November 2019

Published: 29 November 2019

Staffing News

Huge congratulations to Mr Steven Illingworth who achieved his Scottish Qualification for Headship award last week. Mr Illingworth is continuing his studies with a research project based on the impact of pupil attendance on attainment.

Good luck to Mr Phil Gilholm (Pupil Support) and Mrs Maria Miller (Cook) in their nominations for the Star Awards. These take place next Thursday evening.

School News

S4/5/6 Prelims

These are going well. We have a week and a half of prelims left and young people should ensure if they do not have an exam that they are in class progressing their learning in their other subjects. 

Parents/Carers Information

HMIe – Re-Visit – Final day to complete the survey (Friday 29 November)

HMIe will re-visit the school from Monday 9th – Thursday 12th December to review progress based on the initial inspection in November 2016 and their follow up in March 2018.  In light of this visit they always gather the views of stakeholders. An email and text was sent to parents/carers with a direct link to the survey. I would like to encourage you to complete the survey by Friday 29 November for one child or for each of your children in attendance at the school.  Thank you.

Haddington and East Lothian Area Partnership (HELAP)

Mr Blair (CL of Numeracy & Computing) and I attended this meeting last night to talk about our bids for funding to help support our school improvement plan. We placed two bids for funding. The first one was for chrome books for the school to support learning and teaching, and the second bid was for manipulatives, to support the teaching of maths.  We were very fortunate to have both these bids agreed. A huge thank you to HELAP for their support of Knox Academy.

Diligence Certificates    

As you will be aware from previous Head Teacher’s Updates, our new diligence certificates are about to be printed for all our pupils at the start of December. Diligence nominations, from subject teachers, are given to those pupils who demonstrate hard work and commitment, on a day to day basis throughout Term 1 (August – December).  The certificate will detail all subjects they have been nominated in. The ultimate aim is for pupils to be nominated in all of their subjects and if in term one they are not, to aim higher and achieve this in Term 2 (January – March/April). The idea behind these awards is to create ambition (one of our school values) and raise attainment and achievement through sustained effort and commitment to their studies.  More information on our diligence awards is available by clicking on this link Diligence Awards

Health, Wellbeing and Safety

To encourage health and wellbeing, it would be great if parents/carers could encourage their young person to walk/cycle/scooter to school if at all possible (ideally wearing something with high visibility at this time of year). If you do have to drop your young person at school by car, please can I ask you to ensure that you do not do so on the double yellow lines outside the school’s entrance.  This is an exceptionally busy area in the morning/end of day and by parking up on yellow lines, even just for a minute, this compromises everyone’s safety.  Thank you for dropping off your young person in a ‘safe area’ and ensuring the safety of all.

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

  • 25 November-12 December – S4/5/6 Prelims (attend normal classes unless in a prelim exam)
  • 3 December – Parent Council – School Library – 6.15-8pm
  • 4 December – S1 Parents’ Evening
  • 9-12 December - HMIe visit (continuing engagement)
  • 11 December – Christmas Concert – 7pm – Main Hall
  • 17 December – School Christmas Dance (tickets limited to 300) – 7-9.30pm
  • 19 December – S6 Panto – 6pm (donations on the evening at the door)

Sue Cook

Published: 22 November 2019

Staffing Update

Our new teacher in Music, replacing Mrs Tessa Martin on a temporary basis, will start with us as soon as pre-employment checks are finalised. This is taking longer than hoped due to this teacher previously having worked overseas.

School News

Christmas Concert

Please note due to a variety of internal and external factors, our Christmas Concert will now take place on Wednesday 11 December at 7pm.  Please click on the following link for my letter about our Arrangements for the End of Term and Christmas

School/home transport

Contact details for our Home to School Transport providers are now available within the School info section of our website.

Pupil News

Samye Ling Trip (S5/6 pupils)

This trip was a great success and pupils enjoyed their trip down to Dumfries and Galloway to see the largest Buddhist temple in the Western world.  Pupils had a tour of the temple and peace garden by a resident nun, enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch and had an opportunity to ask questions about Buddhism as part of their National and Higher course.  (by Mrs Montgomery, RMPS)

S1's First Fixture:

On Thursday 14 November the S1 netball group hosted their first game of the year, welcoming Dunbar Grammar School. Nine of our S1 group managed to make it along to the fixture and had their first experience of playing 4 x 10 minute quarters. The players were assisted by some of the more experienced S2s. The first quarter was a tight encounter with the quarter tied at the end of the 10 minutes. The girls began to find their feet during quarter two where they were able to achieve an extendable lead by half time. With Helen and Lucy playing a dominant role in attack, and Ava and Isla taking the lead in the centre role, the girls were on the front foot. The girls will now look to build on their first win of the year, with more fixtures in 2020. (by Ms Borwick)

