HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 22 MAY 2020

There has been a really high level of engagement in our new remote timetable this week and the move to it starting two weeks earlier than scheduled has been the right decision as both engagement and motivation levels appear to have risen and it is great to see both junior and senior pupils participating in their new courses. If for any reason your young person has not been added to a Google Classroom they are expecting to be in, all they need to do is email a teacher from that department and they will be added. Now that the new timetable has started, no further course changes should be requested by our new S5/6 pupils before the results come out in August, and even at this point we may not be able to honour all requests as many courses are already full. Please can I remind anyone who requires a Chromebook for remote learning to contact admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk and we will provide your young person with one so they can gain full access to remote learning. We have also laid out expectations for remote learning and it would be good it you could read these and discuss them with your young person.

Re-opening of Schools

Please find an update from Lesley Brown, Chief Operating Officer (Education) concerning schools reopening following the First Minister’s announcement on Thursday.

The main message in the First Minister’s announcement was that the Scottish Government is aiming to restart school education for almost all children and young people in Scotland in August. The start date of the new term will be standardised across Scotland as 11 August 2020 (a week earlier than expected in East Lothian). Subject to review next Thursday at the FM’s update, teachers and other school staff should be returning to schools at some point in June, to plan and prepare for the new blended model of learning to be implemented from August. This blended model will be a mixture of in-school and in-home learning. Our Council will be preparing a Local Phased Delivery Plan in the weeks ahead and all stakeholders will be consulted. Physical distancing and hygiene will be critically important elements. In the meantime I will continue to update you accordingly. We all want to get back to school very soon, but doing so in a safe and measured way is vital.

Staffing

Mr Redford, Modern Studies, will leave at the end of this term to take up the position of Curriculum Leader of Social Subjects at Ross High School.

Mr McFadden, who has been a probationer with us this session has also been appointed as a Chemistry teacher at Ross High School and will start there after the holidays too.

Ms Fruish, our acting Curriculum Leader (CL) of Communications will return to North Berwick High School after the holidays and there will be an acting CL position in Communications until the end of October, when Ms Machen returns.  This has been advertised last week and interviews take place for this next week.

Charlotte Todd (Librarian) leaves us to take up a post in Hanoi. We have a replacement for Charlotte and I will give more information soon about the exact start date of our new Librarian.

Sarah MacDonald and Howard Barnhurst (probationers in Drama and History (respectively) also leave us at the end of this session.

Next session we will welcome three new probationers in English, Biology and Home Economics.

Hopefully we will get an opportunity soon to meet as a staff team to wish these staff all the best for their future before the end of term but just in case we don’t all manage to get together, on behalf of all the Knox Academy community I would like to thank them all for their hard work and commitment to the school in their time here and say what an asset they have all been to Knox Academy. The very best to you all for your future and please keep in touch with us to let us know how you are getting on.

Pupil Leadership Elections

Next week we will begin the process of electing our pupil leadership team for the 2020/21 session. Our pupil leadership teams have always been great ambassadors for Knox Academy and provided incredible support to fellow pupils, staff, parents and the wider community. When we return, the role of our pupil leaders will be more important than ever in helping our school community adjust to the circumstances and the challenges we will face. As in previous years, we will be electing two Head Pupils and 3 Deputes to lead the pupils of Knox Academy into next session. Information about the role of Head Pupil, the election process and how to apply will be distributed via the school website and Google Classroom at the beginning of next week. We are very much looking forward to seeing what this year's candidates will have to offer! (Mr Redford)

Knox Academy’s Remote Sport’s Day for Pupils

This will be our first virtual Sports Day for all pupils to be involved in! In an effort to bring the Knox Academy community together, our virtual Sports Day will provide a series of physical and engaging challenges for pupils and staff which can be completed with minimal equipment, at home!

The challenges will launch on Monday 1st June at 9.00am via the school website and also on each year group’s Google Classroom. Pupils and staff will have until Friday 5th June at 12 noon to submit their results, via Google Forms. Three challenges, alongside instructional videos, will launch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with bonus points allocated to those that submit their challenge results on the day of the challenge launch! Pupils and staff will have the opportunity to contribute to House points during the challenges where they can engage in competitiveness and also represent their House! Please can I ask parents/carers to encourage your young person to get involved and as well as having some fun, contribute to House points too.  Many thanks (Lana Borwick)

Mental Health Awareness Week 

Our current assembly is on kindness and it would be great if pupils and parents/carers could watch this together. This links directly with the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week which is also on kindness, and focuses on the importance of showing kindness towards ourselves and others. It can be difficult to take the time to be kind to ourselves, but something as simple as listening to our favourite songs can boost our mood. Below is a list of ways to show yourself some kindness: reading, calling a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, having a nap, drawing or painting, have a long soak in a bath, going for a walk, dancing, catching up on your favourite TV show or film, meditating, eating your favourite meal for dinner, yoga or pilates, keeping a journal and also take a break from social media.

Have a lovely weekend and in the spirit of Knox Academy’s assembly, our vision statement and mental health week, always choose kindness (including being kind to yourself). Stay home and stay safe and if you need us for anything, please email admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk and we will pass this on to the most appropriate person to support you (usually your young person’s Pupil Support Leader (Guidance Teacher) who is the first point of contact at the school).

Sue Cook