September 2019

Published: 20 September 2019

Staffing Update

The Acting Curriculum Leader of Communications (English, Literacy and Languages) and a part-time Music teacher adverts close on 22 and 29 September (respectively) and we are intending to interview for both in the next two weeks. Both of these posts are temporary and are to cover the maternity leave of the current post holders.

Pupil News

Scottish Inter-District Hockey Finals

The Scottish Inter-district Finals were held this weekend in the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow. East District were the winners in the U18s category, and two of our Knox Academy S5 boys were part of the winning team.  Daniel Hall (Inverleith Hockey Club) and Charlie Gates (Grange HC) were outstanding in their performances and in ensuring the team won. Well done to both! 

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Group

We had six of our young people in S6 take part in their DofE Gold qualifying expedition in the Cairngorms last weekend. They walked and camped through the mountains from Inverey near Braemar to Blair Atholl, over 4 days, which is no mean feat! They also incorporated sessions of yoga throughout their walk.  A member of staff from Venturing Out, who was involved in assessing the group, said they were amazing and wrote the following comment on Venturing Out’s website, “Fantastic 4 days and 3 nights in the Cairngorms with the Haddy Hikers on their Gold DoE Scotland Qualifying Expedition. Great to spend time in such a remote and beautiful place. They all tackled their expedition with enthusiasm, smiles and good humour! Great resilience shown by all to complete the expedition which is no mean feat and an achievement not to be taken lightly! Well done to all and good luck with your next steps in life”. What a great accolade for these young people and for the school.  A huge thank you to the Parent Leader too for making this possible for all of these young people. Your support of them has been much appreciated by the school and the young people.

The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year

Congratulations to Corin Woodhead, in S2, who won The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year competition.  This national competition focused on migration, field skills, topographical studies and general knowledge on birds and their identification and behaviour.

Young Sports Ambassadors

Bethany Ross and Ewan McKinlay have been appointed as our new YSAs for the year.

Staff News

I completed my challenge to cycle the 185 miles of the Hebridean Way in one day on Saturday 6 July 2019.  I had originally planned to ride from south to north with the prevailing wind but the wind forecasts were mostly northerly so I changed my plans and rode from north to south. The benefit of this was having a light tail wind and generally good weather, but the downside was having to leave at 2:00am to meet the ferries on the journey south.  It was pitch black when I left so I had to ride with lights for about 2.5 hours, it was amazing to watch the sunrise in such spectacular scenery.  After travelling through Lewis, I had the challenge of the big hills on Harris, everything went well, my training paying off.  I arrived at my first ferry 95 miles after cycling for 6.5 hours and had a good break before setting off from Berneray on the second part which was 75 miles through North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist then onto Eriskay to catch my last ferry to Barra.  I had 6 hours to meet this ferry but I managed to complete the 75 miles in 5.5 hours. By the time I arrived on Barra it was starting to get cold and I was just beginning to get tired so the last 15 miles were tough, especially the long 12% hill climb which was two miles from the finish!   I arrived at the end on Vatersay at just after 8:00pm, plenty daylight to pitch the tent and get off to bed at about 9:30pm. I thoroughly enjoyed my challenge which was helped a lot by my wife Aileen and son James acting as my support vehicle so I could ride without carrying too much, and I had no punctures or mechanical problems.  In total I was cycling for 13 hours and 15 minutes with breaks on the 2 ferry journeys. To help ensure all pupils have the opportunity to take part in activities that are vital, memorable experiences that help to make everyone feel included in their school community please help me to fulfil this aim by donating to my challenge or by contacting me at Knox Academy.  I am not far off raising my £1000 target so any support would be much appreciated. (by Phil Gilholm)

General School Information/Activities

Achievement Ties – Nominations

Nomination forms will be available online/from the school office from Monday 30 September and must be submitted by Friday 11 October, at latest, to Mr Moncrieff.  Please use this document for more details about the categories and criteria to apply for one.  If you require any further details please email jmoncrieff@knox.elcschool.org.uk

Knox Academy’s Vision

Thank you to all parents/carers who took the time to complete the online survey to help us create our vision for the next 5-10 years at Knox Academy. Staff, pupils, parents/carers and community partners will now form a small group to analyse the results and then use the four top words as a framework for our vision statement.  Once this has been done I will let everyone know what it is.  It is great that our vision will truly be a joint vision as all the key groups have had a say in leading in it. A huge thank you to our community partners, staff and pupils for their engagement with the survey too.

Reminder of S1 Parental Experience (new S1 parents/carers only) – Monday 28 October

So far we have only four parents/carers interested in taking part and we will need a minimum of ten people for it to be viable so if you are considering it, please do come along. If you would like to participate in this opportunity, please email emaguire@knox.elcschool.org.uk 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.

