December 2021

Published: 17 December 2021

I would like to start this week's update by thanking all parents/carers for your support throughout this session - this has been very much appreciated.  Our young people have also been amazing in their work ethic and in how they have adapted to, and coped with, all the health and safety mitigations in our school. A huge thank you also goes to our staff at Knox Academy for their hard work and commitment throughout this session too. It is great that our community approach has allowed us to remain open for face/face teaching and learning for all of our pupils right up until the very last day of term.  

Today our young people are celebrating our end of term with a Christmas Quiz after break and also our Christmas Concert 2021, which was recorded, filmed, mixed and edited by Sound Production students at Edinburgh College. A huge thank you to them for such a professional finish. Please do take time to watch it over the holidays and to witness, first hand, the amazing talent of our pupils here at Knox Academy.


Pupils in S2-5 have been participating in a ‘dummy run’ of course choices over the last 2-3 weeks. The aim of this is to enable us to try and set up a course choice column structure that will hopefully mean as many pupils as possible can get their first choices.

Unfortunately the return of the Google Forms from S4 and S5 is currently quite low, which means that being able to set up the best column structure is limited. Pupils received the Google Form via their Edubzzz email and if they have not submitted it yet, could they please do so by 18 December.

The official coursing process will begin on 19 January. An event will be held on the evening of 19 January but all of the materials will be available via the school website, so the ‘live’ content of this event will be minimal. It does mean that pupils, parents and carers can access the materials at a time that suits them.

As part of the coursing process a Careers Event will be held on 3 February – again the materials will be online. Further details about both events will be provided in January.

All S2-5 pupils will be expected to have the final choices submitted by 22 February 2022.

SQA Update

SQA has put out a reminder about the contingency plans for 2022 after being contacted by Centres and parents in regard to the Omicron variant.  These will remain the same three scenarios that were set out in September 2021. At present, we are still in Scenario One preparing for the national exam diet with significant modifications to the 2021-22 course assessments – coursework and/or exams – which were announced at the start of the session. These assessment modifications are in place to help learners by taking account of disruption to learning caused by the pandemic.

Gift and Donation Collections

Staff and pupils have been collecting donations for the Foodbank this month. Donations have been handed over to the Foodbank this week in time for Christmas.  Many thanks to all who have contributed.

The Pupil Support Base team has been collecting gifts and donations this year from staff with support from the Bridges Centre who have collected donations from our local community. We are very pleased to announce that we have enough parcels for around 40 young people at Knox (and we are very jealous of the contents!). (Susanne Fox)

Amnesty International 

Amnesty International held a bake sale on Wednesday to raise money for people who have had their rights taken away.  Many thanks go to the Amnesty youth group for baking and running the sale.  We raised £67.80 but there are a few IOUs so it will be over £70. Thanks so much for everyone's support.  

Pupils have been busy learning about cases around the world and writing cards and letters and campaigning for people to get their human rights.  Some wonderful cards have been made.  Thanks to everyone for getting involved. (By Liane Montgomery)

Scottish Winter Short Course Meet – Swimming

Congratulations to all of our swimmers - Lauren Clark, Louisa Stoddart and Owen Williamson (S5) and Helen Stoddart (S3) - who competed at the Scottish Winter Short Course Meet at the Royal Commonwealth Pool over the weekend. This event is a highly competitive event where swimmers across the nation and afar compete annually. Due to recent restrictions racing opportunities have been very limited but it was great to see our swimmers back racing again and breaking some tough milestones with Louisa taking the junior title in the 100m Butterfly. (By Lana Borwick)


Even though the school is not open during the holidays, please report positive cases during this time to or if you do not have access to email, telephone 01875 613921. For those young people who are participating in the LFD testing, they should continue to do this over the holidays and report their results online.

Returning to school post-Christmas holidays

Pupils should carry out a LFD test the evening/morning before they return to school. Please ensure you are up-to-date with the new guidelines regarding symptoms and self-isolation. In a nutshell, if you, or anyone in your household has symptoms, or has a positive LFD test, they must self-isolate and book a PCR test. Everyone in your household must also self-isolate at this point too. You, or anyone in your household, must not return to work/school until you know this PCR test is negative. If anyone tests positive, everyone in your household must self-isolate for ten days. All others in the household should book a PCR test to see if they have Covid. Even if their PCR test is negative, they must continue to self-isolate for the ten days too - irrespective of being double vaccinated or having had a booster. These rules also apply to anyone under 18 years of age.


I would like to take this opportunity, to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe and Healthy New Year, from all the staff at Knox Academy.  We will look forward to welcoming pupils back to school for a prompt 8.30am start on Wednesday 5 January 2022.

