HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 25 SEPTEMBER 2020

Staffing

After interviews we have preferred candidates for the following posts:

Joyce Allan - Senior Business Support Assistant

Karen Fraser - School Welfare Assistant

Health and Safety at 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. Some frequently asked questions about Covid-19, for parents/carers, have also been produced by the NHS and are well worth reading.

Please remember that if you are going abroad on holiday e.g. October break (or any other time) it is highly likely that you and your young person will have to self-isolate on return. Some countries are exempt from this, so you may not have to self-isolate at all if you travel to them. See the latest travel restrictions and list of exempt countries (countries you can travel to without self-isolating) on Gov.Scot.

Digital Inclusion Devices

The Scottish Government recently announced funding of £30 million to support Local Authorities to provide digital devices and/or the internet to young people at school who may require support with digital access to learning from home.

We have used the Scottish Government Guidance to identify young people at Knox Academy who fit the criteria to be offered a device and we will be writing home to parents/carers, in the next week, of those young people whom we have identified.  Devices will be available to hand out to pupils in October and at the end of November. These devices will be Chromebooks as they support the Google platform East Lothian Council (ELC) schools use. Pupils will be able to use these devices to access both in school and home learning. Pupils may be asked to hand their Chromebook in periodically for software updates and to ensure they are working effectively.

When the young person leaves school they will be asked to pass the Chromebook back to Knox Academy as they are an ELC owned device. During the period of loan, pupils will be expected to look after their device and use it for educational purposes and research, as per ICT User Guidelines. 

UCAS Information Evening

It was good to see about sixty of our young people and parents attending this online event on Tuesday evening. A huge thank you to Stuart Meekison for organising and to Edinburgh University and SAAS presenting. If you did miss it for any reason, the presentations are now online in the S6 UCAS Google classroom.

Achievement Ties

It was great to have our Head Pupils, Julia Dale and Rachel Broadley, lead a whole school assembly this week on our Achievement Ties, so pupils know how to apply for these and can discuss this with parents/carers and coaches. An achievement tie can be awarded for a high level of commitment and endeavour in an activity for eighteen months, or for a significant achievement e.g. winning a National Award such as a poetry competition.  Achievement ties can be awarded for Sport, Citizenship (when a young person provides support or services to the local or wider community e.g. working in charity shops/volunteering etc.), Enterprise (involved in leading initiatives/global areas of interest e.g. Eco-Committee, Amnesty, Fairtrade etc.) and Expressive Arts/Technologies. There will also be a further category ‘other’ for anyone wishing to be considered for an achievement tie that does not fall into the previous four categories.  There are two achievement ties: (1) one gold stripe and the House colour; this will be referred to as a ‘half colours’ achievement tie (2) Two gold stripes and the House colour; this will be referred to as a ‘full colours’ achievement tie. 

The Achievement Committee will meet twice a year, in October and March, to consider all nominations, which can be submitted by pupils, parents/carers, coaches and our community partners, using our online form.  The outcome of this committee will be communicated directly to pupils by letter, and if successful, they will be awarded their achievement tie, alongside other Achievement Tie winners, by the Head Teacher, Depute Head Teachers and Mr Clark (Achievement Coordinator).  Achievement Tie winners will also be mentioned at House Assemblies to celebrate their success widely.

Nominations are open from 14th September until Friday 9th October. Those who applied in March of this year need not re-apply as your applications will be considered in this grouping. 

Oxford University Partnership

Last week, four of our pupils participated in the East Lothian Partnership with Exeter College, Oxford. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic their residential trip, planned for June, was cancelled, but an online experience was developed and delivered from 14-17 September.

The pupils took part in a series of lectures and tutorials in their chosen subject and by the end of the week had to submit an essay and present on their topic to all the East Lothian participants and the University staff. They showed excellent organisational and independent learning skills, a great deal of maturity and as the following quotes appear to indicate, enjoyed it too:

“It was an experience unlike any other and I am beyond thankful to have been a part of it.” - Kaci Smith

“It was a good experience.” - Isla Kilkenny

“I’m so glad to have had this opportunity, it really expanded my horizons.” -  Reuben Phoenix-Hill

“I’m extremely grateful for this chance and I enjoyed the challenge it gave me.” -  Hannah Pathirana

Congratulations to the four participants; we are very proud of them and thanks to all the ELC and Exeter College staff who made this experience possible. (David Russell, DHT)

Parental Support Requested - Mentoring

As you will be aware, due to the Covid-19 situation, we are unable to have visitors/partners into the school building at present and it looks like this will be the case for the foreseeable future. We are looking at ways of supporting our pupils in the Employability Skills class. At present, they are preparing CVs and Covering Letters in preparation for Mock Job Interviews (which may be virtual). We also believe they could benefit from the support of a mentor – to look over CVs and help them with preparation for their interviews. This could be done through e-mail initially but we could investigate other ways. If you are able to help please could you email rflood@knox.elcschool.org.uk .  It would be great to have as many parents/carers as possible, from different careers/professions. Thank you in anticipation.

Parent Council

If you would like to come along to our next Parent Council on Wednesday 28th October, 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

Virtual Awards Ceremony – Wednesday 30th September – online for all to view

October break – 17th-26th (inclusive) for Pupils (17-25 for staff)

Parent Council – Wednesday 28th October – 6.15pm – 7.30pm (virtual)

S3 Parents’ Evening – Tuesday 3rd November - Google Meets (virtual) – 5-7pm

Have a lovely weekend and perhaps a trip to support our local businesses at Haddington Market.

Please also remember to follow us at: www.ka-net.org.uk Twitter_logo_blue[1]

Sue Cook