Extra-Curricular Clubs

Please can parents/carers encourage your young people to attend one, or more, of our extra-curricular clubs. 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 that was given out to S1/S2 pupils a few weeks ago. If any S3s and above require more information, please see members of the PE department.

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!

Study Support

Our full programme of study support is now available.  Please encourage your young person to attend these as it is better for young people to be supported throughout the year than to try to cram support in at the last minute before exams. The sessions provide an opportunity for supporting homework, exam preparation and extension tasks.

Scholar

All pupils in S3-S6 should have scholar passwords now and should be actively using this as a tool to support their learning.  I would be grateful if parents/carers can encourage their young person to use this programme to support their studies. Prelims are earlier this year (November) and pupils should already have study programmes in place to prepare for them.

Eco-Schools

This week the Eco-Committee organised our donations of clothes hangers and uniform items. We received one clothing rack but it's already full! The Eco-Committee is still looking for another portable clothes rack to accommodate new uniform donations which will be collected during upcoming Parents' Nights. If you have spare clothes hangers or a clothing rack, please bring them into the school. A big thank you to everyone who has already helped us out so far.

Meadowpark

The session for Meadowpark has got off to an excellent collaborative and financial start as they are in receipt of a generous donation of £8000 from four of the developers working locally. CALA, Mactaggart and Mickel, Stewart Milne Homes and Taylor Wimpey each donated £2000 so that the Meadowpark provision can revamp its garden and outdoor spaces.

The plans, which were drawn up in conjunction with the school’s young people, ELPA and Loose Parts Play will create a greener space that includes more trees and planting, a herb garden, sensory space and seating areas. The work will be carried out by volunteers from STRiVE and Haddington Peer Project (HPP).

CALA were impressed that Meadowpark DHT Charli Prime had included Lothian Autistic Society (LAS), East Lothian Special Needs Playscheme (ELSNPS) and the HPP as part of her bid to the CALA community bursary. Both LAS and ELSNPS hold their clubs in Meadowpark in the evenings, weekends and holidays. If you are a keen gardener or can offer some support to prepare the ground please get in touch (by Ms Charli Prime)

Lost Property 

Any lost property will be held at the school for reclaiming for one month. After this period items will either be recycled to our ‘preloved uniform’ clothing, which will be available for parents/carers to select items from at school events, or to the East Lothian Uniform Bank is available for families to access via a support letter from the school.

S6 Dalguise

Our S6 pupils head off to Dalguise this weekend for a fun packed 48 hours of activities and outdoor pursuits.  I would like to wish them all well and also thank the staff for giving their time to accompany them on the trip.

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Any absence emails/appointments/requests for call backs etc should be sent to knoxacademy@knox.elcschool.org.uk

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

  • 24 September – UCAS Information Session for Parents
  • 9 October – P7 Information Evening
  • 14-22 October – Mid-term break for pupils
  • 29 October – Parent Council Meeting 6.15-8pm (Library)

Have a lovely weekend

Sue Cook

Published: 06 September 2019

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

One Learning Assistant was appointed at Meadowpark last week and will start as soon as possible following the pre-employment checks.

Congratulations to Louise Gill, one of our Welfare Assistants, who has been appointed as Wellbeing Adviser at Queen Margaret University.

Pupil News
British Team Gymnastics

Oakleigh Robertson and Amy Reid, both S3, competed at the British Team Gymnastics Finals during the summer holidays. They qualified in 3rd place at the Northern Qualifiers in Spring. Their full level 3 Junior Team came 6th out of the whole of Britain. What a fantastic result!  The girls also train in the National Performance Pathway. 

The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year
Corin Woodhead, in S2, has been selected as a finalist in The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year competition, held this weekend at Spurn Bird Observatory on the Humberside coast.  Corin has done amazingly well to be selected as one of the final six selected from a national competition which focuses on migration, field skills, topographical studies and general knowledge on birds and their identification and behaviour.  Corin has been solidly revising over the last couple of weeks and all in the Knox Academy community would like to wish him all the best and look forward to hearing how he did.  

General School Information/Activities
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 over 200 parents/carers 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:  knox.is/parent-vision. This weekend is the final opportunity for parents/carers to complete this. Thank you for your support.

Reminder of 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 emaguire@knox.elcschool.org.uk 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.

Volunteering Fayre
Our annual Volunteering Fayre took place in the Assembly Hall this morning.  Various organisations were represented and pupils were able to find out about, and sign up for, volunteering opportunities. Those represented included Amisfield Walled Garden, Blooming Haddington, East Coast FM and Muirfield Riding Therapy, as well as a number of in-school opportunities from Active Sports, Paired Reading and Meadowpark. The morning was hosted by Mr Miller in Modern Studies and Donald Bathgate in S6. There were pitches during the morning from various organisations and some Knox pupils also shared their inspiring volunteering stories. (by Robert Flood)

Rights Respecting School – Gold Award
This week, we are launching our campaign to achieve the Rights Respecting Schools Gold Award.  Having obtained Silver two years ago, we are aiming high to make Knox Academy the first school in East Lothian to achieve a Gold Award.  Our Going for Gold campaign needs all hands on deck to be successful, so we will be looking for support from staff, pupils, parents/carers and the local community to help us make this happen. More details to follow. (by Susanne Fox). 