Sue Cook

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Published: 10 December 2021

With a week to go before we finish for Christmas we are focusing on keeping all our pupils engaged in their learning. Many of the seniors, who have just sat their prelims, will be beginning to get some of their marks back and will be discussing their next steps in learning with their teachers. There will be further engagement on this with parents/carers at the Parents’ Evenings in January.

Next Friday morning, our last day of term, we are going to have a whole school quiz after break time and also watch our Christmas Concert together as a school.


Tricia Mulroy (Business Support Assistant) leaves us this week to take up a post at Belhaven Hill School. We would like to wish her all the very best in her new post.

Vicky Lyon (Pupil Support Leader for Support for Learning) Dr Lyon will leave us at the end of the first week back after the Christmas holidays to take up a teaching post in Midlothian. We will miss her great knowledge and skills; not just in her expertise in SfL/ASN but across the wider school in terms of activities she had led in her time here – including Duke of Edinburgh.

S2 Parents’ Evening

Thank you to all parents who attended the parents’ consultation on Wednesday evening and from speaking to staff, conversations about your young person’s learning, progress and next steps were very productive. Since we have moved to virtual parents’ evenings attendance rates seem to have risen – which is great – as it is when the school, parents/carers and pupils work together that the best results ensue!  So thank you all for your engagement and support. 

Parent Council Meeting - Learner Pathways and Careers

Thank you to Chris Trotter (Skills Development Scotland) and Elaine Gorman (Developing the Young Workforce) for speaking to the Parent Council last night about the service they offer to our young people, learner pathways and the vast array of options available to our young people.  Our S2-S5 pupils will begin selecting their new courses for next session in February and there will be further information to pupils and parents in January in regard to this, as well as a Parents’ Information Evening to help support these subject choices.

E-Sgoil – Learner Pathways (S2 –S5 Parents and Pupils)

Please join E-Sgoil between 13 and 17 December for their Winter Pathway’s weeks. There will be four 30 minute sessions per day where experts will share their career journeys and advice for young people. No registration is required and you can access these sessions here. Sessions are recorded so you can access these anytime or even watch them during the Christmas break.

Foundation Apprenticeships (FAs)

Skills Development Scotland and the National Parent Forum for Scotland (NPFS) have arranged a session for parents on FAs. This will take place on Tuesday 14 December from 7-8pm. Parents can register here. This event is free of charge.

Christmas Lunch

This took place yesterday, Thursday 9 December. Thank you so much to our wonderful catering team who put on an amazing spread for us all. It was very tasty indeed and pupils and staff really enjoyed it.

Christmas Kindness

We have been working really hard over the past 18 months to strengthen our links with our local community groups/charities, from which many of our young people and their families receive invaluable support. Haddington Bridge Centre and Lammermuir Larder have launched their 2021 Christmas gift and food bank appeal and we are fortunate enough to be joining forces for the second year in a row. Any donations of new, unwrapped gifts would be gratefully received. 

Collection boxes will be available until Monday 13 December and can be found at Aubigny Sport Centre and Home Bargains store in Haddington.   We are also collecting donations of non-perishable food items. Each registration class will have a collection box available for donations.  Alternatively, gifts/food items can be handed into the pupil support base until Monday December 13. 

Thank you for your generosity and continued support (by Gail Fraser)

Poppy Scotland

The Poppy Scotland Team went around Haddington to deliver tins and poppies to shops in the local area. Many shops were happy to help and in total, the shops, schools and people in Haddington raised over £5,350 for Poppy Scotland! Certificates were made and given to the shops who participated in raising money for Poppy Scotland, with most of Haddington’s High Street and the surrounding area partaking.

The Knox Poppy Group also volunteered to stand in Tesco for two hours over two weekends, leading up to the 11th of November, which helped Tesco to raise over £2,900 for Poppy Scotland - an astonishing amount. On the 11th of November, the Poppy Scotland team hosted a bake sale, with poppy-themed biscuits and cupcakes. The bake sale accumulated to a total of £88. The social area was decorated to fit the poppy theme, and a two-minute silence was held at 11am, before the bake-sale. Knox’s Senior Pupil Leadership Team attended the Remembrance Sunday Service at St Mary’s Church to represent the school, laying a wreath at the Cenotaph.

