Kirkcaldy High School News 4 October 2019

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Published: Friday 04 Oct 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer   

Welcome to the final "Log" of the term. I hope that you are well and are looking forward to the school holiday. 

For this last week of  the term and we have been celebrating "Maths Week Scotland" with a sequence of events, in and out of school. For example, on Tuesday, all S2/3 took part in a special "Escape Rooms" challenge set up in the Hall. We hired in a specialist company to set up the event and it was a lot of fun. Teams had to undertake various numerical challenges to unlock special boxes against the clock. Also that day, we had our S3 "Enterprising Maths" teams up at Glenrothes High School competing in the Fife heat of the "Enterprising Maths" National Competition. The top Fife teams qualify for the National finals in Glasgow and I am delighted to report that one of our teams made the cut. Very well done to Callum Campbell (S4), Raegan Graham-Lithgow (S4), Aimee Main (S3) and Callum Husband (S3). It was my pleasure to share a Chocolate Orange with the winning team on Wednesday afternoon! 

Yesterday afternoon, all S1 were in the Hall for the finale of our "CSI" case, which finished with a "murder trial". S1 pupils have spent all week using number skills to crack clues to help them find the dastardly criminal who "murdered" Mr Young. It was my pleasure to be the presiding judge, wig and all. I must confess that it was an unusual sensation, having been a baldie for 20 year or so! Well done the jury and all the S1, who took part so wholeheartedly and correctly identified Miss Hay as the murderer. I’m pleased to say that Mr Young has made a full recovery. 

Finally, also today, we are hosting the Fife "Enterprising Maths" competition for all the primary schools across the county. Many thanks to our ambassador helpers, all who were interviewed for the role. It's been a huge undertaking but well worth it to promote numeracy and number skills. Well done Miss Grubb (Head of Department), Miss Cunningham (Principal Teacher) and all the Maths teachers for their work with this. It was a busy week, with wonderful learning experiences shared by so many.

Also this week, apart from our numeracy focus, our S6 who are interested in applying to University have been learning more about "UCAS" and the application process. Then, on Tuesday, all S6 were taken up to the Careers Convention which took place at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. There were representatives from Universities, Colleges, employers and training providers attending. 

We also had a couple of Parent/Carer Evenings in connection with upcoming trips. On Monday, Miss Malcolm and other staff involved met with the parents/carers of pupils attending our Dance trip to London in December.
Then, last night, our Modern Languages team held a meeting about our trip to Chateau de Warsy, near Amiens, next February.

Wednesday saw the school photographs being taken for all S1, S3 and S6. This included; siblings, Prefects and staff. That same day, our Personal Development class had organised our participation in the MacMillan Coffee Morning. As always, this was a lovely event, held in the staffroom. We raised over £240 from this event. Many thanks to all who baked or supported MacMillan in any way, and especially to the Personal Development class who organised the event.  After school we had 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 was S5/6 Parent/Carer Evening. This seemed to go quite smoothly. I'm happy with the overall arrangements but, as ever, I would appreciate your feedback. You can do this by pressing "reply".

Yesterday was a very important day, with Louise Barrett (S6) and Jonathan McIntyre (S5) flying out to Poland for a trip to Auschwitz as part of the Holocaust Memorial Trust "Lessons from Auschwitz" education programme. I understand that this was 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. I must thank Miss Osborne and Mr Harrower for their support of this engagement, which entailed travelling over to Edinburgh in the early hours and again very late at night.

Our Supported Learning class had a brilliant morning visit to the Fife Ice Arena to take part in a curling "try out". What a terrific experience it was. The guys fully deserved their hot chocolate on returning to school. 
In the afternoon, our Latin and Classical Studies pupils got a big surprise with the unannounced arrival of a detachment of Roman legionaries on a recruitment drive. It was all great fun. Mrs Shearer had set up this engagement with a re-enactment group called "Real Romans" and the guys explained their weaponry, and battle tactics. Our students had a great time dressing up and having lessons in archery and swordplay.

Also yesterday, Miss Steedman took our S2 (U14) footballers up to Webster’s High School, Kirriemuir to compete in the Scottish Shield. I am pleased to say that they won 7 0. This matches our U16 team’s impressive 7 0 away win at Forfar in the Scottish Shield last Friday. Our netballers did well away at Beath HS last night, but unfortunately lost out this time.

As usual for the end of term, we are having a "Dress Down" day, this time in support in support of MND Scotland, and in memory of Gordon Aikman, former KHS Head Boy. Young people have been asked to donate £1 or whatever they can afford for this cause. S1 Parents/Carers should expect a "Settling In" Report to arrive home shortly. 

Today is 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. Many thanks to Miss McIntosh for her excellent service to KHS. Her contributions, especially in the fileds of dance and netball, have been superb.
Also, best wishes to Mrs Bruce and the Drama students who are currently away at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow for a performance of "The Alchemist". I'm grateful to Mr I'Anson, who can add "bus driver" to his already impressive CV.

