Ton-up paragon

3rd October 1997 at 01:00
They are used to big schools in East Renfrewshire. Never mind the anticipated mega-primary in Newton Mearns (page four), they have been there before.

Mearns primary is one of the oldest in Scotland, venerable enough to have got a mention in the Statistical Account of Scotland in 1842. "The school room is one of the largest and airiest in the west of Scotland where 103 pupils are taught Latin, Geography, Arithmetic, English, Grammar, Reading and Writing by its very able and excellent teacher."

For handling a ratio of 1:103, the chap's excellence was rewarded with a salary of Pounds 34 4s. "This fellow was up against it," observed John Wilson, East Renfrewshire's quality supremo. Today's teachers don't know they are living.

It is not recorded whether this paragon managed to soldier on until 1878. If he had, he would have experienced a breakthrough as the school roll fell to 90. But stagnation then set in and by 1922 the Labour candidate in the area was campaigning to get class sizes below 90.

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