August 2019

Published: 30 August 2019

Staff are now fully engaged in the new timetable and working hard to ensure that our young people attain and achieve their best in all their subjects and in their extra-curricular activities.  Over the next few weeks the Senior Leadership Team will be meeting with Curriculum Leaders to review the recent attainment in the SQA examinations and to look at next steps to ensure we continue to raise attainment for our young people.

Staffing News
We are currently advertising for an Acting Curriculum Leader of Communications (English, Literacy and Languages) and a part-time Music teacher post. Both of these posts are to cover the maternity leave of the current post holders.

Congratulations also to Hannah McBride, acting Pupil Support Leader (Guidance) who achieved her First Steps into Leadership Certificate this week. 

Knox Academy’s Vision
As you may be aware, Knox Academy’s school values were agreed two years ago through consultation. These values are: Ambition, Respect and Community (ARC). The next step is to develop a whole school vision and I am inviting parents/carers, pupils, staff and community partners to give their views.  Our overall vision will focus on what we would like all our young people to achieve over the next 5-10 years at Knox Academy. I would therefore like to ask if you could complete a very quick questionnaire (one question) to help develop our vision. Pupils, staff and community partners will also be completing the same questionnaire so that our vision truly is a joint one.  So far 108 parents have completed the survey but if we could get all parents/carers to do so, it would be phenomenal. The link to the survey is: Please can you complete the questionnaire by 7 September at very latest?  Thank you.

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 this term.  Thank you to all pupils, parents/carers and staff who took part in our consultation to design ties and to agree the criteria for these. 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).

I would like to ask parents/carers to let their young person’s guidance teacher know of their achievements out of school so we can celebrate these on an ongoing basis. Thank you.

S1 Parental Experience (new S1 parents/carers only) – Monday 28 October
I hope your young person has settled in well to S1 and enjoying their time at Knox Academy. Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of your young person is like at school?  If so, we would like to invite up to 20 parents to experience life as an S1 pupil at Knox Academy and spend a day in our classrooms, visiting different subjects and finding out about how your young person learns and the variety of approaches we use in the classroom. This day would also allow you to meet and link with other parents/carers.  If you would like to participate in this opportunity, limited to 20, please email by Friday 27 September at latest. Please give us the following information in your email: Your Name/Your Young Person’s Name and their House and Class.  We will be in touch with parents/carers after this date to let you know if you are part of the group of 20 and the programme for the day.  Parents/carers who have taken part in these days have always seen it as a very valuable and fun experience.

University of Aberdeen Success – former pupils
We have just received notification that three former pupils have graduated with Degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.  Another has graduated with Degree of Master of Arts in English with Creative Writing, First Class Honours.  Further to this another former pupil has graduated with Degree of Bachelor of Law (With Honours), Upper Second Class Honours.

As you may be aware, we have our Green Flag now. This was an amazing achievement and were awarded this flag earlier on this year.  We are trying to be eco-aware in all that we do and to this end, we are looking to upcycle pre-loved school uniform. If you do have any uniform please can you pass this in to the school office for upcycling at our school events and parents’ evenings? There will also be a ‘drop box’ on Parents’ Evenings for you to drop pre-loved uniform into (please ensure it is washed before handing in – thank you) and an opportunity to select some uniform too. If anyone has spare hangers/clothes rails they would like to donate we would welcome these too. In the quest to become as plastic free as possible, please can we all encourage our young people to use re-useable water bottles as opposed to single use ones. Finally, please can I ask that you speak with your young person/people about ensuring that they put their litter in the bins in and around the school and our community to ensure we are litter free areas. Thank you.

School Uniform 
All staff, parent/carers and members of our local community have been commenting on how smart our young people are looking since their return to school. The wearing of our school uniform helps to promote that feeling of being part of a community and striving towards common goals.  Thank you to parents/carers for supporting the school with this.  A reminder that hooded tops are no longer part of the school’s dress code for health and safety reasons (please see my letter issued in April 2019 for more details).

U16 Hockey
Charlie Gates (S5) represented Caledonian Cougars at the England Hockey Futures Cup last week/weekend. The team won all of their matches and took home the winner’s trophy for the first time ever!  Charlie now moves to the U18 squad next season. We wish him well and look forward to more updates on his performances in this team.  Charlie plays goalie for the team.

Extra-Curricular Clubs
During last week all S1 and S2 pupils were issued with an information pack (with a PC1 form attached) outlining everything ‘sport’ that our young people at Knox Academy can get involved in.