S6 Leadership Group

This group delivered ‘invasion game’ sessions all Thursday morning at Haddington Rugby Club.  There were P5 classes from Haddington Primary and Yester Primary (approx. 100 pupils).  The P5s rotated round seven different stations focusing on rugby skills, evasive movement, problem solving and team work.  Knox Academy pupils were absolutely fantastic and got lots of positive feedback from primary staff. I am very proud of them all (by Mrs Leighton, CL Health and Wellbeing)

Eco-Committee News

This week the Eco-Committee delivered an assembly about litter and waste. The group is working to encourage all students to be responsible for their own litter, to pick it up and dispose of recycling in the right place. We also launched some new recycling programmes in the school. Last year, we bought a Terracycle Cosmetics box and we are still taking in items for this. Any empty cosmetics items are accepted, apart from nail polish bottles. This year we have purchased a Terracycle Office Supplies box to help tackle stationery waste (like pens, art supplies, glue sticks) that can't normally be processed by council recycling facilities. We hope to send less to landfill by using these boxes! Lastly, the Eco-Committee has made a crisp recycling box to collect empty crisp packets to send to Terracycle. This will be kept in the school food court for students to access. We hope that all students will engage with these waste minimisation programmes to help make Knox a more waste-conscious place! Furthermore, members of the Eco-Committee feature in the recently released winter issue of East Lothian Living. Find us on pages 6 and 7! (by Miss Laudi, Eco-Team leader)

Parents/Carers Information

HMIe – Re-Visit

As you will be aware, from previous Head Teacher’s updates, HMIe will re-visit the school to review progress based on the initial inspection in March 2017 and the previous follow up in March 2018.  In light of this visit they always gather the views of stakeholders. An email and text was sent to parents/carers yesterday with a direct link to the survey. I would like to encourage you to complete the survey by Friday 29 November for one child or for each of your children in attendance.  Inspectors will also be meeting with groups of parents during the inspection so, to be part of that discussion, you should complete the survey with additional links provided to indicate your interest in taking part. (If you did not receive this email or text please contact the school so we can arrange for this to be re-sent). Thank you.

Reminder to complete the VE Day Consultation on an additional day’s holiday

East Lothian Council is currently undertaking a consultation on an additional day's school closure to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May 2020. Your views are valued so please do participate in it.  Thank you.

Diligence Certificates    

As you will be aware from previous Head Teacher’s Updates, our new diligence certificates are about to be printed for all our pupils at the start of December. Diligence nominations, from subject teachers, are given to those pupils who demonstrate hard work and commitment, on a day to day basis throughout Term 1 (August – December).  The certificate will detail all subjects they have been nominated in. The ultimate aim is for pupils to be nominated in all of their subjects and if in term one they are not, to aim higher and achieve this in Term 2 (January – March/April). The idea behind these awards is to create ambition (one of our school values) and raise attainment and achievement through sustained effort and commitment to their studies.  More information on our diligence awards is available by clicking on this link Diligence Awards

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

  • 25 November-12 December – S4/5/6 Prelims (attend normal classes unless in a prelim exam)
  • 3 December – Parent Council – School Library – 6.15-8pm
  • 4 December – S1 Parents’ Evening
  • 9-12 December - HMIe visit (continuing engagement)
  • 11 December – Christmas Concert – 7pm – Main Hall
  • 17 December – School Christmas Dance (tickets limited to 300) – 7-9.30pm
  • 19 December – S6 Panto – 6pm (donations on the evening at the door)

Sue Cook

Published: 15 November 2019

Staffing Update

Interviews took place for a Learning Assistant at Meadowpark on Monday and we have made an appointment based on pre-employment checks.

Congratulations to Mrs Suzie Stewart who has now achieved full registration for Additional Support Needs (ASN) 3-18

School News

Christmas Concert

Please note due to a variety of internal and external factors, our Christmas Concert will now take place on Wednesday 11 December at 7pm. Full details of our Festive Arrangements will be attached to my update next Friday.

School/home transport

Contact details for our Home to School Transport providers are now available within the School info section of our website

Pupil News

Wakeboarding star is flying high.

