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Glenbuchat Heritage

55 Education
The Glenbuchat Image Library
55 Education

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Education has been a significant influence in Scotland and in Glenbuchat. The provision of education has followed the political and religious upheavals of the past centuries. The following is an outline of the general arrangements for education in Scotland followed by more specific details about provision in Strathdon and Glenbuchat.

If anyone has memories of schooling in Glenbuchat, please send in a comment.

Education in Scotland
The system of education in Scotland is separate from the rest of the United Kingdom. It has a distinctive history as the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education. The early roots were in the Education Act of 1496 which first introduced compulsory education for the eldest sons of nobles, then the principle of general public education was set with the Reformation establishment of the national Kirk which in 1561 set out a national programme for spiritual reform, including a school in every parish. Education finally came under the control of the state rather than the Church and became compulsory for all children from the implementation of the Education Act of 1872 onwards. As a result, for over two hundred years Scotland had a higher percentage of its population educated at primary, secondary and tertiary levels than any other country in Europe. The differences in education have manifested themselves in different ways, but most noticeably in the number of Scots who went on to become leaders in their fields during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Education Act 1496 was an act of the Parliament of Scotland (1496 c. 87) that ordered the schooling of those who would administer the legal system at the local level. This made schooling compulsory for the first time in Scotland. The intent was to improve the administration of justice nationwide and to make the legal system more responsive at the local level. The act states:[1]

“All barons and substantial freeholders shall put their eldest sons and heirs into school from the age of 8 or 9. These shall remain in grammar schools under competent instruction until they have perfect Latin. They shall next spend 3 years at the schools of art and law the purpose of this education is:
that they have knowledge and understanding of the laws, for the benefit of justice throughout the realm.
that those who become sheriffs or judges will have the knowledge to do justice to eliminate the need of the poor to seek redress from the king's principal auditors for each small injury anyone who fails to do so without a lawful excuse shall pay the king the sum of £20 Scots”.
The act was passed by the Parliament at Edinburgh on 13 June 1496 in the reign of James IV, and in the nineteenth century it remained in effect as one of the principal Statutes for the management of schools under Scots law.

Following the Reformation in Scotland in 1560 its leader, John Knox, declared his wish to see a school in every parish in the land. His vision was not, however, fulfilled in the Highlands till after the Education Act of 1696. A shortage of teachers was a problem and monitoring their quality across scattered rural populations even more so.

After the Reformation the Church commenced to be very active in spreading education, especially in remote places, for it was argued, this was the best means of driving out the superstition and pagan beliefs that had such a hold on the people in Catholic times. Parochial schools began to be founded, and in 1696 the Act was passed which provided for a school in every parish. The heritors (Land owners) were required to erect a school, and to pay the schoolmaster's salary, half of which, however, they are entitled to raise by levying a rate on the tenants. The amount was decided every 25 years, according to the market price of meal.

Such schools were established slowly, but by the end of the 18th century most parishes in Scotland had at least one school. Also in the 18th and 19th centuries, some private schools were set up: while some of these provided education for the sons and daughters of gentlefolk, other 'private' schools offered little more than basic education for a few pennies a term.

By the Act of 1872 the School Board, acting under the Board of Education, took over the existing schools, and has henceforth been the managing body.

Provision before 1872 in the Highlands
After the Battle of Culloden (1746) the Highlands and Islands came under direct Government control. Formal education, from then on, was to be conducted in English, even in the Gaelic-speaking areas. There were few schoolbooks and none were in Gaelic. There were additional schools in rural areas that were established by charitable societies and by the Free Church after 1843.

Before the 1872 Act the Catholic community set up their own schools. Catholic schools were set up as a response to the discrimination against the Irish and Irish Catholic communities. It was a way in which the Church could provide education for people in poverty who were largely excluded from the mainstream of the communities in which they were living. However, the Argyll Commission of the 1860's did find examples of Catholic children being educated in the parish schools. The Catholic schools chose not to join the state system established in 1872, despite encouragement to do so. The Episcopal Church also had concerns about the secularisation aspects of the Act. Both Catholic and Episcopalian denominational schools therefore remained out with the state system.