We would like to encourage all of our young people to attend one, some or all of the clubs available. These range from morning fitness sessions, lunch time clubs and after-school sessions. Some activities have a small fee and are detailed on the information pack. If any S3s and above require more information, please come to see us in PE.

All the activities on offer require a completed 2019-2020 PC1 form. Please ensure that this is returned to the PE department before your first session – please note only one PC1 needs to be completed unlike previous years. This will also allow you to compete in fixtures, some that are already well underway!

Senior coaches (S4-S6)
We still have some roles that require filling for some of our clubs to help assist or lead junior pupils. Please come to PE if you are interested. CPD sessions will also be running in various sports. This can also be used for Duke of Edinburgh awards or Saltire awards. 

Please keep up to date with any changes to sessions via the school bulletin and the Twitter page as some clubs are still to be confirmed.

Going the Extra Mile
After a very successful Sport’s Awards night prior to the summer break, the PE department will now feature a ‘Going the Extra Mile’ board in the department, this will also fall in line with our recognition through the achievement ties which are launching in October. This allows us to not only celebrate those that compete at their chosen sport at various levels, but for those that use sport and PE for enjoyment and fitness reasons. This will allow us to celebrate year-round successes of our individuals and our teams that represent the school values and go above and beyond. PE would like to encourage all pupils, staff and parents to come forward with achievements that deserve celebration and recognition.

The following awards will occur monthly:

  • Individual performer of the month
  • National performer of the month
  • Coaches, including senior pupils/staff of the month

In order to feature on our ‘Going the Extra Mile’ board which will be updated monthly, please follow the below steps:

  1. Nominate yourself. You can do this in person by coming to the PE department during the month or emailing a member of the PE department via your school EDUBUZZ account.
  2. Nominate someone else.  If you are a pupil or staff member, you can also do this in person by coming to the PE department, or emailing a member of the PE department via your school EDUBUZZ account.
  3. If you are a parent please Tweet us or email Knox Academy and put in the heading – ‘Going the Extra Mile – PE department’ 

Alongside your nomination please give a very short reason as to why you are completing the nomination, for yourself, or others!

We will require a photo, this can be an action shot or a head shot (which we can take for you) that will be displayed. 

We look forward to filling our ‘Going the Extra Mile’ board for the month of September! (By Lana Borwick, PE)

Ski Trip
Final details for the Knox Academy ski trip (2021) have been issued over the past week. I would like to encourage any S3-S5 pupil who is interested and yet to have picked up a letter, to come to PE as soon as possible. We are looking for at least 35 pupils to allow the trip to run at a manageable cost. If you are interested, please note that a £100.00 deposit is due by Monday 9 September. (By Lana Borwick)

School Cook of the Year
I am delighted to announce that Maria Miller was awarded Cook of the Year at the awards ceremony in Glasgow last night. We are so proud to have Maria at Knox Academy and to be the receivers of such amazing cuisine on a day to day basis here. Well done from all in the Knox Academy Community.

Dates for your diary (please also refer to the CALENDAR on the school website for all events across the year):

  • 3 September - Parent Council (School Library) 6.15-8pm – all welcome
  • 4 September - S4 Physics Trip – Torness
  • 13-16 September (inclusive) - Autumn Holiday
  • 24 September – UCAS Information Session for Parents
  • 9 October – P7 Information Evening

Have a lovely weekend

Sue Cook








Published: 16 August 2019

Good afternoon

I hope you all had a great summer.  It is fantastic to be back at school and it was wonderful to welcome all our young people back to Knox Academy on Wednesday, along with our new S1.  I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new parents/carers who have joined the Knox Academy community this year, whether their young person is in S1 or joined another year group.  We will all do our best to ensure your young person achieves their potential and enjoys their time here. 

If parents/carers do have any questions about their young person the initial point of contact is their Guidance teacher.  This is Ms Adam for Garleton pupils; Mr Meekison for Lammerlaw and Mrs Doig/Ms McBride for Traprain pupils. They will do their best to answer your questions or seek out answers for you.


We welcomed a number of new teachers to the school this year:

Mr Paul McFadden (Chemistry), Mr Howard Barnhurst (History), Ms Sarah McDonald (Drama), Ms  Morven Pack (Biology), Ms Maura Maloney – Mandarin (SWIRE), Mr Nick Swanston (Meadowpark), Ms Valentine and Ms Smith (Pupil Support Assistants at Meadowpark) and Ms Lorraine Arnott (Admin at Meadowpark).

