August 2016

Published: 26 August 2016

At assemblies this week I have been sharing various bit s of information with pupils. With S1 to S3, I have been talking about the “Student Evaluation of Education” survey that is completed by S2 every year. The results from last year’s S2 were interesting, gratifying and thought-provoking by turns. There are various things that the pupils feel we should be improving, so I have challenged them to come to me with some ideas for how we do that. I will be spending time with the Pupil Council looking at these ideas so that we can work together to make the school a better place for all pupils. I had the huge pleasure of sharing our results with the S4 to S6 pupils. I wanted the S4 to know what they are aiming for and to congratulate the S5 and S6 as well as showing them what they have to do over this session. I am confident that, with the pupils’ hard work, parents’ support and teachers’ tracking and monitoring that we will succeed.

Talking of success…I was delighted to hear about some of our former pupils’ success: David Ryan graduated from Edinburgh University with an MSc in Mechanical Engineering. After successfully completing the work experience part of his degree at Hadfab last year, they kept him on a retainer for his last year at university and he started his job with them in July. The following pupils graduated from the University of Aberdeen: David Edgar MA in Accountancy-Finance; Alasdair Hastings BSc, BMS in Physiology; Lorna Mackay MA in Legal Studies-Psychology; Callum Scott MEng in Mechanical Engineering; Marion Sweetland LLB in Law.  Congratulations to all of them and, please get in touch if you have any news of former pupils that I can add my updates.

Next week our college and pre-vocational and academies courses begin for seniors. It’s a big step for some of them – well outside their comfort zones as they travel to places that are strange to them to meet new people and start on a fresh educational path. I wish them all well and look forward to hearing how it goes. We are also trying to recruit some S3s to be part of our Museum of Flight project – six pupils get to go to the museum to work with retired engineers on rebuilding a jet engine. It’s a fabulous opportunity and would certainly add to any pupil’s CV if they wanted to go into engineering or aeronautics. Pupils should collect information from Mr Blair.

Also next week we say farewell to Ms Easson. She is leaving us to take up a post with the Teenage Cancer Trust. Ms Easson has been at Knox since 1998, so has been involved in many of our pupils’ successes. We wish her well and, given that the Trust comes to do lessons with our SE classes, we might see her sooner rather than later. We are in the process of recruiting to cover the vacancy on both temporary and permanent bases and I will keep you informed as to the outcomes of the various interviews.

I have also been talking to pupils about a slight change in how we will be organising aspects of Pupil Support from the 5th September onwards. Pupils will stay with their Guidance Teacher, but the Depute Head Teachers will take charge of a year groups rather than House Groups. We are hoping that this will provide increased consistency for the pupils. So, Mr Simpson will take charge of S1 and S2, Mr Illingworth will be responsible for S3 and S4, and Mrs Falconer will look after S5 and S6. I will be sending out letters to confirm this next week.

In terms of calendar: next week we have our first Parent Council meeting of the session (Wednesday at 6.15pm in the Library). We also have our first Senior Phase Information evening of the session. This evening is designed for any parent or carer with children in S4 to S6, who wants to know a little bit more about what the qualifications look like, how the academic year is structured, what to expect and what we, as a school expect. We have speakers from the staff, senior pupils and Scholar coming in to share their perspectives and advice.

Have a very good week.

S Ingham

Published: 19 August 2016

Welcome back to one and all. I hope that you had a good summer.

The school has been busy during the holidays – rooms have been repainted and refurbished, and new tarmac laid in parts of the grounds. Staff that were leaving have moved out, and new staff have moved in. I would like to welcome Ms Campbell (Science and Physics); Mr Fyvie (English), Mr Macdonald (PE), Mr Crawford (Art), Mrs Ferguson (Business Studies), Ms Laudi (Modern Languages), Mrs Reynolds (English), Ms Lewis (Support), Ms Connell (Support), Mr Morrison (Support), Mr Muldowney (Support), and Ms Morton (Meadowpark).

The new S1 have settled in well and are finding their way about the building, and I look forward to hearing about their successes as we go through the year.

I am delighted to report that the pupils who sat exams last session did themselves and the school proud: achieving some of the best results that we have had. This means that the new S4, S5 and S6 have a lot to live up to – but I am sure that they are equal to the task.

This morning, I had the pleasure of welcoming Ross Prentice (Haddington Business Association), Max Sykes, and Kevin Sullivan (Canon UK and Ireland) to our first Employability Skills lesson of the session. So many people from local businesses, East Lothian Council and our partners contribute to this course, that gives our senior pupils a real insight into the world of work, and I would like to thank them for this. The course culminates in the pupils getting a mock interview and feedback that should be invaluable to them in the future.

This evening I am looking forward to attending the Beating Retreat by Haddington Pipe Band and others, I just hope that that weather holds.

Next week, on Monday, we have the S1 pupils getting their school photograph taken, and on Thursday we are going to update the S6 on UCAS and LEAPS applications.

Have a good week.

S Ingham