From the very beginning of St. Patrick's Parish
there has always been a school mentioned in connection with
the Church in Kilsyth. At first the classes held were in the
nature of catechism classes and evening classes for young adults,
and were probably conducted by the priest, Father Galvin.
When Canon Murphy came to Kilsyth as parish priest, one of the
big tasks he accomplished was the building of a school which
he commenced in 1874 and to which he later made an addition
in 1896. He appointed Mr. Stone as teacher, and this was as
far as the school had progressed until the coming of Canon Macnamara.
When Canon Macnamara came to the parish, his contribution to
the education of the children was to extend the school accommodation
by adding a second storey containing three new classrooms in
1908. By this time Mr. Stone, the first headmaster, had left
for a post in Sunderland and was succeeded by Miss Gallacher
as headmistress. Miss Keane was infant-mistress, and when Miss
Gallacher left to be married the former became headmistress
in 1910. The school by this time had a roll of some 350-400
pupils, from infants to the supplementary stage.
As a result of the passing of the 1918 Education Act, the responsibility
for the provision of school building and staffing was transferred
to the Education Committee, and since then the school has been
controlled from Stirling, with the exception of certain aspects
of the children's education which are controlled by the Church
From this time parents began to take advantage of the benefits
of the Act to obtain secondary education for their children,
although it meant a great sacrifice on their part at this time.
Nevertheless the parish of St. Patrick's was to see and enjoy
the fruits of these sacrifices in the years that lay ahead.
Meantime in Kilsyth, the school was gradually becoming quite
inadequate for the numbers of pupils attending, but due to the
economic depression and the contraction of public spending,
very little could be done to improve these conditions.
ST. PATRICK'S SCHOOL OF YESTERYEAR
From 1929 the school began to spread from the old building,
first to the old Burngreen School, now the County Library, and
then in 1933 to the old Fever Hospital buildings. There the
facilities were extremely primitive and with the added inconvenience
that these premises were about a mile distant from the main
For the purpose of improving the accommodation problem in St.
Patrick's, the authorities proposed that a new school should
be built to replace the higher grade part of Kilsyth Academy,
which would then be used for the overflow of St. Patrick's School.
This new school was begun just before the outbreak of World
War IT, but soon after the beginning of hostilities work on
the new building had to be stopped.
The increase in school population continued, and in January,
1940, infant classes were being accommodated in Mansefield House
and in St. Patrick's Hall. But the latter was requisitioned
for the use of the Army and the classes using it had to find
Towards the end of May, 1944, when St. Patrick's Hall was again
available, the school occupied it again and vacated Mansefield
House. The roll at this change was 497. In August, when the
new session began, pupils were transferred from St. Patrick's
Hall to the Territorial Hall.
So things continued in a most haphazard fashion over the years
immediately after the war, and only when the H.O.R.S.A. huts,
Stirling Road, were opened in January, 1949, were the pupils
able to find anything like adequate accommodation
even then it was in three sections scattered over a distance
of some two miles. The roll had now increased to 587.
This was the state of affairs which existed for the next thirteen
years or so, but by 1960 a beginning had been made on the building
of a new school in the north end of Bogside Public Park. The
new school was completed in time for use in the second half
of session 1964. It was officially opened by His Grace Archbishop
Gray on 24th September, 1965.
Having waited such a long time for their new school buildings,
the pupils have now no reason to complain of lack of accommodation
or facilities. The building is of modern design and sound construction.
The classrooms are well equipped with the most up-to-date amenities
and the school grounds are tastefully laid out with rose-beds
and shrubs. Altogether there exists a pleasant atmosphere in
which the children should enjoy " the happiest days of
their lives." Added to the high standard of building, there
is a wealth of equipment and teaching aids without which modern
education could not be imparted. Stirling Education Committee
are to be congratulated in the provision of this school, and
it is to be hoped that the pupils will appreciate to the full
the facilities they now enjoy.
We have already mentioned Miss Keane who succeeded Miss Gallacher
as headmistress. While Miss Keane was in charge the school roll
had grown from 200 to one of 360. Her staff was entirely female
until the arrival of Mr. Boyle and later of Mr. P. Doherty,
who eventually was appointed first assistant. With the development
in education, St. Patrick's was raised to the status of a junior
secondary school in 1933, and although facilities were limited
the older pupils were getting some of the advantages of a higher
ST. PATRICK'S SCHOOL
Mr. Allen McCann, M.A., B.Sc., principal teacher of mathematics
at St. Modan's High School, Stirling, succeeded Miss Keane
on 7th January, 1940. During his period as headmaster, Mr.
McCann did all in his power to raise the standards of the
facilities available, but it was unfortunate that his aims
to improve the school accommodation were frustrated by the
exigencies of the war years and those years immediately following.
His good work was nevertheless recognised when he was appointed
Rector of St. Modan's High School in 1953, and he left St.
Patrick's a much improved and better organised school.
Mr. Hugh Dobie, M.A., who had been in charge of Sacred Heart
School, Grangemouth, came to St. Patrick's as headmaster in
August, 1953, and is at present filling that post. To him
fell the responsibility of carrying on the fight for improved
conditions, but he has now the benefit of working in a school
where conditions are as near ideal as can be—at least
as far as accommodation is concerned. No doubt, like many
other headmasters these days, Mr. Dobie doesn't have his troubles
to seek, especially in the matter of shortage of staff. This
is the problem that is causing most concern in the field of
education to-day, and it is hoped that a satisfactory solution
will be found soon, otherwise educational progress will be
retarded in spite of all the splendid new schools and equipment
that are being provided.
At this stage we should remember with gratitude the dedicated
work done by former members of the school staff who have now
gone to their eternal reward, especially Mrs. Mclnally, Miss
Holland, Miss Callaghan and Miss McCart.
Others to whom a tribute should be paid are Mrs. Lavin, Miss
Kelly and Miss Mulligan, who we hope will be long spared to
enjoy their well-earned retirement.
We would wish the present staff all success in the work they
are undertaking for the future members of our community,
and we hope that St. Patrick's School will continue to send
out into the world good citizens and staunch Catholics worthy
of the parish to which they belong.
A tribute to the crucial role played
by the School in the life of the parish was the visit
of, the then, Archbishop O'Brien with Fr. Mullen to
meet staff and pupils at Saint Patrick's Primary. Date
unknown. The headteacher, Mrs Anna Devine from Bishopbriggs is
in the front row, in the back row, on the right is
Madge McGheean from Kirkintilloch - the Infant School
Mistress, 2nd from the right is Mrs Helen Smith. Mrs
Anna Devine was the head teacher of St Patrick’s
Primary in the combined secondary/primary school. When
the Junior Secondary school split off at a later date
and amalgamated with St Maurice’s High School
in Westfield Cumbernauld Mrs Devine became the first
Head Teacher of St Patrick’s Primary School.