Celebrating 50 golden years at Whiting Bay school

Brightly attired to represent the 1980s, Mrs Sheila MacAlister and pupils pose for a P1/P2/P3 class photo.

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Whiting Bay Primary School is 50 years old. And to mark a their half-century of learning a day of celebrations for pupils, parents and staff was held at the school last week.

It was in June 1968 that the school opened in a new purpose-built building village, replacing the classes at the village hall, and it has since taught generations of children.

Donald Ritchie, who was the project leader of the design team at the architectural firm, Baron Bercott and Associates, also made a surprise appearance to mark the occasion when he happened to be driving past the school while visiting his daughter, who lives in Brodick.

To celebrate the school’s golden day visitors were able to take part in competitions, raffles and a tombola while children could have their faces painted or take part in traditional games on the sunbathed lawn which included a coconut shy.

In the school hall, parents and visitors were served an array of homebaking with tea and coffee, by depute head Quinton Black, while watching a video presentation of the children with the theme of Through the Ages.

Continuing with the theme, each classroom represented an era from the 60s through to the 80s. Pupils representing the 60s were dressed as hippies and took part in fun quizzes and activities. Catriona Smith, a long serving member of staff, joined P4 and P5 pupils in representing the 1970s with music and books.

Brightly attired and representing the 1980s, Sheila MacAlister taught P1/2/3 pupils about the era that spawned E T, the Cabbage Patch Kids and cassette players.

Overseeing many of the activities and keeping a watchful eye on proceedings, school stalwart Fiona Yates, education assistant, joined head teacher Shirley MacLachlan in welcoming guests. Mrs Yates, as she is known to pupils, joined the newly built school in 1968 – and has worked there for extended periods over the years  having previously worked with pupils at the village hall. But heer family’s association with the school goes even further back with her father being involved in the original school since at least 1930.

Head teacher Shirley MacLachlan was delighted with the turnout of parents and visitors, explaining the secret of the school’s success she said: ‘We work hard to create a safe, nurturing, happy and creative learning environment for all our pupils, encouraging every child to achieve their full potential and have high standards and expectations for all. We believe that learning is lifelong and aim to develop the skills required for learning, life and work in our rapidly changing world.

‘We educate the whole child and everyone feels valued, respected and listened to. Our curriculum supports this through learning a broad general education for all, to develop successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.’

Whiting Bay Primary School currently has 55 pupils on the school roll and offers a broad range of educational opportunities for pupils, including Gaelic, pipes and drums.


Janitor and school assistant, Allan Little and depute head Quinton Black, ensure that all visitors are well fed and refreshed. 01_B24WB01

Pupils representing the 1960s are engrossed in the fun activities while listening to classic 60s music. 01_B24WB02

Representing the 1970s, Mrs Catriona Smith and P4/P5 pupils assemble for a class photo. 01_B24WB03

P4/P5 pupils show off some vinyl records from Mrs Catriona Smith’s collection. 01_B24WB04

P4/P5 girls pose for a picture with their friends. 01_B24WB05

Brightly attired to represent the 1980s, Mrs Sheila MacAlister and pupils pose for a P1/P2/P3 class photo. 01_B24WB06

Ava Pringle has her face painted as a butterfly by Katie Litton .01_B24WB07

Janitor Allan Little demonstrates a WW2 air raid siren that was donated to the school. 01_B24WB08

Visitors and parents enjoy a short film featuring the pupils while enjoying refreshments. 01_B24WB09

A pupil enjoys playing a traditional game on the lawn at the coconut shy. 01_B24WB10

Head teacher Shirley MacLachlan enjoys a conversation with school designer Donald Ritchie. 01_B24WB11

Familiar face to many, Mrs Fiona Yates joined the pupils in dressing up for the big day. 01_B24WB12

Wearing outlandish shoes, Brodie Atkinson, Sera Bibin and Layla Cociuban join Mrs Shirley MacLachlan in showing off their birthday cake. 01_B24WB13

A parent is convinced to have his nails done while the children have their faces painted. 01_B24WB14

Visitors have a go at winning fun prizes at the tombola. 01_B24WB15