A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

16 October 2020

This week our Pupil Leadership Team ran an assembly, for all year groups, on school uniform and how it supports our identity as a school community and strengthens our common purpose. Our assemblies will continue after the October break with a focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing, our school value of ‘ambition’ and in November, Remembrance Day – Poppy Scotland.

Staffing 

Lana Borwick (PE) – leaves us today to go on maternity leave. We wish her well and look forward to hearing her news in the near future.

School Uniform

As it gets colder outside and classrooms remain well ventilated, it would be good to plan for this in terms of layering up.   We would like to suggest that in preparation for this that young people be able to wear a plain black fleece in classes (not hooded tops – as we have a no hooded top policy at the school for health and safety reasons). This will also mean that our young people still have a jacket they can put on top for going outdoors to keep warm. As young people are all wearing face coverings in social areas and corridors it is also important that they are wearing our school uniform as this is the easiest way to check that all in the school are indeed members of  Knox Academy. 

We are also 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 to support you in purchasing school uniform.  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 (Ms Adam/Mr Meekison/Mrs Doig) who should also be able to help you via a telephone call/email.

As part of our re-use and recycle Eco-School we have available uniform, for free, for any parents/carers or pupils who wish it. Please just phone the school office to access this and we can arrange for you to receive it. 

Health and Safety at school

Just a short reminder that any pupil showing Covid-19 symptoms must not attend school and you can book a test online at www.nhsinform.scot or by telephoning 0800 028 2816. Only if this test is negative should the pupil return to school. If pupils have the common cold, they should still attend school if they feel well enough to do so. Some frequently asked questions about Covid-19, for parents/carers, have also been produced by the NHS and are well worth reading.

Protect Scotland App

You may be aware that Scotland’s new test and protect app is now live. The app is free and is designed to help us protect each other, reduce the spread of Coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns. Members of the public are encouraged to download the Protect Scotland app to their phone to help us minimise any infection.

The app isn’t a substitute for contact tracing but will alert you if you have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for coronavirus. Visit Protect.Scot for further information and to download the app or search for ‘Protect Scotland’ in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

S4/5/6 Prelims

We are reviewing the timing of these based on Deputy First Minister’s/SQA’s recent announcement  and further information from SQA at the end of October. We will update you soon as soon as possible. Prelims will still be held for N5 (to support us with our estimates) and for Higher and Advanced Higher.

Study Support

Please find a link to all study support subjects being offered at the school (some at lunchtimes as well as after school). Please encourage your young person to make use of these sessions as they can make a huge difference to your performance/attainment.

Achievement Ties

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations for Achievement Ties. The Committee will meet on 28th October to review these.  All pupils who were nominated will receive a letter in regard to the outcome at the start of November.

Attendance

We now have an “Attendance” inbox for parents to email with student absences/appointments. Please email attendance@knox.elcschool.org.uk

Former Pupil News - Princes Trust Level 3 award accreditation

Three pupils who have recently completed S6 have been awarded Level 3 Accreditation from the Princes Trust. They worked consistently hard with significant support throughout their final year to achieve this. This involved volunteering individually, and as a cohort, demonstrating team work and independent learning.

This is a super achievement both for Knox Academy as a school community and for the pupils involved. Congratulations to: Angus Langlands, Leo Washington Mackay, Sarah Greenwell

Mental Health Day

Mental Health Day took place on Saturday 10 October. We also had our own Mental Health Awareness week in May, when we focused on ‘kindness’, which was the mental health theme at this time. Promoting the good mental health of everyone in our community is so important, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic. We all need to take care of our mental health and wellbeing and ensure that we speak to, and treat our young people, family, colleagues, and even strangers we encounter, in a kind and supportive way; we often cannot see that people are struggling with their mental health as they manage to keep it hidden. We just do not know what people are going through, and although people may seem happy or strong, they may not be inside. As a community we all have our part to play. Although we have awareness raising days and weeks, mental health awareness is based in our actions on a day to day basis.

Mental wellbeing describes how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year. The NHS defines mental health as, ‘a reservoir of resilience to help us get through the day. The reservoir can go up or down.’ At times we can feel happy and content, and at other times we can feel anxious and sad. Our mental health affects how we think, feel and how we react to things;  how we handle stress, how we relate to others and the choices we make. It is okay, to not be okay. It is also important that we know there are places and people we can go to when we need support.

If your young person would like support, or you feel they would benefit from support, please contact their Pupil Support Leader (Ms Adam – Garleton; Mr Meekison – Lammerlaw; Mrs Doig – Traprain).

There is also lots of good advice and resources which parents/carers may find useful on:

The CAMHS (Children and Family Mental Health Services) website

Other websites which offer good advice and resources are: The World Health Organisation, NHS and CWIC also offer support for adults over 18/parents/carers (Tel: 01620 642963)

A number of our S6 pupils have also opted to follow our new SQA qualification in Mental Health this session and feedback is exceptionally positive from them about this course. They are also creating a peer support network at the school for pupils. 

Bonfire Night/Fireworks safety

Please find a link to a joint letter from Police Scotland, East Lothian Council and Scottish Fire & Rescue regarding fireworks safety which is asking parents/carers to ensure COVID compliance. Please read this. Thank you.

Parent Council

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

Dates for your diary

October break – 17th-26th (inclusive) for Pupils (17-25 for staff)

Parent Council – Wednesday 28th October – 6.15pm – 7.30pm (virtual)

S3 Parents’ Evening – Tuesday 3rd November - Google Meets (virtual) – 5-7pm

Have a fun and restful October break and we will look forward to seeing all of our young people back, batteries recharged, on Tuesday 27th October, at 8.25am.  

Sue Cook

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