Saltoun | Education

A pre-school playgroup was started in the 1970s. It still meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in term time from 9 to 11.30am in the Fletcher Hall. It takes pre-school children of any age but, until they reach the age of two and a half, a parent or carer is expected to stay with them. There is a paid playleader with back up from a rota of parents Numbers have fluctuated over the years. In 2000 there were nine children, several of whom came from neighbouring villages. A nursery class for three and four year olds attached to the primary school opened in 1998. It takes children every morning from 9am to 11.30am during school terms.

Primary education has been provided throughout this period in the old 19th century school in East Saltoun.

Miss Cossar was our teacher. She cycled up to teach from Pencaitland – a long climb on a bicycle without gears.

Margaret McCormack (late 1940s)

The roll of the school has fluctuated over the years, and there have been either two or three teachers depending on numbers. There was a threat that the school would be closed in 1984 in the interests of economy, and children bussed to Pencaitland, Humbie or Gifford. Closure was averted, however, partly due to vigorous local objections, and the school has now been modernised and extended.

The schoolhouse was incorporated into the school. The roll of the school was just 29 in 1989, but had risen to 63 in 2000, when there were three teachers. Children from outwith the school’s designated catchment area can attend at their parents’ request if there is room for them and parents arrange the transport. There has been a school board for a number of years working closely with the school. The school has a reputation over the years for doing well in national Burns competitions in singing and recitation. It maintains the village school atmosphere, at the same time preparing the children for secondary education outside the village.

At the start of this period secondary aged children attendedeither the Ormiston Junior Secondary School or, if they passed the qualifying exam, the Preston Lodge Senior Secondary School in Prestonpans.

In the school, girls were expected to wear uniform including gymslips and the inevitable navy knickers. Socks, gloves and scarves were hand-knitted.

Margaret McCormack

When the Ross High School opened in Tranent in 1954, children attended there instead of Prestonpans for senior secondary education. The secondary part of the Ormiston school closed in 1954, and all children then attended Ross High School, which had become a comprehensive school in the 1970s.

In the 1980s the rights of parents to choose their children’s schools were extended, but free transport was provided only for those who attended Ross High School, Tranent. In 2000, secondary school children attend either Ross High School or Knox Academy in Haddington or travel to private schools in Edinburgh.

There has been no provision for post-school education in the parish, apart from occasional informal evening classes, focusing mainly on leisure activities.

There is adult basic education provision in Haddington and Musselburgh. The council also runs an extensive programme of evening classes, which include both leisure and vocational activities. Although there is no further education college in the county, Jewel and Esk Valley College runs an outreach facility in Alderston House in Haddington in combination with East Lothian Council. This provides a variety of vocational courses that can lead to certification. More specialised classes, such as lip-reading, can also be provided for everyone but again are only held in Musselburgh, North Berwick and Haddington.