January 2021

Published: 22 January 2021

The update by the First Minister sees us continuing with remote learning until Friday 5 February. Nicola Sturgeon has said that this will be reviewed by the Scottish Government on Tuesday 2 February. This is a position that none of us want to be in but appreciate that everyone’s health and safety comes first and foremost and we hope that the news in the near future gives us hope for a return to face:face teaching soon.

Engagement in remote learning seems to be high still and this is not only down to the young people’s motivation to keep their learning going but also due to the work of our staff team in providing a mix of learning through prepared tasks, live lessons, pre-recorded lessons and Google Meets. It is also down to the fantastic support from you as parents/carers in supporting your young people with routines at home and encouraging them to link with their teachers and progress their learning.  Thank you!  I have just sent out a link to all pupils, parents/carers and teaching staff for views on remote learning over the last two weeks and I would really appreciate your feedback on this.  We can use this feedback to know what we are doing well and what aspects we need to improve.

I met with Mr Miller and a group of nineteen young people earlier this week and majority of them were very positive about their experiences so far, the mixture of learning tasks (including Google Meets, live and recorded lessons) and also the feedback they have had from their teachers. 

This week we held assemblies for our S4-S6 pupils and spoke with them about expectations of engagement, flexibility of approach and their mental health and wellbeing. We also said that at present we don’t have any further information from SQA but as soon as we do we will hold another assembly to update them on this, as well as writing home to parents and carers. We highlighted to them that for S4-S6:

  • In the current period of remote learning, formative assessment continues to be used for the purposes of informing teacher judgement of pupil progress through course content and to identify additional support required by pupils in their learning.
  • That our current focus is to provide quality teaching and learning in relation to course content.
  • Assessment through remote learning will not be for the purposes of SQA verification of grades at the moment.

We have spoken to our young people about focusing on the ‘quality’ of their work over ‘quantity,’ and pacing themselves. We stressed the need to submit work to their teachers to ensure they get feedback to help them progress and if they are able to, to engage in Google Meets to collaborate with their peers and teachers and to ask questions.

We asked our young people if they require any support whatsoever to contact their House teams (see below for details of these).

S4 Virtual Parents’ Evening

Thank you to all parents/carers and pupils who attended these meetings with teachers to review performance and next steps in learning. Thank you also to the parents/carers who have sent some very positive feedback commending these virtual parents’ evenings.

Parent Council

If you would like to come along to our next Parent Council on Thursday 28 January, please let Lesley Pirie (Chair) know by emailing her at parentcouncil@ka-net.org.uk so you can be invited to the virtual meeting. 

S3-S6 Course Choices/Learner Pathway Reviews

At present the coursing process for S2-5 will continue as planned. The revised Curriculum Booklets will be made available on the school website by 27 January and additional information for parents/ carers and pupils will also be made available to support the process. This will include a Google Form that will be emailed to pupils, in order for them to indicate their choices prior to the coursing interviews. Depending on the circumstances, these interviews will either be conducted in school or via Google Meet.

Foundation Apprenticeships – East Lothian Works (also linked to learner pathway choices)

In light of the current restrictions and not being able to come into schools to host information sessions, East Lothian has scheduled some virtual events. They will host 5 events covering Foundation Apprenticeships, School College Partnership, Full Time College Courses, Post School Opportunities (MA, EF, Trainee Opportunities) and Employment Support (CV Building, Interview Prep, Job Opportunities). The aim of the events is to provide information to pupils and parents around what these areas are and how we can support young people wishing to explore or apply for any of these opportunities.

The events will be hosted on Google Meet to allow pupils to access through their Edubuzz accounts.

The first event will be Foundation Apprenticeships on Wednesday 27 January, 5:30 – 6pm. The link for the meeting is -

meet.google.com/eah-vsmr-bdc

They hope that hosting these events will be helpful and assist pupils and parents with any questions they may have.

Future events will be confirmed in due course. They are hoping to have the college events just after the February break with the last two events taking place the end of April / beginning of May.

Update from Skills Development Scotland

As schools across Scotland are closed to the majority of pupils, Skills Development Scotland careers advisers will continue to provide careers information and advice by phone and digitally.

Our advisers will contact pupils who were scheduled to have a face-to-face appointment to make alternative arrangements.

Subject Choices

If your young person is choosing their subjects, their school careers adviser will be providing support over the coming weeks to help them think about their choices, including a one-to-one conversation. There’s also the opportunity for you – as a parent or carer – to join the conversation and discuss where their options might take them in the future. As current government guidelines don’t permit these conversations to take place in person, we’ll seek to make alternative arrangements by phone or video conference.

You’ll also find lots of helpful tools and information to help with subject choices, on the careers service website, My World of Work.

