Kirkcaldy High School News 27 September 2019

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Published: Friday 27 Sep 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer   

I hope that you are well and are looking forward to the weekend. Here’s what’s cooking at KHS.

This week we’ve been particularly busy with a great diversity of events, trips and activities. We held Yeargroup assemblies with different themes for different years. For example, for S1 on Monday, we had a focus on the upcoming Fordell Firs Adventure Trips (Wednesday to Friday). For S2 on Tuesday, Mrs Kendrick (Guidance) had organised by a special fire safety talk from Fife Fire and Rescue, supported by our Community Police Officer, Cameron Lee. 

Also that day, Mrs Hamilton (Depute Rector), Mrs Morris (Head of Modern Languages) Mr McFarlane (Acting Rector of Viewforth High School) and I visited St Andrew’s High School as part of our “Learning Partnership”. This was a valuable experience for us all. We had the chance to be in classes, talk to teachers and talk to young people, before providing feedback on aspects of school successes and improvement plans at St Andrew’s. A team from that school, led by Mr Callaghan (Headteacher) will visit our school just after the October holidays. We are looking forward to that too … we can always learn from each other.

Our Rotary Club "Interact" made a cheque presentation to the Anthony Nolan Trust which was a result of their sponsored walk and bake sale. Anthony Nolan works closely with Fife Fire and Rescue to recruit new bone marrow donors to give hope to those affected by blood cancers. I am delighted to say that as a result of our partnership, over 80 young people joined the register last session. Kirsty Ogden, who has now left school, subsequently travelled to London to donate after a potential match was found. Below you'll find a link which will take you to a video of Kirsty during her stem cell donation.  The video is now embedded in the presentation that is being delivered across Scotland at any partnership event between Scottish Fire and Rescue and Anthony Nolan. I found it very moving … I am so proud to be Kirsty's Headteacher;

On Tuesday afternoon, all S1 were invited to a musical demonstration and performance in the Hall. This performance was put on by our music instructors. Many thanks to all of them, and also to Mrs Duckett, our Head of Music. We are keen to encourage all our pupils to be involved in music. It’s never too late to learn a new skill or develop a new passion … and that goes for learning an instrument too. Our new Community Choir of staff and pupils is also going very well and their first gig takes place at the Salvation Army Open Day at Hayfield Road this Saturday.

On Tuesday evening, we held a meeting of the KHS Parent Council and the main themes were some feedback about the Kingdom FM “Best School” Award, a review of the SQA exam results, the latest position on staffing and timetable, our financial position and spending plans for the session ahead and in particular, the way we are attempting to close the attainment gap through Pupil Equity Fund projects and initiatives. I was delighted to meet several new members and we had a really good blether about all matters KHS. Cara Turner and Jake Ramsay (Head Boy and Girl) attended and gave their take from a student standpoint. I do hope that even more parents/carers can join us for the next meeting on 12 November. We’ll be discussing teenage mental health and “Rights Respecting Schools” among other things. I'm wondering whether calling it a "Council" puts people off? Maybe it sounds too grand or official? I'd appreciate your comments ... and suggestions for a rebrand!

On Wednesday afternoon, we had a group of Drama students attending a performance of “A Taste of Honey” at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh. Many thanks to Mrs Bruce and Mr McPherson for leading this. I am also delighted that Mrs Bruce has set about organising the very first Fife Schools’ “Shakespeare Festival” in conjunction with Fife College. I am excited at the prospect. I understand that a group of local schools will be staging abridged performances of the bard’s works in 2020. Rehearsals start soon for the KHS production of “Othello”.

On Wednesday evening, our COSLA Award winning LGBT+ Group delivered equalities training to Fife Council Youth Workers. Then yesterday, they were off to the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow to deliver “workshop” sessions for teachers from all over Scotland. We were invited by Education Scotland, the Government's lead agency in the field. I am so proud of our team, led by John, Morgan and Blake. KHS is lighting the way … and many thanks to Dr Murray too. He is our lead teacher supporter.

On a quite different tack, also on Wednesday evening, Mrs Shearer (Head of Languages and Classics) delivered a special talk to the Scottish Classical Association on the teaching of Latin in Scottish Schools. This took place at the old Medical School of Edinburgh University.

Well done to our S1, who have been out of school (by House group) from Wednesday to Friday this week taking part in outdoor adventure and team building activities at Fordell Firs near Dunfermline. This has been a great success, despite the rain and mud!

It's also a case of “best wishes” to our Rwanda team, which heads off to Africa today. This is likely to be the trip of a lifetime and I am delighted that we are working with “Comfort Rwanda” on educational projects, including support for the Kigali Street Kids Project. This a learning programme for homeless boys in the capital city. 

Special good luck wishes go to Ms Mahr, who will take a career break after the Rwanda trip to work as a charity based volunteer in Thailand until the summer of 2021.

Yesterday's S4 Assembly had a focus on SQA arrangements, and Miss Diamond (Depute Head) explained the dangers of plagiarism. Our Supported Learning class had a great day out at the Disability Sport Fife Swimming Championships, our first involvement like this. I was delighted to present certificates this morning.