Orla Winn (S2) has become Scottish Wakeboard Champion for the 2nd year running, seeing off rivals from across Scotland. Orla had to gain top marks over a series of six competitions all over Scotland in order to win the Championship which consisted of 3 cable and 3 boat competitions.   Orla is part of the Scottish Development Team as well as being in the Team GB Development Squad.  Orla is no stranger to the podium after being crowned U11s National Champion in 2017 and runner up in the U15s Nationals in 2018.  She did not compete in the Nationals in 2019 due to ill health but is looking forward to competing again in 2020.  Orla trains at venues all over Scotland including Foxlake Adventures, Glasgow Wakepark and Loch Lomond Wakeboard.  Orla and her mum are very grateful for the support that she receives and thanks all her coaches for their continued encouragement. Orla’s mum is very proud of her achievement, as we at Knox Academy are too. Orla was also nominated for one of our recent achievement ties and was awarded a full colours one. Congratulations all round to Orla.

Parents/Carers Information

VE Day Consultation on an additional day’s holiday

East Lothian Council is currently undertaking a consultation on an additional day's school closure to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May 2020. Your views are valued so please do participate in it.  Thank you.

Late coming

Please can parents/carers encourage their young person to arrive at school on time as registration is a vital part of the school day when important information is disseminated. This also applies to all lessons as we now only have 50 minute lessons and every minute counts. One of our school values is ‘respect’ and we are keen that this is shown in time-keeping and attendance – both important skills for life, learning and work and this information is also a key request for all references for employment, college and university.

SQA Qualifications Information for Parents/Carers

To learn more about SQA qualifications and the range available, please click on the following link, which links you to our Parent Zone on our website Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

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

  • 25 November-12 December – S4/5/6 Prelims (attend normal classes unless in a prelim exam)
  • 3 December – Parent Council – School Library – 6.15-8pm
  • 4 December – S1 Parents’ Evening
  • 9-12 December - HMIe visit (continuing engagement)

Sue Cook

Published: 11 November 2019

Staffing Update
We welcomed two new staff this week. Mr Daniel Davis started in Music (replacing Ms Loughrey who is on maternity leave) and Nadia Ghanim in Biology.

School News
Knox Academy’s school vision

Following a long period of consultation with pupils, staff, parents/carers, community partners and our associated primary schools, our school vision is, ‘Always to choose kindness and create a respectful environment where staff and pupils can inspire each other to achieve their goals and become life-long learners.’  This will now link directly with all we aim to do as a school community and our outcomes for young people. This vision links well with our school values of Ambition Respect and Community (ARC).

Pupil News
Concert in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

This took place on 26 and 30 October and although the pupils who took part came from a number of East Lothian schools, Knox Academy was particularly well represented. The performances were of a very high standard and extremely enjoyable.  A number of our pupils played solos or were members of small chamber ensembles, and the quality was really something to be proud of.  It was also lovely to see pupils from different schools playing together in groups, particularly the jazz band.  A particular thank you goes to Ms Woodsend and all instructors involved for making this event such a spectacular one through their hard work and commitment to our young people and the young people across East Lothian. A superb concert for such a great cause.

Achievement Ties
It was great to award our first ever achievement ties at the school this week.  From 15 nominations we awarded 13 ties.  All pupils were informed of the outcome of nominations by letters to their home address so if they applied, or someone did on their behalf, and you haven’t received a letter then please contact Mr Moncrieff. A few applications arrived after the deadline date and after the Achievement Tie Committee met so they will be carried over to the next meeting in March.  The committee only meets twice yearly to award ties.  Please do read the criteria for an Achievement Tie, as we have amended this slightly, following parental feedback, to make these clearer.  Please do nominate your young person or encourage them to apply in March if they fulfil the criteria. We are keen to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our young people in and out of school.

Squash
Congratulations to Dylan Pearman (S3) who came 41st in the British Junior Squash Championships last weekend. This is a fantastic performance following an injury that has prevented Dylan training for the last six weeks. Well done and we look forward to continuing to follow his progress.

Parents/Carers Information
SQA Qualifications Information for Parents/Carers

To learn more about SQA qualifications and the range available, visit the Parent Zone on our website to read about the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