Knox Academy’s total was £261.21, an incredible amount raised by the office, staff and pupils.  The team went around the school and into classes to collect donations and hand out poppies. Thank you all for your support and donations, overall, we raised a fantastic £5357.98! (by Anna Grosse, S6)

Amnesty Group

The Amnesty Group is holding a badge, candy cane and other goodies stall in aid of this charity at break on Tuesday 14th December in the Foyer area.  Pupils are encouraged to come along and support this and human rights. (By Liane Montgomery)  


Congratulations to the 14 girls who attended their first netball fixture of the year with Mrs Leighton, away to Preston Lodge High School. We were able to field two teams across S1-S3 year groups and had several small games. For some of the girls, this was their first competitive match and did extremely well adapting to the pace of the game with the help and support of our experienced players. Unfortunately the accumulated score ended in 24-16 to Preston Lodge but we look forward to the return leg in the New Year! (By Lana Borwick)


Please continue to report all positive Covid-19 cases to or if you do not have access to email, telephone 01875 613921. Please also inform the school so we can amend your young person’s attendance record. Pupils should continue to do twice weekly LFD tests. LFD kits are available every morning on arrival to school and during the day from the office. They can also be collected from pharmacies and test centres.

Please do not send pupils to school who have symptoms. They should self-isolate and book a PCR test and not return to school until they know this is negative and they have no symptoms.

The Parent Club also provides useful information on testing for pupils.

Dates for you diary (please also see the School Calendar for overview and updates):

Friday 17 December – End of Term (12.15pm)

Wednesday 5 January 2022 – Term starts (8.28am)

Thursday 13 January – S4 Parents’ Evening (virtual)

Tuesday 25 January – S5/6 Parents’ Evening (virtual)

Monday 31 January – Parent Council (6.30-8pm – virtual)

Monday 14 February – Monday 21 February (inclusive) – Pupils’ holiday

Monday 21 February – Staff in-service training


Sue Cook

Please also remember to follow us at: for the latest information and updates

Published: 03 December 2021

We are now into week two of our senior prelims and our young people seem to be coping admirably with them, given most have not experienced any formal type exams previously. I would like to commend them for giving their best throughout the prelims so far, to encourage them to keep the study going right up until their last one has been completed, knowing that they have done as well as possible through their preparation.  

I hope you all received the letters from our Head of Education, updating you on our Covid-19 in Schools guidance and her letter on Social Media (TikTok).  In relation to LFD Tests – we have lots available for pupils/families so please have your young person pick these up from the school entrance on weekdays or at the office at all other times. It is looking increasingly likely that proof of a recent negative LFD is going to be the ticket to social interaction and access to many venues this festive period. We will also be looking for pupils/staff to continue testing during the Christmas holidays and to do a test the night before or the morning they return to school in January, to ensure we limit any spread of Covid at Knox Academy. LFD tests are available at the main entrance every morning and from pharmacies, test centre and soon from shopping centres too.


Family Support Worker – Meadowpark – will be advertised this weekend

Tracey McConnachie – our Cook Supervisor, leaves today after being at Knox Academy for almost 13 years. We wish her well in her new role as an Assistant Area Officer (Facilities Management).

Christmas Jumper Day – Friday 10 December

To enter into the festive season we are asking our young people and staff, if they have a Christmas jumper, to wear it to school next Friday.  If your young person doesn’t have a jumper, decorating a normal jumper with some Christmas tinsel or bobbles would be great too. No need to go to any expense though if they don’t have one and ideally they should wear something brightly coloured to school instead. 

Alongside the Christmas jumper day, we are also asking our young people (and staff), if they are able, to bring a non-perishable food item to school over the next few weeks, and pass this to their register teacher in the morning (or hand in to the office). We will donate these to the Lammermuir Larder, which is our local foodbank (and is part of the East Lothian Foodbank) for their Christmas parcels. Our community approach to giving these food gifts can make a huge difference to many people and also provide a meal for families on Christmas Day (see video by East Lothian Foodbank).  Items most needed are listed here. Thank you for your support with this.

School Bells

Following on from our evaluation of the school bell, 57% of pupils and staff wished to retain our current approach of reduced bells (a further 20% stated that they didn’t have a view either way about keeping them, or not).  To support this move further, clocks have been ordered for all classrooms to allow pupils to refer to these rather than their mobile phones (this came through in the survey results). Many staff and young people reported that corridors seems calmer and also some pupils reported a decreased level of anxiety due to less bells and also the calmer environment.

S2 Parents’ Evening

Letters have been sent to all parents about the S2 Parents’ Evening (virtual) on Wednesday 8 December. Pupils should now be making appointments with their teachers for these Google Meetings.

Remote Learning Resources

As a number of pupils self-isolate, work is being provided on our own Google Classrooms. Additional work/learning can be accessed at E-sgoil, West_OS and the National E-Learning offer for both Broad General Education (BGE – S1-S3) and Senior Phase (S4-S6).   All pupils can now access recorded video lessons on using their Glow login to support their learning and revision at home! (If they do not have their Glow Login details please ask them to email to request these from our admin team). Pupils can find West­­_OS in the Glow App Library where they will be able to add the tile to their personal Glow Launchpad. There are lots of quality assured video lessons available for all our pupils across a range of subjects. Pupils will find this a great resource to support their learning and revision on Glow .

