Kirkcaldy High School News 23 November 2018

Archived news: published on Friday 23 Nov 2018 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer

I must say that I have been immensely proud of our young people over the past fortnight. They have shown tremendous compassion, respect and generosity in the aftermath of recent tragic events. Of course, we all felt, at first, overcome as we reacted as a school community to the deaths of Ethan King and Connor Aird, and the terrible injuries suffered by Danny Stevens. Our thoughts are very much with the families and loved ones of the victims ... many of those being young people currently in our school.

But it is some consolation to know that the kids are alright. They have been so understanding and kind. They have been quietly resilient. Sometimes events such as these can strengthen a community which already has many strengths. That's how it has felt to me this week. I was especially moved by last Saturday's memorial event, organised at short notice by current and former pupils like Matthew Lafferty and Melissa Mordew. Very well done to them. As I have said in a previous message, I know that the widespread feeling of solidarity with the bereaved families is helping just a bit.

Also, it was a real pleasure to welcome Danny Stevens back in school this afternoon. Danny is recovering well, although he knows that he has some way to go yet until he is fully well again. It was a very welcome surprise that Danny paid a visit. Just knowing that he might be ok and get through this ordeal has been a comfort for many people affected by this. Danny wants everyone to know that he is grateful for all the good wishes he has received.

Last Friday, the school was closed to pupils for staff training. First up, we had a brilliant presentation from the young people of KHS LGBT+ and then some sessions on effective learning strategies, led by Mrs Hamilton and Mrs Morris. In the afternoon, we had a focus on high level additional support needs in preparation for our new intake of S1 “Supported Learning” pupils in August 2019.

Starting this week, our S3 pupils have been undergoing the Scottish National Standardised Assessments in literacy and numeracy. These are computer adaptive tests which help us judge progress towards the "Nationals". At lunchtime on Monday, I visited the Cottage Family Centre with a donation of £410 made on behalf of our Charities Committee. I was joined by Ellie Hitchcock, who spoke so passionately in support of the Cottage as part of our "Youth Philanthropy Initiative" earlier this year. I was very impressed by the excellent work going on at the Cottage and have promised Pauline Buchan and her team that we will look at new ways to work together to support the most vulnerable families in our town. Mrs Davidson is already setting up work placements as a result of this.

On Monday after school, our U14 footballers had a fine win away in the Scottish Shield, defeating St Paul's Academy of Dundee 4-2. Many thanks to coach Ms Wight (Geography), herself the captain of Dunfermline Athletic Women, for her work with this squad.

We had House Assemblies on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday when the theme was Book Week Scotland. Many thanks to Mrs Cunningham, Miss Wilson (pictured), Emily McCormack and Katie Brown, who led these sessions, which also marked the launch of our involvement in the "First Minister's Reading Challenge". Furthermore, on Wednesday, we had authors John Young and Mark Fleming in school, as part of a Scottish Book Trust initiative. John spoke to all S2 on the theme of mental health and Mark worked with a target group of S1 as part of our Author in Residence programme.

On Tuesday evening, Mr English (PE) and Mr I'Anson (CDT) took a bus to Hampden for Scotland v Israel. Maybe it was the support of the KHS Tartan Army which made the difference? As you know, it was one of Scotland's most welcome results in a wee while ... although Scotland did, as usual, find a nerve wracking way to do things. That said, well done us on qualifying for a play-off to qualify for the European Championships!

On Wednesday, we had a group of S5/6 Modern Languages students along at St Andrews University for their "meet and mingle" event. It was a chance to have a chat with current undergraduates and was a very enlightening experience for our linguists. Thanks to Mr Morrice, who was the chauffeur (pun intended).

In the afternoon, it was a pleasure to welcome staff and students from Fife College to our Drama Department. Our visitors laid on musical theatre workshops which were great fun for our own students.

Yesterday saw an Engineering Science trip to Rosyth Dockyard for a STEM event hosted by Babcock and in the evening we competed with the other Fife High Schools for the Kirkcaldy Schools Quiz Championship, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kirkcaldy. This took place at Windmill Campus and was won by Viewforth High School on this occasion.

Today, our orchestra has been invited along to ASDA at Carberry Road to play Christmas music to mark the switching on of the festive lights this afternoon.

Next week we have S5 students Andrew Collins and Jake Ramsay competing in the Rotary "Young Chef" Competition at Fife College. They'll be up against the other Kirkcaldy schools and judged by TV Chef Eadie Manson among others. 

