HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 29 MAY 2020

Since the start of the new timetable pupil engagement with remote learning has been very high.  There have been some virtual (live lessons) and scheduled Google Meets to support all of our learners. Again, I would like to thank staff and pupils for working so well together in classes and also to parents/carers for promoting engagement in learning with their young person. If anyone still requires access to a Chromebook to support working online, please email the school at admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk so we can make this happen for you. It’s no fun working on a small screen such as a phone, so please do take advantage of our offer if your young person is in this situation. As we have moved to remote learning it is important that we look after everyone’s health and wellbeing and the lines of this can sometimes become a bit blurred as to what day it as they all seem very much the same. However everyone needs their weekends for some rest and recovery so please can I ask parents/carers to remind their young people to also relax over the weekend and to ensure that they only email staff during the working week with questions to protect their health and wellbeing too. They will, of course, be happy to answer questions/emails during the week. Thank you.

Re-opening of Schools

East Lothian Council is busy working with schools on the arrangements for the re-opening and re-connecting with pupils and parent/careers for 11 August.  The guidance for schools and local authorities, to help us plan for this, was published by the Scottish Government yesterday afternoon. As soon as I have any more information about how this may look at Knox Academy I will communicate this with you. Thank you for your support and patience with this – it is much appreciated as I know this is an anxious time for you all and your young people.

Staffing

Hannah McBride has been appointed as acting Curriculum Leader for Communications, following interviews on Wednesday. This post will start in August and continue until Zara Machen returns to her substantive post.

SQA

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the staff who have been working tirelessly on creating the estimates, for our SQA examination candidates, which will be submitted on Friday 29th May.  Also a huge thank you to all our young people who have worked very hard throughout the year towards these qualifications.  As advised, we are unable to share estimates with parents/carers or pupils as SQA will have the final decision as to the overall outcome/grade. Results will be issued as originally planned on Tuesday 4 August (pupils can sign up to MySQA for results by text or email rather than waiting for the Royal Mail).  For further information from SQA please visit the Coronavirus support for parents and carers.

S4/5/6 Leavers

This Sunday, 31 May, marks the official leaving date for all our young people in S6, and also those who have chosen to leave school in S4 and S5. It was very sad that we were unable to celebrate your leaving in the way we have become accustomed to and to recognise your contributions to the school across the years. On behalf of all staff at Knox Academy, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our leavers the very best for their future. Please do keep in touch with us and let us know how you are doing. It would be wonderful to have you back at the school at a later stage to talk to our young people about your courses at college/university and hear about the various careers you have all followed, as it is great for our pupils to be inspired by stories from our former pupils. Please take our school values of ambition, respect and community into the next phase of this exciting stage in your life and know that we have every confidence in what you can all achieve.

P7 Transition

The transition for P7s in to S1 has been like no other year.  We understand that the current circumstances might be making some a little more worried than normal about the move to secondary school.  However, everyone is working very hard to make it as positive as possible.  Mrs Wright from Support for Learning has joined all the P7 Google Classrooms as is posting a series of videos introducing the pupils to each of our school’s faculties and the subjects within them. 

In the coming days we will be releasing a virtual information video where families and pupils will hear from various members of staff about the values and ethos of Knox Academy, the curriculum and lots more.  We are also producing a virtual tour of the school building, along with our senior pupils answering some of the questions P7s raised through their Google Classrooms.

Pupils will soon be getting invites to join their new S1 register class, and this will allow them to meet their register teacher and new classmates.  Each class will also have some S6 buddies in it who are looking forward to getting to know all of our new pupils and will be happy to answer their questions.

Our colleagues at all of our primary schools have made sure we have all the information we need on the pupils, and this will be shared with Knox Academy staff over the course of June.

Some elements of what the next school year will look like remain to be finalised, but rest assured that settling the new S1s in to the school is a priority. We are really looking forward to welcoming all our new S1s in August.  (Steven Illingworth, DHT)

Drama

The Traverse theatre in Edinburgh, is producing a series of free, online playwriting workshops led by industry professionals to support aspiring writers to unleash their creativity. Although not specifically aimed at schools, the Traverse think pupils will still learn a lot from the sessions. The videos will be available for free until September 2021. You can read more about the project on the Traverse theatre website. (Miss Whitfield)

Knox Academy’s Remote Sport’s Day for Pupils

Knox Academy Sports Day takes on a whole new look for summer term 2020.  With physical and fun challenges to perform - pupils AND staff have been invited to take part and gain house points for Garleton, Lammerlaw or Traprain.  The event launches on Monday 1st June at 9am with tasks and challenges coming out daily from Monday - Wednesday.  Participants have until Friday 5th June to complete as many as possible. All physical tasks have instructional videos alongside them, and any questions should be directed to the PE staff via the pupil’s email tab on Virtual Sports Day (Google Classroom). There will be individual prizes awarded for overall year group winners and some special prizes for ‘spirit of the competition’.   Thanks go to: Leisure Time Sports and Crossfit Haddington for supporting this event and providing our prizes. Please can parents/carers encourage their young person to take part in what should be a very exciting week of sport.  We wish everyone the best of luck, and look forward to seeing you challenge yourself, and each other!  (by Jenny Leighton, CL Health and Wellbeing)

Have a lovely weekend and for those of you seeing best friends and/or relatives for the first time for months, I hope you have a great time.  It also looks like the weather has been set sunny to make these outside visits perfect too. Stay safe, well and socially distanced and please remember, if we can support you with anything, please email admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk and we will pass this on to the most appropriate person to support you.

Sue Cook