Free School Meals/Clothing Grants

We are aware that some parents/carers circumstances may have changed as a result of Covid-19 and this may mean you are now eligible for Free School Meals and/or a Clothing Grant.  If you think this may apply to you, please visit the Free School Meals and Clothing Grants area of the East Lothian Council website for further information and the relevant forms. If you need help completing these forms there is support available on the website, or alternatively please contact your young person’s Pupil Support Leader (Guidance teacher) who should also be able to help you via a telephone call/email.

Child Disability Payment

Child Disability Payment opens for new applications across the country from 29th November. Further information can be found here. Child Disability Payment provides money to help with the extra care and mobility costs that children and young people with a disability may have, up to the age of 18. People can find out more and apply through or by calling 0800 182 2222.

For the first time anywhere in the UK, disability benefit applicants can apply online, as well as by phone, post or face-to-face. This is the first of three complex disability benefits to be introduced nationwide by the Scottish Government. This new payment replaces the UK Government’s Disability Living Allowance for children. Those already receiving Disability Living Allowance for children do not need to apply, with approximately 52,000 current cases are being automatically transferred in phases from the Department for Work and Pensions to Social Security Scotland. This will be completed by Spring 2023.

Child Disability Payment, which will be administered by Social Security Scotland, provides families with support for extra costs that a disabled child might have.

Parent Council Meeting - Learner Pathways and Careers (Focus)

The next meeting is on 9 December at 6.30pm (virtual meeting). At this meeting our invited speakers are Chris Trotter (Skills Development Scotland and our Knox Academy Careers Advisor) and Elaine Gorman (Developing the Young Workforce). They will be talking about learner pathways (course choices); supporting young people with their aspirations and qualifications for routes in to employment, university and college.  This will be of great interest in particular to parents/carers of young people in S2, S3, S4, S5 and S6. If you would like to attend this meeting please email our Chair of the Parent Council to gain access to our meeting code, It would be great to see as many people attend as possible. Further learner pathway information sessions are also planned for January and Mr Russell will be issuing more detail about these soon.

Christmas Lunch

This will take place on Thursday 9 December. There will be vegetarian options available too. Please encourage your young people to enjoy this great feast that our Food Court put on for our school pupils and staff.  Soup and sandwiches will also be available on this date.

Haddington Christmas Windows' Judging - Head Pupils

On Saturday we went to judge the Christmas windows around the high street. All of the windows were amazing as they had an array of colourful lights and Christmas decorations. We loved all of the handmade decorations and the Christmas themes shown through the windows. It was very hard to choose only one winner as all the windows were fantastic and everyone should be so proud of their efforts.  Eventually we came to a decision and our winners in first place was Fabrications, second place went to Looks, third place went to Gibson's, fourth place went to Footlights and the outstanding achievement award went to The Victoria Inn. Thank you for all the effort put in this year and a huge congratulations to all the prize winners. (by Bethany Ross, S6)

Reporting Pupil Absence

Parents/Carers are reminded that student absences should be reported as soon as possible to allow the attendance record to be updated.  Absences can be reported either by telephoning the main office or e-mailing stating the reason for absence. (Office team)

First Point of Contact

During your young person’s time at school, their registration teacher will be their first point of contact for any ‘quick’ questions regarding areas such as absences or their school timetable. If further advice or support is needed, pupils and parents/carers should always contact their young person’s Pupil Support Leader or House Team (which includes the Depute Head Teacher) in the first instance by emailing:

Ms Adam/Mrs Falconer (Garleton)

Mr Meekison/Mr Russell (Lammerlaw)

Mrs Doig/Mr Illingworth (Traprain)

If you do not have email, please phone the school office on: 01620 823387.


Please continue to report all positive Covid-19 cases to or if you do not have access to email, telephone 01875 613921. Please also inform the school so we can amend your young person’s attendance record. Pupils should continue to do twice weekly LFD tests. LFD kits are available every morning on arrival to school and during the day from the office. They can also be collected from pharmacies and test centres.

Please do not send pupils to school who have symptoms. They should self-isolate and book a PCR test and not return to school until they know this is negative and they have no symptoms.

The Parent Club also provides useful information on testing for pupils.

Dates for you diary (please also see the School Calendar for overview and updates):

Thursday 25 November – Friday 10 December – S4/5/6 Prelims

Wednesday 8 December – S2 Parents’ Consultation (virtual) – 5-7pm

Thursday 9 December – Parent Council (virtual) – 6.30-8pm

Thursday 9 December – Christmas lunch (Food Court) (sandwiches and fruit still available too)

Friday 10 December - Christmas Jumper Day (and donation to food bank)

Friday 17 December – End of Term (12.15pm)

Sue Cook

Please also remember to follow us at: for the latest information and updates