St Mary's : head teacher's report 1972, 1973

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St Mary's : head teacher's report 1972, 1973

Post by down south » Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:06 pm

Here is the report on the closing ceremony of St Mary's Primary School for 1972.

The closing ceremony of Saltcoats St Mary's Primary School was held in two parts - eight classes in the annexe and 13 in the League Hall. The former had a short concert and said farewell to Miss Reid, infant mistress, now retiring.

The other classes also had a short concert, heard a school report from the head teacher and a brief but practical talk from the Rev P Cumming, St Brendan's, who presented the certificates and prizes. He expressed his pleasure in the close association that existed between church and school, thanked the teachers for all their hard work, and advised all the pupils to remember who and what they were for the long holiday.

Mr J Sherry, MA, depute head, conveyed the thanks of all to Fr Gunning, mentioning their gratitude for the lovely Masses that had been celebrated by himself and Fr Murphy in each of the buildings.

In his report the head teacher, Mr J J McCann, said that this was the first session for 26 years that they didn't take in a February class.

" The main reason , " he said, " was the decline in the baptismal roll, but this happened to coincide with the departmental recommendation that only one intake per year become the norm. We have repeated the procedure for 1972/73, only this time three classes of over 30 each will begin school on September 1,each having an age range of almost a year between the oldest and youngest pupils.

St Mary's continued to be a well-staffed school this session and despite the absence of teachers, some of it quite heavy, it was very seldom that a class had to be dispersed. Five teachers joined us in the course of the session, and one left. The three senior teachers who retired last year all returned to do part-time with us in one capacity or another and they have proved they still have the professional touch. It is not likely that Miss Lennox, Mrs McKay or Miss Conlan will be back next session and to their numbers falls to be added a very important member of staff, viz Miss Mary Reid.

" Miss Reid, infants mistress here since 1955, has conducted a very successful infant department over the years. As a result of the high quality of work done there she was invited to serve on the mathematics panel that was set up among others to draft the schemes that would bring the primary memorandum recommendations into operation throughout the county, and she helped to demonstrate methods and results all over Ayrshire.

" The school official charity, the Holy Childhood, was a record when passed on last March - £572.87. This is great work, Brought about by steady concentration from week to week throughout the year. But it isn't our only concern : the Columban fathers benefit from the regular distribution of 318 copies of their magazine , " The Far East ", and only the reinforcement of town by-laws keeps down the enthusiasm of our twelve-year-olds for assisting in the flag days of a multitude of organisations.

One hundred and three of our leavers will join St Andrew's Academy to keep the growth to full secondary status strong and vigorous. It won't be long till they're facing national examinations ; let us hope they give the response and get the reward of concentrated hard work and follow in the footsteps of others like Peter Timmons who has just graduated with a good honours degree in chemistry. He and more like him are all needed in our growing Catholic secondary schools to ensure that our claims to special status are matched by our determination to provide the staff from among the many able Catholic children we have.

" I wish to thank all concerned , " said Mr McCann, " for the effort they expend, much of it beyond the call of duty, in keeping a school of this size going. Our priests have been in the school very regularly over the past session and and have given us all the very best of co-operation for routine administration of the sacraments, and for First Communion and First Confession preparations and contact with the parents. Special reference ought to be made to P 6a2's Mass built up around the theme of " community ", to illustrate how our social act of worship is an offering of our whole active existence to God, our Creator, through Christ Our Saviour. It was an inspiring occasion indeed. "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7th July 1972


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Re: St Mary's : head teacher's report 1972, 1973

Post by down south » Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:47 pm

Here now is the report for 1973.

HEADMASTER'S APPEAL TO CATHOLIC PARENTS

In his annual report, the headmaster of St Mary's School, Saltcoats, Mr J J McCann, said : " Last June, I ventured the opinion that our full-sized closing ceremony was being held for the last time, but here we are again ! Today, I don't think anyone will doubt that this is our last: St Brendan's is well and truly on its way, the new headmaster and staff have been appointed and furniture for the reorganised St Mary's has already arrived. So it's goodbye to the large assembly !

" For our last full year together, there are not a few remarkable events to chronicle. First, with 95 plus percent we have had the highest attendance for any year in my experience, going back to 1946. The annexe children in particular have attended extraordinarily well, a tribute to the parents and the teachers who have generated the interest.

"The school roll continues to drop , the average for the year being 723.3, the lowest for four years.

"We have done well for staffing throughout the year, our PTR being one of the best in the county. The new system of specialist teachers coming from the local comprehensive did not work well, due mainly to the difficulties of staffing at the secondary end.

" I must again put in my plea to Catholic parents of the district : we cannot preserve our separate system unless we can staff the academies with properly qualified Catholics. Among the large number of girls going into the training colleges to become primary teachers, there's a good proportion who could take their degree for secondary work. Further, the talent on display at the end of term concerts proves that there are plenty of youngsters with the endowment to fill the worst staffed division, viz the aesthetic and recreational departments of the schools, which have become so very important in the comprehensive set-up. What about it then, you Catholic parents ?

" We are sending 105 pupils on to St Andrew's and look to them to take full advantage of the courses on offer there. There are among them pupils of high ability, capable of doing very well in their certificate courses and going right on to higher education. I trust some of them will emulate Joseph Donnelly who has just graduated with first honours in History at Glasgow University and is prizeman in the honours class. I offer him the school's congratulations and hope his future career will be equally distinguished.

" The special school charity reached a record height this year: The cheque sent to the Holy Childhood Mission Fund at the end of March was for £621, almost £100 more than the previous year. At this moment, the bank book shows £175.62, £44 more than at this date last year ! This is great work from the children encouraged by their teachers with Miss Lennox and Mrs Milgrew aiding and abetting. The children in the top classes are still distributing " The Far East " , a total of 318 per issue and many of them have delighted flag-day organisers ( taking liberties with the bye-laws ) by their very full cans after a day's collecting ."

Mr McCann concluded by saying : " We have every reason to be grateful to God for the blessings and graces of a good year and to his priests, Frs Gunning, Murphy and McGhee for their constant help and guidance in all aspects of life in a big, busy school. My thanks are also due to all others who so readily co=operate in the multifarious tasks that crowd upon us, with a special word once again for the school secretary . "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6th July 1973


Susan

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