A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

Good afternoon

Every week seems to just get busier and busier.  This week and next the Senior Leadership Team is involved in Faculty Reviews of Science and Health and Wellbeing. This involves us in classroom observations of all teachers in these faculties and seeing what the learning experiences are like for our young people in these classes.  As part of the review process we also hold pupil focus groups.  These allow us to hear from pupils about their learning and progress in these faculties and what they feel we are doing well and what else they would like to see happening to maximise their learning.

Through these reviews, and the professional dialogue with teachers and pupils, we are able to identify areas of effective practice and areas we to need to further develop.  This allows us to then focus on our professional learning and development to ensure that our learners get the best experiences we can offer when they visit our classrooms.

Extra- curricular

Many of young people are involved in extra-curricular events after school and this week has seen a new opportunity for S1/2 pupils to become involved in work with the National Theatre.  I will speak a little more about that later in my update.   I would advocate for all of our young people to try to do at least one, if not two, extra-curricular activities, as they offer the opportunity to further develop skills such as working with pupils across year groups which builds relationships across the school,. These activities also develop skills such as problem solving, team work, confidence, creativity – and many more! 

Attendance

This week I would also like to ask parents/carers to support their young person in coming to school on a regular basis.  All pupils should be aiming for a 100% attendance rate at school as this gives them the maximum opportunity to achieve their potential.  If a pupil is only at school 80% of the year this is equivalent to them missing two days in every fortnight and will have a direct impact on both their attainment and achievement.  For every 10% missed there is evidence that this equates with pupils attaining a whole grade lower e.g. getting a C in a National 5 exam when they could have attained a B had they been in class all the time.  This becomes even more pronounced the less they attend school.  Pupils need to be in class to learn as this is where they get the specialist support that will help them progress.  

We would be grateful if all parents/carers could support us in ensuring your young person gets to school on time and aims for 100% attendance to maximise their opportunities.  We do however acknowledge that specific medical conditions/illness can impact on attendance and the school will do our best to support pupils/parents/carers at these times.

Staffing

We have preferred candidates for our part-time Geography and Physics posts

We are currently recruiting for English and Biology

Mr Peter Luke, our new Business Manager will start with us on Monday.

Mrs Lisa Braid will start with us in Home Economics as our new auxiliary

Mrs Jenny Wright will join as a Support for Learning teacher

Mr Manus McGeehan will leave us next Friday and we wish him well for his retirement.

Pupil News

Leadership

Eight of our S4-S6 pupils attended Sports Leadership courses this week - Organising Competitions, Learning to Coach, Learning to Coach Gymnastics, Rugby Referee Level 1 and Football SFA Development Skills.  The knowledge and practical skills they gain from attendance at these courses also support the extra –curricular clubs we run at the school.  As a number of these courses are accredited those attending also gained a qualification.

P4 Rugby Festival

Thank you to a group of S2/S5 and S6 boys who went along, with Scott Marnoch, to support the running of the P4 Rugby Festival.  A superb way to build links with our cluster primaries.

Rory Morrison S3

Last Saturday, Rory completed a gruelling charity ride for Poppy Scotland. The cycle was over 100km long with over 4500ft of ascent.  His route started in Prestonpans and then followed the coast to North Berwick, over to Garvald, up to Whiteadder reservoir in to the Lammermuirs before routing back to Prestonpans via Gifford, Humbie and Musselburgh.  Phew!  Of the 850 riders taking part Rory and his friend were the youngest to complete the course.  This was an amazing effort made all the harder with winds gusting at 35mph! This ride was a culmination of intense training and hard work.

Rory has also competed at a national level in mountain bike racing achieving 6th place in both the British Enduro Championships and Scottish Downhill Championships.

Congratulations Rory – Knox Academy is very proud of all your achievements!

National Theatre Connections

On Wednesday the Drama Department held auditions for S1/2 pupils for their National Theatre Connections Project.  They were overwhelmed by the turnout, with 40 pupils turning up to audition.  The Faculty will be announcing the cast next Friday, 12th October, and can’t wait to start the rehearsals after the October break for their production at the Traverse Theatre next year!  Exciting times and a great opportunity for all involved.

Staff News

Scottish 10k

Congratulations to Karen Malone, Business Education, who completed the Scottish 10k on Sunday 23rd September and to Vicky Lyon who also ran in the Great Scottish Half Marathon in Glasgow last weekend (which followed on from her running two marathons the previous weekend).  Great to see staff looking after their health and wellbeing too. 

MacMillan Coffee Morning

Although a little later than most, Knox Academy will hold our MacMillan Coffee Morning next Thursday (11th October). Thank you to Mae Ball and other staff for organising this special fundraiser.

Dates for your diary:

Wednesday 10th October – P7 Information Evening – Main Hall – 7pm

Thursday 11th October – 9 Designs Quiz Evening – 6.45-9pm – Library (tickets also available on the night - £5 adults, £3 pupils)

Saturday 13th - Monday 22nd October (inclusive) – October holiday for pupils

Tuesday 23rd October – Parent Council Meeting – School Library – 6.15pm

Wednesday 7th November – S5/6 Parent Consultation – 5-7pm

The sun is shining outside as I finish my update and hope it continues to shine for all in the Knox Academy community over the weekend.

Have a good one!

Sue Cook

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