Kirkcaldy High School News 8 February 2019

Archived news: published on Friday 08 Feb 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you are in good form. Here is the news from your kid’s school.

This week started with a strong focus on employability and the world of work. On Monday, we hosted the Scottish Government’s “Early Learning and Childcare Roadshow”, which is a recruitment drive in this growth area. The recent expansion of nursery places and hours means that there are thousands of new jobs becoming available in this field over the next couple of years. We had almost 100 young people involved and I am grateful to Miss Malcom (our Principal Teacher in charge of Workforce Development) for her work with this. We also had a small group of Lochgelly High School pupils along to join us in the afternoon.

Also on Monday, Mrs Davidson took a group of young people with an interest in the motor industry along to the Kwik Fit Training Academy at Broxburn. I understand that we are the only Fife school involved like this. We’ve been before and it really is worthwhile. Mrs Davidson tells me that the pupils were enthusiastic about their "hands on" experience. They had lots of great questions as well as having a unique opportunity to use the diagnostic equipment and find out about modern apprenticeships.

On Tuesday, our S1 pupils were involved in a STEM “Energiser” event in the assembly hall. This was delivered by “Tomorrow’s Engineers” and was great fun, involving building an electric car and testing the capacity of its battery, using experiments to compete against other teams. It continued on into Wednesday and involved skills in teamwork challenges in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Also on Tuesday, our LGBT+ group were involved in delivering inclusive training for Fife Council Youth Leaders. This was in the evening in our Boardroom. Some of the feedback from participants was outstanding. I must thank Dr Murray and the team for their commitment to making Fife (and Scotland) fairer for all. The group also met with LGBT Youth Scotland after school on Wednesday to plan how KHS can be accredited with the LGBTYS “Charter” (Gold Standard) over the coming months. This was a very positive experience and we are looking forward to this partnership.

On Tuesday evening, we hosted the Fife final of the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Public Speaking Competition. Well done to Amber Thomson and Logan Piotrowicz (S3), who debated the impact of internet access, alongside the 3 other finalists; 2 teams from Queen Anne, and one from Inverkeithing. Many thanks to Miss Osborne (History), who supported Amber and Logan in their preparations. Team KHS were excellent and will be very disappointed to have lost out by the finest of margins to Queen Anne. I am very proud of Amber and Logan.

On Wednesday, it was a pleasure to host three teachers from Italy as part of the Erasmus Education Programme, funded by the European Union. Our visitors thoroughly enjoyed their day and learned a lot about Scottish education, leaving with many happy memories. Many thanks to our S6 Language Ambassadors (and to Mrs Morris) who were excellent hosts.

I attended a Fife Headteachers’ meeting on Thursday along at Levenmouth Academy and in school, we staged the UK Mathematics Challenge (Intermediate Age Group). Many thanks to Miss Cunningham (Principal Teacher of Numeracy) who organised this. She also set up a fun Maths based version of “The Chase” at lunchtime yesterday and today, involving staff and pupils. Proceeds from this, and a bake sale today, are to be split between the NSPCC and a Scottish based charity called “Children 1st”. All this is to mark World Number Day.

This morning, the senior pupils who had signed up for the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Donor Register have given a sample mouth swab which becomes part of a stem cell record. Thanks to all who have responded to this excellent cause. We were delighted to have Ally Boyle and the guys from Fire and Rescue Scotland in last week. The Kirkcaldy Fire Crew link with Anthony Nolan is hugely worthwhile and the response from our young people has been terrific … 82 of them completed the full registration and gave their DNA sample today (photo right).

All this week past, we’ve had students taking part in the Fife Festival of Music at the Adam Smith Theatre, and I am informed that everyone played brilliantly and were a credit to KHS. We are very proud of all our young musicians and I must thank Mrs Simpson, Mrs Duckett and the instructors for all their hard work. A particular well done goes to Cameron Hamilton who won first prize and the trophy in the Brass Advanced Class. Cameron plays cornet beautifully.

Tomorrow’s Saturday’s study school is Business Management, Administration/IT and Computing Science. I would urge all those in SQA exams in these areas to come in on Saturday morning. It’s a great chance to get ready for May. Many thanks to the teachers who are giving up their time at weekends to deliver this.

In sport this week the scores have been: U15 Football KHS 6 - 1 Beath, Seniors - KHS 2 - 2 Beath, in S3 Netball, our made the semi final of the plate of the Fife Schools’ netball tournament, held at Glenrothes.

Next week is a short week due to the In-service Staff Training Day on Wednesday and the two day mid-term break. On Monday we’ll have the NHS Fife immunisation team in school doing catch up sessions for Meningitis, TB etc.

