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Information on the village of Yetholm, near Kelso in Scotland.
In the first Statistical Account of 1791-9, Blackie states:
'The salary belonging to the parochial school is 100 merks Scots. The master is furnished with a good school-house and dwelling-house. There are two or three private schools, for the accommodation of the inhabitants. The number of scholars may be about 80.'
Rutherford, in his 'Register', records four schools in the Parish in 1866:
'Parochial (Town-Yetholm) - Robert McMorran, master. Average attendance, 75.
'The parish school-house, erected in 1833, is, without exception, the handsomest building of the kind in the county. It is attended by 100 scholars; and the amount of the teacher's fees may be £30 a-year; but he also has £6 as clerk to the heritors. There are also two unendowed schools in the parish; one in Town and the other in Kirk Yetholm. The number attending each may be from 60 to 80. Several of these children attend from the borders. The salary of the parochial teacher is the maximum, or two chalders of oatmeal. The fees at all the schools per quarter are, for reading, 2s. 6d.; for reading and writing, 3s.; for reading writing and arithmetic, 3s. 6d.; for Latin, Greek, practical mathematics, and geography 10s. 6d.. Latin and Greek are not taught in the private schools.
The Rev McFadden, records, in 1952, that:
'There is a good school at Yetholm with an average-sized schoolhouse attached. The school has large windows and is well ventilated and in winter is well heated.'
It is interesting that he chooses to focus on these points at the start of his report s he obviously sees the health and comfort of the pupils as a priority.
He goes on to record that the school roll is 64 (39 boys and 25 girls). He adds that, prior to 1945, there was a school at Mowhaugh, in Morebattle Parish, but close to Town Yetholm, which served the children of the valley. In 1945, however, the schoolmistress at Mowhaugh was unwell, and during her illness, the school was closed and the pupils were taken, by car, to Yetholm school. The Mowhaugh school never re-opened. In addition to these pupils, Mr McFadden notes that the school has taken children from Linton Parish, and also from Shotton, the farm in England just over the border from Kirk Yetholm.
At that time, the pupils who were of age to transfer to Secondary went either to Kelso High School if they were deemed 'academic' or to Morebattle Junior Secondary of they were likely to leave school at 15 and go to work. This testing at age 11, fortunately, was phased out and by the 1970's the Secondary Department at Morebattle had been closed, with all pupils going to Kelso High School.
In 1952, MacFadden records that quite a few of the young wives worked a few hours each day in the school kitchens providing school meals. The service was centralised at Morebattle, and the meals sent to Yetholm, ready to be served, by the ladies in the dining hall which had been erected in 1947.
The school library was well patronised, with the children being allowed two books per week.
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