At this morning's S5/6 assembly we welcomed a special guest. Craig Stockton is the Chief Executive Officer of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Scotland and he was in school to talk to our seniors about that dreadful disease, which has been in the news recently after the death of Fernando Ricksen the former Rangers footballer. Craig was presented with a cheque for the grand sum of £1343, the result of our fund raising for MND Scotland over the past session, in memory of Gordon Aikman, our former Head Boy of KHS who was such a fantastic campaigner for research funding and medical support for Motor Neurone Disease sufferers. We are committed to continue fund-raising for MND over coming sessions.

As you receive this by email, we are awaiting news from Forfar, where our U16 footballers are away to Forfar Academy in the Scottish Shield. Good luck to the boys, who are current Fife Champions. Our “Career Ready” students are also out, attending the official launch of the programme at Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline. Thanks to Miss Malcolm, who leads on this terrific project, which involves business mentoring and a paid internship work placement.

Next week is the final week of term (how did that happen?) and we are celebrating "Maths Week Scotland" with a sequence of events, in and out of school. For example, on Tuesday, all S2/3 will take part in a special "Escape Rooms" challenge. We have hired in a specialist company to set up the event in the Hall. It sounds like a lot of fun. Also that day, we'll have our S3 "Enterprising Maths" teams up at Glenrothes High School competing in the Fife heat of this event. The top Fife teams qualify for the National finals in Glasgow. On Thursday afternoon, all S1 will be in the Hall for the finale of our "CSI" case, which finishes in a "murder trial". S1 will have spent all week using numeric skills to crack clues. Can they find the dastardly criminal who "murdered" Mr Young? Finally on Friday, we'll be hosting our own "Enterprising Maths" competition for Capshard, Fair Isle, Torbain and Valley Primary Schools.

Also next week, apart from our numeracy focus, our S6 who are interested in applying to University are being extracted in the morning to learn more about "UCAS" and the application process. Then, on Tuesday, all S6 are being taken up to the Careers Convention which takes place at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. There are representatives from Universities, Colleges, employers and training providers attending. 

Wednesday will see the school photographs being taken for all S1, S3 and S6. We'll provide details of how you can order prints later. That day, our Personal Development class have organised our participation in the MacMillan Coffee Morning. This is always a lovely event in the staffroom. We hope to raise around £200 from this event. After school we have another study/mentoring session with undergraduates from St Andrews University supporting our SQA students as part of the "First Chances" programme. Then, a little later, it's our S5/6 Parent/Carer Evening. You will have received log in details for making teacher appointments. 

It's a very important day on Thursday, when Louise Barrett (S6) and Jonathan McIntyre (S5) fly out to Poland for a trip to Auschwitz as part of the Holocaust Memorial Trust "Lessons from Auschwitz" education programme. I'm sure that this will be a memorable and very moving event. We have lined up an opportunity for Louise and Jonathan to give a talk and share their photographs at an assembly next January. This will be to mark World Holocaust Memorial Day.

Also that day, Miss Steedman is taking our S2 footballers up to Webster’s High School, Kirriemuir to compete in the Scottish Shield. Very best wishes to them.

Friday 4 October is the end of term and we'll have our usual "Dress Down" arrangements in support of MND Scotland. Young people are asked to donate £1 or whatever they can afford for this cause. S1 Parents/Carers should expect a "Settling In" Report to be sent home that day. It’s also the final day for Miss McIntosh of the PE Department, who starts in a new job at Braeview Academy, Dundee after the break. We’re sorry to lose Miss McIntosh, but her new school is much closer to home. I’m in no doubt that Miss McIntosh will be a huge asset to Braeview, she has been here.

The hot meal menu for next week 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: Leek and potato soup, Breaded fish/Steakbake, 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. There is also our "Breakfast Club" (sponsored by Stephens the Bakers) available from 8.10am and this is completely free for those facing hardship. We have cereal, toast and jam and juice on offer. Lunchtime meals are priced at £2.20 for pupils, and this is the value of the “free meal” entitlement. Main courses are £1.55 and desserts are priced at £0.65. Please call if you are facing financial hardship and would appreciate help to apply for free meals. You should ask for Mrs Hardie (Family Link Worker).

After the break, the teachers and other staff return on Monday 21 October for a training day before the pupils are back in school on the Tuesday.

I’m indebted to Miss Steedman (PE), who has provided a wee round up of this week’s sports results; S2 football - KHS 9-2 Woodmill, S1 football – at the Festival on Tuesday, our two sevens teams were unbeaten, S3 football - Scottish Shiels v St John’s (Perth) KHS lost 2-1. Howver, St John’s are an SFA Performavce School at the Shield holders! Girls football - Inverkeithing 10 KHS 0, but or girls but didn’t gave up. They then played in our cluster event last night and represented the school very well, including the mixed teams competition.

Finally, last call for our “FoKHS” Race Night. This takes place in the school Hall on Friday 8 November and is always brilliant fun. It’s also an excellent way to support KHS. FoKHS raises thousands of pounds annually to assist the school, most recently through the purchase of a 3D printer for the CDT Department. Please call us and ask for Mrs Davidson to purchase tickets, or to sponsor a race or a horse. If you have a business or are involved in a community organization, you can also take out an advert in our programme/race card. Please see the attached “flyer”.

If there is any other query you may have, we are at your service.

All the best to you.

Derek Allan


27 September 2019

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