Kirkcaldy High School News 15 March 2019

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Published: Friday 15 Mar 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer

Welcome to the "Rector's Log" ... I hope that all is well with you and your family. As I type this, the news is coming through of the dreadful terrorist atrocity in New Zealand. After discussion with Fraser and Mollie, our Head Boy and Head Girl, we are planning to visit Kirkcaldy Central Mosque today before Friday prayers to convey our sympathy and outrage to Imam Mansoor. We have signed a card on behalf of our school community, which feels like the right thing to do.

Last week I mentioned our annual "Friends of Kirkcaldy High School" Ceilidh. As always, this was a big success, albeit one which was overshadowed by the recent death of FoKHS Chairman John Beck. We remembered and paid tribute to John on the night. Many thanks to all who came along. I understand that almost £2000 was raised. Thanks to Mrs Davidson (Depute) for the work she puts in behind the scenes. I am also very grateful to Lorraine Lister, our janitor, who also show exceptional commitment to the cause. It was great to see so many young people there, current S6 and those who left school in the past year or two.

Many thanks to our raffle donors, much appreciated. We have one prize which was not drawn on the night and I wonder if you would like to take part in a blind auction? We have a Fife Golf Trust voucher for a complimentary four ball at any of the Trust’s courses: Auchterderran, Dunnikier, Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes, Kinghorn, Scoonie or Lochore. This voucher has a value of £60 and we are inviting all offers. Please just email a note of your bid along with your name and name of your son/daughter. You only need to press “reply” and the highest bid will win the voucher. Thank you in advance.

I also mentioned that Cara Hayes (S4) was competing in the East of Scotland finals of the Rotary Club “Young Musician” Competition (vocal section) at Kinross. Cara is a beautiful singer and represented the school with distinction.

Saturday School was Latin (N5), Classics, Drama, Psychology, Graphic Communication, Design and Manufacture and Engineering Science.  Miss Diamond has now put together the SQA Easter School programme and this should be ready for sending home next Friday. These are all exceptionally helpful opportunities for our young people preparing for exams and I am grateful to all staff who support these initiatives.

This week we had our SQA Dance prelim exams on the Monday morning and a guest speaker from “Greenpeace” in to discuss that organisation’s environmental campaigning. This was arranged by Miss Ashby and Ms Young (Modern Studies) to help our students understand the relevance of the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals” programme. Sally Romilly describes herself as veteran green campaigner and she delivered two excellent talks with the focus on single use plastics.

At lunchtime on the Tuesday, Mr Farquharson arranged a speaker to talk to S6 about student finance, loans and bursaries. Many thanks to Elizabeth from the Stewart Ivory Financial Education Trust. In the evening, we were represented at the AGM of Kirkcaldy Foodbank, with a group of staff and pupils along to hear the guest speaker, Sir Harry Burns, former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. I was one of those who attended, and was once again so very impressed by the commitment and compassion of the Foodbank volunteers. Sir Harry was excellent very interesting, talking about the health impacts on children living in poverty. Please support Kirkcaldy Foodbank if you can.

Very well done to our U15 Football team who recorded a fine 5-1 win over Woodmill to progress to the final of the Fife Schools League Cup.

The other big event on Tuesday evening was the charity football match held at Starks Park in memory of Connor Aird and Ethan King. Despite the worst of weather, an amazing crowd of over 1100 turned out to pay tribute to the boys who died in the Standing Stane Road crash last November.

Also that evening we held a Parents Evening for those taking part in our forthcoming trip to Madrid, which takes place in June. Many thanks to Mr Spink (Modern Languages), who is leading the trip, and the other staff assisting.

On Wednesday, we held another “Speedy STEM” science and engineering awareness session in the Hall, supported by the “STEM East” Ambassador Team. We had over 25 ambassadors involved in “speed dating” with groups of S3 pupils to explain their work as engineers, technicians and scientists. The feedback from the kids was excellent. Thanks to all of them for engaging so well. At the same time in the Library, we hosted the Sky “Ocean Rescue Challenge”. These were workshops with a focus on plastic pollution … again, this work was about extending understanding of those UN “Sustainable Development Goals”. As a UN Rights Respecting School we are committed to doing this. Many thanks to Fallon Dunleavy of the Transformation Trust, who was an excellent facilitator. We are hopeful that our winning team, the “Sea Savers”, can qualify for the Scottish final which involves making a short film for Sky TV. Many thanks to Miss Ashby and Ms Young for their support of these sustainability and participation initiatives. Please see photo right and check out the link for our winning video:

We also had a group of S1 boys out on a visit to Waterstones Bookshop on Wednesday. Many thanks to Miss Wilson (English). We value reading and literacy and we also made a small sum available to allow those on the trip to buy a book of their choosing.

Also, Alanah Ferguson (S6) was off to the UK “Big Bang” Science Competition at the NEC in Birmingham. Alanah has developed a project on underwater energy generation which is very exciting. It’s part of the Nuffield Foundation Research Programme and Alanah has been spending time at Dundee University developing her ideas. "Big Bang" is the UK's top Science Competition for young people and I am immensely proud of Alanah. I understand that she was awarded a medal by Engineering UK in recognition of her achievements.

Yesterday saw our S5 “Sexperts” peer education trainers working with all S3 (by House). This is an excellent sex and relationships programme which has won praise from “COSLA”. Many thanks to Mrs Houston (Guidance Team Leader) for her work with this and to our partners from Barnardo's, NHS Fife and the Youth Work team who "train the trainers". I was also involved in a meeting with Boyd Legal, who have recently opened an office in Kirkcaldy and are keen to establish a partnership link with KHS. It should mean work placements, visits etc and a chance for our learners to better understand some of the employability skills required in this sector … this is an exciting opportunity for us.

