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30 years ago

A rural idyll or a tough assignment? A unique teaching post is filled, as reported in the Scottish Diary (nowadays aka The Jotter) in The TES Scotland, July 5, 1974: Mrs Jean Smith, a former teacher at Crossroads School, Kincardineshire, has been appointed teacher at Loch Choire, Sutherland, so succeeding Mrs Linda Frost as head of the smallest school in Scotland, or perhaps the country's only state-employed private tutor.

She will teach the three children of Mr Jock Cairney, gamekeeper at Loch Choire, on Lady Sutherland's estate.

The problem of the Cairney children first began to trouble Sutherland education authority when the eldest child came to be school age four years ago. The education committee first decided to exempt the child from school attendance until her brother reached school age, and then to provide transport.

Then the committee decided the children lived so far off the beaten track it was not feasible to provide transport, and indeed that the authority was not bound to provide a registered teacher.

The family have been receiving what amounts to private tutoring for four years now - the youngest reaches school age next session.

When the oldest child reaches secondary age, the problem will be one for Highland region.

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