Then, on Tuesday, it's our Employability Fair when we welcome employers, universities and colleges in to the school to discuss future opportunities with all young people (S3-S6). Parents and carers are welcome to join us after school for what is effectively our "Careers Fair". Thanks to Mrs Davidson and especially to Miss Malcolm, who have made most of the arrangements. Joining us are Skills Development Scotland, Fife Council, Kwik Fit, Fife Voluntary Action, BAM Construction, Crane Ware, the Army, the RAF, the Royal Marines, Fife Police, Fife College, Scotland's Rural College, Fife Foundation Apprenticeship Team, NHS Fife, the Law Society of Scotland, IDTC Training, Addleshaw Goddard (Corporate Law), the Scottish Government (Civil Service), Kingdom Homes, Camp America, Edinburgh Academy of Music and the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier, St Andrews, Strathclyde, West of Scotland and Edinburgh. Looks to me like we have something for everyone, you are all welcome between 3.30pm and 6pm. Mrs Davidson emailed out last week.

The following evening (Wednesday 28 November) is our S2 Learning Fair, which is a sort of "roadshow" intended to help with course choices being made at the start of next year. S2 parents and carers will have received their invitation from Mr Young this week. I'll explain how our S3 curriculum is designed and how we ensure balance of choices then parents/carers can wander around the Hall chatting with teachers and senior students about various options. You will likely find that things are quite different since your time in school. Please send back the return slip by Monday. We are looking to start this event at 6pm. Thanks.

Also after school that day, there is a meeting for those involved in Fife's "Be That Person" film project. This explores the negative impact of "Adverse Childhood Experiences" or "ACES". Our own Mr Broadway, Morgan Faulds and Cara Hayes (both S4) have been involved in this from the outset. I should also add that Morgan and Cara have been invited to speak at the Burntisland Speakers Club annual Christmas dinner this year. Well done to them.

On the Thursday, our S4 will be taking part in a special peer education training programme called "Sexperts". This involves specially trained S6 peer educators leading sessions on relationships and sexual health. In the evening it's our Annual Christmas Fayre, with all funds raised going towards our S6 Yearbook and Prom. All are welcome to join us from 6.30pm and we have stalls featuring: Body Shop, Silver and Cream, Balbirnie Candles, Bead-Dazzled jewellery, Scarves, Christmas Frames and Mugs, Yomelda Perfume, Darcey’s Candles, Christine’s Card Creations, Bunty’s Celebrations, Cards and Tote Bags, Sand Art, Enchanted Events, Comfort International (Rwanda) and Handmade Soaps. We’ll also have tea, coffee, cake and raffles. Please come along on Thursday. Our photo shows Zac and Jack advertising the Fayre.

Next Friday we are holding a special S6 Assembly, with an input from the Anthony Nolan Trust, who are looking for new bone marrow donors ... a very worthwhile exercise.

Next week's menu is;

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.

I have an appeal to make. Miss Cunningham (PT Maths) is planning to start up a crochet club at lunchtimes and is putting a plea out for any crochet resources that any parent/carer may have at home and doesn't make use of eg crochet needles, pattern books or double knit wool. Please pass any donations in at the Office. Thanks.

Also, very well done to three of our S6 Politics/Modern Studies pupils, who have been declared winners of an essay competition run by Fords Daly Legal, the Kirkcaldy based law firm. The competition, open to all the high schools in Kirkcaldy had the prize of spending the day at the Scottish Parliament on 6 December, with the chance to attend First Minister’s Question Time and have lunch with Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary … quite a prize. Well done to Kieran Harmes, Esha Aslam and Katie Brown. I am delighted to say that KHS won all the available places with three excellent essays. Mrs Meek (Head of Social Studies) is just a bit disappointed that there is no accompanying teacher required!

Looking ahead, it’s our annual Christmas concert on Wednesday 12 December (6.30pm for refreshments with the concert at 7pm) and Mrs Simpson (Head of Music) has worked with others to put together a very varied show with choral and instrumental music as well as dance. There is likely to be a chance to sing along too. All performers have received two complimentary tickets with additional tickets available from the Office priced at £1.

Mrs Simpson has also asked me to mention the National 5 and Higher music performance prelims take place on the 3 and 4 December. The Music Department will be open until 7pm on 3 December for any extra practice the pupils wish to do with Mrs Simpson.

Finally, I was in touch earlier this week with details of Ethan's funeral. Please be aware that this takes place at Kirkcaldy Crematorium next Wednesday, 28 November at 3pm. We will have a group of staff and pupils leaving school at the start of period 7 (2.35pm) to walk to the Crematorium. Only those who have brought a note from home can be part of this. Some pupils may be attending with their parents/carers. It is probably easier if you keep your son/daughter off school in the afternoon and travel from home in that case. Please provide a note ... appreciated.

Thanks again for your support. This continues to be a difficult time for so many of our young people and staff, and for the closest friends and family of Ethan and Connor. Knowing that we all care and can empathise is some comfort. Best wishes to Danny.

And best wishes to you

Derek Allan


23 November 2018

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By Post: Kirkcaldy High School Dunnikier Way Kirkcaldy Fife KY1 3LR
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