HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 20 NOVEMBER 2020

It has been another positive week at Knox Academy, starting with one of our Depute Head Pupils, Duncan Riley, delivering a whole school assembly on foodbanks and the role they play in supporting our community, particularly in these challenging times. During the month of November we are encouraging those who are able to, to bring in donations for our local foodbank in readiness to donate these nearer Christmas time.  Non-perishable goods would be most welcome. Thank you.

Our second assembly this week was devised by some of our S6 pupils in our SQA Mental Health and Wellbeing class. It covered what mental health is, how to get support and how to access our new Peer Support Group. The assembly ended by saying if you can choose to be anything in this world, be kind.  The presentation can be viewed here.

It is great to see our young people taking the lead in our assemblies programme and leading the learning of their peers.

Change of Festive Session Dates

Following on from an Education Committee meeting on Tuesday, East Lothian Council has revised its festive session dates to align with our neighbouring authorities.  The revision of dates also helps address any potential issues that may arise in relation to possible positive Covid19 cases and the requirement to carry out contact tracing amongst pupils and staff once schools have closed.  Therefore the last day of this term will be brought forward by one day to Tuesday 22 December 2020 and the start of the new term will be brought forward by one day to Wednesday 6 January 2021.

Staffing

We say a fond farewell to Mrs Moira Weir, who has been our admin assistant to the Pupil Support Team and at Knox Academy for 18 years and leaves us on Friday 27 November. We would like to wish her well for her a long, happy and healthy retirement and thank her for all her hard work and commitment in her time at Knox Academy.

Health and Safety at school

East Lothian will move back to Tier 2 on 24 November and Lesley Brown, Head of Education, wrote to parents  and pupils on Wednesday to explain what this means for us in East Lothian schools. As of Tuesday, although it will no longer be a requirement for staff and pupils to wear face coverings in senior phase classes it is still being recommended wherever possible to reduce transmission of Covid-19. All our other safety protocols we have had in place since the start of term will remain unchanged. These include the wearing of face coverings for pupils and staff in corridors and social areas (when not eating).  If dry, pupils will be encouraged to be outside at break and lunchtimes to prevent gatherings and reduce the transmission of Covid-19.  They should bring a warm jacket, hat and gloves to keep them warm.  If wet, arrangements are in place to supervise different year groups in areas across the school.

Just a short reminder that any pupil showing Covid-19 symptoms must not attend school and you can book a test online at www.nhsinform.scot or by telephoning 0800 028 2816. Only if this test is negative should the pupil return to school. If pupils have the common cold, they should still attend school if they feel well enough to do so. An updated frequently asked questions about Covid-19, for parents/carers, has also been produced by the NHS and is well worth reading. 

If your young person is absent from school, Covid-19 related or other, work will be available to access on Google Classroom and also through E-sgoil (Glow user name and password required) and E-sgoil live webinars; Scholar UK (S4-S6), SQA (past papers); SQA (subject content to work through topics) and BBC Bitesize  and at Oak National Academy (some great resources for S1-S3 pupils).

S5/6 Prelims and S4/5/6 Structured Assessment (protocols)

A letter was sent home earlier this week to parents/carers and emailed to pupils about the protocols for assessments and prelims.  This letter also gave advice about studying and support for devising study timetables for your young person.

MYPAS digital drop in

MYPAS is excited to announce a new way for young people to contact us.  Our Digital Drop-In is available for young people, aged 12-21 within the Midlothian and East Lothian areas.

Young people will be able to chat with a MYPAS worker about any issue which is having an impact on their health and wellbeing, e.g. mental health, substance abuse, relationships, worries about school/ college/work etc.

Drop-ins will run on Mondays between 3.30pm and 5.30pm

Young people can access the Digital Drop-In by going to our website (http://www.mypas.co.uk/) and clicking on the Chat button during the above times.  All conversations are confidential and we will not ask for any contact details.

Diligence Awards  

These will be issued at the start of December. Diligence nominations, from subject teachers, are given to those pupils who have demonstrated hard work and commitment, on a day to day basis, throughout Term 1 (August – December).  The certificate will detail all subjects they have been nominated in. The ultimate aim is for pupils to be nominated in all of their subjects. If they are not, the goal for term two (January – April) is to aim higher and achieve this. The idea behind these awards is to create ambition (one of our school values) and raise attainment and achievement through sustained effort and commitment to their studies, thus ensuring they achieve their potential. These are really important awards and parents/carers should review these with their young person to identify their successes and also support them where ‘subjects’ missing require more sustained effort. More information on our diligence awards is available by clicking on this link Diligence Awards

Children in Need

After totalling all monies, our Children In Need morning, last Friday, raised £727.44 – which is phenomenal given that our usual activities did not take place. Fun was still had with dressing up/dressing down and it was wonderful to have such a spirit of citizenship demonstrated amongst our pupils to donate to such a great cause.

Communication

Please may I remind parents/carers that you are still not able to attend the school during the Covid-19 recovery unless by prior arrangement. This is to ensure everyone’s health and safety. All communication will be by telephone or email and any meetings will continue to be held virtually.

As most of our communication is by email to parents/carers, if you have still to provide us with your email please do so ASAP so you don’t miss out on any information from us.  Please send an email to admin@knox.elcschool.org.uk to give us your email information. Thank you.

If you have a question to ask about your young person or a question in general about the school, please email your young person’s Pupil Support Leader in the first instance as they will be best placed to help you.  If need be, they will refer any questions on to the House Depute Head Teachers.  The email addresses are as follows:

Ms Adam - ladam1@knox.elcschool.org.uk (Garleton Pupil Support Leader (PSL))

Mr Meekison - smeekison@knox.elcschool.org.uk  (Lammerlaw PSL) 

Mrs Doig - wdoig@knox.elcschool.org.uk  (Traprain)

Dr Lyon - vlyon@knox.elcschool.org.uk (PSL Support for Learning)

Ms Fox - sfox@knox.elcschool.org.uk (PSL for Inclusion)

Attendance

We now have an “Attendance” inbox for parents to email with student absences/appointments. Please email attendance@knox.elcschool.org.uk

Clothing grants are also available and if you would like support with this please contact your young person’s Pupil Support Leader (Ms Adam/Mr Meekison/Mrs Doig).

Useful Links

The links below that may be useful for parents/carers of S4/5/6 pupils:

knox.is/emaapplication – Educational Maintenance Allowance application form

knox.is/leaversform – Leavers’ Form (for Christmas Leavers and also for those leaving next May – when that comes).

Parent Council

If you would like to come along to our next Parent Council on Thursday 3 December, please let Lesley Pirie (Chair) know by emailing her at parentcouncil@ka-net.org.uk so you can be invited to the virtual meeting. 

Dates for your diary

2 December – S1 Parents’ Evening (virtual) – more information to follow shortly

3 December – Parent Council – 6.30 – 7.45 – virtual meeting

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe and well

Sue Cook

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk