Kirkcaldy High School News 21 February 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you are well.  Welcome to the news from your school.

Our trip to France returned home in the early hours last Friday and I must congratulate our young people on the way they represented their home town. Mrs Morris and her staff team were so impressed by the way our young people engaged in the experience. They developed their language skills, enjoyed the cultural and tourist highlights of Paris and had a lot of fun together. I was particularly impressed by the respect shown by our young people when they had the chance to visit the Somme battlefields and the graves of former KHS pupils. They paid tributes by reading the life stories told in John Beck's book about our school war memorial and laid a poppy wreath in the memory of our lost generation from that horrible conflict. Special thanks to Mrs Morris, who does this things, and all things, so well.

This week we've had Yeargroup Assemblies, led by our young people on the theme of Equality and Diversity. Many thanks to the members of our LGBT+ Group, our "Rights" Group and our Mental Health Ambassadors for their input. You may be aware that February is LGBT History Month, hence the link. We also issued a special commemorative pen to all staff and pupils as an official memento of our UNICEF Rights Respecting School "Gold" Award. Our award has been featured in the local media this week and last.

On Tuesday we had another round   of S3 vaccinations. However, the main event this week has been our S2 "Respect for Learning" Awards, held after school on Tuesday in the Assembly Hall. The parents or carers of all those pupils being awarded either “Merit” or “Distinction” had received a letter home and the pupils received their own copy. It's a new initiative recognising those S2 pupils who have tried their best and have respected our core school values in their time at KHS so far, not a Prizegiving at which we reward academic excellence. It's more about recognising that everybody's best is different and appreciating the young people who might be overlooked if we only ever valued those who achieve the best test marks. This is reflected in our school motto, which is "usque conabor" or "strive to the utmost". It's all about doing your best, rather than being better than anybody else. There are two levels of award, depending on the comments and assessment of teachers in the recent S2 Reports. The "Merit Award" was given to those who have cooperated well with teachers and shown a very good level of commitment to learning. For those who have shown exceptional cooperation and effort, we presented the "Distinction Award". The evening itself was excellent with a fantastic turnout and inspirational speeches from Cara Turner (Head Girl), Mr Young (Depute Headteacher, photo) and Jake Ramsay (Head Boy). Congratulations to all our Award winners. Thanks also to the KHS Community Choir, who provided entertainment, directed by choirmaster Mrs Duckett.

Wednesday evening saw our participation in the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Public Speaking Competition. It was the opening round, held in KHS. Many thanks to Miss Osborne, who supported our speakers, Eilidh Drummond and Rebecca Greig (S3). They spoke on the issue of "Ageism" and competed against teams from Queen Anne, St Columba's and Inverkeithing High Schools. I am delighted to report that Rebecca and Eilidh have won through to the Fife final. This will be held in KHS on the evening of Wednesday 25 March. All parents/carers are welcome to come along. Many thanks to Miss Osborne (History, photographed below with Eilidh and Rebecca, also Charlie Murdoch and Amber Thomson, timekeepers) for her support of team KHS. Thanks too to Miss Diamond (Depute) who oversaw the event on the evening.

Yesterday's assembly, in addition to the Equality and Diversity theme, had an input about the "Your Ed" Higher Education wider access programme, run by Edinburgh University. After an input at the assembly, the KHS LGBT+ group members headed off to deliver training at a "University of the Third Age" event in Penicuik, Midlothian. This was another terrific success for our ambassadors. We were also represented at the Scottish Parliament yesterday, having been invited to be part of a seminar on "Tackling Extremism" organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Ms Young and Mr Paterson of the Modern Studies Department accompanied a group of senior students to this event. I'm told that this was excellent. We are grateful to Claire Baker MSP, who gave our kids a tour of the Parliament. In school, our Personal Development class members organised a lunchtime charity bake sale. Also, Miss Tennant (Principal Teacher of "STEM") took our S2 Go4SET technology team up to Leviton, Glenrothes. Staff from that company are mentoring our pupils as part of a national science competition.

Our assembly this morning had an additional input as we explained our commitment to the Anthony Nolan Trust. Mrs Davidson talked about the bone marrow donor scheme and encouraged our S5/6 pupils to register as potential stem cell donors to help blood cancer patients. We are proud to be involved in this programme, which is also supported by all the team at Kirkcaldy Fire Station in memory of Gary Dall, who lost his life to an aggressive blood cancer in 2018. We are planning the DNA testing for 27 March (not earlier as I suggested last week) and hope to beat last year's uptake when we helped the Trust to register 90 new potential donors. The first step is to recruit a team of "Champions" in S6 who will do the recruiting. That was the main focus this morning.

Tomorrow's Saturday School is French, Modern Studies, Design and Manufacture, Engineering Science and Graphic Communication. We'll also have a group of senior pupils helping with a “Kingdom Kid” Charity Bucket Collection at Starks Park. Radio Kingdom FM requested some assistance and Mr Dick, who just happens to be a Rovers fan, has agreed to supervise before the game versus Clyde.

Next week sees the posting home of the S5/6 reports on Monday. That same day, Miss Tennant has organised an "Energiser" event for all S1 in the Hall, in conjunction with Fife College. On Tuesday, Miss Osborne of the History Department has arranged for the "Bud" education team from Poppy Scotland to visit the school. This is a mobile classroom/exhibition/museum experience and it's a real coup for us to have been selected. Wednesday is another vaccination session for S3 pupils and on Thursday, Ellie Hitchcock (S5) has organised a charity bake sale to support the Cottage Family Centre in Templehall. Many thanks to Ellie. On Thursday evening, it's the Fourth Year Parent/Carer Evening. A separate message has been sent home explaining how the online booking system works. Any problems, please call 01592 583405 for advice. The Saturday School sessions for 29 February are for students of English at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level.

In the refectory, next week's hot meal choice will be; Monday: Lentil Soup, Macaroni Cheese with Garlic Bread, Tuesday: Yellow Pea Soup, Pork Sausages, Chips and Beans, Wednesday: Tomato Soup, Chicken Korma with Rice and Naan, Thursday: Green Pea Soup, Steak Pie and Potatoes, Friday: Vegetable Soup, Fish, Chips and Peas or Beans.

We also have baked potatoes, hot dogs, pizza, pasta, panini, sandwiches, filled rolls, salad and bakery items 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). 

Thanks to those of you who supported Hayley Smith, Carly Samson, Emily Dowling and Amanda Wright (S4). The girls are close friends of Paige Dougall, who is currently undergoing treatment for Ewing Sarcoma. Paige's friends cut and donated their hair to the Little Princess Trust (to make wigs for childhood cancer patients). The sponsor money raised goes to the Teenage Cancer Trust and the girls smashed their £1500 target. Well done to them all ... and thanks to you.

Finally, a wee thanks to all the staff who have supported me this week. My father passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning. We were very close, and knowing that all the team back in school were getting on just fine without me has helped greatly, as have all the messages of comfort. I'm especially grateful to Sandy Young (Depute Headteacher), who has "stepped up" in my absence and been so effective in taking the lead. 

Very best wishes for the weekend and beyond.Take care.

Derek Allan


21 February 2020

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