HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 17 JANUARY 2020

Happy New Year and another fulfilling one for all at Knox Academy and our community. This term we will start our series of assemblies looking at our new school vision, "Always to choose kindness and create a respectful environment where staff and pupils can inspire each other to achieve their goals and become life-long learners."  We will also link this to our school values of Ambition, Respect and Community (ARC) and our further theme for this year, RESILIENCE. It would be good if parents/carers could support the school in discussing our vision and values with your young person too.

I would also like to update parents/carers on the VE Day Consultation that took place in November 2019. As a result of this, East Lothian Council has taken the decision to allocate 8 May 2020 as an additional day's leave in order to celebrate the 75th Anniversary Celebrations. Details of this can be found in a letter from East Lothian Council. Please note, on Monday 4 May (our other holiday) both Higher and Advanced Higher English exams are on this day and pupils who are sitting these exams must attend school.

Staffing

Joan Hunter retired as our catering assistant after 29 years at Knox Academy. We will miss her greatly.

Judy Hadden, one of our Learning Assistants at Meadowpark also leaves us next Friday to take up a post with the NHS.

Donna Connell, a Learning Assistant at Knox Academy, leaves on Friday to take up a Youth Worker /Mentoring post based at Leith Academy.

Emma Maguire, Business Support Administrator, leaves Knox Academy after 8 years to take up a role in the private sector.

Pamela MacGregor, Science Technician, retired at the end of term after 15 years’ service at Knox Academy.

Whether retirement or moving on to pastures new, I would like to wish all the aforementioned staff very best wishes for their future from all at Knox Academy.

Recruitment

ASN Auxiliary at Meadowpark – this was interviewed on Tuesday and we have a preferred candidate

Science Technician - advert live

Business Support Administrator – advert live

School News

PTA

Unfortunately, there will be no Burns Supper at Knox Academy this year as we do not have caterers who can support the event. This has been a great occasion in the past and a successful way of raising funds for the school. However, if you would like to contribute to school funds which supports all of the pupils, please enquire about signing up for the 100 Club. For as little as £3 per month you could be in with a chance to win £50 in the monthly draw. knoxacpta@gmail.com or check out the Knox Academy PTA Facebook page.

Pupil News

Amnesty International Write for Rights

In RMPS pupils have been working on the Amnesty International Write for Rights campaign in class.  This involves writing letters and greetings cards for people around the world who have had their rights taken away.  For example, Yasaman in Iran who has been given ten years in prison simply for campaigning for the right not to wear the Hijab.  Many pupils have really engaged in this campaign and many cards have been sent and also displayed in the RMPS department.  It just goes to show that a little act can make a big difference.  Thanks to everyone who is involved (by Ms Montgomery, RMPS)

Squash

Congratulations to Dylan Pearman who came 8th overall in the U15 Scottish Junior Open Squash Championships.  A great performance.

Parents/Carers Information

Diligence Awards

Congratulations to many of our young people who received their first diligence awards in December for showing hard work and commitment to their learning between August and December in their subjects.  The aim of these diligence awards, which replace our old merit system, is to get a diligence award in all of their subject areas e.g. in S3, young people study eight subjects (excluding Core RE, SE and PE) so the aim should be to receive a diligence nomination in all eight subjects.  If they were not nominated for all their subjects this highlights the need for them to show more diligence to their learning in these subjects in term two (January-April) when the next diligence awards will be issued.  I would ask parents/carers to discuss these diligence awards with your young person and praise them if they received awards in all of their subjects as this was an excellent performance. If they did not attain a diligence award in all of their subjects it would be appreciated if you could discuss with them the need to apply themselves fully to ensure this during term two so they get most, if not all, subjects listed on the certificate at the end of this term.  The diligence awards are aimed at supporting our school value of AMBITION and raising expectations of hard work and commitment to learning being paramount to success. More information on our diligence awards is available by clicking on this link Diligence Awards

S4 and S5/6 Parents’ Evening

Thank you to all S5/6 parents and carers who attended last week’s Parents’ Evening and to our S4 parents/carers who attended this week.  Your attendance at these evenings makes such a difference in ensuring open lines of communication about your young person’s performance and next steps and working together so they attain their potential.  If you were unable to attend for any reason and wish feedback, please contact your young person’s Guidance teacher. Presentation levels for all young people will be decided soon and these will be communicated to both pupils and parents/carers. In the meantime, please encourage your young person to attend a supported study for their subjects and to use google classroom and online resources such as Scholar UK and SQA Understanding Standards Understanding Standards.  If doing past papers at home, parents/carers can support this by ensuring a quiet space away from interruptions and by helping encourage timed assessments when completing past paper questions as this mimics exam conditions and the pressures associated with them.  This should mean when your young person comes to sit their exams they are prepared for these conditions. A range of Study Support Sessions are available in addition to a variety of other study skills documents to help prepare for exams

Attendance

Attendance is synonymous with attainment and young people need to be in school on a day to day basis to ensure they achieve their potential.  Please can I encourage parents/carers to ensure their young person comes to school every day unless there are mitigating or extenuating circumstances that prevent them from doing so. Every day off impacts on course work missed and this is proven to have a negative effect on the grades/assessment marks that a young person achieves. It may also be the difference between whether a pupil is presented at National 3, 4 or 5 or achieving a course award/qualification at all as many involve practical assessments/folio/project work which is over and above the SQA examination.  For S4/5/6 this term is highly important to ensure they complete their course work in time for their SQA exams. We will do our best to support all of our young people to achieve the best they can but being in school every day is the best way for us to do this.  Your support with this is much appreciated.

Community

We are very proud of all our young people in how much they contribute to our local and wider community.  Please can parents/carers continue to support our young people through discussions about this and encourage activities such as volunteering, coaching or supporting events in and around Haddington.  Please also remind your young person that when out and about in our community, in the Knox Academy uniform, they are ambassadors for the school and what they say and do reflects on both the school and their parents/carers. It is important, therefore, that their conduct is always impeccable at all times so our reputation in the community is a good one and everyone speaks highly of us and your/our young people. Thank you.

Dates for your diary (please also refer to the CALENDAR on the school website for all events across the year):

  • 28 January – Parent Council – Library – 6.15-8pm
  • 3 February – Careers Evening – all pupils/parents welcome – 6-8pm (Main Hall)
  • 4 February – S2 Parents’ Evening
  • 7 February – school closes for mid-term at 12.15pm  
  • 17 February – staff in-service day
  • 20 February – S2-S5 Learner Pathways Information Evening – 6.30pm

 

Sue Cook