Kirkcaldy High School News 12 February 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

Here is the news from KHS. I'm hoping that you are in good enough fettle and coping with the difficult weather. Take care on the pavements and roads.

As I'm sure you are aware, this week has been a shorter week with the In-Service Training Day today and holidays tomorrow and Friday. 

First thing on Monday, Mr Young called a special S2 Assembly in order to share details about our “Respect for Learning Awards" on Tuesday 18 February. He and I explained the arrangements for these new awards. The parents or carers of all those pupils being awarded either “Merit” or “Distinction” will have received a letter home by now and the pupils received their own letter yesterday. We are looking forward to welcoming you after school on Tuesday next week. Please return the tear off slip if you have received a letter. This is a new initiative and we will be recognising those S2 pupils who have tried their best and have respected our core school values in their time at KHS so far. This is 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.

We have created two levels of award, depending on the comments and assessment of your teachers in the recent S2 Reports. The "Merit Award" is 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 will present the "Distinction Award". 

Our staff training day today has had an emphasis on support for young people with mental health challenges. Mrs Kendrick, our mental health "champion" led an all staff session in the morning. This was very useful and I am grateful to her for input and also to Gillian Wood (PSO) and Christine Paterson, our in-school counsellor, who also contributed.

Next week, from Monday 17 February, we'll be having Yeargroup Assemblies, led by our young people on the theme of Equality and Diversity. We are also issuing a special commemorative pen to all staff and pupils as an official memento of our UNICEF Rights Respecting School "Gold" Award. Watch out for this week's Fife Free Press, I understand that they are covering the story this week (photo).

On Tuesday we'll have another round of S3 vaccinations. The permission letters are being distributed and appointment slips prepared. The main event next week is those S2 "Respect for Learning" Awards, after school on Tuesday in the Assembly Hall. If you are coming along, please be seated and settled by 4pm, and do note that after the presentations, we'll have an opportunity for photographs and a chat with staff over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Wednesday evening sees our participation in the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Public Speaking Competition. It's the opening round, held in KHS at 6pm. Many thanks to Miss Osborne, who is supporting our speakers, Eilidh Drummond and Rebecca Greig (S3). They will discuss the issue of "Ageism" and compete against teams from Queen Anne, St Columba's and Inverkeithing High Schools. Best wishes to Eilidh and Rebecca.

The Thursday assembly, in addition to the Equality and Diversity theme, will have 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 are heading off to deliver training at a "University of the Third Age" event in Penicuik, Midlothian. We'll also be at the Scottish Parliament that day, 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 will be accompanying a group of senior students to this event. I'm sure it will be interesting and a bit different. In school, our Personal Development class members have organised a lunchtime bake sale with proceeds going to charity, a cause to be decided.

Our assembly on Friday will have an additional input as we explain our commitment to the Anthony Nolan Trust. Mrs Davidson will talk about the bone marrow donor scheme and encourage 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 13 March and hope to beat last year's uptake when we helped the Trust to register 90 new potential donors. 

Saturday School for 22 February is French, Modern Studies, Design and Manufacture, Engineering Science and Graphic communication. That day 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.

In the refectory, next week's hot meal choice will be; Monday: Lentil Soup, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Tuesday: Scotch Broth, Chicken Tikka, Rice and Naan. 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). 

Looking a wee bit ahead, we have our S4 Parent and Carer Evening on Thursday 27 February. We'll send home a message about online booking shortly.

I thought I should share the latest reports from our Languages trip to France. Despite the terrible weather overnight on Sunday, our coach party made good time and caught the ferry from Dover on Monday at 1pm, arriving at their accommodation, a chateau near Amiens, in time for the evening meal. Yesterday was a day trip to Disneyland Paris and today there is a cultural tour of the city. Tomorrow our pupils will visit the battlefields of the Somme and lay a poppy wreath to honour the KHS casualties of the Great War. Mrs Morris and Mrs Hamilton have been in touch to say that all is going very well. We are expecting the party to return at 6am on Friday. I'm sure it will have been a memorable, and action packed, trip. Certainly, from the photos I have seen, the chateau looks amazing.

Finally, a wee appeal. Please support Hayley Smith, Carly Samson, Emily Dowling and Amanda Wright (S4). The girls are close friends of Paige Dougall and are cutting and donating their hair to the Little Princess Trust (to make wigs for childhood cancer patients). The sponsor money raised is going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. You may know that Paige is undergoing treatment for Ewing Sarcoma. The girls have raised about two thirds of their £1500 target so far and you can donate here; Or search “Heartfelt Haircuts” on JustGiving. Thanks.

As you know, we are responsive to your needs. I would ask that you never to hesitate to ask for help or advice, or be in contact if something isn't right. However, please do make an appointment in advance of coming in to school. It’s not always that the Guidance staff, Deputes or myself are immediately available.

Aye yours,

Derek Allan


12 February 2020

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