S1 Author Visit (Tuesday 3/9/19)
S1 pupils had the chance to hear author Linda Newbery, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Prize, talk about her new novel ‘The Key to Flambards' and what has inspired her to be an author. Pupils were able to buy Linda’s book and have it signed by her too. If your young person missed out there will soon be some signed copies available to borrow in the library! (by Charlotte Todd, Librarian

S3 Connections Project in Drama
The Drama department are excited to begin work on the Connections project with S3 learners after school in the Assembly Hall each Thursday, beginning 12 September. More details can be found on the National Theatre website. Miss MacDonald has previously worked as an Assistant Director with the National Theatre of Scotland. Senior learners are looking forward to an exciting new sci-fi production, Solaris, by the writer and director David Greig at the Lyceum Theatre at the end of September.  All S1 learners and some S2, 3 & 4 learners are invited to join another theatre trip to the Lyceum in December, to see a production of A Christmas Carol. This trip is filling up fast, on a first-come, first- served basis and we would encourage you to return your PC1 and log in to Ipay soon if you are keen to come!

S3 Duke of Edinburgh
Duke of Edinburgh's Award - Bronze Award
.  This year the school is offering the opportunity to work towards this exciting, highly-valued achievement award on an extracurricular basis.  This award is open to S3 pupils this year.  For more information please encourage your young person to attend a short meeting at 1.30pm prompt in room T2.8 (Mr Boyle's science classroom) on Monday 9 September.  Places on this extracurricular programme are limited, and there may be a selection process involved.  The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is the world’s leading achievement award for young people and is highly respected and valued by employers, universities and colleges.  Working towards a Duke of Edinburgh's Award allows young people to develop hugely valuable life-skills and qualities such as motivation, confidence, responsibility and teamwork.  The school is delighted that this award is being run under the banner of Knox Academy for the first time in many years. (by Gavin Boyle)

S6 Panto
The S6 panto is drawing on all the talents and creativity of a formidable group of seniors, some of whom have auditioned or been auditioned this week. An adapted version of the story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shall be staged at Knox for our wider community on Thursday 19 December and in three house assemblies on Friday 20 December. Watch this space for updates! (by Ms Whitfield)

Extra-Curricular Clubs
Please can parents/carers encourage your young people to attend one, or more, of our extra-curricular clubs.  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 that was given out to S1/s2 pupils a few weeks ago. If any S3s and above require more information, please see members of the PE department.

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!

Football returns to Knox Academy

Thursday 5 September marks the return of an official football team to Knox Academy for the first time in a number of years. An excited Mr Miller along with the support of enthusiastic and knowledgeable senior pupils Harvey Thomson and Ciaran Young will run weekly training sessions for S1-S3 pupils on a Thursday afternoon between 3:45 and 4:45 at the 3G pitches, Whittingehame Drive. Knox has a proud history of running successful football teams and has produced players of professional quality in the form of Hibs' Daniel Handling, now at Edinburgh City and Callum Booth, previously of Hibernian, Dundee United and Partick Thistle. Both players were also capped at Scotland Under-21 level.

It is up to the next generation of Knox Academy footballers to try and emulate the likes of Handling and Booth and bring success back to Knox and the wider community (by Adam Miller). 

Eco-Schools
This week the Eco-Committee organised our donations of clothes hangers and uniform items. We received one clothing rack (thanks Mrs. Coyle!) but it's already full! The Eco-Committee is still looking for another portable clothes rack to accommodate new uniform donations which will be collected during upcoming Parents' Nights. If you have spare clothes hangers or a clothing rack, please bring them into the school. A big thank you to everyone who has already helped us out so far.

Safety around the school
Please can parents/carers avoid using Rosehall Place as a drop off/pick up point in cars as this causes a lot of congestion. Being an Eco-School we ideally want to encourage as much walking and cycling as possible and Rosehall Place does get quite busy during the arrival/departure times to/from school with pupils walking and cycling. Local residents have also raised safety concerns about the volume of traffic and the safety of those on foot/bike. It would be beneficial if we can work together to reduce car movements at this time. Thank you for your support with this.

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

  • 13-16 September (inclusive) - Autumn Holiday
  • 24 September – UCAS Information Session for Parents
  • 9 October – P7 Information Evening
  • 14-22 October – Mid-term break for pupils
  • 29 October – Parent Council Meeting 6.15-8pm (Library)

Have a lovely weekend
Sue Cook