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St Andrew's Academy Rector's report 1972,1973

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 2:56 pm
by down south
Here is the rector's report from the closing ceremony of St Andrew's Academy at the end of its first session in 1972.

" Home study is essential if success is to be achieved , " said Mr T Finn, rector of St Andrew's Academy, Saltcoats, at the prize-giving ceremony last week, and he continued , " Notice that I said 'home study ' and not 'homework'. "

" There are far too many students today who say ' I have nothing to do ' when they mean that they have no written work to do. Study is always possible, and as I have said, it is necessary. So I appeal to parents to see that a regular amount of study is performed each week by their children.

" We began, last August, as a group of men, women, boys and girls, mainly strangers to each other, working in unfamiliar surroundings , " said Mr Finn. " During the year we have come to know each other and to appreciate the many assets of this fine building. We have established a pattern of comprehensive education in first year which when it is extended throughout the full range of secondary course will, I believe, give every pupil the opportunity to realise to the maximum his or her education potential.

" After considerable help in guidance from house staff and careers officers ( Saltcoats branch ) second year pupils have made their choice of subjects and courses , and the timetable for next session has been constructed to fit their needs. Many of these pupils will, in two years time ,sit SCE examinations. We cannot guarantee at 100 per cent pass rate but we are quietly confident that the results will be satisfactory.

" There are those, I have no doubt, who will claim that what I have said so far is no record of present achievement but rather a hope of future achievement. As far as actual success in SCE examinations is concerned this is obviously true, but it is well to remember that if St Andrew's Academy had not opened last August, not one of these third year and second year pupils would have had any chance of doing certificate work.

" That is the true measure of our efforts: that in one short year we have changed the educational horizon for these pupils so that they now have a clear path ahead to academic success and a wide choice of careers. For those who wish to travel on that path the only remaining question is : ' Have they the ability to stay the course ? ' We will do our part to help, as too must you, the parents.

" So many things worthy of note have happened during this, our first session, that to mention them all would make this report far too long. I shall restrict myself therefore to mentioning what seem to me to be the most important.

" Pride of place must go to the celebration of the Feast of St Andrew's when pupils and staff together with the Rt Rev Joseph McGee, Bishop of Galloway, asked God to guide us in the work we do in this academy so that it may always be pleasing to Him.

" The girls of the homecraft department, by organising candy sales, made sufficient money to distribute parcels of foodstuffs to needy people at Christmas. During the coal strike pupils brought in coal and logs to help old age pensioners during that difficult period.

" In the technical department, boys made do-it-yourself construction kits of simple toys, shoe boxes etc, for use by the pupils of Craigbank School for handicapped children. They also made this beautiful lectern at which I am standing.

" We have played against other schools at soccer, rugby, netball, hockey and basketball. In the main results have been fairly good, but the first year netball teams deserve praise for many outstanding victories and the under-13 soccer team put St Andrew's in the record books by finishing second in the league and winning both the Ayrshire and North Ayrshire Cups.

" We also have a number of clubs functioning such as badminton, table tennis, chess, country dancing, photography and model-making.

" Three parties visited the Arran croft. On one visit a party of boys and girls installed a large water heater; the unusual feature being that it was the girls who did the plumbing while the boys did the cooking.

" Another item of major importance was the formation of our Parent-Teacher association. The work done by this enthusiastic group throughout the session has been of great value to the academy in many ways. On Saturday, for instance, they organised a gala day in connection with the academy sports. Despite a sudden downpour in the middle of the afternoon a profit of around £500 should be made. Some members of committee are disappointed with the amount but all are agreed that the event was a great social success. We thank the association for all their help and particularly for four beautiful sports trophies which they have donated to the academy. A fifth trophy, a magnificent house shield, has been donated to us by Mr and Mrs McCrindle, to whom I offer our most sincere thanks.

" Much good work was also done for us during the year by the members of St Anne's Guild, Ardrossan, to whom our thanks are also due.

" It would be less than just if I did not add that within the academy itself a great deal was done by pupils and staff to raise the funds so necessary for the day-to-day running of a large school.

" We are not as yet short of accommodation, rather is there a lack of specific types of accommodation. But as you know a large extension is planned by Ayr County Council and building should commence next month. When this is completed the accommodation and facilities available for the teaching of science, art, commerce, modern languages, technical subjects and physical education will be as good as any provided elsewhere in the county.

" To sum up, " said Mr Finn, " I would say that the future of St Andrew's Academy is bright with promise, particularly since we are attracting young and enthusiastic members to our staff. If this trend continues, and I see no reason why it should not, then the future is certainly assured.

