Catholic Church Kilsyth

St Patrick's Primary School - News and Events

Head Teacher's Welcome   Volunteering and Disclosure

St Patrick's School - Our History

From the very beginning of St Patrick’s Parish there has always been a school mentioned in connection with St Patrick’s in Kilsyth. The Scottish Catholic Directory of 1865 states that even before the arrival of Fr John Galvin in January 1865, the first priest stationed in Kilsyth since the Reformation, that evening and weekend classes were already in ‘good working order’. The first classes were Catechism classes and evening classes for young adults.

When Canon Murphy came to Kilsyth in late 1873 as Parish Priest, one of the major tasks he accomplished was the building of a school. This work he started in 1874 and to the resulting school building a later addition was made in 1896. He appointed Mr Stone as the first headmaster, and this was as far as the school progressed until the appointment of Canon Macnamara in 1903. He extended 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. She worked closely with Miss Keane who was infantmistress and it was Miss Keane who succeeded Miss Gallacher when she left in 1910 to be married. While Miss Keane was Headmistress the school roll was between 350 and 400 pupils, from infants to the supplementary stage. Her staff was entirely female until the arrival of Mr Boyle and later Mr Patrick Doherty who was appointed first assistant.

As a result of the 1918 Education Act, the responsibility for the provision of school buildings and staffing was transferred from the Parish to Stirling Education Committee, with certain aspects of the children’s education still controlled by the Church authorities.

The Act guaranteed the following rights for the Catholic community:

• Catholic schools were to be fully funded by the state not the parish congregation and in return were to be open to inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectors.
• As public schools, Catholic schools were to be open to all, but provided primarily to serve the needs of the Catholic community.
• The Church was expected to approve all teachers in Catholic schools as to their religious belief and character; the local education authority was to appoint, with the approval of the Church, a supervisor for religious education in Catholic schools.

From this time, parents began to take advantage of the benefits of the Act to obtain secondary education for their children even although this meant a great sacrifice for some 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.

Meanwhile the old school building was gradually becoming quite inadequate for the number of pupils attending, but due to the economic depression and the contraction of public spending very little could be done to improve these conditions. In 1929 apart from the main school building, St Patrick’s school classes spread into the Burngreen School (now the Old Library) and then to the Old Fever Hospital building (adjacent to the graveyard) in 1933. There the facilities were extremely primitive with the added inconvenience of being about a mile from the main building. With developments in education, St Patrick’s was raised to the status of a Junior Secondary School in 1933.

Although facilities were limited, pupils were able to take advantage of the benefits of a higher education. Just before the outbreak of World War II it was decided to build a new Kilsyth Academy, and so the plan was that St Patrick’s School overflow could take over the old Academy building in Shuttle Street to alleviate the accommodation problem. Work, however, on the new Academy had to be stopped soon after the beginning of hostilities and the plan was never enacted.

The increase in the school population continued and in January 1940 infant classes were being accommodated in Mansefield House and in St Patrick’s Church Hall. The hall, however, was requisitioned for use by the Army for most of the war and so classes had to find alternative accommodation. Towards the end of May 1944, St Patrick’s Hall became available once again and classes vacated Mansefield House. The school roll was then 497. When the new session began in August 1944, pupils were transferred from St Patrick’s Hall to the Territorial Hall.

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 worked tirelessly for the improvement of facilities in St Patrick’s School and when he was appointed Rector of St Modan’s High school in 1953, he left St Patrick’s a much improved and better organised school.

In the years after the war pupils continued to be educated in less than adequate conditions. It was only when the H.O.R.S.A. huts were built in Stirling Road in 1949 that something approaching adequate accommodation was provided for pupils. The huts however, were prone to bouts of flooding during the winter months. The roll had increased by then to 587.

Mr Hugh Dobie M.A. succeeded Mr McCann as Headmaster in August 1953 and Miss Mary McCann became Infant-mistress, succeeding Miss Elizabeth McCart who had been infant mistress since 1938. For the next few years the status quo existed but in 1960 a beginning had been made on the building of a new school in the north end of Bogside Public Park. It was completed and ready for use in the second half of session 1964. It was officially opened by His Grace Archbishop Gordon Gray on 24th September 1965.

When Mr Dobie retired in 1972 he was succeeded by Mr Michael G. (Gerry) Callaghan until 1975 when Mr Andrew F. McGarry took over prior to the opening of St Maurice’s High in 1976. Pupils from St Patrick’s Parish also attended St Modan’s High School in Stirling for senior secondary education. They continued to attend St Modan’s until Regionalisation in 1975. The responsibility for the school then passed to the Dunbarton division of Strathclyde Region. Some pupils also attended Our Lady’s High School in Cumbernauld to complete Highers. At this time St Patrick’s School lost pupils from Banknock, Banton and Lennoxtown. As part of the regional restructuring, St Patrick’s was designated a high school, taking pupils from Primary 1 through to S4 and successfully presenting many pupils for “O” Level exams until the opening of St Maurice’s High School in August 1976.