Hong Kong link school visit

We welcomed pupils and staff from Tsung Tsin Christian Academy (TTCA) HK this week to Knox Academy. They had an enriching experience in classes on Monday and Tuesday and said that the learning and teaching is much more active here than it is in Hong Kong where the teaching is mostly directed by the teachers. The really enjoyed the learning approaches here and meeting all the teachers. In Hong Kong pupils do not move from classroom to classroom and the teacher goes to them. They really liked the practice here where on the bell all of our young people move to a new teaching area and meet their teacher. One of the pupils described it as ‘a mass migration.’ Very well described!  The pupils also really liked the genuine interest teachers showed in all of their pupils and taking time to really get to know who they taught. Both the teachers and pupils described our staff and pupils as warm and welcoming. They also said they learnt a lot in their few days in the school and from their walk around Haddington, their visit to the Museum of Flight and their day trip to Edinburgh to see the sights.  The pupils also said their host families from Knox Academy were amazing and most welcoming and they felt like part of the family. They enjoyed tasting a traditional roast, Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes, as well as many other family favourites. They also enjoyed playing Monopoly, Pictionary and other family games with their host families.  We also welcomed John McMillan to our Burns Supper to ensure our guests heard about Scotland’s most famous bard and to taste some haggis, neeps, tatties and Irn Bru.  We ended the week at the Scottish China Education Network conference at the EICC on Friday.  It has been such an amazing week working with and alongside staff and pupils from our newly formed link school in Hong Kong and I think we all learned so much from this visit.  We hope to visit them next year in Hong Kong and to make this an annual experience for pupils and staff and use it to improve our educational knowledge from this joint work to improve outcomes for all of our young people.

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

  • 25 November – 12 December – S4/5/6 Prelims
  • 3 December – Parent Council – School Library – 6.15-8pm
  • 4 December – S1 Parents’ Evening

Sue Cook

Published: 01 November 2019

Staffing Update

Karen Fraser has been appointed as our Welfare Assistant (job share with Mae Ball).

Congratulations also go to Susanne Fox, our Curriculum Leader of Inclusion, who graduates with her Masters Degree (with commendation) next month.  Her thesis focused on trauma informed practice and developing a programme of support to improve resilience and emotional wellbeing for young people who have experienced adversity.

Pupil News

Rugby – East Lothian Players

We have thirteen Knox Academy School of Rugby players who are involved in various U15, U16 and U17 East Lothian schools rugby training and development opportunities. The majority of these skills sessions take place at Meadowmill, which is the home base for the East Lothian & Borders SRU Youth Rugby Academy. Well done to all of these players on this very strong representation from Knox Academy.

Squash

Dylan Pearman, S3, will be representing Scotland in the British Junior Closed Squash Championship in Nottingham this weekend. We all wish him the best of luck in his performance and look forward to hearing how he gets on.

Parents/Carers Information

SQA Qualifications Information for Parents/Carers

To learn more about SQA qualifications and the range available, please click on the following link, which links you to our Parent Zone on our website Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

Achievement Ties – Nominations

The Achievement Tie Committee (pupils, staff and parents/carers) met on Tuesday 29 October to review the nominations and pupils/nominators will be made aware of the outcome of this by a letter winging its way home at present. Of 14 nominations 12 ties were awarded based on our criteria (see website). There will be a gathering of all those successful with the Senior Leadership team on Tuesday 5 November to present these. Congratulations to all those nominated and hopefully numbers will continue to grow across the year. Thank you to the parents/carers who came forward to be part of this committee.

S1 Parental Experience – Monday 28 October

It was lovely to welcome seven parents/carers who experienced a day in the life of an S1 pupil at Knox Academy. Feedback was very positive and parents commented on well-structured, dynamic lessons, enthusiastic teachers, well behaved/pleasant pupils and clear school values.  Requests were also made by the group to see more S1 jotters home on a day to day basis and next time, during the experience, for teachers to talk about how parents/carers can access resources and support their child at home.  We have already raised these points with staff so we can improve in these areas.  Great to have critical friends along to help their own children and also to help support us on our improvement journey. Hopefully even more S1 parents/carers will come along next year when we offer this opportunity. 

Hong Kong link school visit

We welcome pupils and staff from Tsung Tsin Christian Academy (TTCA) HK this weekend for a seven day visit to Knox Academy, Haddington and Edinburgh. TTCA is our new international link school and a very exciting venture for Knox Academy and the Haddington community.  Pupils are being hosted by some of our families at Knox Academy and will attend Knox Academy to experience our school curriculum and experience our culture through family life too.  We will be entertaining them with a Burns Supper, a visit to Camera Obscura, the National Museum and also the Museum of Flight. The week will culminate with our pupils and guests attending the Scottish China Education Network conference on Friday in Edinburgh.  A very exciting time for the school and our new partnership with TTCA.

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

  • 2-9 November – Hong Kong students visit from Tsung Tsin Christian Academy
  • 6 November – S3 Parents’ Evening
  • 25 November – 12 December – S4/5/6 Prelims
  • 4 December – S1 Parents’ Evening

Sue Cook