HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 20th DECEMBER 2018

It has been a fantastic final week of term here at Knox Academy.  The pupils and staff on the Aubigny trip seemed to have had a fantastic five days away and seemed to have been immersed in the culture and customs of Aubigny (with much eating of the flavoursome French cuisine)!  We look forward to the possibility of welcoming some young people back to Haddington in August next year and them spending a few days at our school.

Staffing

We have made appointments in Biology (1 FTE permanent) and also appointed a Faculty Head of Technologies yesterday. 

We also should have an English supply specialist joining us at the start of next term so that is very positive news indeed for the English team and also for our pupils.  We are still aiming to recruit a permanent 0.8 FTE and this will be advertised again in January.  We are also hopeful of recruiting a specialist supply in Home Economics until we recruit someone to our 0.6 permanent post.

As I said in my last update, Mrs Caroline Falconer (DHT) is also going to be taking up a 23 month secondment as a Quality Improvement Officer with the South East Improvement Collaborative and a start date has still to be agreed for this.  This will create an acting DHT position at the school which will be advertised in the New Year.

I would like to also wish Simone Jenkins all the best as she leaves Knox Academy to go full time at Ross High School.  Simone is one of the cheeriest cleaning staff I have met and will miss her smiles and cheerful singing.

Christmas Concert

Both the afternoon and evening concerts were amazing. We welcomed our P7 cluster primaries, Meadowpark pupils, local care home residents and some parents to our afternoon performance. They were certainly treated to a toe tapping performance and everyone seemed to be smiling broadly as they left the hall.  The evening was every bit as entertaining and none of the performers seemed to have lost their zest after performing earlier on.  The vast array of talent on the stage left us all feeling very proud to be staff and parents of these amazing young people.  The closing rendition of ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ saw the first staff band take to the stage with all performers from the evening joining them to sing along with them.  This was a great end to a great evening.  I would like to thank all the pupils for letting us appreciate their musical talent and to all the staff who have taught and mentored them along the way. The National 5 and Higher Art work displayed in the foyer showed the talent in the school and as I said in my Tweet, could be exhibited in any gallery. Thank you to the Art Department for putting this display together and to our young people for letting us showcase their talent.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to all our parents/carers, friends, family, staff and our partners who came along to support the event and were such a receptive audience.  With concerts like this, ‘I wish it could be Christmas Everyday….’

S5 Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI)

Wednesday saw our YPI School Final. Our S5 has been researching social issues and charities in their YPI classes this year. The YPI programme sees all S5s researching social issues and building relationships with a local charity. At the School Final our five finalists showcased their findings in a competition to win £3000 for their chosen local charity.

This year we had groups representing the following local charities; East Lothian Young Carers, East Lothian Special Needs Play Scheme, Leuchie House, Changes and Rocking for Tots. The presentations were an absolute joy to watch; the passion, creativity and professionalism on display was brilliant to see and makes us all very proud of the young people who were up on stage. They were an absolute credit to the school

Congratulations to our winning group: Anna Cameron, Catriona Dee, Emma Dickson, Eve McBain and Jocelyn McKnight, who were representing the East Lothian Special Needs Play Scheme. The five girls captured the hearts of the audience with a passionate and detailed presentation which included a powerful short video which they created. Their presentation really made everyone think about the challenges faced everyday by youngsters with additional support needs.

A very proud day for the school seeing such altruism and philanthropy on display! (by Alex Redford)

S6 Panto

It was a fun filled Wednesday evening as our S6 took to the stage to perform their take on a Mamma Mia type story.  The panto was written, directed and performed solely by our very talented S6, which in itself makes it very special! A fun evening was had by all on stage and those in the audience – and we had fun singing along too. 

Christmas Boxes

The theme this year was Christmas Films and the quality of beautifully decorated boxes by tutor groups, filled with goodies, did not disappoint!  Linda McInnes and I had the privilege of judging the winning boxes and this was a very difficult decision.  After much contemplation, Meadowpark won the overall prize, with 1G1, 2L3, 5C winning the House boxes and 6B being highly commended.  What a great effort by all and the Social Work Department, the Day Centre and Bield Housing were all delighted to receive these boxes as gifts for our local community.  Thank you to all pupils and parents/carers for their contributions. Particular thanks to Mae Ball and Angela MacDonald for leading on this.

Today many of us are dressed in our Christmas jumpers and donations will be sent to Save the Children UK.  We will also be ending the term with all our young people and staff taking part in a ceilidh, a Christmas Quiz, watching the S6 Panto and then the whole school singing the 12 Days of Christmas.  Apparently I have to start the singing….obviously no one knows that this is not one of my talents!

I would also like to thank everyone for their support in my first term at Knox Academy.  It’s a great school and I am very proud and privileged to be the Head Teacher here.  I am already looking forward to the many exciting things we have planned for 2019.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all pupils, staff, parents/carers and partners of the school a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sue Cook

(Please follow us onTwitter for our most up-to-date news   )