Humbie | Education

In the 1953 account the Rev Bain reported (p258) that some 40 primary age children attended Humbie Primary School, which then had two teachers. Children living north of Keith Water (Windymains and Duncrahill) went to Crossroads school, just beyond the parish boundary. Older children went by bus to Ormiston Junior Secondary School and Preston Lodge Senior Secondary School. There were seven children (age not stated) at boarding school.

In 1961, under pressure from central government (the Scottish Office) to cut costs, the East Lothian County Council education committee agreed that

‘Ormiston Public School should be altered to bring it up to the required standards and that the primary schools at Humbie and Crossroads should be closed and the pupils therefrom transferred to Ormiston in 1962/63’.

Humbie residents successfully fought to keep their own (Humbie) school open, but Crossroads school closed in 1969. The Crossroads catchment was however not transferred to Humbie; the children were bussed to Ormiston, together with secondary school children from Humbie travelling to the new (comprehensive) Ross High School in Tranent.

In 1979 the Humbie school capacity was 60 but the roll was 18. By 1982 the roll had fallen to seven and the local authority announced its intention to close the school. A local campaign committee was formed and the school was again saved from closure, but became a single teacher school. In 1983, as the teacher now travelled from outside the parish, both schoolhouses were sold. During the period, the school roll fluctuated between single figures and over 40 with often major changes from year to year as cohorts moved on to secondary education. In addition, Humbie school suffered growing competition from the private sector in Haddington and Edinburgh. Some incoming parents may also have had doubts about the educational experience that can be provided by a small school with few in each age group. In the 1990s, perhaps a quarter to a third of primary aged children went to schools outwith Humbie. Nevertheless, the school and the active interest of the parents of all the children in the parish, in events in the parish remained a significant factor in the cohesion of the community.

In the 1990s, parents using the state system were given the opportunity to choose which school their children attended, although transport would only be provided in the designated catchment areas for each school. It remained to be seen whether this would be to the advantage or otherwise of Humbie school. Meanwhile in 1997 major extensions were made to Humbie Primary School in anticipation of its continuing use.

Head Teachers 1945 Miss Geddes 1951 Miss Cockburn 1957 Mr McGillivary 1973 Mrs Thomson 1976 Mrs MacLellan 1983 Miss Murray (acting) 1983 Ms Patterson 1986 Ms Thayne 1994 Ms Waterston (acting Aug-Dec) 1995 Mrs Wharton 1999 Mrs Gordon (acting Jan-May) 1999 Ms Montgomery 2000 Mrs Irving

School roll: 1980 – 19; 1989 – 7; 1990 – 13; 1991 – 17; 1992 – 21; 1993 – 27; 1994 – 39; 1995 – 46; 1996 – 46; 1997 – 31; 1998 – 42; 1999 – 36; 2000 -19.

The school at The Children’s Village provided education for needy Edinburgh children ‘on holiday’ in Humbie from the early 1900s until 1967 when the village stopped functioning as a holiday home (having provided holidays for about 176,000 children), due to increasing costs and difficulty in getting appropriate staff, and also changes of need due to greater provision of care by the state. Also the Fund (which still existed in 2000), decided it was more appropriate to send children incognito on other holiday packages. In 1967, the village was leased and subsequently bought as a residential and day care facility for the mentally handicapped; in 1995 this was closed, and the remaining residents were transferred elsewhere.