After the break, we'll be joined by Miss McIntosh's replacement. This is Miss Lucy Kirkwood, who is currently teaching in Edinburgh. Miss Kirkwood is a skilled dance teacher and we are delighted to have secured her services. We'll also be joined by a new Maths Teacher. Mr Stuart Spence is currently teaching at the Bridges Centre in Rosyth and has a wealth of experience. We’ll also have Mr John Douglas in school helping out for the rest of the session. Mr Douglas is an English teacher who will also support learning across different departments. Welcome to all of our new teachers. I should also say that Mrs Hunter will start her maternity leave in November and I am able to share that her Guidance duties will be undertaken by Mr Mitchell, who has previous experience in the Guidance role and will bring many strengths to the team. Very best wishes to Mrs Hunter.

For pupils, the return date is Tuesday 22 October and we'll be holding House Assemblies that week. The main theme is "Being Well" and we'll have a mental health focus. Our "champion" is Mrs Kendrick and she is in the process of putting together a team of senior pupils to act as "Mental Health Ambassadors" who will advise the school and help us getting the right messages out there and the best support available. We are also planning to extend the counselling service we offer via "DAPL".

On the Wednesday we'll welcome colleagues from St Andrew's and Viewforth to spend time in classes here and talk with pupils and staff about our work. We are asking for feedback about the quality of relationships and the consistency of staff practices and approaches.

Looking ahead, please spread the word about our Primary 7 Open Evening, which takes place on Tuesday 29 October. Pupils in P7 at Valley, Torbain, Fair Isle and Capshard will receive a letter of invitation, but if you know of any other families interested in sending their kids to KHS, please advise them to be in touch. I have attached a copy of the letter we have sent out. The other attachment is the usual Employability update, kindly compiled by Miss Malcolm, our coordinator.

The hot meal menu for the first week of the new term is as follows;
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. 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).

There is news from Rwanda. As you know, we have a team of nine students and three staff out in East Africa at the moment. They are engaging with young people in our partner school, Groupe Scolaire and supporting charity projects in Kigali, the capital city. On Tuesday, there was a visit to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial and the parallels with our Auschwitz trip yesterday are very apparent. Our young people and staff have been posting "blogs" on GLOW and we have been using "Twitter" to share photos and video from the expedition. The blog links are also on Twitter ... well worth checking out. I am so proud of our team, who have been outstanding ambassadors for Scotland and are actively contributing to global educational goals in this way.

Many thanks with your support with our “consistency” agenda this term. In August, I explained that we wanted to ensure that expectations were widely understood, especially in terms of issues such as uniform and mobile phones. We've covered these at assemblies and in “tutor” and will do so again at the start of next term. 

For the avoidance of doubt, please be reminded that our dress code is quite simple. We expect a plain white shirt and visible school tie, knotted near the throat. Any jumper worn should be a plain dark shade or of the KHS branded type and trousers/skirts should be plain black. Same goes for shoes, and trainers are acceptable so long as they are black. Our blazers are particularly smart, hard wearing and practical. They are available from the school or online form "Academy Uniforms" at a very good price. Leggings without pockets are not acceptable, nor are very thin leggings/jeggings through which underwear can be seen. Hoodies are not acceptable wear in class. Should any parent/carer need help in acquiring uniform, please just ask. We have a "bank", and much of it is new stock. We are keen to support all our pupils look their best at all times.

Mobile 'phones must be switched off and out of sight in lessons and in corridors unless the teacher makes it clear that their use can be part of learning. There should be no use of earphones in classes or corridors; it's rude and can be dangerous. Pupils are welcome to make use of a 'phone during break or lunch eg to listen to music or browse the internet. Please do not call or send messages to your son/daughter during lesson times as this can be a real distraction. If you do need to be in touch for an important reason, please call 01592 583405 and we will have your son/daughter taken out of class to speak to you. Any pupil who breaks our 'phone rules may have their phone confiscated for the lesson and we'll contact you if this is a persistent problem. I'm sure you would want to ensure that learning is given priority over social media, gaming etc.

Finally, I think I flagged up that the "May Day" holiday for 2020 looked likely to be moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 7 May in order to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. This is now confirmed by Fife Council. It means that we will change the date of our S1 Parent/Carer Evening from the Thursday to the Wednesday. This will affect families with a surname in the latter half of the alphabet … precise details soon.

Best wishes for the break. Please do remember that "Café Inc", the Fife Council lunch club, which is free for all families, is operating at Valley and Fair Isle Primaries right throughout the holidays. Drop in for a bite and a blether between 11.45am and 1pm. Everyone is welcome. No booking is required and you can bring the whole family.

Derek Allan
4 October 2019

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