Please be aware that career information and advice is available online for anyone who needs it at My World of Work.  You can also contact your local centre to speak to an adviser or call the SDS helpline on 0800 917 8000.

Digital Access - all pupils

If any young person still requires a Chromebook to access remote learning please email sillingworth@knox.elcschool.org.uk . We also have 70 Vodafone data-only SIM cards, for distribution to pupils who do not have a reliable broadband connection, and who currently access learning through 4G on their phone. Any parent or carer who feels that their young person’s learning would benefit from one of these during the school closure should email admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk and we will post a card out to you.

In School Learning – all pupils

Parents/carers who are key workers are able to make an application to East Lothian Council by emailing seemis@eastlothian.gov.uk  to request a space in the in-school provision. Priority will be given to those key workers in category 1 and category 2 where both parent/carers are key workers or where there is a single parent who is a key worker. Information about the category definitions can be found here: Wherever possible, parents/carers should make use of informal young person care arrangements in line with the Scottish Government Guidance. As always, health and safety of our school community comes first. In order to ensure the risk of transmission remains low, there is a need to limit the number of pupils working in school with a focus on supporting those in the most need. When in school, all pupils will be working in defined ‘bubbles’ (including at break and lunchtimes), asked to ensure hand sanitising on entry exit to the building, encouraged to wear face coverings (S4-S6 must wear these as do staff supporting this provision) and asked to maintain physical distancing at all times.

COVID-19

Positive Cases: Please continue to report any positive cases to covidinschools@eastlothian.gov.uk .

Please note: If your young person is attending the in-school provision during this period, please do not send them to school if they, or anyone in your household has tested positive or has Covid-19 symptoms.  Please self-isolate and book a test.

Support for pupils

If you or your young person require any advice or support please contact their House Team in the first instance:

Ms Adam/Mrs Clubb (Garleton) garleton@knox.elcschool.org.uk;

Mr Meekison/Mr Russell (Lammerlaw) lammerlaw@knox.elcschool.org.uk;

Mrs Doig/Mr Illingworth (Traprain) traprain@knox.elcschool.org.uk 

Support for Parents/Carers – Parentline

I would like to take the opportunity to highlight Children’s 1st Parentline available to all East Lothian parents.  Parentline provides emotional, practical and financial advice and support to families.

Free School Meals

Families with young people who meet the eligibility criteria, and have registered for a free school meal, will receive a BACS payment to cover 11 to 29 January 2021.  Find out more about free school meals and clothing grants here.

Contacting School

A reminder that you can contact us at any stage of school closure by emailing admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk.

Dates for your diary:

Virtual Parent Council                   28 January 2021 (6.30-8pm)      

S2 Virtual Parents’ Evening         3 February 2021 (5-7pm)

February mid-term holiday         8 – 15 February (inclusive) for pupils

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk for the latest information and updates

Sue Cook

Published: 15 January 2021

This week’s remote learning has started off exceptionally well and we have been very pleased with our young people’s engagement in it.  We have held assemblies for our S1-S3 pupils and we are following this up with S4-S6 pupils next week.  Although we are encouraging them to follow their timetables if they can, to help support them in fostering a good routine for their learning, we do understand that a flexible approach is required based on their own and family’s individual needs.

We have spoken to our young people about focusing on the ‘quality’ of their work over ‘quantity,’ and pacing themselves. We have highlighted the need to submit work to their teachers to ensure they get feedback to help them progress and if they are able to, to engage in Google Meets to collaborate with their peers and teachers and to ask questions.

We also highlighted to our young people the need to balance their studies with their own mental health and wellbeing and to get out and about during the day too for a walk/jog and get some fresh air into their lungs and also to take some of their learning offline, as staring at a computer screen all day is not good for any of us.  It would be great if you can support them in finding this balance too. More information is available in the Remote Learning Guidelines I sent out on Monday of this week. We will also be asking our young people about their experiences of their remote learning, via a survey and some focus groups, over the next few weeks, so we can review how things are going for them and to see what we can change or tweak to better support them.

Staffing

Alice Clubb, acting DHT, who has been an amazing addition to Knox Academy, will return to her substantive post as Curriculum Leader Maths at North Berwick High School on 15 February 2021. Caroline Falconer, who has been Quality Improvement Manager at the SEIC, will return on that date to her substantive DHT post here.

S1 Maths: Parent/Carer Opportunity

A huge thank you to all the S1 Parents who attended our virtual maths event on Monday evening. The feedback from this has been exceptionally positive as it allowed parents/carers to see how maths is taught at Knox Academy and to help them support their young person at home with this.  There are two more events planned for:

Monday 1 February 2021, 6 - 7pm: looking at solving equations

Monday 1 March 2021, 6 - 7pm: looking at the 'grid method' and why it is so useful for multiplication, division and algebra!

