Document of the Month - June
Syllabuses for Perthsire Schools, 1926
In June 1926 the Perthshire Education Authority produced ‘Schemes of Work for Primary Departments and Advanced Divisions’ (A1369). The Schemes were effectively a syllabus created by teachers but were not fixed and to be used as a guide only. It was hoped they would be particularly helpful to teachers working in rural areas ‘who necessarily work under conditions of considerable isolation’.
The Schemes cover a wide range of subjects including many that have long since vanished from the typical school syllabus today:
Notes are provided on having a propagation bed to grow vegetables by seed and stem cuttings. Skills in crop rotation, seed sowing, treating the soil with lime and growing potatoes are also included. With many people employed in agricultural work at this time, it is understandable that teaching such skills were a useful part of a child’s education.
‘In some of the rural districts Potato growing is the chief industry. A plot of Rogues is recommended in each school garden to acquaint the pupils with the characteristics of the different varieties and synonyms.’
It wasn’t until the 1950s that electric washing machines became more commonplace in people’s homes. Washing clothes in the 1920s was therefore still a time consuming task. The school syllabus aimed to teach pupils the basics of laundry as well as how to dye, iron and wash materials such as silk and chamois leather.
Shorthand would have been an important skill for pupils to learn, especially if they planned to work in certain jobs. It was used by secretaries, police and journalists to speed up their note taking. Although shorthand is not taught in schools today, many journalists and secretaries still continue to use it.
Stirling Council Archives holds collections for the former Western District of Perth & Kinross County Council area which now forms part of Stirling Council. This includes Callander, Dunblane, Killin and many other towns and villages. This volume and other archives can be viewed for free in the search room open Mon-Thurs.