Last night it was our first ever “Dance Showcase” in the Hall. I am delighted that dance has become a real strength for KHS. Many thanks to Miss McIntosh (PE), who leads on this and shares her passion for dance. The show itself was absolutely outstanding … a brilliant display of talent and hard work. It was moving and inspiring. Well done and thanks to everyone … including our brilliant tech team. Thanks also to the staff involved, especially Miss McIntosh, the organiser. This was a huge undertaking superbly well organised.

This afternoon we will have a visit from Lee Pirie, a reporter at Radio Kingdom FM. Lee is a former Head Boy of KHS and has asked to speak with a group of S2 pupils who are concerned about climate change … you will be aware of the campaign involving young people protesting against the environmental damage caused by current economic policies. Lee will then be talking with our Higher Politics and Modern Studies students about their views on Brexit. This should be a lively engagement! Please tune in over the weekend to hear our kids’ opinions of the important issues of the day.

This evening, we’ll have teachers and pupils from the Computing Department attending the Adam Smith Global Foundation Annual Lecture at the Adam Smith Theatre. It’s part of the Kirkcaldy “Festival of Ideas” and the speaker is Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with "inventing" the world wide web. Quite a coup for Kirkcaldy.

The Saturday School tomorrow will be Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Physics, Drama, Music and Dance. This is a great chance to boost SQA grades before May.

Also tomorrow, I’ll be taking Umar Mohammed, Cara Hayes and Morgan Faulds along to Stirling University to contest the Scottish final of the Rotary Club Public Speaking Competition. We are up against Aboyne Academy, St Andrew’s and St Bride’s (East Kilbride) and Hutchesons’ Grammar School (Glasgow) for a place in the UK final at Nottingham in May. Best wishes to team KHS. Cara is our main speaker and she will talk about "Adverse Childhood Experiences".

Next week we have Yeargroup Assemblies with differing themes. For S1 on Monday we will welcome Hank John of Gideons International, who will give a short talk about the voluntary work undertaken by this Christian Charity. Mr John will then be available at a "stall" in school at breaks with the gift of a New Testament to any young person who would wish to accept the offer. S2 on Tuesday will have a safety talk from Fife Fire and Rescue. On Wednesday we'll have a focus on "Learner Journeys" when 3 of our S6 will explain what they plan to do after school. There is a focus on positive destinations such as College, University or a Modern Apprenticeship. This will be the same for S4 and on Friday (S5/6) we are welcoming a guest speaker to explain their "learner journey" and offer some advice. Also on the Friday, S6 will be briefed about arrangements for their Prom, which this year takes place at Fernie Castle, near Cupar, on Friday 14 June. Mrs Nelson will also speak to S6 re completing the paperwork for Saltire Hours and offering S5 pupils opportunities to become "buddies" for new S1 pupils.

Please do come along to our Parent Council meeting next Tuesday Evening. It starts at 6pm and it’s a great way to get involved in the life of the school. There is no commitment to attend all of our meetings and you will not be landed with taking the minutes or anything like that. Chairman Derek Dunsire is keen to see wider participation and I share his wish to achieve this. The agenda this time around will cover; budget, staffing, a proposed teenage mental health parent/carer evening and talk on “adverse childhood experiences” as well as a report from our Head Boy and Head Girl. As I say, please do come along. You can respond to this email to confirm and please inform me of anything you would want to add to the agenda. Also that evening, Mr Stewart is holding a parent/carer evening for those involved in our ski trip to Austria in April.

On the Wednesday morning we are welcoming representatives from Stephens the Bakers Foundation along to our Breakfast Club. Stephens have recently become our official sponsor and are donating monthly to ensure that those who can’t afford to eat well have a nutritious breakfast in school. Many thanks to the Foundation, we are very grateful. Thanks also to the Kirkcaldy Area Committee, who are sponsoring our healthy home-made soup initiative. This is available every day at lunchtime, and is now served in reusable mugs … we are committed to tackling the single use plastics in school.

On Wednesday evening, I’ll be at the Scottish Parliament with a group of S4 pupils at the invitation of “Children First” we have been asked along to a reception hosted by Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, to recognise the efforts made by schools and other organisations in developing understanding of the impact of childhood trauma and neglect. As you will be becoming aware, this is becoming ever more important for us in protecting children’s mental health.

The week ends with a visiting delegation of 12 Headteachers from Norway, organised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Also, many thanks to Ms Roberts (Home Economics), who has organized for Hospitality students to prepare and serve a Mexican themed lunch for staff. This is part of the assessment of the Hospitality course.

The Saturday School for 23 March will be Care, Spanish and Advanced Higher Latin.

Next week's canteen hot meal menu is as follows: Monday: Lentil soup, Butter Chicken Tikka Masala and Rice, vegetables Tuesday: Mushroom soup, Grilled Sausage/burger – veggie/beef/chicken, chips, baked beans Wednesday: Scotch broth, Roast chicken and gravy, potatoes and vegetables Thursday: Carrot and coriander soup, Lasagne, garlic bread and vegetables Friday: Yellow split pea soup, Breaded fish/Sausage roll, chips, peas.

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" 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.

Looking ahead, our Rwanda Exchange 2019 team are busy planning a quiz afternoon at Betty Nicol’s on the High Street for Sunday 24 March at 2pm.  This should be a great afternoon where the team can fundraise for their humanitarian trip to Africa in September, where they will be working with Comfort International and our partner school in the Bumbogo district.  If you are interested in tickets please contact the school and ask for Ms Mahr.  Tickets are £4 for adults and £2 for children.  Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult due to licencing laws. 

Very best wishes … and please remember that we are inviting email bids for that golf voucher.

Derek Allan


15 March 2019

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