Education, moreover, was spreading, and schools were multiplied, especially after the disruption of the Established Church in 1843, the Free Church laudably planting schools in many places where they had never been before. In short, one side of the picture is bright and cheering enough, although the other is calculated to fill a humane observer with sadness

Disruption 1843
The elaborate Report on Education submitted by Dr. Welsh to the Assembly of 1843, the need for opening schools in connection with the Free Church was made abundantly plain. " Schools," he said, " must be opened to afford a suitable sphere of operation for parochial, and still more for private, teachers who are threatened with deprivation of their present offices on account of their opinions on the Church Question."

The best students at the University aspired in those days to the position of parish schoolmasters in the counties of Aberdeen and Banff. By attending theological classes for a few weeks each year, teachers might find their way into the Kirk. Some of them might rise to any educational post, even to a professorship in the University.
At the Disruption the parish schools remained with the Church of Scotland, and the teachers who "came out" were deprived of employment.

All the parish schoolmasters and others holding positions similar to theirs were at once dismissed when they declared themselves to be Free Churchmen, and of course their claims to public recognition and support were acknowledged without hesitation. But there were others who were in no better case. A system of petty tyranny was put in force all over the country, and private teachers were driven from their posts by the withdrawal of local support in different ways. They, too, had to be cared for, and thus, at the very outset, a scheme of very considerable magnitude would have had to be undertaken under any circumstances.

1872 Education Act.
The 1872 Education Act created state schools, which were designated, non-denominational. The Act also made education compulsory for all children aged 5-13. Before this time it had not been compulsory for children to be educated though the state had legislated to establish schools, provided funds for them, inspected them and required that their teachers be trained to certain standards. Prior to 1872 charities, faith groups and private tutors had provided education. In 1872, the dominant agencies which the state had chosen to run the school system, namely the Presbyterian religious institutions were changed. The state now set up school boards as it deemed the board system was more efficient than the old parish system but essentially the public goals of state provision remained the same. This made the 1872 Act fundamentally different in significance from the Education Act of 1870 in England and Wales, which marked the true beginning of public schooling.

Some saw the 1872 Act as the beginning of the secularisation of the Scottish education system. However, many Presbyterian churches assumed that after the Act, schools would continue to be, in reality, Presbyterian schools.

The 1872 Education (Scotland) Act brought in compulsory education for all children between 5 and 13 although fees still had to be paid until 1890. Teacher shortages continued and problems arose in areas where teachers who spoke no Gaelic attempted to teach children who had no English. Pupil-teachers could later qualify after attending Teacher Training College.

Local School Boards made sure sufficient schools were built and that children attended them. After 1918 this became a County responsibility. State control increased the number of school inspectors after 1872. Medical and dental inspections were introduced after 1908, though reaching remote schools proved difficult.

Secondary Education
The leaving age was raised to 14 in 1883. Only larger towns offered Secondary education at first and fees had to be paid. After 1918 travelling expenses or a lodging allowance became available for able pupils from remote areas requiring Secondary education. Pupils could also win a bursary
By 1945 the Education Act raised the school leaving age to 15. Secondary education became freely available for all children. The leaving age rose to 16 in 1972.

Schooling in Glenbuchat and Strathdon
A 'Memoriall with Regaird to the Growth of popery in the parochin of Invernochty commonly called Strathdon' (National Archives of Scotland GD 124/9/95), apparently written in the 1750s, said that 24 years previously there were 'not above one or two persons Popish' within the parish, but since the 'Late Unaturall Rebellion' and a few years before that there were no less than 25 families infected, of which 19 were in one Davoch of land called Corgarf. This was attributed to the liberty popish priests had to travel, to the marriage of protestants with papists, to 'The Gross Ignorance that Generallie Prevailes among the Vulgar in those pairts, and Great Distance from their Pastors' and to popish schools, particularly one kept by Grigor Farquharson from Kirkmichael, who was much celebrated for his 'pretended skill' in teaching.

Suggested remedies were that the laws against papists be enforced (particularly against Grigor Farquharson), that a law be obtained against unequal marriages, and that the SPCK (the Scottish Society for the propagation of Christian Knowledge) be advised to plant one of their schools 'in the said remote infected corner'.