To sign up please click here and fill the Google Form in at the bottom of the page.  Please do come along.

S5/6 Virtual Parents’ Evening

This seemed to go really well and parental feedback was positive in regard to discussion about their young person’s progress and next steps. Thank you to all parents/carers and pupils who attended.

S4 Parents’ Evening – 21 January 2021

If your young person is in S4 please encourage them to sign up for a parents’ evening appointment with their teachers via their Google Classrooms.  Pupils must be present with their parents/carers to enable the meeting to go ahead as this meeting is accessed through your young person’s EduBuzz account. If you need a Chromebook for this, please contact Mr Illingworth sillingworth@knox.elcschool.org.uk.

Digital Access

If any young person still requires a Chromebook to access remote learning please email sillingworth@knox.elcschool.org.uk . We also have 70 Vodafone data-only SIM cards, for distribution to pupils who do not have a reliable broadband connection, and who currently access learning through 4G on their phone. Any parent or carer who feels that their young person’s learning would benefit from one of these during the school closure should email admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk and we will post a card out to you.

Google Classroom: Guardian Summary

As you’ll know, Knox Academy uses Google Classroom to support learning at home and as part of our digital strategy we want to roll out an additional feature of Google Classroom which is designed to help Parents/Carers gain an overview of the set tasks and assignments.

This feature is called Guardian Summaries and it enables Parents/Carers to receive e-mail updates about:

Missing work—Work not turned in when the summary was sent.

Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails).

Class activities—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers.

As a parent/carer you will be able to control the frequency of these updates or decide to opt-out of receiving them at a later date.   

Please can parents/carers also remind their young person that all Google Meets/Assemblies must be accessed via their EduBuzz accounts or access to these will be denied. This is for data protection reasons.

Setting up Guardian Summaries 

To setup Guardian Summaries use the link: knox.is/guardiansummary which requires your child to log in via Edubuzz. This must be done by each child in your household for whom you wish to receive e-mail updates. 

We will use the main contact email we have on record but there will be an option in the form to add a second email address. It is therefore essential that the pupil record is accurate so please contact us if you wish to make any changes to your stored information.  

Please also note that, due to GDPR regulations, your young person may choose to opt out of sharing information with you and if they decline permission we will not be able to set up the summaries for you. (By Calum Blair, CL Maths and Numeracy)

In School Learning

Parents/carers who are key workers are able to make an application to East Lothian Council for a space in the in-school provision. Priority will be given to those key workers in category 1 and category 2 where both parent/carers are key workers or where there is a single parent who is a key worker. Information about the category definitions can be found here: Wherever possible, parents/carers should make use of informal childcare arrangements in line with the Scottish Government Guidance. As always, health and safety of our school community comes first. In order to ensure the risk of transmission remains low, there is a need to limit the number of pupils working in school with a focus on supporting those in the most need. When in school, all pupils will be working in defined ‘bubbles’ (including at break and lunchtimes), asked to ensure hand sanitising on entry exit to the building, encouraged to wear face coverings (S4-S6 must wear these as do staff supporting this provision) and asked to maintain physical distancing at all times.

COVID-19

Positive Cases: Please continue to report any positive cases to covidinschools@eastlothian.gov.uk .

Please note: If your young person is attending the in-school provision during this period, please do not send them to school if they, or anyone in your household has tested positive or has Covid-10 symptoms.  Please self-isolate and book a test.

Support for pupils

If you or your young person requires any s they require any advice or support please contact their House Team in the first instance:

Ms Adam/Mrs Clubb (Garleton) garleton@knox.elcschool.org.uk;

Mr Meekison/Mr Russell (Lammerlaw) lammerlaw@knox.elcschool.org.uk;

Mrs Doig/Mr Illingworth (Traprain) traprain@knox.elcschool.org.uk 

Contacting School

A reminder that you can contact us at any stage of school closure by emailing admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk.

Dates for your diary:

S4 Virtual Parents’ Evening          21 January 2021 (5-7pm)

S2 Virtual Parents’ Evening         3 February 2021 (5-7pm)

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk for the latest information and updates

Sue Cook

 

 

Published: 11 January 2021

S5/6 Virtual Parents’ Evening

Our S5/6 Parents' Evening will go ahead as planned from 5-7pm this evening. Mrs Clubb has liaised with all pupils in S5/6 to make them aware of this and I also highlighted this in my letter to parents/carers on Friday. We hope as many of you as possible can attend this to discuss your young person’s progress and next steps. 

Digital Access

Since the first lockdown we have distributed over 100 Chromebooks to our pupils to support home learning. However we know that some pupils will still not have access to an appropriate device for remote learning. If your young person, in S1-S6, needs to borrow one of our in-school Chromebooks for the duration of this school closure, then please email sillingworth@knox.elcschool.org.uk.  If you do not have email, please phone our school office between 9am and 2pm, on 01620-823387 so we can arrange this ASAP.

