A Word from Miss Cook, Head Teacher

25 June 2021

It has been a busy week with the issuing of SQA provisional results to all of our senior pupils. We have also had our Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Final (YPI) and our Head Pupils’ Elections.

We have now reached the final day of term and celebrated this with all of our young people dressing up for the end of our Pride month. Great to see so many colourful outfits around the school!

Our pupils at Knox Academy have been absolutely amazing throughout this turbulent year and we are so glad that we have managed through to the summer term with very little disruption to teaching and learning during Covid-19. All staff and pupils have to be thanked for following the protocols we have had in place to keep the school functioning safely.  Everyone has very much earned their holidays and staff and pupils alike need time away from screens and to spend time with friends and family, socialising again – something we have all very much missed but can enjoy over the coming weeks.

Covid-19 – Summer Holidays

Please note, that even though the school is not open for pupils during the holidays, please report positive cases during this time to covidinschools@eastlothian.gov.uk or if you do not have access to email, telephone 01875 613921. For those young people who have consented to LFD testing, they should continue to do this over the summer and prior to returning to school. Thank you.

Covid-19 Mitigations in Schools

Current news is that all mitigations will remain in place for the start of the new term until we receive further advice from the Scottish Gvt – which should happen during the summer.  I will update the risk assessment for the school at that point and let parents/carers and pupils know any changes to these mitigations prior to starting back on Wednesday 18 August 2021.

Staffing

We are currently advertising for temporary full-time positions in Biology; Pupil Support Worker and ASN Auxiliary.

A very happy retirement to Marion Goodfellow and Hilary Turbayne – our two music instructors who are retiring this year. The very best to you both and thank you very much for many years of service at Knox Academy - teaching our young people and also your commitment to all our musical concerts at school and across ELC.

Howard Barnhurst – History – leaves us to a take up a position at Edinburgh Academy. Howard was one of our amazing NQTS two years ago and was funded this year, to stay on at Knox, by the Scottish Gvt.

A huge thank you to all our amazing probationers:

Sarah Gillies - PE

Jo Donald – HE (staying at Knox Academy as appointed recently to our HE Post)

Claire Williamson – Biology (now moving on to a full-time position at Ross High School)

Aimee Kavak – English – who takes up a permanent post at St Thomas Aquinas in Edinburgh.

All the very best to Montserrat Gomez, at Meadowpark, as she heads back to Spain.

We will be welcoming three new probationers to the school in August in English (Mr Welsh), Psychology (Ms Tkacz) and Ms Fletcher (French).

Parents/Carers Information

Following this week’s manifestos, live question time and voting, the results are in!

Head Pupils - Kaci Smith and Bethany Ross; Depute Head Pupils: Amelia Hockey, Katie Moore and Tom Riddell

We are very proud of all candidates having gone through a rigorous election process which included making campaign videos, writing a manifesto, participating in an interview and the whole school vote. We look forward to seeing the policies that all candidates put forward being put in place next year. Thank you to all of the inspiring candidates and staff who supported the process.

YPI Final

The delayed Knox Academy 2020 YPI Final took place virtually on Tuesday afternoon. YPI is the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a programme that allows pupils across Scotland the chance to find out about and get involved in the work of local charities. Every group in S5 took part in a class presentation and the winners of those class finals competed in the final. The charities represented in the final were LGBTYS – Livvie Matthews, Ailsa McCall, Niamh Robertson, Katelyn Scott and Shannon Robertson; Thistle Foundation – Maya Lavender, Heather Mackinnon, Katie Moore and Bethany Ross; Our Community Kitchen – Kirsty Booth, Jen Bagley, Bonnie Barclay and Nina Liddle; Barnardos – Melissa Cuthbertson and Sally Greenshields. The judges on the day were Sue Beattie from YPI, Ms Cook, Craig Hoy, local councillor and MSP, Hannah Wylie, S6 and Hannah Niven, S3. After much discussion, the winning charity was announced as the Thistle Foundation. The winning team will be given a £3,000 grant from YPI to donate to their chosen charity. Well done to everyone who took part.

