Kirkmichael School JournalFrom: Kirkmichael School collection
This journal has now been given to Perth and Kinross Archives, but is a fascinating insight into school and every day life in Kirkmichael in the early to mid twentieth century. Only a few pages have been scanned to give a flavour of the content – highlighting several issues such as heating, illness, weather, evacuees, and children working when they should have been at school, particularly in the Autumn when they were required as beaters for grouse shooting. Several interesting points arise which for various reasons could not be scanned:
The school garden was kept, and examined by the authorities, presumably as a way of instructing the pupils in vegetable growing.
The headteacher seemed to have more autonomy than today – in 1927 children just under 14 could ask for exemption from school as they had found work or were needed at home. School holiday dates were only decided a month or so before the date, and Christmas holiday was non existent – the school breaking up at the end of December for a New Year holiday. There seems to have been a party in the village for the children on Christmas Day which the school organised.
In 1926 the school completed its substitution of paper for slates (though orders of paper were hard to obtain).
Various epidemics came to the village, affecting the school – flu, measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever and mumps. The school ws usually shut down to contain the epidemic. The nurse came into the school occasionally before WW11, but after the war she attended regularly (the “nit nurse”). Also after 1945 the provision of school meals is mentioned and school transport (which greatly affected attendance in winter), but it was not until 1954 until the heating of the school became electric – the headteacher often reports before this that the classroom was cold, ie around 48 degrees!!
The first word war is not mentioned a great deal, though we know many men from the area went to war and were killed. A soup kitchen was set up in 1915 to help children during the war, and also in 1915 “work of the school this week was somewhat interrupted by a visit of about 2,000 – 3,000 soldiers who stayed in place for over 2 nights”. Through the school the children held concerts to raise money for the war effort, and they sold poppies as soon as the Haig fund was set up.
The second world war seems to have had more effect on the school due to the number of government and private evacuees staying in the village.