
  • Wednesday 26 June - Awards Ceremony (7 pm start)
  • Friday 28 June - End of term – 12.15 pm finish
  • Monday 12 August - Staff resume
  • Wednesday 14 August - Pupils resume


Sue Cook