The senior pupils and staff presented a ripple bed and two shower units to the community nursing staff of Maybole for use with patients in the community. Our picture shows Mrs Jean McBride. District Nursing Sister receiving the apparatus from Jacqueline Coleman.
ACADEMY ANNUAL REPORT 1978-79
I AM DEEPLY aware of the differences in functions that exist between the modern school and the school they attended in the past. Almost the sole function of the local school was subject teaching, preparing pupils for a life In Industry or commerce, or In a few cases, tutoring the lucky ones (those who could afford It) for entry to a university. Whatever other educational benefits the pupils received accrued incidentally or by accident. For example, few specific attempts were made to study society and social problems, or to create political awareness, or to develop high moral and spiritual standards - in a word, to prepare pupils for the times when they would not be working their leisure hours.
You see, in the interval, society has changed, and so the schools which serve society, and which to some extent must mirror it have also had to change. Increasingly, society has heaped on schools the responsibilities formerly undertaken by the home, and many parents, bemused and bewildered by the pace of change, have succumbed to the temptation to transfer their parental responsibilities to anyone who is willing to pick them up, be it the school, the social worker, the Police or whosoever. Such parents, I am glad to say are still in the minority but this group is no longer the euphemistic "tiny" minority that some people would have you think. It is a sizeable minority and it is increasing with time.
That is the milieu in which a secondary school operates today and in my report of the Session's activities I hope that our efforts to meet its challenges will be clearly seen.
SOCIAL EDUCATION is of growing importance and diversity and we have decided to introduce Modern Studies at second year level to ensure that every child, for at least a year, will be taught the rudiments of the structure of the modern technological society to which they belong.
Great emphasis has been placed, too, on training to contribute meaningfully to the community at large. To this end our choirs performed in churches and gave concerts to groups of old folks throughout the year. Again, a group of Fourth Year girls were given a course of playgroup training, which involved regular visits to local playgroups. Our weekly charities collection yielded about £250 and this has been disbursed to a number of good caused chosen by the pupils. Carrick Academy exercises a continuing care for the handicapped pupils at Cronberry School and at Christmas each child received a present made by our pupils, and the school brass band gave them a musical concert which was much appreciated. The sponsored walk for Christian Aid was supported by our pupils. Mrs Watson's lunch-time coffees yielded about £80 profit, which was used to purchase a ripple bed, presented to the Health Board Nursing Staff for use in the district.
I have always felt that in Maybole, which is remote from large centres of entertainment, Carrick Academy had a special responsibility for trying to fill the gap, and we had hoped to present Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance this month, but because of the teachers' work-to-contract action, it has been postponed till Christmas. The English Department, however, successfully adapted the lounge in the Community Wing as a little, makeshift, intimate theatre, to give drama performances to packed houses on two successive nights. Incidentally, this drama group, coached by Mr. Wilmot and Miss Kay, competing with other Ayrshire schools, came second in the competition, and we look for even better things from them next year.
On the sporting scene, full programmes of soccer, rugby, hockey, volleyball and netball were carried through and here mention must be made of David Robertson's success in gaining a "cap" in Scotland's under-lb basketball side.
Our most successful group was the under-14 soccer team which all but scooped the pool, winning their league, the Ayr & District Cup, and were beaten finalists in the Ayrshire Cup, losing only on penalties after drawing at full-time. At this point I should like to thank all the pupils and teachers who have given of their time and effort in representing the school in competitions.
Two activities have been added to the extensive list of school clubs - archery and bridge, anti in the case of the latter there is a hope of competing with other schools in what used to be regarded as an adult pastime.
Social education is very diverse - it includes Health Education, for instance, and to this end we called in help from outside. Dr Collie kindly offered to instruct senior pupils in First Aid, and nurses of the Health Board gave talks on personal hygiene. Nor must Religious Education be overlooked and for this I wish to thank our school chaplain, Mr. Anderson for the loyal support he has given throughout the year generally, and specifically for his little sermons at morning assembly.
All of the foregoing activities are considered to be extra-curricular but it is easy to see how some of them could become intra-curricular if the world of the future is to be one of micro-processed machines, high unemployment, and a working week of 20 hours or so. Our future citizens must be trained to use their recreational hours to maximum advantage. But no matter what the future holds, subject teaching must take precedence over all other aspects of education.
Session 1978/79 began with a roll of 780 pupils - some 30 fewer than expected - and the reason for the decrease was that many more than usual left at the end of their fifth year to enter colleges and universities and our sixth year reached all-time low of seven pupils - six girls and one boy, and this is a clear case where successful teaching was being punished by reducing the sixth year to a less-than-viable level. Normally about 10-15 pupils move on to Tertiary education but last year double that number took the plunge.
The question of whether an able pupil, aiming at university, should leave at the end of class V or remain at school for a sixth year is an absorbing one, and it has claimed the attention of educationists for some time The pros and cons are easy to see but a sound judgement is not easily discernible. Here in the West of Scotland universities appear to encourage leaving at the end of S.5 but East of Scotland universities take the opposite view and prefer applicants, no matter how good their track records, to remain at school to do post-Higher work. In my opinion the aspirants must be judged individually. It is relatively easy to evaluate university potential on the basis of S.C.E. passes but there are other equally important factors such as motivation, mental stamina, moral fibre, to be considered if the student is to stand up to the rigours and temptations of university life, and only the school can do that, not the university and certainly not the Careers Advisory Service.
And now a word about staffing. The weakest areas for years have been Business Studies and Technical Subjects, for the very good reason that anyone skilled in one of these can earn far more outwith teaching, and these shortages have therefore become chronic. The allocation of time devoted to Technical Subjects has had to be reduced for 1st Year boys. In Business Studies we were fortunate to have the part-time services of Mrs O'Hagan and Mrs Jackson, and Mrs Gow's plight as the sole teacher was elevated and now Miss Strickland has joined her.
The Modern Languages Department lost a stalwart in Mrs Cannon who left for family reasons, but here again by chance, a temporary replacement, Mrs Brown, was available. We also saw the retiral from teaching of one of the best-loved characters on our staff, Miss Park. Miss Park displayed the basic qualities one looks for in a fine teacher - a very good university degree, a dedication to her work and a genuine regard for her pupils. We wish her a long and happy retirement. Her post of Principal Teacher of Modern Languages has been given to Mrs Ferguson. Mrs Burr left to be Head of Science in the new Kyle Academy and Mr Birnie has succeeded her as Head of Biology. The teaching staff is virtually up to strength and certainly no pupil should suffer too badly through teacher shortage but the outlook is not good.
That then, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the picture of the school for session 1978/79 - a year when the educational programme suffered interruptions of several weeks due to industrial action, the effects of which on S.C.E. performances have still to be gauged. We can only hope that the extra effort expended by pupils and teachers in an attempt to minimise the loss of teaching time will have been worth it. In closing, I wish to thank the teaching staff, the technician staff, the janitors, cleaners, the kitchen staff for the loyal service they gave; the pupils who have striven to maintain the traditionally high standards of the school, the parents for their support through the years.