Kirkcaldy High School News 29 March 2019

Archived news: published on Friday 29 Mar 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer

Welcome to the "Rector's Log". I hope it finds you in fair (at least) fettle.

Earlier this week we received the tragic news that Chris Fairley, who was a Probationer Teacher in the Maths Department last session, had passed away. This is heartbreaking news for all of us here who knew and regarded Chris as a dear friend. He was a lovely young man with his whole life ahead of him. Chris was diagnosed with cancer at the start of 2018 but managed to complete his training despite this. We are all, including his pupils from last session, thinking fondly of Chris, and wishing for comfort for his family and closest friends.

Last Friday I mentioned that our U13 footballers were up against Inverkeithing, Beath and Levenmouth in the Fife Shield final at Bayview. This was a great achievement for then to have done so well. Congratulations to Inverkeithing, the overall winners. There was even better news of our U15s, who took on Madras College, St Andrews. I am delighted to say that KHS are the U15 Fife Champions after winning 5 - 1. The KHS scorers were Lewis Anderson, Scott Graves, Cameron Dewar (2) and Lewis Fleming. Many thanks to coaches Mr I'Anson, Mr English and Miss Steedman and all the other staff who support our sports teams.

The Saturday School last weekend covered Care, Spanish and Advanced Higher Latin. This week we've had further immunisation sessions with NHS Fife in the Hall on Monday. Also that day, we had the “Boozebusters” peer education training sessions supported by “Clued Up” and Fife Police. On Tuesday, Mrs Hamilton (S3 Yearhead) booked a travelling theatre company to deliver a play highlighting the issue of problem gambling. The show was called “Flutter” and had been well received in schools in Edinburgh. It certainly made our young people think about the dangers of betting. I was very impressed by the energetic cast and the relevance of the content.

We also held the Scottish Youth Parliament Elections on Tuesday, thanks to Ms Young of the Modern Studies Department for organising this. We had SQA Hospitality Practical Cookery exams that day and after school, our Rotary Interact Group took part in a sponsored walk to support MND Scotland and the Anthony Nolan Trust. This was great fun … well done to all who took part.

On Wednesday, the KHS LGBT+ student group were invited to run inclusion workshops at the National Youth Workers Conference in Glasgow. As you likely know, KHS is regarded as leading the way in promoting equality and fairness for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic. Well done to Dr Murray, who supports the work of this group so well. I am so very proud of them all. We are actively working with LGBT Youth Scotland on their "Charter" status and will have special training for all staff this May.

At the end of the day, our S5/6 gathered in the Hall to receive some feedback from Fife Fire and Rescue about the recent Anthony Nolan STEM cell donor campaign. Many thanks to the 82 young people who signed up and gave a DNA sample. Our "champions", who were responsible for the recruitment, received certificates. It was also shared that Kirsty Ogden (S6) has already been identified as a potential match for a blood cancer patient and will travel to London in May to make her donation. What a remarkable programme this is … well done Kirsty!

Yesterday, all S2 had their “Boozebusters” peer learning sessions, many thanks to Mrs Houston, our lead professional in the Guidance Team, who has organised these programmes, supported by Jayne Preece of “Clued Up” and PC Stevie Black of Police Scotland. The S4 trainers were terrific (see photo). Miss Cunningham (Principal Teacher of Maths) also organised for a group of S3 pupils to lead a numeracy event at Fair Isle Primary School. This went very well.

This morning, we had a special assembly for S4-6 to cover all the arrangements for the forthcoming SQA exams. These begin on Thursday 25 April with Latin, Physical Education and Administration/IT. Typically, there will be a “Masterclass” the day before each exam. Mrs Davidson has put this programme together and the timetable is attached. The other attachment is one of those special advice leaflets from Carolyn Brown, our Educational Psychologist. This one is very well timed, on the theme of “Exam Stress”. Appropriately, the other main event today is the SQA Practical Cake Craft assessment ... as usual, there are some amazing creations on show. We are also having a staff versus leavers netball match at lunchtime. Thanks to Miss McIntosh for arranging this.