Further developments in education took place in 1980 with the Education Scotland Act which formalised the right of schools to have Religious Education and Religious Observance within schools and also states the need to ‘recognise religion as an important expression of human experience; to appreciate moral values such as honesty, liberty, justice, fairness and concern for others; to investigate and understand the questions and answers that religions can offer about the nature and meaning of life and develop their own beliefs, attitudes, moral values and practices through a process of personal search, discovery and critical evaluation’.

In 1996 there was further restructuring of the regions in Scotland and North Lanarkshire Council is now responsible for the education of pupils in St Patrick’s Parish. In 1976 St Patrick’s became solely a Primary school with Mrs Anna Devine as Head Teacher until 1989. Miss Annie Clinton, who had been in charge of the upper school during this time, became Head Teacher after Mrs Devine. She left in 1990 to take up a post with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI). Mrs Helen Smith became Acting Head Teacher from August 1990 until April 1991 when Miss Patricia Monaghan was appointed. Unfortunately Miss Monaghan only held the post of Head Teacher from 1991 until 1996 when she sadly died of cancer.

The post of Head Teacher was then taken over by Mrs Patricia Clark who had been Depute for Miss Monaghan during her illness. Mrs Clark had a very long and successful career as Head Teacher before retiring (early!) in December 2013. She oversaw the present St Patrick’s Primary school being completed in August 2007 and saw the old building demolished in 2008. The new school building built on the playing fields of the old school also houses St Patrick’s Nursery – the non denominational state nursery facility for the south of Kilsyth. The new building was declared open by His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien on Tuesday the 26th February 2008.

Patricia Clark’s Depute, Mrs Mary Bernadette (Dette) Canavan, took over as Acting Head Teacher in December 2013 until the appointment of another Acting Head Teacher Mr Kristopher Thomas in August 2014. Mr Thomas was appointed as permanent Head Teacher in May 2015.

St Maurice’s High School is the designated secondary school for all Catholic pupils in St Patrick’s parish. It opened in August 1976 with Mr Andrew F. McGarry as Head Teacher, having served as Head Teacher of St Patrick’s Junior High in Kilsyth during the transition year prior. Later Mr Peter Mulheron became Head Teacher on the 16th August 1991 and Mr Laurie Byrne succeeded him in the post of Head Teacher on 19th April 2004. Mrs Patricia Alexander commenced her duties as Head Teacher on the 3rd December 2012 and is at present in the post.

St Maurice’s has grown from strength to strength with pupils involved in the school’s life, that of the Parishes and the communities of Kilsyth, Croy and Cumbernauld. There are many opportunities for pupils attending St Maurice’s High School to achieve success in both academic and vocational disciplines.

Likewise pupils in St Patrick’s Primary School have a wide range of opportunities relating to the school, the parish and the community. Over the years St Patrick’s Church has had very strong links with St Patrick’s Primary School and St Maurice’s High School where our priests continue to enjoy a very good working relationship with both staff and pupils. Pupils from both Primary and Secondary schools had the historic opportunities to attend either the Youth Gathering at Murrayfield Stadium or Mass in Bellahoustoun Park in 1982 for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Scotland or the Mass in Bellahoustoun Park with Pope Benedict XVI on 16th September 2010.

Mr J C Stone HT 1886 - 1907

Miss Gallagher HT 1907 - 1910
Miss Keane HT 1910 - 1940
Mr Allen McCann HT 1940 - 1953
Mr Hugh Dobbie HT 1953 - 1972
Mr Gerry Callaghan HT 1972 -1975
Mr Andrew McGarry HT 1975 - 1976
Mrs Anna Devine HT 1976 - 1989
Miss Annie Clinton HT 1989-1990
Mrs Helen Smith AHT 1990-1991
Miss Patricia Monaghan HT 1991 - 1996
Mrs Patricia Clark HT - 1996 - 2013
Mrs Mary B Canavan
AHT 2013 - 2014
Mr Kris Thomas HT
2015 - present
Miss Elizabeth McCart - Infant Mistress
1938 - 1953
Miss Mary McCann - Infant Mistress
1953 - 1978





If you have any historic photos of St Patrick's School which show images of Miss Gallagher or Miss Keane we would be very grateful to hear from you.

God BlessYou!