30 years ago

17th September 2004 at 01:00
In these days of under-age sex, teenage pregnancies and abortions, concerns over Scotland's first married pupil seem to come from another age, as reported in The TES Scotland of September 20, 1974: Dunfermline schoolgirl Carol Feeney had her sixteenth birthday last Friday and intends to become Mrs Reith next week. If she returns to Woodmill High School after the honeymoon, as she legally should, it is believed she will become Scotland's first married school pupil.

Who is now responsible for ensuring her attendance at school - her mother, or her 18 year old husband? A senior official of Fife education department has said the department would have to take legal advice were she to stay away from school.

Bailie Robert Gough of Buckhaven, the education committee vice-convener, said he was not unsympathetic to the young couple, but added: "Legally, because of the new leaving age, we can demand Carol's attendance and there could be a prosecution if this were disregarded."

Councillor Alexander Devlin of Glenrothes, the education committee convener, said: "I can see no problem. If this girl gets married and doesn't turn up for school, I certainly shall not make any enquiries about it. There are too many other kids in the county about whom I am more concerned."

Carol applied to the local education office for permission to leave school formally after her marriage. Her request was refused and she was told she would have to wait until the official leaving date after her sixteenth birthday - in December.

PS: The legal obligation to secure Carol's attendance at school remained with her parents

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