A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

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