Back to School

People are sometimes surprised to discover that I went to school in Bearsden. I don’t know why. After all, my prominent Bearsden accent is clear for all to hear.

Today I had a trip back down memory lane with a visit to Bearsden Primary School where I was a pupil in the 1970s. I’ve not been back since, and seeing that they were advertising a doors open day, I went and had a look around this morning.

I have to say that I have very happy memories of that school. My P5 teacher was particularly good – an incredibly vibrant woman who obviously loved what she did. There she was on the wall in a photograph though I couldn’t see myself anywhere. There were others I did recognise, notably the head teacher who was a figure of utmost respect and the depute, a woman who was mad, in a peculiarly religious way and kept order by belting children. I was in her P7 class.

The school felt very different today. I love what has happened to Primary education in Scotland. The best schools are amazing places. Today, Bearsden Primary looked colourful, exciting and absolutely full of life. I remember sitting in rows (designated according to assessed ability – clever people at the back, thick people at the front) reciting times tables for hours on end. Now, though there was obvious evidence of the subjects that the school is teaching, there was just as much about respect, friendship and how to be an all round good pupil.

I remember being told that Bearsden Primary was quite an intimidating environment for student teachers and new staff. In addition to the usual possibility of making a faux pas by drinking tea from another teacher’s mug, in Bearsden Primary, you had to make sure you didn’t sit at the Bridge players’ table.

We walked in straight lines when I was at primary school. Indeed, it was a fairly regimented place. I suspect things are a little different now. And very impressive too.


  1. william says

    I note your reference to “in straight lines ” when you were at Bearsden PS.
    Were you not taught about tautologies in these former days, when education would have been more content based than you would have found on your recent visit?

  2. Er, yes I was and no, it isn’t.

  3. Ah yes, the staffroom etiquette. I’ve done the cup thing, the chair thing, and, possibly worst faux-pas of all, the crossword thing in my time. Nowadays there are no staff rooms, just bases, a whole new minefield of unwelcoming stares.

  4. Sorry to hear about the torrid time in P7 you had with the belting teacher…as a teacher myself, I’m not in favour of such tactics. I find a cold silent stare always used to work better than any cane or belt…such activities should be reserved for consenting adults only ;-/

    • Thanks Jaye.

      The same teacher spent a quarter of each day on religious instruction and was, as I said, quite mad.

      One one occasion I was belted for humming. On another, simply, I suspect for being me.

      There are probably those reading this who have some sympathy with her.

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