HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 13th SEPTEMBER 2018

Good afternoon

There have been a number of activities and events across the school this week involving lots of pupils and staff.  Every activity has offered our pupils an opportunity to further their learning, develop their understanding on a topic(s) or learn new skills.  Or, in the case of the Extra-Curricular Careers Fayre, consider new activities and develop peer relationships across the school. 

Staffing

We are currently recruiting for a full time Maths teacher and 0.6FTE Geography teacher.

Our preferred candidate for our DHT post is David Russell (currently DHT at Liberton High School, Edinburgh) and preferred candidate for our Business Manager position is Peter Luke (currently the Business Manager at Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh).

Bev Skirrow, our current Business Manager, will leave Knox Academy on Thursday 27th September after ten years here.  Her skills and attributes have made her a highly successful Business Manager here and an excellent member of the Senior Leadership and wider staff teams.  We wish her well in her new post.

All the fun at the Freshers’ Fayre

There was a great atmosphere on Tuesday 11th September atmosphere at this year’s S1 &S 2 Extra Curricular Fresher’s Fayre.

This event was a key catalyst in encouraging S1 & S2 pupils to explore safe and stimulating activities to complement their academic studies.  This year’s event was bigger and better than ever with 25 activity stalls being run by Staff and Senior Pupils, who lead these activities.  Stalls Included the Knox Hockey Academy, Amnesty Group, Knox School of Rugby, Yoga, Drama Club, Girls & Boys Football, Girls Computing Club, Netball and much, much more!

I think it’s fair to say that Knox Academy is now providing a diverse and inspiring array of Extra Curricular Activities for S1 and S2 Pupils. There really is an opportunity for everyone to engage in quality clubs and to develop new skills and friendships along the way.

A BIG thank you to everyone that was involved in running the stalls, I know that the many Knox Clubs are looking forward to welcoming some new faces along in the weeks to come. A huge thank you also goes to Mr Wands for organising the fayre.

Young Sports Ambassadors

I am really pleased to announce that Louise Allan and Charlie Gates have been selected as this year’s Young Sports Ambassadors.  I had great pleasure in meeting Charlie and Louise this morning and hearing them talk about how they intend to raise the profile of sport at the school for all pupils and through many different channels, including engaging with sporting bodies at a local and national level.

The Young Ambassadors programme is funded by the National Lottery and is a key element of Sport Scotland’s contribution to developing young people as leaders in sport.

Each year, two pupils from each secondary school in Scotland are chosen as Young Ambassadors to promote sport, and motivate and inspire other young people to get involved in sport in their schools, clubs and local communities.

Louise and Charlie's applications stood out from the many we received this year. We are confident that they and our other Sports Leaders will have a big impact on the quality and quantity of Activity Clubs available at school.  Thank you again to Mr Wands for accompanying Charlie and Louise to the conference at Murrayfield last week and supporting them in their roles.

Celebrating Sport Awards

City Of Edinburgh Trampoline Club (who run the sessions here at Knox Academy) have been shortlisted in the Club of the Year Category at the East Lothian Celebrating Sports Awards Ceremony on Friday 26th October. 

Lauren Jeffrey (Geography) has also been shortlisted as Performance/Development coach of the year at the same event in October at the Brunton Theatre.

I am delighted to have been invited to attend this evening and I am hopeful of seeing many of our Knox Academy pupils receive awards for the various sports they are involved in.

Italian Lunchtime Club

A lunchtime Italian club for S2 has started on Tuesdays at 1.20 in T1.3, Mrs Cochrane's room.  We will be looking at topics such as saying your name, where you live and what age you are, describing people and personalities, the weather, clothes and family members.  The lessons will be built around the film Cinema Paradiso.  Later in the year we will find out about cultural events, food and some of the main Italian cities (by Mrs Cochrane)

Duke of Edinburgh (by Philip Gilholm)

Congratulations to the 2 groups who are working towards their Bronze award with the Pupil Support Base this year in successfully completing their qualifying expeditions over the first two weekends in September.