When the team contacted the Thistle Foundation to let them know they had won the YPI Final and were going to be donating the £3,000 to them, a representative said, “Your team and your school has demonstrated how much you care and that you want to make a difference to the social issues you are passionate about.  £3,000 will go such a long way in doing that with Thistle.  Your efforts will help people living with sometimes some very difficult diagnosis know they will be listened to and supported.  Our support can be life changing in some very desperate times for people – you are making it possible by being interested and donating this incredible amount of money.” (by Robert Flood)

SQA Update/ Appeals

A printed copy of provisional results was provided to pupils on Tuesday 22 June. If pupils were not in school, these have been posted home. This printed copy shows provisional results for any National, Higher and Advanced Higher courses that young people have completed this session. These are the results that young people should expect to find on their SQA certificate on Tuesday 10 August. Only results of completed qualifications will show on the final certificate (those graded on the school report issued on Tuesday). The SQA certificate will also include any unit passes gained, even when pupils have not gained the full qualification. Please note that SQA will only make changes to the provisional result submitted at this stage if there are administrative errors identified.

The provisional results are based on demonstrated attainment through a variety of assessment evidence that has been gathered throughout the year. All provisional results have undergone robust quality assurance processes at school, local authority and national level.   

If young people feel that any of their provisional results are not correct, they can register to appeal directly through the SQA. The registration service will open today (Friday 25 June) and will close on Thursday 12 August. Any appeal registrations and further information can be found by visiting the SQA website.  If young people wish to appeal after this date this can be done through the school - before the 24 August (for priority appeals) and by 27 August, at latest, for all other appeals.

New Timetable

Thank you to staff and pupils for their patience, understanding and cooperation with the switch to the new timetable. There are always some issues with the timetable architecture itself, which is one of the reasons for switching before August, in the hope that these can be ironed out.

There have been a significant number of requests for subject changes. PSLs and DHTs have been working very hard to accommodate as many of these as possible. Not all requests are possible. We would now ask that no further requests are made as we need to have the opportunity for the classes to ‘settle down’ in terms of numbers etc. As a consequence the Google Form that was shared with pupils will not accept any further response at this time.

Any issues that remain in August/ September will be dealt with then (By David Russell, DHT)

Computing Department news

We are delighted to announce that the Computing Science department has been successful in securing funding from Digital Xtra. The project outline is to support our fantastic Computing for Girls+ club to plan, organise and run a robotics transition project for P7 pupils and support the young people at Meadowpark. The funding allows us to purchase Spheros and Marty the Robot which is very exciting indeed and supports the aims of Digital Xtra to Inspire, Enable and Engage.

We have also recently received more exciting news as two of our S6 pupils, Louise and Marilyn, have made it to the finals of the BAFTA young games designers award with their game ‘To Be and Not To Be’. You can find out more about their game and even download it to have a go yourself! Both Louise and Marilyn were instrumental in the Computing for Girls+ club and are also going onto University to study Computing Science, so we are very proud of them both.

Knox Academy's Pride Month LGBT+ Inclusion Celebrations

Craig Hoy, MSP, raised the following motion in the Scottish Parliament: That the Parliament congratulates Knox Academy pupils in Haddington on their Pride Month LGBT+ celebrations; welcomes the efforts by Head Teacher, Sue Cook, teachers, staff and pupils to institute a programme of Pride related activities; further welcomes efforts to promote LGBT+ inclusion in schools, and wishes the school well on its efforts in working towards the silver LGBT Charter.

Huge thank you to Nicola Stobie and LGBT Allies group for leading on this at Knox Academy. Great to have our work in this area recognised at Parliamentary level.

School Uniform

To help parents/carers with planning ahead over the summer for school uniform, please see our updated letter. Senior Uniform (Badges and Blazers) - Blazers are available to order directly from Border Embroideries. Our updated school badge has been commissioned and will be available to order online shortly. (Estimated cost £3.95 per badge).

Get into Summer East Lothian!

Sports, play and free swims… it’s officially time to ‘Get into Summer’ in East Lothian! There are lots of projects running throughout the holiday period giving children and young people the chance to be active, connect with others and enjoy the best that East Lothian has to offer. Examples include football, tennis, rugby and gymnastics events, pop-up play activities, computing camps and free swimming at enjoyLeisure pools.

Find out more about the activities on offer (including eligibility and booking information where appropriate) at:

Dates for you diary:

Monday 16/Tuesday 17 August - School staff resume

Wednesday 18 August - Start of the new term for all pupils (8.25am)

Finally, on behalf of myself and all staff here at Knox Academy, we would like to wish you all a safe, fun and relaxing holiday.  Thank you all very much for your unconditional support throughout the session – a real community approach. You have all been amazing and we are so lucky to have such supportive parents/carers and pupils. Enjoy your time together over the coming weeks and we will very much look forward to seeing all our young people, including our new S1s, back at school on Wednesday 18 August, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready for learning.

Best wishes

Sue Cook

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk for the latest information and updates