School Calendar

The main events throughout our school year are now detailed on our website under 'Calendar’. This gives a day by day account of all our events and is updated throughout the year to ensure it is accurate and when any new events are added. Parents/carers should refer to it now to identify events for their young person so you know well in advance to make any necessary plans. Thank you.

SQA Results

We are very pleased with our pupils’ performance in the recent SQA exams.  Many of our S4-S6 pupils achieved a variety of qualifications ranging from National 2 through to Advanced Higher, demonstrating the school works really closely with our young people to provide courses and qualifications that meet their needs and yet provide challenge. We also have many other courses our young people achieve qualifications in such as Duke of Edinburgh and Bikeability.

S4 - Nearly 50% of our S4 pupils achieved 5 or more National 5 qualifications and 31% attained 7. Nine pupils attained all A passes and a further six attained 6As and a B pass.

S5 - In S5, 24 of our pupils attained 5 Highers, with a number of these pupils attaining all A passes.  62.8% of our S5 attained 1 or more higher qualifications.

S6 – Seven pupils attained 3 Advanced Higher passes, with two pupils attaining As in all three.  A further 26 pupils attained a mixture of Advanced Highers and Highers.  Other pupils in our S6 cohort (82 pupils in total in S6 this year) attained a mixture of Highers/National 5s and National 5s/National 4s. Our S6 pupils have moved on to a variety of positive destinations ranging from University, College, Employment and Volunteering.  We wish them well in this exciting stage of their lives.


I will be holding a series of assemblies next week to speak to our young people about our school values, which are Ambition, Respect and Community.  I will also be asking for their input in helping us devise our school’s vision statement, which parents/carers/staff and our community partners will also be asked to participate in so our vision is very much a joint one which we all strive towards (I hope to get this survey out to parents/carers next week to ask for your views).   My assemblies will also let our young people know what we are trying to achieve at Knox Academy to make their experience here the best it can be and how they can be a major part of that (our School Improvement Plan). I will also be speaking about the exam results and how well we did, but with our school’s value of Ambition, how well we can still do.

Bags for Help

As part of our efforts to establish Knox Academy's Inclusion Fund during the months of May/June Knox Academy was part of Tesco Haddington's Bags for Help token scheme. Thanks to the commitment of the whole community of Haddington and Knox Academy the maximum award of £4,000 will be donated to us. This money will make a real difference to so many pupils at Knox Academy so that available money does not cause a barrier to the fabulous opportunities available throughout a pupil’s school career. Any pupil, parent or carer who would like to access support from the Inclusion Fund should contact Miss McBride in the first instance (email the school admin account or phone the school).  (by Ms McBride)

Department of Trade Summer School

After winning the regional Department of Trade Summer School we were invited to attend the prize day in London along with five other schools from around the UK.   The event took place in the famous Locarno rooms of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 17 July.  It was a busy day with lots of speakers from the world of international trade including Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade and The Mayor of The City of London.  We took part two final challenges to decide the overall winner. Our first task was to design a strategy to boost the awareness of International Trade and its benefits among young people. The team presented our idea to the room and were pleased with the judges’ feedback which told us they were impressed with our innovative ideas as well as the quality and confidence of our presentation. We received a commendation but were pipped at the post by another team.

After lunch, where we mingled with business leaders as well as being joined at our table by Liam Fox – who knew exactly where Haddington was as he used to be a GP in Pathhead!,  we completed the final challenge which was a Treasure Hunt. As a team we solved lots of clues whilst walking around Westminster and the surrounding area and took lots of interesting photos.  We were delighted to win the prize for this challenge! To top off the day we visited Downing Street and got a photo outside the famous No 10 door. We all enjoyed the experience and are keen to find out more about opportunities in the future with the DIT.  The pupils that attended were Asher Borthwick, Andrew Syme, Niall Holman and Taylor Aldred, accompanied by Mrs Ferguson. (by Pupil team)

Cook of the Year

Knox Academy’s Catering Assistant, Maria Miller, has reached the final of the School Cook of the Year competition.  We are delighted for her!  She will be filmed preparing her food on 23 August and some of our young people will get the chance to taste her final produce.  Fingers crossed she wins!  I will keep you posted.

Dates for your diary:

20 August 2019                             School Photos (S1 and S6)

28 August                                       2MOROS Safety – Brunton Theatre (Seniors)

3 September                                 Parent Council – School Library – 6.15-8pm – all welcome

4 September                                  S4 Physics Trip – Torness

13-16 September (inclusive)       Autumn Holiday

Have a great weekend

Sue Cook