Then, on Tuesday, our Social Subjects students involved in the trip to London heads off. This is always an excellent experience which includes a tour of the House of Commons. The group is also visiting Madame Tussauds, The Museum of London, The Imperial War Museum, The London Dungeon, a show at Covent Garden and cruising on the Thames as well as riding the London Eye. I suspect that Mrs Meek, Ms Young and Miss Ashby will need the weekend to recover after their return on Friday evening! Many thanks to the staff giving up their time.

Also that day (Tuesday), we are holding an extensive consultation with NHS Fife to support their “Excellence in Care” initiative. Around 100 of our young people will take part in focus group discussions about services and expectations led by Jennifer Grant of the School Nurse Team. I am meeting with a group of pupils today to ask them to take part.

For the staff training day on Wednesday, it will be a real pleasure to welcome teaching and support staff from Capshard, Fair Isle, Torbain and Valley along to KHS in the morning for a session on “Adverse Childhood Experiences”. Morgan Faulds (S4) is up first, offering a report on her attendance on the “ACE Aware Nation” Conference in Glasgow, before she introduces Mary Glasgow, Chief Executive Officer of “Children 1st”.

We’ll also have our own Mr Broadway (Head of Supported Learning) introducing the “Be That Person” film, made by Fife Council to help promote awareness and understanding of the impact of childhood trauma. There is compelling data which shows that neglect and abuse can have a severe negative impact on young people in school, and on their life chances. There is an emerging science behind this which is of interest to all education professionals. I am very grateful to Mrs Kendrick (Principal Teacher of Guidance) who has put together an excellent programme for staff on teenage mental health issues, including a session on our increasing involvement in the delivery of meditation, yoga etc.

Mrs Gannon (Biology) will also raise staff awareness of the defibrillator we have recently had installed at reception. This was the result of student fund raising. More details of this next week.

To continue with that theme of adolescent mental health issues, and to involve you, next week I intend to send home an advice leaflet on the theme of teenage anxiety. This has been very kindly prepared for you by Carolyn Brown, our school’s Educational Psychologist. I hope that it may be helpful for you and develop a better understanding of what seems to be a growing problem for young people. Carolyn has said that she is prepared to do other similar short articles on issues such as self-harm and body-image. I am very grateful for her work with this.

Also on that Wednesday next week, our LGBT+ Group will be delivering staff training for medical and nursing staff at the Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline. Then, on Friday, despite the fact it’s a holiday, they’ll be running the same training at the Vic. The group are rightly recognised as leading the way across Scotland.

Next week's canteen hot meal menu is as follows:

Monday: Lentil soup, Stovies with crusty bread, turnip Tuesday: French onion soup, Chicken korma, boiled rice and vegetables

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.

As a wee reminder, please do get involved in the ongoing public consultation about the future of Templehall Community Centre. There are exciting plans for redevelopment and an exhibition has been set up at the Centre. Other plans include a “pop up” van and a family fun day on Thursday 14 February (our mid term break). Get your voice heard.

As I have mentioned in previous messages, we have been fortunate so far this winter in terms of severe weather. However, we’ll all recall the “Beast from the East” and will need to be prepared. You can check out Fife Council’s best advice here: www.fifedirect.org.uk/winter. There is also the opportunity to sign up for a text alert in the event that we have to close for any reason. Follow the link on the “Winter” page. I would also advise you to make use of Twitter to keep up to date with all sorts of KHS news, including weather alerts or closure information. I am led to believe that it’s the most followed Twitter feed of any Fife school. Check us out on @KirkcaldyHigh.

If you have a son or daughter in S4 or S5, the attachments to this message are specifically for you. They show the course choice arrangements in place over the next month. You will see that the “Course Catalogue” is attached and that we are holding a “Choice Fair” between interval and lunchtime on Monday 18 February. You are very welcome to come along to this event which takes place in the Hall. Staff and senior students will be manning “stalls” explaining what to expect from certain courses at N5, Higher or Advanced Higher. Other options, such as “Foundation Apprenticeships” will be explained too. I have also attached a copy of a letter which is going out next week offering you the chance to meet with Guidance staff on Monday 25 February (S5) or Wednesday 6 March (S4) to help make those all important decisions.

Of course, if there is anything with which we can be of assistance, please do be in touch. Also, if you know of any parent/carer from outwith our “catchment” who will want their child to join our First Year in August, please ask them to submit their placing request this month. It looks very much like we will be more or less full, with most available places now confirmed.

Finally, and again, this is a repeat appeal, please call the school if you wish to reserve tickets for the “Friends of Kirkcaldy High School” Ceilidh, on Friday 8 March. Tickets are £10 and this includes dancing to the Bert Pozzi Band and a fish supper. We also have a bar available on the night. It’s a great cause and the group has donated thousands for school improvement over the last couple of sessions. Please ask for Mrs Davidson, who is overseeing ticket sales. The last few ceilidhs have been a sell out.

Aye yours

Derek Allan

RECTOR

8 February 2019

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