December 2017

Published: 27 December 2017

Listen again to the Christmas Concert which was held on Tuesday 19 December 2017 in the concerts section of our website.  Previous concerts are also accessible on their individual pages.

Thanks to Laura Harrison, Abby Hickman and Rebecca Mackenzie for filming the Christmas Concert 2017.


Published: 22 December 2017

In a recent Head Teacher’s Update, I shared with parents and carers our proposal to shorten the lunch break and finish school earlier. Thank you to everyone who sent me their thoughts on the proposal. As is often the case with change, there were mixed views.  We also discussed the proposal with our Parent Council and asked all pupils for their views via registration classes.

Taking account of the feedback, we have decided to pilot a change in the timing of the school day for the five weeks from Monday 8 January to the February break. The lunch break will be 45 minutes long and the school day will finish ten minutes earlier. Timings for registration to period 4, and for Friday, remain unchanged. Below are the timings for the school day during the pilot, Monday to Thursday.

  • Registration  8.44am – 8.56am
  • Period 1  8.56am – 9.55am
  • Period 2  9.55am – 10.53am
  • Interval   10.53am – 11.09am
  • Period 3  11.09am – 12.08pm
  • Period 4  12.08pm – 1.07pm
  • Lunch   1.07 pm – 1.52pm 
  • Period 5   1.52pm – 2.51pm
  • Period 6  2.51pm – 3.50pm

Please take particular note that school will finish at 3.50 pm. For pupils who travel home on a school bus, the Prentice buses will leave school five minutes earlier than they do at present, at 4.00 pm. For senior pupils who are sitting benchmark assessments during the pilot, the start time of afternoon assessments will be adjusted accordingly. 

Having a lunch break of 45 minutes would bring us in line with the other five secondary schools in the authority. The timing of their lunch break is as follows:

  • 3 schools: 45 minutes lunch break
  • 2 schools: 45 minutes first bell; second bell five minutes later, by which time pupils are settled in class and ready to begin learning.

Head teachers of the other schools report that 45 minutes gives pupils adequate time to buy and eat their lunch, even for those who choose to go out of school. All schools offer a variety of lunchtime clubs and activities and manage to fit these in to the 45 minutes comfortably. For example, most of our music instructors work in other schools in the authority as well as Knox, so they are used to the 45 minute timing.

Pupils told us that, generally, they like the earlier finish as it gives them more time after school for extra-curricular activities and they can get home earlier. Some also said that they get bored towards the end of the long lunch break. Pupils have three main concerns about a shorter lunch break: less time to buy and eat lunch; less time for clubs and activities; and those getting buses would have a longer wait at the end of the day. The experience of pupils and staff in the other five secondary schools in the authority indicates that, with a 45 minute lunch break, pupils do have time to buy and eat lunch (even for pupils in those schools situated further from local shops than Knox) and lunchtime activities still run successfully. Regarding buses, the school buses will be leaving five minutes earlier; pupils getting a service bus can wait in the Food Court if they wish.

As I outlined in a recent Head Teacher’s Update, East Lothian is currently exploring the option of having a common school day for the six secondary schools. If this is put in place, the lunch break is likely to be 45 minutes. This pilot enables Knox Academy to see how we can work within that timing.

We will evaluate the pilot timings before the February break and I would welcome comments from parents and carers once it is up and running. Please be assured that, in piloting this change, our focus is on what is most beneficial to our pupils’ learning, both within and outwith the classroom. Our hope is that shortening the lunch break will ensure pupils settle more quickly in class period 5, and the slightly earlier finish means pupils will be less tired and remain focused on their learning until the end of period 6. The evaluation of the pilot will tell us whether that is the case.

Lauren Rodger
Head Teacher,

Published: 21 December 2017

We are pleased to publish the benchmarking assessment timetable for January 2018.  Please note that if a subject or level is not listed it is likely that this subject has chosen to do their assessment in class time outwith the benchmarking period, please see you teacher for details.

For a small number of pupils there may be instances where assessments clash.  If this is the case please see Mr Illingworth to make alternative arrangements.

It is important to note that benchmarking assessments are primarily about assessing progress and identifying areas for development during the final few months of the course, as well as giving you some practice and experience in an exam setting.   Benchmarking performance is only taken in to account regarding your final grade if there is an issue at the final exam, illness for instance.  Please do not feel unduly anxious about them, just try your hardest and prepare well.

Published: 20 December 2017

East Lothian Council, in association with the Lord Lynn and the Scottish Flag Trust, is launching a public competition to design a new and distinctive civic flag for the county of East Lothian.

An increasing number of civic areas have had a new flag designed, recent Scottish examples being Orkney, Kirkcudbrightshire and Caithness.  While associated with the Saltire, the county does not have a flag of its own.  The benefits of having a flag would include allowing East Lothian residents to celebrate their heritage, express pride in their community, and help raise recognition and awareness of the county nationwide.

Anyone is free to enter the competition.  The closing date is 28 February 2018.  Entries can be from individuals or groups.

Guidelines for the competition set out the rules and requirements for submissions and explain the various stages leading to a winning design being chosen.

Published: 18 December 2017

I want to make you all aware about and invite you along to a whole school event (S1-S6) on Monday 29th January 2018, 6 - 8pm, at Knox Academy. This will be a Careers Evening where various businesses and further education providers will be hosting stalls for parents and pupils to discuss career paths and opportunities. There will be something for everyone!

The Evening is being organised by our Pupil Learning Team, Parent Council and DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) to support our efforts to foster an ethos of ambition; one of our Four Key Priorities. The Event is also being held just before our first set of coursing starts.

If you intend on attending, please can you complete this short form (click here) which will help us in our planning.

Mr C Blair

Published: 14 December 2017

A new strategy that commits schools to supporting and engaging parents in their children’s education was launched by East Lothian Council this week.  Pupils have received a paper copy of this policy in an A5 booklet during registration this week.

The Parental Engagement Strategy 2017-2020 aims to ensure that that all parents and carers are encouraged and supported to engage as partners in their children’s learning, and to become involved in the life of the school. The strategy also ensures that it can continue to build on good practice and create further opportunities for our parents and schools to work together. Its publication follows consultation with and collaboration between parents, teachers and key education officers and approval at the June meeting of the council’s Education committee. The strategy will be reviewed every four years in line with parental engagement legislation.

The core aims of the strategy are to ensure that parents and carers:

  • Are made to feel welcome and included
  • Are engaged with their children’s learning
  • Are communicated with in a variety of ways
  • Are able to contribute to Family Learning opportunities
  • Are able to access support
  • Are encouraged to participate in Parent Council meetings and Forums

Fiona Robertson, Head of Education at East Lothian Council, said:

“I would like to thank all the parents, Head Teachers and council officers who have worked together to create this strategy. We believe that fostering positive partnerships between parents and schools is absolutely key to securing the best outcomes for our children and young people, and this policy demonstrates the council’s commitment to helping all parents and carers to be engaged at a level that is right for them.”

Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services, said:

“The Parental Engagement Strategy isn’t just about making sure that parents feel welcomed and included in the life of the school, it’s also about making sure that schools make the involvement of parents a priority. Research proves that meaningful parental engagement leads to greater success for our children and young people and is incredibly important in improving better attendance, behaviour and learning. By working together we can make a real difference.”

View the full policy - East Lothian: Parental Engagement Strategy 2017

Link to East Lothian Council's news article

Published: 10 December 2017

Knox Academy is pleased to invite applications for the following vacancies:

Closing Date: Sunday 17 December 2017

Closing Date: Friday 22 December 2017