HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 3 APRIL 2020

A huge well done to so many of our young people who have engaged really well with remote/home-school working, using Google Classroom and also the hard copy booklets issued to those without digital access (we will aim to post new work out post Easter to the young people who require hard copies). 

As you may have noticed, there seems to be an overwhelming array of work on offer digitally and whilst that is excellent, it makes it difficult for our young people to know what to do and which platform to choose. For this reason I would suggest first and foremost they focus on the work provided by their teachers on Google Classroom. Beyond this, if they are in S3-S6 they can access all courses on Scholar UK and follow the tutorials and tasks on this (more details below). If your young person wishes to work over the Easter holidays (as no formal work will be set by our teachers during this holiday period), BBC Bitesize has some excellent online resources and also has a programme on BBC Scotland (TV) from 10am on weekdays.   Scholar UK (S3-S6) can also be accessed at all times and carrying out a focused research project on an area of interest is highly valuable too.   

Finally, thank you to you all as parents/carers for facilitating learning at home and trying to maintain a routine with your young person (people) as this can be quite a challenge, especially as many of you will be continuing working from home too.  If your young person can manage to do two/three hours of learning a day that is really great as we know that access to laptops etc. may be required by other family members as well.  Too much screen time is also not great for them and time off computers and devices can also be productive. Encouraging young people to exercise, outside if possible, to get some fresh air into their lungs should be encouraged as this is great for both mental and physical health. Reading a book is also excellent for developing literacy and extending their vocabulary which in turn helps support learning across all subjects. This time of school closure and Covid-19 should also afford you time to connect as a family and engage in other activities such as baking or cooking dinner, playing board games or them doing some household chores (which they may continue once back to school too…).

The Parent Council has been posting some really great information to support Parents/Carers on their Knox Academy Facebook Page and also on their new account on Twitter. Please follow them on Twitter . It would be great to get as many of you following them as possible and to build up our community support for each other at this time and going forward. Thanks.

SQA Update

On 2 April SQA has published a FAQ that aims to provide learners, parents, and carers with answers to some common questions about how they will deliver a fair, safe and secure set of results over the coming month.  Teachers will receive detailed guidance after the Easter holidays about how the SQA want us to gather evidence for grade estimates, so at this moment in time I am not able to give any further information in regard to this. Please be assured that all our young people’s work will be rightly and fairly recognised and rewarded. It is worth highlighting that the grade estimates submitted to SQA by teachers cannot be shared with pupils or parents/carers as the SQA will decide the final grades. 

Scholar UK- “Emergency Access” to Courses

All S3-S6 pupils registered with SCHOLAR are now able to access all of their courses by logging in using their normal account details. There may be a small number of pupils who have not yet been registered on our system and who still require access. If this applies to your young person, please ask them to contact any teacher through Google Classroom and they will be able to help them with this. Mrs Clubb is also able to help support pupils with this if they contact her through their EduBuzz accounts.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

SDS is continuing to provide career, information, advice and guidance for all of our young people.  Pupils and parents/ carers are still able to contact our Careers Adviser, Chris Trotter for support. This can be done by emailing him at chris.trotter@sds.co.uk . If you would like to speak to a Careers Adviser please phone 0131 665 3120. Details of all SDS centres can be found on My World of Work

Cancelled International Excursions

Knox Academy is working with East Lothian Council, Foreign Commonwealth Office Advice and our Travel Companies in regard to the excursions we had planned to Italy and France in May. Trip Leaders will liaise with parents/carers as soon as we have any update on this. Thank you for your support and bearing with us on this.

S1 and S2 Reports

Unfortunately due to the system needed for all staff to complete these being unavailable remotely for most of our staff, we will be unable to complete these reports.  We apologise for this.  Although not a replacement for a report, the diligence awards sent home in December for your young person will have given a strong indication of the subjects they were demonstrating hard work and commitment in and ideally all subjects should have been listed on this certificate. Any subject missing indicates that a little more effort and commitment was needed in this/these subjects.

Free School Meals/Clothing Grants

We are aware that some parents/carers circumstances may have changed as a result of Covid-19 and this may mean you are now eligible for Free School Meals and/or a Clothing Grant.  If you think this may apply to you, please visit the Free School Meals and Clothing Grants area of the East Lothian Council website for further information and the relevant forms. If you need help completing these forms there is support available on the website or alternatively please contact your young person’s Guidance teacher who should also be able to help you via a telephone call/email.

Thanks

As you may be aware if you follow us on Twitter (Twitter_logo_blue[1] ) a number of our staff have been helping at the Hubs, which are providing learning for young people whose parents/carers are keyworkers.  We have also had our Design Technology staff helping to make visors for frontline care workers and these are being distrubuted to a variety of places local and wider community. We also packaged up all our safety goggles and safety glasses at the school and they have also been distributed to frontline care workers.  We also have a number of our senior pupils and parents/carers helping with deliveries of hot/packed lunches to homes across ELC and also involved in many other supports. A huge thank you goes to all of you for doing this, and whatever you are doing, it all helps build our community ethos.

As we now move towards our Easter break, please enjoy the time you have together as a family. If you do need some support from the school during the break our school email account admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk  will be monitored by our Senior Leadership Team, on weekdays only, and we will respond to any urgent enquires during this time.  Non-urgent emails will be responded to once the Easter break is over.

We are all thinking of you here at Knox Academy and very much missing our daily interaction with all of our pupils, staff, and parents/carers. Please look after one and other; stay safe, stay well, stay home and most of all, as our school vision says, “Always choose kindness” – be kind to one another. Once we get through this what we will remember from all of this will be the sense of community we all shared, how we gained strength from it and how important kindness is.

Sue Cook