On that theme, you might want to tune in to BBC Scotland’s “The Nine” this evening to catch KHS pupils talking about how they feel about their school and the exam “League Tables” published in the newspapers each year. We were invited to do this after the BBC asked Fife Council to suggest a suitable school to illustrate its news story on school success beyond the raw exam results. Many people believe that these tables are misleading and potentially damaging. The best schools achieve on many different levels in many different ways and to suggest that a school is either “good” or “bad” based on the number of Higher passes alone is, I believe, quite crass.

Not that we don’t value exam success … in fact, we go to great lengths to support our candidates! We have finalised our Easter School study programme, this was sent out last week and is up on our website and on Twitter. Our numerous study support opportunities (including Easter School) are a brilliant opportunity for revision and exam practice, please encourage your kids to come in. I am exceptionally grateful to the staff who go the extra mile. And finally on that theme, the Saturday School study session for tomorrow is Mathematics.

Incredibly, next week is the final week of term! On Monday we welcome the team from “Water Safety Scotland”, which includes the Fire Service, Police and RNLI. All First Year will have a special talk in the Hall during period 1. We will be highlighting the danger from swimming in quarries, rivers and coastal waters without safety considerations.

There are House Assemblies next week and we hand these over to the S6 leavers to organise and deliver. These are always a bit special, and often quite moving. It's Adam Smith on Tuesday, Carlyle on Wednesday and Oswald on Thursday.

Hank John, formerly proprietor of Caledonia Travel, Inverkeithing, will be in talking to our Travel and Tourism class on Tuesday  and our S1 footballers are taking part in a festival along at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline. Many thanks to Miss Steedman. After school, our LGBT+ Group is attending a "World Café" event in Glenrothes.

On the Wednesday, we have SQA assessments in Dance ... best wishes to all our candidates.

Thursday is the final day of term and we are holding a "Dress Down Day" in support on MND Scotland, in memory of Gordon Aikman, former head boy, who was such a brilliant campaigner for that cause. It’s also the Higher Drama practicals that day, despite it being the last day of term. We close at the usual time of 3.20pm.

On Friday 5 April, our ski trip heads off to the Austrian Alps, best wishes to all taking part and thanks to Mr Stewart and the team of staff in charge. They return on 13 April.  Speaking of returns, school is back on Monday 22 April with those SQA exams beginning on Thursday 25 with Latin, PE and Administration/IT.

Next week's canteen hot meal menu is as follows: Monday: Lentil soup, Macaroni Cheese, chips, vegetables Tuesday: Tomato soup, Red Thai Chilli Beef and noodles with vegetables Wednesday: Minestrone soup, Pork sausage casserole, potatoes and vegetables Thursday: French onion soup, Roast Beef, Potatoes and vegetables Friday: School closed.

We also have baked potatoes, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salad available every day as well as our outdoor snack bar. Please do be aware that we offer a free cup of soup with bread for all our young people, regardless of their “free school meals” status. We also have our "Breakfast Club" (sponsored by Stephens the Bakers) available from 8.10am and this is free to those facing hardship (it costs 44p otherwise). We have cereal, toast and jam and juice on offer.

We have some happy staffing news. I am delighted to share that Mrs Rachel Simpson (Head of Music) gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday morning. Best wishes to Mrs Simpson and her newly enlarged family.

And some more happy news, for the subject if not the school! Very best wishes to Jim McPherson, who is retiring from his position as part time Pupil Support Officer as of next Tuesday, 2 April. Jim has been with us for 6 years and has been a huge asset to the school. In a previous life he had been a Police Inspector and he brought vast experience to his role here. Jim will be missed by us all and we wish him well for the future.

Finally, our latest newsletter has come back from the printer earlier than expected and will be issued on Monday. Just in case it doesn’t make it home, I attach a PDF copy for you. As always, I am taken aback by the breadth of achievement and the many excellent successes we are able to report. Congratulations to our young people and many thanks to the staff. It also takes your support and encouragement to do these things. Thanks.

Very best wishes to you.

Derek Allan


29 March 2019

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