Education Scotland has praised the clear strategic direction provided by Knox Academy’s Headteacher, Sue Cook, in its letter to parents following the further inspection of the school.

I know Sue Cook and her entire team are committed to delivering further excellent learning opportunities.

HM Inspectors from Education Scotland visited the school in March 2017 and its subsequent inspection report set out a number of improvements that were required. As a result, two follow-up visits were held to check on progress. The letter to parents following the latest visit, which took place in December 2019, has been shared with the school community. In it, Education Scotland concludes that it “has confidence that the school has the capacity to continue to improve” and that no further follow-up visits in relation to the 2017 inspection are required.

Inspectors highlighted the important improvements that Ms Cook has led since she joined the school in August 2018 and the work she had undertaken to win the confidence and respect of staff and parents. The report highlights the effective working relationships and abilities to guide and manage change that the senior leadership team provides.

Cabinet member for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Shamin Akhtar, said: “This is a great result for Knox Academy and the entire school community. I’d like to commend Sue Cook on the improvements that she has brought about, together with her leadership team, since her arrival at the school. I’d also like to pay tribute to the parent council and students who have been committed to the pace and delivery of change, developing clear values and committing to these in their daily learning.”

An important improvement

In a letter to parents and carers, Inspectors pointed to a calm and purposeful ethos in most lessons, describing this as “an important improvement since previous inspections”. They also commented that “young people relate well to each other and to their teachers”.

To build on its improvements, Education Scotland has suggested that staff continue to develop a consistent approach to planning support for young people who require additional support. Targets for young people across both Knox and Meadowpark, which offers secondary provision for young people predominantly with autism, should be specific, measurable, achievable and realistic, and time bound. The pace of learning within S1-S3 should also be increased.

Lesley Brown, East Lothian Council’s Chief Operating Officer for Education, said: “We believe the results of this visit accurately reflect the school’s improvement journey. We have been working closely with the school to support its progress and have been impressed with the drive and determination that has been shown to improve experiences for its entire community. Much of the work to continue this programme of positive change is already underway, and I know Sue Cook and her entire team are committed to delivering further excellent learning opportunities.”

Published: Wednesday, 26th February 2020