Juniper Green Primary School 1957-2007
by Liz Beevers

1957-1973

Juniper Green Primary school with its 1973 huts

In late 1956 Miss Nell Fraser retired as Headteacher and Miss Maureen Lindsay took over. She had 151 children under her care with, she noted in the logbook, an average IQ of 107.9. She was clearly a "new broom" and inaugurated Parents' Evenings, Christmas parties, carol concerts and nativity plays. She bought a new wireless with amplifiers and experimented with using a tape recorder in class! She was delighted when 44 Juniper pupils took part in the Burns Bicentenary concert in the Usher Hall.

Miss Lindsay had to deal with fluctuating numbers on the roll (127 in 1961-1962 and 213 in 1965-1966) but the school was clearly a lively place to be. There were summer trips out for P7 and a fifteen day cruise to Russia for nine pupils and a member of staff in 1963-1964. However, educational changes were afoot and, as she faced her retirement, Miss Lindsay conducted an evening meeting to explain the comprehensive reorganisation of secondary schooling. Juniper Green pupils were to transfer to Firrhill.

Juniper Green school: the old building in 2007 from the tennis courts

Miss Jessie Gordon was Headteacher 1970-1973. She encouraged school sports like netball and was delighted when the school won the Royal High School cup as overall winners of the small schools sports. She also promoted road safety, cycling proficiency and a campaign for a crossing on the Lanark road. But, her major concern was the "accommodation problem". With the building of Baberton Mains estate the school roll had reached 264 in June 1973 and the Director of Education, she noted in the logbook "agrees the school is overcrowded." Not only was it full: it was frequently freezing. The heating had always been a problem. New radiators and pumps had been fitted in 1957 but ageing boilers meant that in 1970-1971 "the rooms were not reaching 60 F by the end of the day!" Heating the "old school" and keeping it wind and water-tight was to be an ongoing theme in the school logbook!

1973-1982

Blazer badge for Juniper Green school

Mrs Ramsay's first term as Headteacher started badly. Another twenty five children had been added to the roll over the summer holidays, the temporary units for the playground were not ready and a ceiling collapsed in the dining room. Since this was already being used as a teaching room, classes had to be cancelled and children sent home. This was to be the pattern of Mrs R's first few years.

Inside one of the 1973 huts still in use in 2007

As soon as Temporary Units arrived (a second set were placed on the site of the new school playground in 1974) they were full. In 1975 senior pupils had to be bussed to Longstone School for lessons. Then, even when the new school opened in 1976 the "old school" was renamed the Annexe and pressed straight back into service as the Infant school.

Juniper Green School from 1976 housed Primary 4-7 pupils

Not that everyone was thrilled with the new school's open plan accommodation, its leaky roof and the unfinished drainage! Mrs Ramsay dourly noted that there were four toilets working for 320 pupils.

There was, however, much good work going on. A portable television and a "spirit duplicator" in 1973 had encouraged new teaching methods and recorder groups and cello tuition built on the musical education which Mrs Neale did so much to foster. The tradition of Primary Seven's Residential Activity week at Newtonmore or Kindrogan started in 1978. Teacher exchanges with Australia widened the horizons of both staff and pupils.

School uniform was required in the 1970s

1982-1991

The last roll Mrs Ramsay had recorded in 1978 was 557; nearly twice the one she had started with! But, there was more to come. Mr Green became the Headteacher in 1982 and in the following year a nursery class opened in Forrester's Hall making Juniper Green a three-site school with a roll of 624.

Forrester's Hall was home to the school's nursery pupils in the 1980s

Secondary school arrangements changed too and in 1985, for the first time, P7 pupils had an induction week in June at Currie High School before transferring there in August.

A continued saga of heating breakdowns, roof leaks and ceiling collapses were recorded in the logbooks, accompanied in 1984-1986 by industrial action by the EIS, the teachers' union. However, as always, there was good news too. Parents became more involved in the school at this period. As well as serious fundraising at the Hallowe'en fair, parents took part in elections to the School Board in 1989 and became involved in school governance and staff appointments.

Miss Alexander, member of staff since 1984

The pupils' curriculum was enhanced with upper school trips to the theatre to see "Hiawatha", hot air balloon demonstrations and afternoon "class-swaps". The school's achievement was acknowledged in the "Schools Curriculum Award" in 1990 which was presented to staff and two pupils in London.

Juniper Green became the school to visit! From 1987 when Mr Forsyth, the Under Secretary for Education at the Scottish Office toured the school with accompanying television crews the school log records visits by MPs (Dr Lynda Clarke), MSPs (Iain Gray), MEPs (David Martin), Chinese school inspectors, Egyptian teachers and even Prince Michael Stewart (the Pretender to the Scottish throne!) the latter as part of a project on the Jacobites.

Mr McGhie the lollipop man on Baberton Avenue in the 1980s

The end of an era came in 1989 when Mr Walter Archibald retired. He had been the janitor of the "old school" since 1963 and his house - "the wee school" since 1825, at 28 Baberton Avenue, was sold on the open market. It became a private house.

A second change was that the school roll now began to fall with 503 pupils recorded on the two main sites at the end of 1990.

1991-2003

With Mrs Bennett came computers for administration and teaching, forward planning meetings with promoted staff and appraisals for all. There was new educational jargon to contend with: Mrs Bennett notes without comment, her attendance at a course called "Using ethos indicators in school self-evaluation"!

The way to school for P4-P7

In an email to Juniper Green 300 Mrs Bennett remembered implementing a great number of policies including anti-bullying and anti racist initiatives, drugs and healthy eating education, child protection and health and safety guidelines and more. Staff numbers were increased as a result of the McCrone agreement, the introduction of business managers, playground supervisors and classroom assistants while the pupil roll remained steady. She cited the 25th anniversary celebrations of the new school, an excellent HMI inspection and the contribution of an outstanding School Board as among the achievements of the school at that time.

The way to school for nursery pupils from 1992

The school log indicates that Forrester's Hall closed and the school nursery class moved back into the old school building in 1992. A time capsule was buried under the new school as part of the celebrations of its first twenty five years and the "old school" continued to serve, but not without the discovery of fairly extensive wet rot in the roof in 1997. The school kitchen was closed in 1997 and it became a dining centre instead. The three cooks were given farewell presents.

Mrs Bennett introduced houses to the school in 1997 - Bellshill, Woodhouselee, Caerketton and Castlelaw competed at sports day. A school flag was raised in 1998 and school achievement ceremonies were conducted. Primary 6 travelled to York for residential camps, ski trips went abroad and Primary 7 continued to go north for their week away.

The banking round the school was a great playground

Mrs Noble the Headteacher of Juniper Green School in 2007

In 2003 Mrs Noble was appointed Headteacher. A resident of Juniper Green, Mrs Noble had taught at Juni before becoming Assistant Head Teacher at Dean Park Primary in Balerno. Her own children had also gone through the school. Under her leadership the staff of Juniper Green Primary School continues to give the pupils of this area an excellent education.

Information taken from the school logbooks 1955-1975 and 1975-2002.