Catholic Education
The schoolteacher has always been seen as right hand person to the priest, but both the men whom the Rev. James Gordon brought to the Braes were from non-Catholic families. The convert John Farquharson came from Tomintoul to teach at Nether Clashnoir and then Chapeltown. James Michie kept a school at Achnascraw before moving to Scalan as a farmer. He came from Glenbucket and his father (protected from Glenlivet's Catholicism by the Ladder Hills) was a Protestant. His mother had been Catholic, but of six children living with the widower in 1814 only James is recorded in the Status Animarum as having confessed and communicated. James Michie was born in 1779 and may well have studied at Scalan (at his mother's wish?) with first communion there in his teens as was normal. The registers from 1785 are lost, but where else would a boy from the top end of Glenbucket, singled out from his family, have received the education to teach a school for Catholic children? He never married, and his sister came to keep house for him. She too became a Catholic: 'At Scalan on the 9th day of February 1826 Henriette Michie senior daughter of Henry j Michie and Janet Stuart More, the former Protestant the latter Catholic, residing while living at Badenyon Glenbucket, educated Protestant; abjured , Heresy and was received into the Holy Catholic Roman Church, a Member, in the presence of her brother James Michie, her niece - Clark, Margaret Geddes wife to Sergeant Thomas Mc- Pherson, Jean McPherson wife to James Stuart Dow, all residents at Scalan.' 1 She appears in the records to 1829 as Henriette Michie 'senr.', so perhaps this niece was discovered to be a Michie of the same name. There is a gravestone at Chapeltown commemorating Henrietta Michie who died in 1844 aged 63.

The parochial school gives instruction to nearly 100 children; the master has a salary of £28, with a house, an allowance of £2 in lieu of garden, and the fees, averaging about £10 annually. A new parochial schoolhouse, with a dwelling house for the master, was built in 1838 by the heritors, upon a greatly improved plan. Three schools are supported by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, who allow the masters salaries of £15 each, with a dwelling-house, in addition to the fees; and in 1832, Sir Charles Forbes built a school-house and dwelling for the teacher at Curgarff. The late John Forbes, Esq., of Newe, bequeathed £500, and Miss Forbes, of Bellabeg, £100, for the benefit of the poor.

Strathdon is in the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen. Patron the Crown. Stipend 191 8s 7d glebe 2 12s 6d. The church was built in 1757 and re seated in 1808 or 1809. Sittings 504. In 1834 the parish school was attended by 96 scholars and six other schools by 361 Three of the non parochial schools are supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge and a fourth is for females. Parochial schoolmaster's salary 28 with about 10 fees and 1 5s other emoluments

1749 Statistical Account
Excepting in a mild winter the school is seldom thronged owing to the situation of the parish. It abounds in hills and rivers or burns so that children at a distance cannot attend in frost and snow and owing to the scarcity and dearth of servants of all descriptions, the generality the tenants employ their children in herding as soon as they are fit for it The parish has had the benefit of a schoolmaster paid by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge for these 40 years past. He has been generally rationed in Corgarff on Nochty side and Kindy side by turns these being the most distant parts of the parish from the parochial school in all which places he has been highly useful.
The Society have with great propriety appointed another of their schoolmasters to be stationed Corgarff where it is hoped he will be continued as the children in that extensive district are not only at a great distance from their own parochial school but are quite out of the reach of every other school at any season and though their turn of the other schoolmaster was of great consequence to them it was by no means adequate to their necessities. If the schoolmaster’s settlement in Corgarff is made permanent and the schoolmaster, just now on Kindy side, will be stationed there and on Nochty side 3 or 4 years alternately, which the interests of religion do indeed require, all the children in the parish notwithstanding its extensive and scattered.

Records of the SSPCK (the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge) include a Journal of Visits made in 1824 (National Archives of Scotland GD 95/9/3) which refers to schools at Tillyduke in Strathdon (20 present in May, in winter 58, Gaelic not taught, few Roman Catholics), at Clashmore (also in Strathdon, 10 miles up the Don, 3 scholars in May, 27 in winter, two other schools in winter - one ten and the other two miles distant) and at Ardler (also in Strathdon, 17 miles from Clashmore, 30 scholars in May, 36 in winter).

The Poor Law Commission in 1844 (in their Appendix 6) published evidence from the Minister of Strathdon, Robert Meiklejohn. He reported that age at marriage in Strathdon averaged 33 for men and 27 for women. In most cases of fornication the parties married, there were about four bastard children a year, and their desertion was almost unknown. Early marriage was less frequent than previously and parents generally could pay for their children's schooling. 25 children were taught gratis at the parochial school and 6 at other schools at a cost to the poor fund of 17s 10d. In addition to the parish school there were 3 SPCK schools and 3 adventure schools during the winter. Pupils were taught reading, writing, arithmetic and scripture and none were destitute of religious education.

