Kirkcaldy High School News 22 March 2019

Archived news: published on Friday 22 Mar 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope that all is good with you. Here is the news from KHS.

Last week I mentioned our brief visit to Kirkcaldy Central Mosque before Friday prayers to convey our sympathy and outrage to Imam Mansoor in the aftermath of the New Zealand terrorist murders. I was joined by senior pupils. The Imam has publicly thanked us for our support and expression of solidarity. I think it is more important than ever to reiterate our shared commitment to tolerance and respect. We are right with our Muslim friends and we condemn all those who would divide us with their hate. Please take some time out around midday tomorrow if you are out and about in the High Street. I understand that the Kirkcaldy Muslim Community will hold a silent vigil as a mark of respect and a condemnation of terrorism.

I also mentioned that last Saturday, Umar Mohammed, Cara Hayes and Morgan Faulds would be at Stirling University to contest the Scottish final of the Rotary Club Public Speaking Competition. We were 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. Mrs Davidson and I were so immensely proud of team KHS, who were, quite frankly, brilliant. It must have been very tough for the judging panel, which delivered a “spilt decision”. Well done to Hutchesons’, who were declared the winners by the slimmest of margins.

This week we have had Yeargroup Assemblies with differing themes. For S1 on Monday we welcomed Hank John of Gideons International, who gave a short talk about the voluntary work undertaken by this Christian Charity. Mr John was then available at a "stall" in school at breaks with the gift of a New Testament for any young person who wanted to accept the offer. S2 on Tuesday had a safety talk from Fife Fire and Rescue. On Wednesday we had a focus on "Learner Journeys" when 3 of our S6 explained what they plan to do after school. There was a focus on positive destinations such as College, University or a Modern Apprenticeship. I am very grateful to Kelice, Kirstin and Jack for their input. This was the same experience for S4 yesterday.

This morning (for S5/6) we welcomed Lynsey Ramsay, a former pupil who talked about her "learner journey" and offered some very helpful advice. In a very moving speech, Lynsey explained how she had worked to overcome adversity and now runs her own successful business. The message was clear … resilience and hope win in the end. Also today, S6 were briefed about arrangements for their Prom, which this year takes place at Fernie Castle, near Cupar, on Friday 14 June. Mrs Davidson also explained how we will select the Prefect Team for 2019-2020. The application can be downloaded from our website and Mrs Davidson is sending an email for parents of all S5 shortly. The website link is here; KHS Prefect Application

We held a Parent Council meeting on Tuesday Evening. Chairman Derek Dunsire welcomed those present and the agenda this time around covered; budget, staffing, a proposed teenage mental health parent/carer evening for the end of May (details shortly), and talk on “adverse childhood experiences” from our public speaking team. We also had a report from our Head Boy and Head Girl, Fraser Anderson and Mollie Turner. Also that evening, Mr Stewart held a parent/carer evening for those involved in our ski trip to Austria in April.

On the Wednesday morning we welcomed Lynn Hunter 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 of Fife Council, who are sponsoring our healthy home-made soup initiative. This is available every day at lunchtime, and is now served in reusable mugs … as I explained last week, we are committed to tackling the problem of single use plastics in school.

We also had our S2 netball squads competing in the Fife Schools’ Championships at Glenrothes on Wednesday and I am delighted to say that they did exceptionally well. KHS reached the semi-final stage for the first time. Well done to all involved and thanks to coaches Miss McIntosh and Miss Malcolm.

In the afternoon, Miss Wallace of the Geography Department took a group of S1 outdoors to help The Dunnikier Country Park Development Group plant trees on the “North Field” (the area just to the south of the Council Parks Depot). As you will gather, we are actively promoting the UN Global Goals, in this case, Goal 15: Life on Land. Miss Wallace reports that the Park Group were beyond impressed by the hard work and dedication demonstrated by our pupils, resulting in 130 trees being planted in just over an hour. These small actions can contribute towards achieving that global aim of protecting our planet. It’s about a sustainable future for all.

In addition, we hosted the latest round of fixtures of the Disability Sport Fife Football Competition and on that theme, congratulations to Liam Ness (S3) who became the DSF Senior Boccia champion earlier this week, beating the reigning champion in the final at Glenrothes.

The other fantastic success story this week was our Go4SET science and technology team’s win in the East of Scotland final held at Fife College Carnegie Campus, Dunfermline. This is an engineering and design competition for S2 pupils with a focus on global warming and sustainability. I am so proud of Miss Tennant and her team; Blake McBride, Olivia Etherington, Millie Cowie, Eilidh Drummond, Kate Francis. They now progress to the Scottish final to be held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh in June. Thanks also to sponsors, Leviton, the tech company from Glenrothes, who provide technical advice and support (photo).

