Innerwick | Education

Innerwick Primary School – from the school logbooks

The first logbook entry is in 1873 but a Robert Henderson was appointed headmaster in 1830. The buildings comprised a schoolhouse and two classrooms, approx. 36 x 12.5ft long. These were deemed fit to hold 80 pupils. Attendance fluctuates dramatically due to illness, weather, children working in the fields and the movement of farm workers every year.

In 1880, Robert Henderson retired; RD Barnes followed as headmaster, with Miss A Bruce as assistant. Miss Bruce had taught for 24 years as mistress of the ‘Lady Mary Hamilton School’ in the village (the Dames’ School) a fee-paying school for girls.

The Inspector’s Report of 1881 ‘The School Board has effected a much needed amalgamations between the two schools in the village. Increased attendance renders an additional classroom, plus lavatory and offices necessary’.

The school makes a creditable appearance under examination. The junior room is much overcrowded holding 62, whilst it should hold 38.

The Inspector’s Report of 1894

In 1895 the throwing back of the internal partition is advised. Back to two rooms, an open fire was used in each room – these worked some radiators and as Innerwick has no gas supply, lighting was paraffin lamps.

In 1939, 33 children were evacuated from Edinburgh with their own teacher, and three classes used the village hall, but by the end of the year, half had returned home, the remainder staying until 1943.

In 1945, apart from smaller desks, a better heating system, proposed new playground, these school buildings were relatively unchanged.

In 1945, apart from smaller desks, a better heating system, and a proposed new playground, the 19th century school buildings were relatively unchanged, with two rooms, an open fire in each, which worked some radiators. As Innerwick had no gas supply, lighting was paraffin lamps.

Iron rations were issued in 1947, owing to severe weather conditions. If the Dunbar van couldn’t get through, children were fed soup, oatcakes, cheese and cocoa. Four Aikengall children were transferred from Oldhamstocks.

In 1950, Mr Downie retired after 28 years, and was presented with a fishing rod, and electric light was eventually installed in the village. School meals started in the village library in 1951, and 1952 saw a school club being formed – pupils being instructed in embroidery, fret-saw work and leather work.

In 1953, school meals were raised to ninepence (9d), and a three-day holiday was given for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

1954 saw the end of rationing, and by 1955, the school roll had risen to 71, when the village library was used as an extra classroom. A child guidance service was inaugurated with an educational psychologist and speech therapist. In 1956, an audiomatic survey was held for children with hearing problems. Immunisation for polio arrived in 1957, and the school received individual desks for the senior room, also an electric gramophone and new wireless. The 1950s ended with the retiral of Miss Shiells who had taught for 41 years in Innerwick. The Cuisenaire Rods, a method of arithmetic, arrived and a school library was opened.

With the start of the 1960s, a new school was being considered for Innerwick. Dunbar Grammar School had new buildings and approval for a cement works was given. 1963 had the worst weather of the century and in 1966 a five-year-old pupil was knocked down and killed on the way home from school.

A new, custom-built school with modern kitchen facilities built in the lower area of the village was opened in February 1969. The school roll was 63; 32 children came from East Barns Primary School, which had closed, and the remainder from Innerwick. In 1970, Oldhamstocks Primary School closed, bringing the roll at Innerwick to 75. Numbers in subsequent years rose to 90+, but by 1994 had dropped to 42, due to the reduction in the farming population.

The ‘old school’ buildings were to be used as an outdoor centre.

In September 1969 a television set was installed so that pupils could take part in school programmes.

‘Plant a tree in ’73’ and ‘Plant some more in ’74’ had each pupil in the school planting a tree. Tufty Clubs, cycling proficiency tests, and a minibus all appeared in the 1970s.

New Lothian Regional Authority started in 1975; education came under Lothian region in Edinburgh and parents needed a representative for the school council.

Mr Ness (the headteacher) visited a camp at Peterhead like one proposed by SSEB for Thurston to house workers building Torness power station. Villagers were anxious about the proximity of the camp.

Jubilee Celebrations were held in 1977- sports with shield presented by the Welfare Association, and mugs donated by Dunbar Rotary Club. The school was closed for polling (the referendum on the Scottish Assembly) in 1979. In the early 1980s, a team from Innerwick gave a creditable performance in the East Lothian Country Dancing Competition, and May 5 was given as a statutory holiday.

School sweatshirts with name and badge appeared, and the headteacher attended Knox Academy for computer studies

In 1983, Miss Brenda Murray was appointed head with Mr Lowe in the middle area. A clerical assistant was added to staff.

A parent-teacher association was formed and a playgroup started in the village hall. In-service training days included science and environmental studies, practical maths and micro-computers. A number of trees, donated by the region, are planted in school grounds.

Extreme weather in January 1987 meant the closure of all schools in the region until 19 January. A school board was formed in 1989 and training given on ‘paired reading’.

By the start of the 1990s, parents were discussing health education programmes – sex education and solvent abuse.

The school roll dropped to 44 with three staff – one over the red book allocation. In 1992, Innerwick was allocated ten nursery places. Primary 5-7s won a £250 ‘Grounds for Improvement’ award and a wildlife garden was created.

The nursery class eventually obtained a playing out area, and in 1994 pupils celebrated the 25 anniversary of the school with a ‘Sixties Night’ concert. A sundial was erected as a Millennium project, and in 2000, the school roll was 66. According to the school since 1989, the lowest number (1993) was 39 pupils.

The ‘old school’ still continues as an outdoor centre.