Headmaster's Logbook


Headmaster’s Logbook, November-December 1943


November 1943

Headmaster – Dr William Barry

Nov 1st

‘School closed today: Feast of All Saints.’


Nov 2nd

‘School reopened with change of times for opening and closing for winter months. Thirty-five girls from Secondary Dept in charge of Miss Kerr and Miss Archibald visited King’s Theatre to see Sadler’s Wells Ballet perform. Permission had been obtained from the Director of Education.’


Nov 4th

‘This school was visited today by Rev. J. Waters, Anglican Chaplain, H.M.S. “King George V”. Rev Mr Waters addressed the pupils in Assembly Hall after having seen dances performed, mainly Scottish and having heard songs sung. He narrated the history of the Ship from the time of its commission at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Oct 1940, spoke of the many illustrious visitors who had honoured it by their presence viz: King George V, the Prime Minister Mr Churchill, Ambassador to the U.S.A. Lord Halifax, President Roosevelt when the Ship was in American waters prior to U.S.A. entering the War. He also told the pupils about the attack and sinking of the Bismarck, attack on Sicily, Salerno, the surrender of the Italian Fleet and the protection of convoys. All on the Ship appreciated what the pupils of St Ninian’s had done for them during the three years and especially thanked them for their prayers, the benefits of which they had all received. He visited many classes and was shown round the school. He was thanked on behalf of the school for the two delightful trophies: the Gong and the Gun-Turret.’


Nov 5th

‘Poppy-day collection was taken up in School. Miss McCluskey finished here today, and is being transferred to St Stephen’s Dalmuir as from Monday, 8th November 1943. 120 pupils from Secondary Dept are out on “permit” assisting in harvesting potato crop.’


Nov 8th

‘Dr Menary, newly appointed as H.M County Inspector to Dunbartonshire, visited this school today, met teachers in the English Department and others, walked round the School, saw pupils from Infants’ Division partaking of mid-day meal, and remained until the afternoon.’


Nov 15th

‘Paid salaries and dues for Fire-Watching. All teachers present, except Miss Langan, ill.’


Nov 17th

‘New wireless “public address” set being fitted-up and tried out by two electricians from Cuthbertson’s, Sauchiehall St., Glasgow. Janitor is absent since 15/11/43 (Mr Ferguson).’


Nov 22nd

‘Handed back corrected compositions to Miss McHale, in charge of Primary 5. Gave her instructions as to method of dealing with certain weaknesses in the compositions, and suggestions for improving same. Most of them were well written and up to standard. Attended funeral in forenoon.’


Nov 26th

‘Miss McHugh at Dumbarton Court as witness in prosecution (attendance) case.

Received copy of Report by H.M. Inspector (Mr Hyslop), which had been considered by the Education Committee.

“The Ed. Committee have asked that the attention of the General Sub-Committee should be drawn to the reference in the Report relative to irregular attendance”.

County Council of Dunbarton.   Education Committee.

“Copy of a Report Received from Scottish Education Department Dated 30th October, 1943.

“483: Kirkintilloch, St Ninian’s Roman Catholic High School. Session:- 1942-1943. “On the outbreak of war the roll of this school comprised 450 pupils in the primary and 339 in the secondary division, a total of 789. The Government evacuation scheme of September, 1939, increased this number by 80, but at the end of June, 1940, only 30 of these children remained. In March, 1941, however, the Clydeside air raids brought an influx of no less than 340 evacuees; most of these came from the Clydeside area, and from Glasgow. This sharp increase raised many complex and difficult problems, all of which, so far as circumstances permitted, were successfully solved. While all due allowance must be made for epidemic illnesses and for war conditions, attendance cannot be regarded as satisfactory. For the session the percentage in the primary division was 81, and in the secondary division 79. In the last report on this school, submitted four years ago, attention was directed to the deplorable attendance of the secondary division pupils from the Cumbernauld area. Since that time, little or no improvement is discernible. Thus, during session 1940-41, 90 pupils from the area made 68 per cent attendance: in 1941-1942, 107 pupils made 69 per cent, and in the current session 105 pupils made 66 per cent. In the current session it is true that many attendances were lost through absence for work at the potato harvest, but even if such absences were discounted, it is doubtful if the percentage would have exceeded 70. In view of the fact that the pupils are conveyed to school, it is hardly possible to justify such a record. It is interesting to note that the Kirkintilloch School Management Committee are tackling the question seriously. During the year they have issued 18 attendance orders and have prosecuted 5 parents. Except in technical subjects, where the shortage of teachers is acute, no serious staffing problems have arisen. Accommodation is in all respects adequate and satisfactory.

“Fully 65 per cent of the pupils participate daily in the milk-in-schools scheme and nearly 45 per cent in the meals scheme. The meals, which are cooked on the premises, are varied, wholesome and appetising. For ten years prior to the introduction of the county scheme at the commencement of the present session, the provision of mid-day meals was under the control of the headmaster and was operated with much success. It may be added that from this centre meals, to the average number of 70 per day, are conveyed to Gartconner Public School, a school with a roll of 140 pupils.

“Towards the war effort the school is making a valuable contribution. War savings average £24 weekly; the knitting of comforts is readily undertaken, and drives for the salvage of paper, rubber etc have been very successful. A noteworthy feature is the “adoption” by the school of H.M.S. King George V to which gifts are regularly sent. The ship’s company have shown their appreciation by presenting to the school two memorials, one, a gong made from a shell casing fired against the “Bismarck”, and the other an “Honour Trophy”, a beautiful piece of craftsmanship representing the gun turret of the ship.

“Both in primary and secondary divisions the standard of achievement is, for the most part, highly satisfactory and indicates faithful and conscientious work on the part of teachers and pupils. At the recent Senior Leaving Certificate Examination two candidates were presented and both acquitted themselves with credit. The smallness of the presentation may be ascribed to the increased opportunities for employment that are available for girls and boys at that stage. The school is ably directed by the headmaster.”

[A list of the current staff followed. As well as the teaching staff, the report mentioned the janitor and assistant janitor, the cook and her two assistants, and eight assistants for serving meals.]

 “In addition there are eight school cleaners, and a handy-man to look after grounds, windows and transport of meals to Gartconner and from Townhead School to Lenzie Academy.” ‘


Nov 30th

‘St Andrew’s Day- children attended Mass in Church during time for religious instruction (9-9.45 am).’


Dec 1st

‘Christmas term Tests began here in Secy. Dept. Tests in Qualifying Class began.’


Dec 2nd 

‘Messrs Monaghan & Walker attended meetings of Panels today. Mr Bryson, Supervisor of Phy. Education called today and remained all day.’


Dec 10th

‘Children attended Requiem Mass this morning for repose of the soul of His Grace, Archbishop Macintosh, who died on 8/12/43. Headmaster was absent from school, attending meeting of Advisory Council on Education in St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh.’


Dec 11th

‘Returns of Rolls at 10/12/43 sent in show (own) roll 545 P. + 342 Secy. Evacuees (Dunbarton) 54 P + 30 Secy. Evacuees (Glasgow & Elsewhere) 5P + 9 Secy. Totals 604 P + 371 Secy.


Dec 21st

‘Interviewed leavers from secondary classes and filled in unemployment cards for ministry of Labour.’


Dec 23rd

‘Mr Brison, supervisor of physical education, was here today and had infant classes for exercises.’


Dec 24th

‘This school closed today for Christmas and New Year holidays. Prior to closing concert items were provided by pupils in secondary department under Miss Findlay and Miss Kerr. Miss Shier, teacher of classics, finished here today to take up an appointment in Kilmarnock Academy.’