My four years on the teaching staff fortified me with enough personal incident and experience to write a best-selling 'Confessions of ?.' A lengthy historic account or biography of the school would produce, I'm sure, many volumes, and require the work and effort of a number of personnel, but perhaps a few words of personal reflection and appreciation would be more appropriate at this time.

To evaluate the success of a concept such as Lendrick Muir would be no mean task. Lendrick Muir has been a positive experience to most who have entered and left its portals. It was a special kind of school that offered a special kind of educational experience to a special kind of person, and in my sojourn through Lendrick Muir I very quickly found the pupils' wide spectrum of needs was collectively met by a versatile, and diversely complementary teaching and care staff, led and steered at that time by an able and perceptive management team.

When I peruse on the years 1 spent working at the proverbial chalk face at Naemoor, I can vividly recall many anecdotes. Both humorous and serious spring to mind, but as I am sure many prodigies of their Alma Mater will agree it is not until after some time has elapsed since leaving that they can appreciate the true worth and significance of the positive qualities gleaned from their short-term or longer-term residential experience.

It seemed rather ironic that I lived and worked in the locality for 26 years but was oblivious to the existence of Lendrick Muir School until I encountered, in the Glasgow Herald, its recruitment of a Teacher of General Subjects. At that time my teaching career and experience amounted to three years teaching Remedial Education at Perth Academy followed by four years teaching Remedial Education and RE in Strathclyde. During the latter period of teaching in an area of social deprivation I developed an interest in Alternative Education so thought that Lendrick Muir might be worth having a look at. D.T. likewise decided to have a look at me - I accepted his offer of the post!

My contract with Lendrick Muir School Ltd commenced in August 1978, The summer recess allowed me to focus ahead positively, but these aspirations were shrouded with an ambience of uncertainty and trepidation at the unknown I was about to face. What would it be like working in a small unit, a residential school ? Would I fit in ? Would I be competent enough to meet the demands ; not just the demands of a teaching timetable, but the extra-curricular duties of being a resident housemaster to boot ?! After all I'd taught only in day schools, nine to four and all that. It was clear this job was to be a way of life ; a vocation requiring sound commitment. Could I offer this commitment ? During my interview with D.T. I was conscious of my lack of practical experience for such a challenging job. D.T. reasoned however the only way to gain that experience was to do the job, then sink or swim.

Living in, or as a large family has its compensations but life is never always plain sailing.  Times were unquestionably happy, times were also fraught with tension, anxiety and frustration, but team spirit, empathy, camaraderie, coupled with a sense of duty motivation, and identification gave us an unswerving loyalty to the school and to the pupils we were attempting to re-integrate to family and community.

Changes in Social Work Policy (some call it fad or fashion !) threatened closure of the school in 1981, so I sought alternative employment with Fife Region with whom I now work, in the Support Unit at Dunfermline High School. This Unit is basically for children who are having temporary emotional or behavioural difficulties, and find it hard to cope with main-stream education. We assess these difficulties, offer some alternative provision, with
modification, and slowly re-integrate to main-stream.

Lendrick Muir School has offered most of its pupils a firm and balanced foundation on which to build for a future. My years of apprenticeship served at Lendrick Muir have been also of analogous parallel affording me likewise the firm foundations and experience necessary for the work I have been doing since moving on in 1982.

So as you can see Lendrick Muir has been a positive growing experience for not only pupils but also for staff. This must surely evaluate the true measure and success of an educational process. In retrospective conclusion perhaps we will, sometime in the future, be conscious of a continuing need for Lendrick Muir-type provision ?!


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