On Wednesday evening, I attended the Scottish Parliament with some S4 pupils at the invitation of “Children 1st”, Scotland’s leading children’s charity. We were asked along to a reception hosted by Shona Robison MSP and the guest speaker was Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary. This was to recognise the efforts made by organisations (especially the Police on this occasion) to develop wider understanding of the impact of childhood abuse and neglect. We were the only school invited in this way. As you will be becoming aware, understanding the impact of trauma is ever more important for us in protecting children’s mental health. It was the official launch of the “Comfort Teddies” initiative … a brilliant scheme for helping young children handle very stressful situations.

This morning we had a visiting delegation of 11 teachers from Norway, organised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Many thanks to our Modern Languages Ambassadors, who showed our visitors around. Our guests were very impressed and commented on how clean and bright they found the school. They also thought that relationships between staff and pupils were very good and that our young people came across as bright, happy and ambitious. Many thanks to our excellent ambassador team; Skye Deacon, Morgan Lindsay, Nicole Scott, Megan Jobson, Natasha Sinclair and Fiona Mundwiler.

Also, many thanks to Ms Roberts (Home Economics), who organised for Hospitality students to prepare and serve a Mexican themed lunch for staff today. This is part of the assessment of the Hospitality course. It was fabulous, and I know that my colleagues thought so too. Several of the teachers have been to Mexico and reckon the Kirkcaldy cantina was a match for any they’d visited in Acapulco or Cancun!

Best wishes to our U13 and U15 football teams who will be contesting the Finals of their respective Fife Cups along at Bayview this evening. The U13 are up against Inverkeithing, Beath and Levenmouth whilst the U15 take on Madras College. Many thanks to coaches Mr I’Anson, Mr English and Miss Steedman, whose support of our teams is greatly appreciated.

The Saturday School for tomorrow will be Care, Spanish and Advanced Higher Latin. Next week we’ll have further immunisation sessions with NHS Fife and these take place in the Hall on Monday. Also that day, we’ll have the “Boozebusters” peer education training sessions supported by “Clued Up” and DAPL. On Tuesday, Mrs Hamilton (S3 Yearhead) has organised for a travelling theatre company to deliver a play highlighting the issue of problem gambling. The show is called “Flutter” and has been well received in schools in Edinburgh.

We are also holding the Scottish Youth Parliament Elections, thanks to Ms Young of the Modern Studies Department for her work with this. We’ll have SQA Hospitality Practical Cookery exams and in the evening I’ll be attending a reception in Edinburgh hosted by HIV Scotland. KHS is regarded as a school which is leading the way in sex and relationships education and sexual health. It will be good to catch up with Nathan Sparling, the Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, who happens to be a former student of mine.

On Wednesday 27 March, the KHS LGBT+ student group has been 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 hope that you have your tickets for our Silent Disco being held on Wednesday evening. All funds raised are going towards our Spanish language trip to Madrid in June. Many thanks to Mr Spink of the Modern Languages Department for his leadership of this.

On the Thursday, all S2 will have their “Boozebusters” peer learning sessions, many thanks to Mrs Houston, our lead professional in the Guidance Team, who has organised these programmes. The week ends on Friday with a special assembly for S4-6 to cover all the arrangements for the forth coming SQA exams. These begin on Thursday 25 April with Latin, Physical Education and Administration/IT. Please see the attached timetable for your information. Typically, there will be a “masterclass” the day before each class. Mrs Davidson is putting this programme together and we will share the timetable next week. I’ll also be attaching another of those advice leaflets from Carolyn Brown, our Educational Psychologist. This one is very well timed, on the theme of “Exam Stress”.

The other attachment is the Easter School programme, this has been put together by Miss Diamond … many thanks. 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. Appropriately, the other event next Friday is the SQA Practical Cake Craft assessment. And finally on that theme, the Saturday School for 30 March is Mathematics.

Next week's canteen hot meal menu is as follows: Monday: Lentil soup, Stovies with crusty bread, turnip Tuesday: French onion soup, Chicken korma, boiled rice and vegetables Wednesday: Tomato soup, Steak pie, potatoes and vegetables Thursday: Green pea soup, Sweet chilli beef and noodles, vegetables Friday: Vegetable soup, Breaded fish/Scotch pie, 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.

Finally, please note that Friday 5 April is a holiday and we are off for the two week Spring break after that, returning to school on Monday 22 April.

All the very best to you and your family.

Derek Allan


22 March 2019

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