Kirkcaldy High School News 23 March 2018

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

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope that you are well and are looking forward to the weekend. Welcome to the regular email news update. As you'll see, we've had a busy penultimate week of term

Last week I mentioned a couple of events taking place on the Friday. I should also have shared that Dr Murray took the Advanced Higher Chemistry class along to Inchdairnie Distillery. This is a new enterprise in Glenrothes and our students got a fantastic insight into the distilling process, as well as the commercial side of the business. Also, at lunchtime, the staff were treated to a special American themed meal prepared and served by the S5/6 Hospitality class as part of their SQA assessment. It was excellent ... especially the New York style baked cheesecake! Well done to all students involved and thanks to Ms Roberts, their teacher.

This week we have had yeargroup assemblies with the theme being "Pupil Voice". These were led by young people, encouraging others to get involved in raising any issues of concern. One aspect is our "Don't be a Bystander Box", which has been suggested by young people as a confidential way to report any concerns about bullying. We also had inputs about rights issues, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Well done to all involved and gave such valuable contributions. They are a credit to the school.

We also had "Rural and Urban Training Scheme" (RUTS) working with a target group of S3 on a motorbike maintenance course all week. We are trying to engage in different ways with those who find regular lessons challenging. Today, after working as a team all week, the group are at Knockhill Racing Circuit, taking part in off-road biking, accompanied by Mrs Rae, Pupil Support Officer. 

On Tuesday we had a visiting author, another excellent input on imaginative writing from the sci-fi writer, Russell Jones. This was a great success. Then, in the afternoon, I attended the Kirkcaldy Area Committee along with Mr McNeil, the Rector of Balwearie HS. We had prepared detailed progress reports for the group of Kirkcaldy Councillors and discussed our schools' successes and challenges, including how we are using the "Pupil Equity Fund" to help those from families affected by childhood poverty. We both had much to report back on and were thanked for our collective efforts. That evening, a small group of KHS staff went along to the AGM of the Kirkcaldy Foodbank. We'll continue to support the Foodbank when we can ... some of the statistics shared were very worrying, including the impact of benefit delays, benefit sanctions and low paid work. The guest speaker was Darren McGarvey, also known as "Loki" the Scottish Rapper. He is the author of an excellent book called "Poverty Safari" and he gave an emotional and very hard hitting account of the impact which deprivation has on learning. As you maybe know, we are a school which is trying to become more "trauma informed" in order to be better able to support young people affected by "adverse childhood experiences" such as neglect, poverty, alcohol, drugs or other forms of abuse.

Wednesday saw us host the final round of the Disability Sport Fife Football as well as the Cashback Sevens, another football competition, this one for girls. Well done to Bell Baxter and Madras, winners of the DSF competition, and also to Inverkeithing and St Columba's, winners of the girls' tournament. KHS did very well to make the finals.

Yesterday, our S4 reports were posted home. This will confirm SQA "presentation levels" and offer good advice for the period up to May. Also, Ms Wight took a group of young people to the Higher Geography Conference at St Andrews University and it was a terrific experience ... very well received. Last night, Mrs Davidson was involved in planning the next "Friends of Kirkcaldy High School" fund raiser. It's our Race Night on Friday 2 November. I do hope you can make it. More details soon.

Today, Jaime-Leigh Campbell, Kayla Greer, Sophie Lennon and Rebecca MacMillan (S2) are attending a special event at the “UN House Scotland” conference in the Scottish Parliament. They were national winners of a United Nations sponsored schools' competition to design a poster on the theme of ‘Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Scotland’. The conference is called "See Me, Free Me". Well done to all the girls, and also to Ms Mahr, their teacher. Some great photos are up on "Twitter" (or see below right).

Saturday School tomorrow (24 March) is Spanish and English, the session being held over from 3 March, which was lost due to snow.

Next week is the final week of what has been a very busy term. We'll have yeargroup assemblies led by our school chaplain, Rev. Ken Froude.

The main event is probably the visit of the UNICEF assessors on Tuesday. You will recall that we are seeking "Rights Respecting School" status. Many thanks for all your input to this. Many thanks also to Miss Diamond and Miss Ashby, who have pulled together a substantial amount of "evidence". Given the extent to which we have embedded "Respect" as a core value here, and the extent to which young people are involved in the life of the school, I am hoping that the assessors will be impressed. We will know next week.

On Wednesday evening our drama students, so well directed by Ms Bruce, will be performing at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. As part of the National Theatre "Connections" Festival they are performing the play "The Ceasefire Babies", set in Northern Ireland during the times of violent sectarian conflict. Having seen the play in school, I'm sure that the audience and the people from the National Theatre will be impressed.

Thursday is a "Dress Down" day in aid of Refuge Fife, the refugee charity. Pupils are asked to donate £1 or whatever they can afford. We close at the usual time on Thursday, it's not a half day. Friday is the Good Friday holiday and we then have two weeks Easter vacation with school returning on Monday 16 April.

I do hope that those taking exams shortly will use some of their holiday time for revision. To help with this, we have an extensive programme of study support in school right throughout the break which starts on Good Friday with Higher Maths. The full programme is attached. It's perhaps something which you can print off for reference.

The menu next week 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 new 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 50p otherwise). We have cereal, toast and jam and juice on offer.

May I repeat my appeal that you discourage you son or daughter from visiting the Shell garage on Hendry Road at lunchtime. You will be aware that there is a "Greggs" bakery and "Subway" sandwich bar on the forecourt which attract very big numbers of our young people every day. The problem is that this is a busy petrol station and there is no room on the forecourt for the number of young people hanging around. Vehicles are driving in and out, often reversing, and I am very concerned about safety.  The risk of an accident is great and I have raised this with the garage operators, Fife Council officials and elected representatives.

On that theme, I was delighted to learn at the Area Committee on Tuesday that, after representations from the school, Fife Council will be installing a pedestrian crossing on Hendry Road, between Cumbrae Terrace and the Mosque, where the Den path comes out onto Hendry Road. This is very good news as for some time I have been quite worried that a young person could be knocked down trying to cross here. It seems to be a fast section of road, especially coming from town over the brow of the hill.

Finally, Fife Council and Police Scotland have asked that schools share a warning about young people and drugs at this time. I understand that there have been incidents reported locally which make this a timely reminder; 

With Easter holidays approaching this is a particularly good time to remind parents to be vigilant, to know where their children are and who they are with, to speak to them when they come home at night. Be aware of their general demeanour and make sure they themselves know the signs of drug use and what to look out for. It is a sad fact but we all need to be aware of the prevalence of drugs within our communities and our children may have far greater access to drugs than we think possible. Good advice is available at internet sites such as;

Please do be in touch if you have any suspicion or questions about drug use or any other matter which affects your son or daughter's safety or health and wellbeing.

Best wishes

Derek Allan


23 March 2018


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