We currently have 70 Vodafone data-only SIM cards, for distribution to pupils who do not have a reliable broadband connection, and who currently access learning through 4G on their phone. Any parent or carer who feels that their young person’s learning would benefit from one of these during the school closure should email admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk and we will post a card out to you.

Parental resources

Education Scotland has produced a helpful resource on supporting remote learning for practitioners, pupils, parents and carers. You can find it here. Please note, though, that East Lothian teachers do not generally make use of the Glow platform – almost all remote learning in our county is through the Google G-Suite.

In School Learning

During school closure we are providing in-school support for the children of key workers and also for a small number of our pupils who need to be in school over this period of lockdown. We have now received details of all key worker applications, and have contacted all the other pupils we believe match the Scottish Government’s criteria for in-school learning to offer them places too.

Parents/carers who are key workers are able to make an application to East Lothian Council for a space in the in-school provision. Priority will be given to those key workers in category 1 and category 2 where both parent/carers are key workers or where there is a single parent who is a key worker. Information about the category definitions can be found here: Wherever possible, parents/carers should make use of informal childcare arrangements in line with the Scottish Government Guidance. As always, health and safety of our school community comes first. In order to ensure the risk of transmission remains low, there is a need to limit the number of pupils working in school with a focus on supporting those in the most need. When in school, all pupils will be working in defined ‘bubbles’ (including at break and lunchtimes), asked to ensure hand sanitising on entry exit to the building, encouraged to wear face coverings and asked to maintain physical distancing at all times.

COVID-19

Positive Cases: Please continue to report any positive cases to covidinschools@eastlothian.gov.uk .

If your young person is attending the in-school provision during this period, please do not send them to school if they, or anyone in your household has tested positive or has Covid-10 symptoms.  Please self-isolate and book a test.

School-College Partnership

SCP courses will resume on Tuesday 12th January with the same format as Term 1. Edinburgh College encourages all SCP pupils to attend planned live classes from 1.30 pm every Tuesday and Thursday.

It is worth remembering that there is a guide on how to access Moodle.  

Pupils who experience difficulties accessing their course should either call the SCP Helpline 0131 297 8649 or email schools@edinburghcollege.ac.uk stating their name, the name of their course and details of the problems they are experiencing.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

SDS is continuing to provide career, information, advice and guidance for all of our young people during lockdown.  Pupils and parents/ carers are still able to contact our Careers Adviser, Chris Trotter, for support. This can be done by emailing him at chris.trotter@sds.co.uk . If you would like to speak to a Careers Adviser please phone 0131 665 3120. Details of all SDS centres can be found on My World of Work

Support for pupils

During the first lockdown, our Pupil Support Team worked incredibly hard to help pupils and their families. We will support all pupils over this lockdown, too, and pupils or parents/carers should contact their Pupil Support Leader via the following emails if they require any advice or support:

Ms Adam/Mrs Clubb (Garleton) garleton@knox.elcschool.org.uk;

Mr Meekison/Mr Russell (Lammerlaw) lammerlaw@knox.elcschool.org.uk;

Mrs Doig/Mr Illingworth (Traprain) traprain@knox.elcschool.org.uk 

Support for families

This is a really worrying time for many families as they face up to reduced finances. Advice on the financial supports available for families can be found on the East Lothian Council website here.

S1 Maths: Parent/Carer Opportunity

In the Mathematics Department we have worked very hard over the last two years to develop our teaching methods to support genuine understanding of Maths. To that end I'd like to offer you the chance to be part of a series of virtual meetings where we will go through some of the methods we use in S1 (and build on in S2, S3, etc.) and how we try to put it across to our classes. Hopefully this insight will help de-mystify what we do in the Maths Department and open up a positive dialogue at Home about the Maths being learned - no more arguments because "it wasn't taught like that in my day!"

Sessions will still run as follows:

Monday 11 January 2021, 6 - 7pm: we will look at how we use two-colour counters to teach 'negative numbers'

Monday 1 February 2021, 6 - 7pm: we will look at solving equations

Monday 1 March 2021, 6 - 7pm: we will look at the 'grid method' and why it is so useful for multiplication, division and algebra!

To sign up please click here and fill the Google Form in at the bottom of the page. It would be great to see as many parents/carers here attending as possible (Mr Calum Blair. Curriculum Leader, Numeracy and Computing)

Contacting School

A reminder that you can contact us at any stage of school closure by emailing admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk.

Dates for your diary:

S4 Virtual Parents’ Evening         21 January 2021 (5-7pm)

S2 Virtual Parents’ Evening         3 February 2021 (5-7pm)

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk for the latest information and updates

Sue Cook