" In conclusion I would like to pay tribute to my staff for all their help and co-operation throughout the year. It has not been an easy year for them yet they have given of their best unstintingly. To all of them but particularly to Mr Loy, depute rector, and Mr Carolan, assistant rector, I offer my most sincere thanks. And to you, parents and pupils, I give my word that we will continue to do all in our power to make St Andrew's Academy one of the finest schools in the county. "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7th July 1972


Re: St Andrew's Academy Rector's report 1972,1973

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 3:26 pm
by down south
Here now is the report for 1973.


Presenting his second annual report , the rector of St Andrew's Academy, Saltcoats, Mr T Finn, posing the question of what the year had meant to the school, said that some would describe it as an exciting year, some would say " successful ", others " a waste of time ".

" In each case , " he said, " the answers will contain a degree of truth and in each case the answer will be determined by the attitude of the speaker. No one can have a truly successful year by playing a merely passive role or being indifferent - or, at worst, hostile - to the aims of the school. To achieve real success one must work for it willingly and conscientiously, one must become involved in the life of the school.

" Obviously, then , " said Mr Finn, session 1972-73 has not been completely successful. It would be foolish to pretend otherwise. We have had our share of disappointment, eg a number of pupils have been content to give only a minimum of effort, others have been unwilling to do anything at all. The number of absences has risen sharply and there has been a significant increase in truancy. Granted the total number of pupils behaving in this manner is small, and by far the most of them come from the raising of the leaving age groups, yet we must try to find the reason.

" It is too simple to put all the blame on the raising of the school leaving age though this is of course the major reason. We spent considerable time and study in devising what we thought were suitable courses. Are they as suitable, as attractive as we thought they would be ? Could we have presented them more effectively- more enthusiastically ? Are the parents of these pupils supporting the school or aiding and abetting the behaviour of their children ? Could it be that no matter what courses we offer there will always be a small core of misfits ? It must always be our duty to strive to eliminate this core.

" However the vast majority of our pupils did respond to the efforts of the staff and much excellent work has been done at all stages from secondary I to secondary IV, with perhaps pride of place being given to those pupils in SIV who have attempted the ordinary grade examinations of the Scottish Certificate of Education. It must be remembered that these boys and girls were with one or two exceptions former junior secondary pupils who have spent only two years in the certificate course. No matter what the results may be, they , and their teachers, deserve great credit for their efforts over the last two years.

" Another pleasing development has been the increasing involvement in the life of the community outside the academy. The technical department has continued to make some sample models in construction-kit form for assembly by the pupils of Craigbank School though other pressures rendered our output less than last year. Other projects have included carol singing, running folk concerts, discotheques, sales of work and raffles to raise money for charity. Here are some of the organisations they have helped : the Day-Care Centre for handicapped children, Nazareth House, Oxfam, Verona Fathers, the Wayside Club ( Glasgow ), Save the Children Fund, The Redemption Missions, Native Priest Fund, TV Magpie Fund, Lourdes Pilgrimage for Handicapped Children, Cancer Research Campaign, and they have also made up and distributed a number of Christmas parcels to OAPs in the four towns.All in all the total handed over this year amounts to almost £700. Surely a tremendous performance - and a clear indication that our pupils are willing and able to play a meaningful part in the community. It is all the more commendable when one realises that during this same year, and excluding the fete, a further sum of around £600 was raised by the pupils for the funds of the academy and the Parent-Teacher Association.

" these amazing efforts are evidence of a happy team spirit which is steadily growing within the academy. One sign of this was the cheerful group of pupils and staff who travelled to Austria at Easter for a ski-ing holiday. This was our first continental venture and it was a great success. It was possible only because of the willing participation of teachers from the different departments led by Messrs Hamilton and Connor. Another example was the gala day on June 16 when parents, teachers and pupils worked together to provide a most enjoyable day's entertainment which raised a considerable sum for the Parent -Teacher Association. We are indebted to Provost and Mrs Fitzsimmons for opening the gala and to Provost and Mrs Barnett for their attendance. But this team spirit came to its peak in the production this week of our first concert. So many pupils, so many teachers gave of their time and talents to make this an outstanding occasion. Yet all will agree with me that special thanks are due to Messrs Mannion, Humphreys, McKellar, O'Sullivan, Butler, Harvey . "

" This year, " concluded Mr Finn, " we have changed the awards system to allow greater opportunity for conscientious effort to be recognised. It is often said that we are all born equal but very soon becomes evident that we are not all equal physically, mentally or in our environment. Yet it is the task of the school to create conditions under which each pupil may have maximum opportunity and encouragement to develop to the full his or her abilities. "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6th July 1973