HEAD TEACHER'S UPDATE 6 NOVEMBER 2020

This week saw our first ever virtual Parents’ Evening with our S3 cohort. This seems to have gone well based on initial feedback from staff, parents/carers and pupils.  In order to get an overall picture, if you attended the S3 Parents’ Evening please could you complete the evaluation form. Thank you.

As we moved to Tier 3 on Monday of this week, we have had to bring in extra Covid-19 procedures to mitigate the chance of Covid-19. These have included face coverings being worn by pupils and staff in senior phase classes.  Again, can I commend our pupils in working with us on this and accepting this in a very mature way.  Risk assessments for staff and pupils have also been updated accordingly to support them in being in school. However, if you do have any concerns about your young person attending due to health reasons (they may have been shielding during lockdown) I would advise you to discuss this with your GP. You may also wish to discuss this with Mr Illingworth (email: sillingworth@knox.elcschool.org.uk) who has been working with Pupil Support Leaders, Pupils and Parents/Carers on these risk assessments. 

We are also looking at moving some of our PE activities indoors and working through how we can do this in terms of maintaining health and safety in changing areas etc. More information will follow on this soon. In the meantime, pupils should pack PE kit for being outdoors.

The First Minister is looking to review our tier next week and we will know more at this stage as to whether we stay in Tier 3 for longer or change to a different level.

Staffing 

It was great to welcome Steve Johnson to our Senior Leadership Team this week. Steve joined us on Monday 2 November 2020 as the new Depute Head Teacher at Meadowpark.

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. 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); Scholar UK (S4-S6), SQA (past papers); SQA (subject content to work through topics) and BBC Bitesize.

As per my letter to parents/carers back in August, we are still asking that pupils should not leave the school premises during break and lunchtime, unless they are in S4/S5/S6, as shops in the Haddington area will be unable to cope with a mass arrival of our pupils, physical distancing in large groups and also to serve our pupils within the 15 minute break time and the 40 minutes lunchtime -   they just don’t have the capacity to do this and they asked if we would support them with managing this situation.  By allowing our ‘senior phase learners’ in S4/S5/6 to go out at break and lunch, we feel we are still supporting our local community and balancing that with being able to offer areas across the school for other year groups should it be a wet weather day too. As an enhanced safety measure, we now have QR codes at our seated areas in the Food Court, social areas and assembly hall. This means we are able to use this information if need be for track and trace purposes and this complements the seating plans we have in place for all our classrooms. If the weather is dry, pupils will be asked to have their break and lunch outside, whilst remaining in small groups and ideally within their own age groups/year group. When using the playground areas and our playing fields at break and lunchtime it is vital that pupils put all of their litter in bins provided or take it home as PE groups run their classes their and these areas need to be ready for use at all times.

Community Windpower and BeGreen

A few weeks ago I put an application in to Community Windpower and BeGreen, in Dunbar, for some outdoor seating which we can use as a learning and teaching resource and a place for our young people to sit at break and lunch times. I am pleased to say that I received notification from them this week to say they are happy to support this.  I would like to thank them very much for doing so on behalf of the Knox Academy community. It will make a huge difference to us.

S4/5/6 Prelims

All parents/carers who have young people in S4/5/6 should have received a letter earlier this morning about SQA Arrangements for session 2020-21.  This has very important information in it so please do read it and discuss it with your young person.  We also had an assembly with all S4-S6 pupils this morning to brief them all about this.

Achievement Ties

The Achievement Tie Committee met last week to review the twenty-eight nominations that had been submitted and letters are going out today with the results of these nominations and there will be a presentation of ties and endeavour certificates next Thursday for those who were successful. I will update parents/carers next week with the names of those having achieved these and also the categories these were awarded in. The next nominations will be in March 2021.

Attendance

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

School Meals/Free School Meals/Clothing Grants

For those receiving free school meals - The facilities team will deliver free school meals to the homes of pupils who are isolating. Please call or email our school office if this applies to you. Parents/carers with a child who is isolating should not visit the school building to pick these up. Thank you.

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).

Free Football

The Club and Community Sports Development Officer has been in touch to inform us of an exciting opportunity for young people in the Haddington area. Due to the ongoing restrictions and the limited options on a Friday and Saturday night for the young people in Haddington, it has created the opportunity for a partnership with a number of ELC services to provide ways and options to give our young people something to do - this includes piloting open football sessions on a Saturday night – please just turn up at the venue. Details are:   

Open Football (Under 18s)

Starts: Saturday 7th November

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

Venue: 3G Whittingehame Drive

Cost: Free

S6 Fundraising Opportunity – Edinburgh Marathon

A recent announcement from the Edinburgh Marathon Festival has highlighted their intentions for the event to run in May 2021. Unfortunately, this year saw cancellation of the event and as such, has had a significant impact on charities across the nation. It is hopeful that the event will run as planned and we hope to have as many S6 pupils involved as possible, alongside staff members. The chosen charity will be a local charity and will be confirmed in due course. At present, we are looking for as many S6 pupils to show initial interest in the event - two distances will be offered: the 10k and the Half Marathon. All S6 pupils should have received an email from Ms Borwick with further details and a Google Form for submission. Please take into consideration how long would be required to prepare/train for this even. We are trying to make it a record breaking number of participants from Knox Academy doing their bit for the local community so if your young person is in S6, please can you encourage them to be involved! Thanks. Please direct any questions to Ms Borwick via EduBuzz.

Dates for your diary

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

3 December – Parent Council - Virtual - 6.30-7.45 

Sue Cook

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