Glenbucket: Robert Scott Minister 1844
About eighteen taught gratis at the school Males about thirty: Females about twenty two: About thirty Pauper children taught gratis at the school: Reading writing and arithmetic: Four or five years reading the bible committing to memory the shorter catechism psalms and paraphrases in the school and at home

1846 Glenbucket
There is a parochial school, the master of which has the medium legal salary, school fees, a house and garden, with three acres of land. The parish also contains a parochial library. Burnett's mortification, ((Scots Law) A gift to some charitable or religious institution; -- nearly synonymous with mortmain. [1913 Webster] Mortmain is also employed to designate all prohibitory laws, which limit, restrain, or annul gifts, grants, or devises of lands and other corporeal hereditaments to charitable uses. ) shared in by all the parishes in the synod, and of which no parish can receive more than £50, nor less than £20, comes to Glenbucket about once in eight years.

Glenbuchat Public School
There were 146 children of school age in the glen when the 1873 education act made attendance compulsory. By 1907 there were half the number and when the school finally closed in 1960 there were only 11 pupils in 7 different classes.

The school was initially at the top of the road up Belnacraig in what is now the home of Dr Jennifer Carter. Latterly it moved across the road to the building now occupied by Hector McNeil.

1845 Statistical account
Education: There is a parish school, having the medium legal salary; the school fees, a good house, excellent garden, and small croft of land of three acres, at a very moderate rent, support a duly qualified teacher. The people are particularly anxious to have their children educated, and there is not an individual but can read and write.

There is a small but useful adventure school kept during winter and spring, in the remote part of the parish, on the celebrated classical spot where John of Badenyon lived. A proper teacher and salary at this station is much wanted.

1865 Dulax
Built in 1865 and known as the Netherton Free Church school it had a roll of 31 pupils. Following the 1872 education act and the demise of church run schools, the pupils attended the main parish schol or the Balloch school and Dulax became a private house.
The dominie Mr Annand and his wife and daughter (26) He was head master of the two teacher school from 1904 –1909. He is remembered as a strict disciplinarian and an excelent fiddle player.

1868 Balloch School
Glen Nochty was for a time considered part of Glenbuchat and there was a school between Glen Nochty and Glenbuchat Lodge, Balloch School. Built 1896, Victorian days,in 1883 the single roomed (25ft x 15ft) Balloch school had 54 pupils on the roll. Attendance was very erratic however due to the schools remote situation and the need for children to work at home and on the farm. Finally closed in 1948, with 6 pupils on the roll.
Balloch Public School, 1907, Upper Strathdon. Photograph supplied by Mrs Campbell of Dingwall, grand-daughter of Miss Singer.
All 19 pupils of this remote Aberdeenshire School are present for the photographer, along with their one teacher, Miss H. Singer. Depopulation led to its closure after the war; the building has long since become overgrown by foliage.

"I reckon that the education I got at my little school was as good as any in Britain ". The speaker is Billy Duncan, aged 82 and looking back on the nine sessions – his only ones of formal education – he spent at the now derelict Balloch School , high up in the Glen Nochty hills. The establishment he recalls was a tiny one-roomed, one-teacher school on the road which rises up from Bellabeg to the Glenbuchat Lodge. Billy was the son of the head-keeper on the estate there, a position which he grew up to fill himself. Now living in retirement at Corgarff, he reflects with satisfaction on the long years which have, almost all of them, been passed in his remote upland spot: To this day I'm not very fond of crowds, I couldn't abide to live in a town. “

1887 Gazetteer
Two schools, Glenbucket public and Balloch Society's, with respective accommodation for 109 and 35 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 79 and 26, and grants of £57, 3s. and £36, 11s. Valuation (1881) £1883, 4s. 7d. Pop. (1801) 420, (1831) 539, (1861) 552, (1871) 570, (1881) 506
Picture added on 19 March 2010 at 19:00
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History Texts

126 Cattle Rustling in the Glen88 1696 Poll Book Belnacraig87 Original 1696 Poll Book91 Wandering in the Highlands 188185 Sketch of 'Old Glenbucket' about 174575 Peatfold70 New Statistical Account of Strathdon 184571 Descendants of the Great Glenbucket69 My First Detachment -The Glenbucket Inn4 St Margarets Chronicle Free afternoon Glenbuchat