The first weekend saw Cara Lavender, Sophie Cheyne, Abbie Gibson, Hannah McKnight, Ajla Husic and Robert Dickson complete their 2 Night Expedition down in North Northumberland, walking for 2 days with an overnight camp just outside Bamburgh.

It was a challenging route, differing from a walk in Scotland with different access rights, the group persisted through the entire 2 days to be successfully assessed, all done with lots of enthusiasm and hard work. The assessor noted how very well the group supported each other and shared the workload during the walk and at the campsite.

The second group completed their expedition last Friday and Saturday on a similar route but in reverse, starting in appalling weather which they endured for half of Friday but thankfully cleared up for the rest of the time out. This expedition went very well with a couple of small blips in navigation which were very quickly remedied. The assessors for this group also remarked how well they worked as a team, particularly at the campsite where it was getting dark by the time they cooked their dinner.

Many thanks to Scott Marnoch and Lana Borwick (Knox Staff) who gave up their weekends to support the first expedition, their involvement was well received by the participants. Also a massive thank you to the assessors, Jim Gilroy, a retired teacher from Newcastle, who assessed the first group, and David and Margaret Habgood, retired teachers from Gifford, who all give up their time for free and who were all very supportive in helping both groups achieve success. 

Maths Week (by Mr Blair)

The Maths Department organised a number of activities for Scotland's Maths Week. Classes have been working through a ‘Maths wi nae Borders’ competition which has five tasks and is inspired by the annual ‘Mathématiques sans Frontières’ contest. Escape Edinburgh volunteered their time and resources to create Knox Academy's very first Escape Room! Groups of pupils and staff have taken on the challenge of solving the puzzles and challenges with great gusto and enthusiasm. A huge thank you to Escape Edinburgh for working with us on this.  Professor Adam McBride from Strathclyde University also came to the school and worked with some of our S3 and S5/6 pupils. For the Higher pupils, he did a ‘Maths is BEST’ talk which showed that Maths is the language of the modern world.  For a group of S3 pupils he spent time doing various activities and problem solving along with the maths staff. It was a great week and we are sure our pupils benefited from the various activities on offer highlighting that maths is both fun and challenging.

Inspiring Purpose

All S1 pupils take part in the Inspiring Purpose poster competition in which they reflect on what really matters to them.  They have to think about the qualities they have and the ones they are developing such as perseverance, kindness and enthusiasm.  The overall winner was Olivia Dale who worked hard to produce a thoughtful and beautifully presented poster.  Well done.

Fire Up Scotland

On Wednesday 12 September, 30 pupils from S5/6 accompanied by Miss McBride, Miss Jeffrey, Mr Millar & Miss Fraser headed off to the Fire Up Scotland Event at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. The event was designed to invigorate pupils’ self-esteem and levels of motivation with regards to their future prospects. The group was treated to a number of extremely inspirational speeches from presenters such as Christian MacLeod, a pioneer in the art of establishing a luxury fashion brand at the age of 27, Lucy Lintott, who was diagnosed with MND at the age of 19 and has used her experience to raise thousands for medical research and Alice Thompson, co-founder of the leading homeless charity Social Bite. In-between speeches, the audience was entertained by a variety of gifted musicians, such as Indigo Velvet and Skapede Studios, both of whom have beaten the odds to achieve success and now work with young people across Scotland to help them to do the same. All in all it was a great day had by all and pupils seemed to have really taken on board the essential messages.  In the words of event organiser Gavin Oattes"Be The Milk".  Knox Academy is already looking forward to see what happens next thanks to such a successful event. (by Ms McBride)

I wish the Knox Academy community a fun and restful long weekend and I will look forward to seeing staff and pupils, looking and feeling refreshed, on Tuesday 18th September.

Sue Cook