A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

We continue to get a good engagement in our remote learning from our young people since the start of our new timetable. It was also great to see so many of our pupils involved in our Virtual Sports event last week (more on this below) and this week has seen us celebrate Pride. Thank you to all pupils, staff and parents/carers for continuing to engage with all we are doing at Knox Academy and ensuring our value of community shines through.

Session 2020-21 Dates
The new school session will start on 12 August 2020 for young people in East Lothian Council as 10 August and 11 August 2020  will be staff in-service days. As the term is now starting a week earlier than anticipated, pupils and staff will receive this week back at the end of next session and school will finish on Friday 25 June 2021. 

Re-opening of Schools (Parental Survey from ELC and Pupil Survey from Knox Academy)
We are all looking forward to welcoming our young people back into school in August and we are busy preparing for this and should be in a position next week to communicate in detail about what Knox Academy’s ‘Blended Learning’ model will be.  This week we have been working on our school capacity plans to see how many pupils we can accommodate safely at Knox Academy in August. This is based on classroom sizes, social distancing regulations of 2m and staffing capacity. This means that about 30% of our school capacity can only be in school on any one day.  The exact details of when each year group will be in school will be communicated to all parents and pupils prior to the end of term. Please be assured we have done our best to devise a model that takes into account safety of our young people and staff first and foremost whilst ensuring all year groups have face to face teaching alongside their home learning (blended learning).

To help us get this right for our young people we would appreciate your views as parents/carers. I would be most grateful if you could complete this short survey regarding your child’s return to school in August by Monday 15 June 2020 4pm.

Mr Illingworth, our Depute Head Teacher, has also sent out an email on Health and Wellbeing to all our young people via their EduBuzz emails. Please could you encourage them to complete this? Thank you.

As well as using the specific information gleaned from this feedback to help in our planning for welcoming our young people back to Knox Academy, our focus will be very much on re-connecting with our young people and a focus on nurture.  East Lothian Psychological Services Team has prepared a video for parents/carers explaining what this entails.

Covid-19 Research Project
A former pupil at the University of Birmingham is conducting a research project exploring teen well-being during the Covid pandemic. It is for young people aged 11-15. An email will also be sent to S1-S4 EduBuzz accounts so pupils can click the link in this should they wish to complete it. All those taking part have the chance to win one of six £30 Amazon Vouchers. It would be great if parents/carers could encourage their young person to get involved.

Skills Development Scotland Results Helpline
Skills Development Scotland has asked me to make parents/carers and young people aware that their ‘Results Helpline’ will open at 8am on results day – Tuesday 4 August 2020 - with careers advisers offering support for young people and their parents and carers. No matter what your results, advisers can discuss your options and next steps such as course vacancies at UK colleges and universities, Confirmation and Clearing, Modern, Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships and jobs or volunteering.

The helpline will be open:

  • 4-5 August - 8am – 8pm 
  • 6-7 August - 9am – 5pm
  • 10-12 August - 9am –5pm

Call the SDS Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000 or visit MyWorldofWork

Online Safety
We are conscious that online learning will continue into the future and that young people will be spending more time on social media apps/chat rooms and therefore safety online is paramount. Our Community Link Police Officer has been in touch to suggest that parents and pupils may find the following links useful to help support online safety.

The main source of advice is the UK Safer Internet Centre. Parents can also sign up for National Online Safety.

A tried and tested resource for pupils and parents with very good information is Thinkuknow.

School Uniform for Session 2020-21
When we return in August we would still like to ask all pupils to wear School Uniform. If possible, I would also like to ask parents/carers to purchase pens/pencils/ruler and pencil case for your young person to bring to school to ensure that these pieces of equipment are not shared or borrowed for health and safety reasons during the Covid-19 recovery period. If parents are also able to provide hand sanitiser as part of this ‘kit’ that would also be much appreciated, although this will also be available at areas throughout the school, along with hand washing facilities. Should young people wish to wear a face mask, we are happy for them to do this, and these should be provided by home. Pupils should also be aware that some of our staff may also wear face masks too.

‘This week Knox Academy has been celebrating Pride. The school is currently working towards achieving our silver LGBT Youth Scotland charter. The week has allowed us to celebrate our fantastic diversity at Knox and highlight that the school is an inclusive and friendly place to be. The LGBT+ Allies group worked hard to put together an engaging programme of activities and important messages this week to try and encourage LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) inclusion for staff and learners. We have also set up a twitter account  to share important LGBT+ information. Today (Friday) we will be encouraging staff, pupils and the wider Knox Academy community to wear the colours of the rainbow to show their support for equality and inclusion at our school and in our local and wider community and to share their photographs on our Twitter feed (by Nicola Stobie, LGBTQ+ coordinator).  I would also like to say a massive thank you to Ms Stobie, Ms Adam and the LGBT Allies Group who put this week together. It was phenomenal!

Virtual Sports Week 2020 - Results!
A huge thank you to all pupils and staff who took part in this event.  We were overwhelmed by the number of participants and with all of your evidence submitted.  Pupils from all over the school including Meadowpark took part and we were impressed with some of your results.  After totalling up all the scores - the point totals are now availableCongratulations to Garleton who have won the House Sports Trophy.  

Just for interest - we also totalled the distance/times/repetitions you all managed to complete for your houses.  Pretty impressive - Knox Rocks!

Finally, all individual successes will have prizes winging their way to you courtesy of Leisure Time Sports – a huge thank you to them for their generosity in providing these prizes. Thanks again to all who participated - hope you had some fun trying these challenges out.  Stay active folks and stay safe. #Knox4Sport (by Jenny Leighton and Lana Borwick)


Have a lovely weekend

Sue Cook